[EFP] Lucy Braddock requested acceptance and certification of return of
seven fugitive slaves.
[EFP] In a letter to East Florida Governor Enrique White, Pedro Marrot
advised that William Alexander Fitzgerald had arrived in the province with
[EFP] Lucy Braddock requested permission to cut wood in the
[EFP] An Account of John Edwards and Family listed him, Mary Edwards his
wife, two children, two Negroes.
Thomas Ellis Hardee, son of John and Sarah Ellis Hardee , was born in Camden County, Ga.
He later married Mary Ann Berrie, daughter of William and Ann Braddock Berrie.
January 20, 1798
According to a record in claim Con. C 41; DG, "Spicer Christopher, neighbor and
inhabitant, petitions for Little Talbot Island of 300 to 400 acres, separated from Talbot
Island by impassable marsh and useless, on account of its being torronteras of sand
and marsh, except for pasture. Governor White, 1/20/1798, refers to Pedro Diaz Berrio who
reports that the land is marsh and cut over woodland, but is good for pasture. Governor
White grants, 1/31/1798."
[EFP] Spicer Christopher wrote Governor Enrique White requesting delivery of
slave Samuel and payment of debt by John Holzendorf to Spicers
sister-in-law, widow Francisco Teran.
April 4, 1799
John David Edwards, son of John and Mary Braddock Edwards, was born. He later married
[EFP] Two French Blacks, Juan Gufiel and Jilve Neducin Bautiste
were captured by militia Sergeant Spicer Christopher. Two days later,
French agent, Antoine Suarez from Newton
[St. Marys] claimed them as fugitive slaves of Spalding and Stofer of Camden
Captain of a militia unit and judge Andrew Atkinson complained to Governor
Enrique White about illegal wood cutting and mentions Spicer Christopher,
Samuel Harrison, widow Teran, Joseph Maxey, Francis Pelot, William Alexander
Fitzgerald, and William Braddock.
[EFP] Lucy Braddock, wife of William Fitzgerald, was informed that Governor
White has issued a decree freeing her slave Thomas Primus and family.
[EFP] Susanna Greenwood wrote
the governor requesting she be freed of charge by government for corn,
claiming her deceased husband Francisco Teran paid for it from his wages in
May 17, 1799
[EFP] Governor Enrique White advised Amelia residents Samuel Russell and
William Fitzgerald that they are to fulfill their voluntary donations to the
June 17, 1799
Thomas, about 3 years old and Elizabeth, about 1 year old, children of Spicer,
"native of Marylandia," and Mary Greenwood Christopher, "native of
Georgia," were baptized at Talbot Island. Also baptized the same day at Talbot was
William Taran, about 1 year old, son of Francisco Susannah Greenwood Taran. Sponsor for
all four was John McQueen, of which much has been written, including the book "Don
Juan McQueen" by the renowned author Eugenia Price.
June 19, 1799
Baptized on Amelia Island two days later were Elizabeth, about 6, Eugene about 4, and Ann,
about 2, children of John Edwards, "native of Carolina del Sur [South Carolina], son
of Isaac and Marta Federt" and Mary Braddock, "native of Georgia, Estados Unidos
de America, daughter of " John and Lucia Cooke." I havent been able to
find the surname "Federt," John Edwards mothers maiden name
anywhere, certainly not in South Carolina. One Spanish meaning of the word is
"spring." There is a multitude of Springs in South Carolina. But that is
only speculation. It is obvious that Ann was married before her fathers death in
1794. No oath of allegiance for John Edwards is in the East Florida
The same day, Jose Daniel
Vaughan, about 1 year old, son of John Daniel Vaughan, was baptized. Vaughan was a New
Englander who served as a private in the Revolution, in which he was wounded 9 times. He
later became a lieutenant and served at Burnt Fort in Georgia. He married a lady from
Georgia. He received two Spanish grants on Amelia, one in 1797 next to John Edwards land.
The AmeliaNow web site has a tribute to him.
Years later, his heroic
blood would blend with the heroic Braddock blood when his great-grandson, James Gage
Vaughan, married Addie Wilds, granddaughter of Hester Braddock Wilds, granddaughter of
Revolutionary War hero John Cutler Braddock..
[EFP] Hero of Eugenia Prices popular
novel Don Juan McQueen was John McQueen who spent the latter part of
his life as an exile in Spanish East
rather than go to prison for enormous debts he owed in Georgia.
He advised Governor Enrique White of the need to buy a canoe built by John
[EFP] Spicer Christopher and party arrested horse thief and trouble maker
William Harris and delivered him to
October 1, 1800
[EFP] John Edwards was listed as one of the defaulters of Capt. Andrew
Atkinson's troop of militia dragoons.
[EFP] Militia Sergeant Spicer Christopher was sent to
to get information on French corsair activity.
Mary Ann Berrie, daughter of William and Ann Braddock Berrie, was born. She later married
Thomas Ellis Hardee.
January 19, 1801
According to Camden County, GA Inferior Court minutes, Spicer Christopher won a civil case
against "Silvenus" Church and was awarded "four hundred & sixty-two
dollars with interest from the 8th August 1797, & cost of suit."
February 14, 1801
[EFP] Governor White ordered
Americans cutting timber on
at direction of William Alexander Fitzgerald to return at once to U.S.
He ordered the lumber to be publicly sold. Fitzgerald was placed under
June 16, 1801
William Berrie, according to Con. B 24; DG IV 279, petitioned for 100 acres at Snelling
Old Field which belonged to his step-father, William Hull, and it was approved.
[EFP] Slaves of Spicer Christopher captured forced labor deserter Jose
Rafael Banegas on Talbot
and were rewarded 8 pesos by Governor White.
[EFP] Governor White was advised that inhabitants of Amelia
have put up a battery at William Fitzgerald's plantation.
[EFP] The mother of William Berrie who married Ann Braddock was Elizabeth
Maxey. After her first husband, William Berrie Sr., died, she married
died sometime after October 25, 1793, when he requested a license to sell
dye in St. Marys for pork and flour. In a letter to Governor White, Priest
Father O'Reilly complained that William Tucker and the widow Hull contracted
a clandestine marriage in Georgia and their property should be confiscated
and they should be expelled from the province
[So this is when the tradition of eloping to Camden County started].
[EFP] The Governor responded to OReilly that because the Royal Order of
November 30, 1792 had not been published in
, William Tucker and the widow
could not be punished for their clandestine marriage in Georgia
. He advised that the oversight would be corrected.
[EFP] David Braddock mounted a pedrero [whatever that is] on the Amelia
boat at a cost of 10 pesos.
July 14, 1802
The governor ordered William Tucker who married widow
to report to him in St. Augustine
to take the oath of allegiance.
January 4, 1803
Spencer Christopher, Spicers brother, signed the oath of allegiance. On it he says
he is Protestant, shoemaker, is married, has two sons, five slaves, and 50 cows. The same
day he "petitioned for 500 acres at Punta de Hazzard north of Nassau River."
Governor White approved the grant three days later.
Spencer must have been a revered
uncle; 13 of his brother's descendants in my genealogy database have the given name
Spencer. And Spicer must have been a beloved father and grandfather as 22 of his
descendants in my database have the name Spicer.
May 4, 1803
William Oglebay [Ogilvie], whose son David would marry Mary Greenwood Braddock, daughter
of William and Charlotte Christopher Braddock, signed the oath of allegiance saying he was
single, Protestant, had 26 slaves, 2 horses, and 500 cows, and lived on the St. Johns.
[EFP] Governor White ordered Spicer Christopher to come at once to
with 11 slaves he brought from US. He refused the order.
[EFP] Apparently reconsidering his refusal, Spicer Christopher presented
September 23, 1803
Burroughs Higginbotham, progenitor of numerous descendants who married into the Braddock
family, on this date petitioned for 700 acres. A transcript of the claim, Con. H57; DG V
57, 61, submitted in 1845 to the Commissioners Appointed to Ascertain Claims to Lands and
Titles in East Florida for his widow, Elizabeth, to receive certification of ownership in
the eyes of the United States Government, reveals some interesting facets of Burroughs and
his family. One item of interest is that his wife was a widow in early 1816, indicating
that Burroughs probably died in late 1815. Another is that, as a widow, she had sixteen
children. Here is a full transcript of the claim:
|1 - B. Higginbottom [sic]
petitions, through Zacharias Haddock, 9/23/1803, for 700 acres on St. Marys River at the
place abandoned by Reding Blunt, for himself, his wife, 9 sons, 1 slave. Governor White
grants until future allotment is made, 9/24/1803. Toras de Aguilar certifies true copy,
2 - George J. F, Clarke certifies plat for 500 acres, 1/10/1816, at Higginbottam's Bluff,
part of Burrows Higginbottom's quota, to his widow, Isabela Higginbottom.
3 - Clarke certifies plat of 200 acres, 1/22/1816, at Sondag's Bluff in full of Burrows
Higginbottom's quota, to his widow, Isabela Higginbottom.
4 - Elizabeth Higginbottom petitions for royal title to lands she has cultivated for more
than 10 years, 2/25/1819. She is a widow with 16 children. Governor Coppinger orders the
taking of testimony, 3/6/1819.
5 - Zephaniah Kingsley, native of Luysiana [sic] deposes, 3/6/1819, that for more than ten
years he has known the large family of B. Higginbottom to occupy the land in question,
continuously cultivating and improving it.
6 - Francisco Roman Sanchez deposes confirming the above.
7 - David Hard deposes same.
8 - Governor Coppinger grants royal title to the 2 tracts according to plats. Entries
attests 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 and certifies Isabela Higginbottom of 8.
9 - Royal title by Governor Coppinger to Isabela Higginbottom 4/16/1819, for 200 acres at
Sondag's Bluff. Entralgo attests and certifies true copy.
10 - Antonio Alverez' abstract, 2/11/1845, from descriptive list, No. 539. Decree:
"By the rule adopted by this Board, to consider a royal title made subsequent to the
date specified in the treaty as conclusive evidence of the performance of the
consideration of a previous concession, this claim for 200 acres is confirmed."
April 8, 1804
The photocopy of the Spanish record I have of John Davids conversion to Catholicism,
in addition to being in Spanish, is of poor copy quality. However, I was able to translate
loosely the first few lines, which read:
"Sunday, twenty-ninth of April of
1804, David Braddock, adult of twenty-eight years of age , single, native of Georgia,
legitimate son of John, already deceased, and of Lucy Cook, native of South Carolina,
appeared before me to . . ."
John David also
signed an oath of allegiance in 1804 which contains the meager information that he was a labrador
(farmer), was Catholic, and place of residence was "Mosquitoes," which is
the Los Mosquitos Inlet (now Ponce de Leon Inlet) area near New Smyrna Beach. The Spanish
government in St. Augustine was trying to encourage settlement below St. Augustine and may
have given John David a grant in that area.
April 23, 1804
William Braddock signed an oath of allegiance in which the only information given besides
his name and date is that he is a farmer and has nine slaves.
May 9, 1804
John David Braddock married Martha and William Braddock married Charlotte, daughters of
Spicer and Mary Greenwood Christopher.
May 12, 1804
Spencer Christopher, "prevented by illness from at once taking possession of the land
granted, 1/7/1803, found another had petitioned for and obtained the same land and is now
cultivating it. He, accordingly, petitioned for the same acreage south of Nassau River,
about 4 miles north of the lands conceded to the late John Sample and bordered on the
other end by a creek that limits it on the northwest at the first marsh gully after
passing Doctors Island on the left." Governor White granted the petition.
November 24, 1804
In Camden County, Georgia court records is the entry, "Spicer Christopher of the
Island of Talbot, East Florida, to his daughter Elizabeth Christopher. Gift of slave boy
14 years of age 'Tom,' dated Nov. 24, 1804. Witnesses: David Braddock, William Braddock,
Michael Macker, and John Christopher."
Mary Greenwood Braddock, daughter of John David and Martha Christopher was born. She later
married John Carroll Houston II.
February 5, 1805
John Spicer Braddock, son of William and Charlotte Christopher, was born. He later married
Nancy Sarah Higginbotham.
James Cashen, George Atkinson, Domingo Fernandez, William Lawrence, John
Pelot, and William A. Fitzgerald proposed formation of a new militia unit to
and the mainland.
[EFP] In a letter to Enrique White, John McQueen detailed defense
preparations against threat of privateer Tom Johnson. He suggested Cashen,
Lawrence and Christopher as Amelia
[EFP] Fernando de la Puente advised Governor White that William Fitzgerald
acquired a sawmill.
November 2, 1805
According to claim Con. B 23; DG IV 278, Thomas Mann sold claim on Turkey Island, on the
east side of the Nassau Prong of Nassau River, to William Berrie for $100. The purchase is
witnessed by John D. and William Braddock.
Caroline M., daughter of John and Mary Braddock Edwards, was born. She later married
William Alexander, son of
William and Ann Braddock Berrie, was born. He may have been named after Lucy's second
husband. He later married Matilda Ann Piles.
February 12, 1806
Apparently in failing health at the age of 47, Spicer Christopher wrote his
will. Thanks to Sharon Cope for providing a transcription of the will.
In the name of God, amen I Spicer
Christopher conscious of the uncertainty of human life and of
inevitable death at present of frail body but of sound judgment and
mind, Declare this to be my last Will and Testament hereby revoking
and annulling all former ones in the following manner and form viz.
1st I commend my soul into the hands
of that Being from whom I received it praying for His holy
acceptance thro the merits of a blessed
2nd My body to be buried according
to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England
3rd My temporal or worldly affairs
to be divided or apportioned as follows
I give and bequeath to my well beloved wife
Mary Greenwood Christopher one half or moiety of all my moveable
property consisting of horses, hogs, cattle and the following
Negroes Sharpee and his wife Sue, Cook, Dando, Anthony, Harry,
Nelson, Jeffrey, Andrew, Will, July, Tom, big Mary, old Sal, Dido,
Sam, Amy, March, old Luce, young Luce, Nelly, Jeanny, Jim,
Luck, Tombo, Daniel, Munday, Rose, Hatty, little Sue, and Dick, and
that she shall be allowed to live upon and work the above slaves on
any plantation or Island belonging to me for this Province without
any molestation whatever during her natural life, and at her decease
the said Negroes to be equally divided among the children hereafter
mentioned or their Lawful Representatives
The residue of my Negroes to be apportioned in
the following manner
To my son John Bluet Christopher: Nice, big
Ned, Bob, Sandy, and Isaac; and to William Greenwood Christopher:
Jarvis, Cuffey, Sampson, Peter, and Simon; to Martha Christopher
Braddock: little Ned, young Nancy a Mulatto, Newton, Buck, Sally,
& old Nance; to Charlotte Christopher Braddock: Duncan, young
Sal a Mulatto, Fortune, Boatswain, & Betty; to Spicer Samuel
Christopher: Ishmael, Mint, little Ned, Lindah, & Newport; to
Lewis Christopher: big Sam, little Mary, Collin, Moses & his
wife Charlotte; to Elizabeth Christopher Howe: Eve a Mulatto, Nance
the youngest and her two children Pheobe and Sam
My landed property to be partitioned in the
To my son John my plantation on the River St.
John called [a blank space followed]. To William my Plantation
called Point Hazzard; To Spicer my Plantation on the River St. Marys
called old Township; Talbot Island and Santa Maria Nassau to be
equally divided between Elizabeth who is to hold and possess the
southern moiety of said Island her brother Lewis the north part
thereof, and the said Elizabeth to pay to her sisters Martha &
Charlotte the sum of two thousand dollars to each, and the said
Lewis one thousand dollars to each of the said sisters Martha and
And be it furthermore known and understood that
the Children viz. William Greenwood Christopher, Spicer Samuel
Christopher, Lewis Christopher, and Elizabeth Christopher who have
not as yet withdrawn their proportion of Negroes from the original
stock, shall be each of them entitled to an equal share of the net
proceeds when laid out in any specie of property whatever, at the
total exclusion of those who have already received their respective
And for the true performance of this my last
will and Testament, I hereby nominate and appoint Mary Greenwood
Christopher my beloved wife, Executrix, John Bluet Christopher and
John David Braddock, Executors to this my last Will and Testament to
see the property duly divided as already specified, having first
discharged all my just debts dues and
Done on Talbot Island, Province of East Florida, dated this
12th day of February in the year of our Lord 1806 as
witness my hand and
Signd sealed &
in the presence
Either Spicer or
whoever transcribed his will miswrote the married last name of his daughter
Elizabeth as Howe instead of Houston.
Christopher, listed on genealogies as a son, apparently died as he is not mentioned in the
Either there were
two "little Neds" or Spicer willed the same slave twice.
The plantation on the St Johns
willed to John Christopher may have been San Cristobal, which was surveyed for Spicer Christopher in 1792, at which time it was
recorded in the grant request that he had 5 children and 11 slaves.
May 1, 1806
Elizabeth Greenwood Braddock, daughter of William and Charlotte Christopher Braddock, was
born. She later married John Hardin, then James Bessant, then David Ogilvie. It is
interesting to note that she was 13 years older than David Ogilvie. One of their sons,
William A. Ogilvie, born on 1848, had the nickname "Tete." Is it possible that
it was really "Tait," his grandmother's maiden name, but sounded like
[EFP] William A. Fitzgerald is accused of mistreatment of a female slave.
[EFP] Spicer Christophers attorney Santos Rodriguez requested a
survey of land near Bells Creek belonging to Christopher.
According to Con. B 22; DG III 643, William Berrie of Camden County, GA bought from
William Carney for $400 a little house with its fence on 25 acres of seed land on Amelia
River, Cowpen Branch in 1807. Although there is no more seed land there, pine land of 350
acres with buildings and improvements are included. Berrie petitioned for absolute title
on September 3, 1816, and Governor Grant approved grant February 10, 1817.
In claim Con. B 55; DG IV 254,
John D Braddock claims "640 acres, a donation grant, on the road from Rose Bluff to
main road from St. Johns River to Georgia, being a few miles from the home of Elijah and
Joseph Higginbotham and part of 1,000 acres petitioned for and not received in 1807 from
the Spanish government as a cow pen, which has been held since then by John D.
Braddock." He named it Sand Hill Plantation. The name of the area later became
Evergreen, and in 1835 the Nassau County seat, including the courthouse and post office,
was moved here. John Davids son Spicer Christopher was named first postmaster.
April 23, 1807
Spicer Christopher Braddock, son of John David and Martha Christopher Braddock, was born.
He later married Anna Sever Sapp.
April 26, 1807
Elizabeth, daughter of John and Mary Braddock Edwards., married William Bluet Christopher,
son of Spicer and Mary Greenwood Christopher.
[EFP] American John Houston
asked for refuge in East Florida for self and slaves.
October 21, 1807
John Christopher bought from Gilbert Mann 50 acres on Nassau River, east of other land of
Mariah, daughter of William and Charlotte Christopher Braddock, was born. She later
married Stephen Vanzant.
Joseph C. Berrie, son of William
and Ann Braddock Berrie, was born.
January 5, 1808
According to Camden County, GA Inferior Court Minutes, John C. Houston lost a civil case
to Edward Barnwell.
[EFP] John Lowe claimed that Spicer Christopher was holding some of his land
's Creek, mentions Springfield
. The claim was settled by
Christopher giving up
land to Lowe.
February 27, 1808
Adeline Catherine, daughter of John and Mary Braddock Edwards, was born. She later married
[EFP] William Alexander Fitzgerald complained that James Pelot was holding
some of his land.
In late summer of 1808 the town of
suffered a plague of fever that killed many of the towns residents and
forced many others to flee, leaving only ten residents. Letters in the Florida
Heritage Collection tell of the compassion and generosity of their neighbors
across the St. Marys River in Spanish East Florida
, October 23.
Extract of a letter from St. Mary's , dated 9th Oct. to a gentleman
of this city.
distress, we have had an opportunity of seeing what men are.What
do you think of the infamous conduct of the inhabitants of the town
of Jefferson , in our country, not suffering a soul from this place
to enter their town, and had even had the audacity to advertise the
same in our market house. At the general county election by this
conduct, such of our towns people as could have gone to vote, were
debarred. This was effected by a few vile wretches to influence the
election in favor of their own creatures : under such conduct, no
honest mind can conceive that the legislature will consider the
election legal; nor has the most trifling assistance been afforded
to the sick, except by a few planters in this vicinity, who have
humanely rendered such aid as in their power. It would be high
ingratitude to pass unnoticed the magnanimous humane and generous
conduct of our neighbors in
. On hearing of our distress, 12 gentlemen, then at the house of Mr.
McClure , on Amelia island , subscribed the sum of $191, and
immediately sent the cash, inclosed in a letter, of which a copy is
subjoined. Contrast this act of humanity with that of our own
citizens, who have been looking on, and seeing our poor suffer, and
to the great disgrace of our country, have been for these eight
months past, using every means to starve these neighbors, by
descending to extreme littleness in preventing even a loaf of bread
or a pound of fresh beef to cross the river of St. Mary's . We must
suppose our collector and the officers of the gun vessels have
orders of their doings ; it however appears harsh, much unlike the
conduct of magnanimous, free and independent government, and must be
unpleasant to good officers.
Our worthy friend, Major
Seagrove , the chairman of the committee of health, is now the only
one of that board in town ; he is determined to remain for the
benefit of the sick, while God spares his life ; his family are
getting better, as are all our friends in the country, who removed
from town. Only 2 new cases in the last 48 hours; nearly all the
inhabitants have fled, are sick or dead ; not more than 10 of the
old inhabitants (whites) remain.
, 1st Oct. 1808.
Hearing of the melancholy situation of St. Mary's , from the
prevailing fever, and being sensible that some must be without the
necessary means of support and attention, a few gentlemen at my
house this morning have subscribed $191, which will be delivered to
you by Mr. Kerr , purser of U.S. gun boat, to be applied as you and
the board of health may think proper. For the present the
subscribers thought it necessary to send this trifling sum, as it
might be of immediate use ; but hope that from this province the
amount will soon be much larger.
I am, dear sir,
Your obedient servant,
Names of donors, and sums subscribed.
J. H. McIntosh , $20 George Sibbald , 20 Captain Don J.
Lopez , commandant at Amelia Island , 20 John McClure , 20
, 20 George Atkinson , 20 M. Lynch , 10 P. Deveese , 10
A. Atkinson , 10 F. D. McDonnell , 10 John H. Kerr , 10 F.
Wire , (of Bahamas ) 16 T. Backhouse , 5
October 31, 1808
At some point after her arrival on Amelia Island, Lucy Cook Braddock, widow, married
William Alexander Fitzgerald. After his death, an inventory of his
possessions was made. The inventory, which is in the East Florida Papers at the
University of Florida Special Collections Library in Gainesville, is dated October 31,
1808, so it is a reasonable assumption Fitzgerald died shortly before that
The inventory, which is in
several sections, each of which was signed by witnesses, is written entirely in Spanish
except for Fitzgeralds one-page will:
|In the name
of the Holy Trinity
Amen I William Alexr Fitzgerald of the Island of Amelia & Province
of East Florida, planter, at present sound in mind and body and for which thanks be to
God, but at the same time conscious of the uncertainty of life and all sublunary objects,
do declare this to be my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all other, whatsoever
Imprimis [in the first place] I commend my soul into the merciful hands of that
Being from whom I received it, and my Body to be decently interred.
I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife
Lucy all my property of every description whatever (Hannah and her children only excepted)
for her sole use benefit and behoof, after paying all my just & equitable debts during
her natural lifetime, and at her decease to be equally divided among her children and
difficulty with translating Spanish to English, I was able to glean some items of interest
from the inventory:
William and John
Davids signing of Braddock is very similar to the way their father signed it.
Items on the
inventory, which had a total value of 15,223 pesos and 4 reals (would be
interesting to know how much that translated to in dollars of that time), were:
- In every instance but one, the
deceased is referred to as Don (a title like Mr.) Alexandro (Spanish for Alexander)
Fitzgerald in the inventory. In the one exception he is referred to as Mr. Fitzgerald.
Perhaps this is an indication that he went by his middle name.
- He was Protestant, fifty-six
years of age, and a native of Virginia.
- She is referred to in the
document, and other Spanish records, as Lucia, the Spanish translation of Lucy, her given
name. Her maiden name is spelled Cooke on the document.
- She and Fitzgerald lived on
- Braddock was written in the
inventory as Broadick, close to the original old English meaning of the name, Broad Oak,
which is an area in Cornwall, England.
- All her children are listed in
one section (Ive translated all but their names): " . . . children of her
earlier husband Juan Broadick, named Maria, married to John Edwards, Guillermo, of state
of marriage, Ana, married to Guillermo Berry, Maria Ester [Hester], married to Juan Christopher,
and David, the oldest of all in age, of state of marriage . . ." Names of wives of
William and John David are not given in this section of the inventory.
- No indication is given of William
having a middle name.
- Several men signed the several
documents, but not everyone on all documents. Signers were: Fernando de la Maza Arredondo,
Garrett Ledwith, Domingo Fernandez, William Munro, Robert Walker, Santiago Cashen, William
Braddock, William Berrie, John Edwards, John D. Braddock, John Christopher, Michael
Ludwith, Fernando Donald McDonnell, and East Florida Civil and Military Governor Enrique
- Apparently, women werent
qualified to sign. On one document, William Braddock signed under a notation written in
Spanish in another hand. The notation read, " Por mi Madre," which is "for
my Mother." On another document, John Christopher signed under the notation,
"Por mi Esposa Maria Ester Broadick," esposa meaning wife and Maria meaning
housewife. John Edwards and William Berrie signed for their wives under similar notations.
- 24 slaves, the name, age, and
value of each was given.
- 100 cultivated acres called
Montenegro [Spanish rendition of Black Hammock, as the plantation was known. The
dictionary definition of hammock is: a tract of forested land that rises above an adjacent
marsh in the southern United States], and 200 cultivated acres called Bigdrain.
- One personal residence, several
slave quarters, and 2 buildings for cotton.
- 25,000 cotton seed, 400 bushels
of corn, and clean cotton worth 800 pesos.
- 14 hoes, 6 hatchets, 6 shovels,
one hazadon (whatever that is), a cart with 4 wheels, and blacksmiths
- Two horses, four mules, three
cows with calves, and three pigs.
- One mahogany chest of drawers,
one cupboard, one mahogany table, one tray, seven wooden chairs inlaid with silver, one
ladle, and twelve teaspoons.
A claim the heirs of Antonio
Surez submitted to the Commissioners Appointed to Ascertain Claims to Lands and Titles in
East Florida in 1825 mentions Bigdrain, the 200 cultivated acres in the inventory, and
William and Lucy Fitzgerald. It also mentions several families who became entwined with
the Braddock family. Here are excerpts from that claim:
|" . . . Antonio Suarez
petitions, 6/21/1796, for the quota corresponding to himself and his family of 6 persons,
at Punta Negra [Black Point], on Ceno de Pots Burgh
[Pottsburg Creek] on Amelia Island - tracts which were occupied by the Rebel Juan Dudley
and are now vacant. Suarez has been a resident of this province 1784. For nine years he
was skipper of the small crafts on the St. Johns and St. Marys Rivers, and later captain
of the San Pablo gunboat. . . .
. . Antonio Suarez petitions, 5/16/1807, to have Juan Purcell survey . . . . the 500 acres
granted him at Black Point, on Amelia Island, as he has troubles concerning the boundaries
of the said land with Francisco Pelot, one of his neighbors. . . . .
". . . upon receipt of the above . .
. they called Francisco Pelot . . . ; John Daniel Vaughan; and Antonio Suarez, in order to
present their certificates of grant; there also appeared William Alexander Fitzgerald,
alleging his petition for Big Drain, between lands of Pelot and Suarez. It was agreed
first to survey the 500 acres belonging to Suarez; then mark the boundaries of the 200
acres belonging to Fitzgerald between Suarez' land and 464 acres belonging to Pelot; and
last to finish the boundaries Suarez and the 314 acres of Vaughan. Thus the land was
surveyed, and in accordance with the certificates of grants they presented, which are as
|"Suarez was granted,
6/21/1796, 400 acres, 200 of which are at San Vicente Ferrer and the remaining 200 at
Black Point, on Amelia Island. He was the first planter to settle on this island. In 1799
he was granted 500 acres altogether at Black Point, after having relinquished the lands at
San Vicente Ferrer.
Pelot was granted, 6/19/1796, the plantation called Campos Viejos de Aquilia
[Aquila's Old Field0, about 200 acres; on June 9, 1798, 100 acres at the same place; and
on December 20, 1803, 640 acres altogether at the same place, on condition that if
in surveying his land he should incur any injury to those who had been already granted the
land, then he should take the remainder of his grant elsewhere.
" John Daniel Vaughan was permitted,
3/4/1797, to settle on the island at Buena Vista, North of John Edwards' land, and on
February 4 of this year, Purcell was ordered to survey for him 250 acres, his quota.
"William Alexander Fitzgerald was
granted, August 1797, 200 acres, at Big Drain, which brought a complaint from James Pelot
and a legal fight, which has not yet been cleared, but Pelot has benefited by the lands
granted to Fitzgerald.
"Antonio Suarez should be allowed to
remain in possession of his 500 acres; Fitzgerald of the 200 acres granted to him at Big
Drain; Vaughan of the 314 acres; and James Pelot of 464 acres at Aquila's Old Field, and
Pelot should take the remaining 176, if granted to him, at North Branch on Nassau River,
40 miles from Simon's Pine
Besides the above mentioned, Antonio
Suarez has 30 acres at St. Vicente Ferrer granted, 3/26/1803; Pelot 300, on Nassau River;
and Fitzgerald 110 at San Patricio, also about 25 acres of pine lands at Ship Yard,
granted to his wife.
" . . . Santiago Cashen and
Fernando de la Puente certify, 11/5/1807, the list of William Alexander Fitzgerald's
family at San Patricio Plantation as follows: William A. Fitzgerald and Lucy Cook, heads
of the family, Israel Pool, foreman, and 18 Negro slaves from 2 to 43 years of age.
". . . Cashen and Fernando de la
Puente certify, 11/6/1807, list of the family and slaves of John Daniel Vaughan at his
Buena Vista Plantation as follows: J. D. Vaughan and Rhoda Cole, heads of the family,
Harriet and William, children from 3 to 11 years, and 9 slaves from 2 to 30 years of age.
The above claim
gives the name of John Daniel Vaughan's wife as Rhoda Cole while it is given as Rhoda
Miller in Vaughan genealogies.
Another interesting claim
mentioning Black Hammock was submitted by the heirs of William Hull. William Hull married
widow Elizabeth Maxey Berrie, mother of William Berrie, husband of Ann Braddock.
|Hull, William, Heirs of
Unc. H 35; G&S VI
75;; DG V75,
Camden County, Georgia
1 Joseph Hull claims 500 acres in 2 tracts, 100 acres in Black Hammock, at the mouth of
the Nassau River, in Duval County, and the remainder in the same county next after St.
Johns, on the bank of said river confronting a place called A. E Ferguson's plantation
known as Tobacco Bluff. The grant was made by Governor Quesada, 3/1/1792, to
for head rights for himself, his wife and 6 children, according to the ratio then in
2 William Hull petitions for the above land. On the 100 acres at Black Hammock he intends
building a home to live in during the rigors of summer, to preserve his family from the
illness which are experienced at such times in the neighborhood of head waters . . . .
Governor Quesada authorizes Pedro Marrot to make the survey.
3 Note on the back of 1 indicates no proof of possession. *
*No plat of survey was produced as evidence, nor did Hull's name
appear on the list of inhabitants upon the St. Johns River to whom lands had been surveyed
by Marrot. . . .
limited by distance, has turned up little additional information about Lucys second
husband other than he is listed as a sponsor on the baptismal records dated June
of four children of Samuel Harrison and Elizabeth English Harrison: Michael, John , Mary,
and Elizabeth. The Harrisons had come to Amelia Island in 1780s from Belize where his
father had fled as a Loyalist at the start of the Revolution. Samuel received several grants
in the Amelia Island area. Their daughter Sarah Ann would marry William Henry Houston, son
of John Carroll Houston who lived on Talbot. The day after the Harrison
Fitzgerald served as sponsor for the baptisms of two children of John and Mary Stuart
Lofton, William and John. He may have had children by a previous marriage.
Juan Purcell surveyed 100 acres for Spicer Christopher on Talbot Island
adjoining land Spicer already had. Document courtesy of Terrell Thompson:
Justo Lopez advised Governor White that he received militia prisoners Sgt.
Samuel Russell and David Braddock from Capt. Santiago Cashen.
he has Captain Andrew Atkinson's permission to set up a 4th militia company,
Spicer Christopher offered himself for its Captains position.
[EFP] Governor White ordered
Lieut. Spicer Christopher and Sgt. Samuel Russell deposed from militia
positions for attempting to set up a separate militia company.
[EFP] Governor White ordered Justo Lopez to free Sgt. Samuel Russell and
David Braddock. They were released on Christmas Eve.
April 12, 1809
According to claim Con. H74, Spicer Christopher was granted 100 acres on Talbot Island.
[EFP] Fernando de la Maza
Arredondo agent for Spicer Christopher, requested translation of an English
language document verifying debt owed Christopher by John McClure.
July 15, 1809
Spicer Christopher wrote a deed of gift in which he deeded a slave to
William Braddock for grandson John Spicer Braddock:
||Know all men by these presents that
I, Spicer Christopher, planter of Talbot Is-
land in the province of east Florida, for
and in consideration of the love, good will,
and affection, which I have and do bear to-
wards my grandson John Spicer Braddock
son of William Braddock of the province
aforesaid, have given and granted and
by these presents do freely give and grant
to the said John Spicer Braddock, his
heirs, executors, or administrators a Negress
named Eve about 12 years of age, to
have and to hold the said Negress &
her issue as his lawful property from
henceforth, absolutely & without any
witness whereof I
have hereunto set my hand and seal
this fifteenth day of July one thousand
eight hundred and nine years
Signd, seald and delivered
In presence of Spicer
same day he also signed similar deeds of gift to his widowed niece Martha
Bluit Grisholm for her son Jesse Grisholm; one to John David Braddock for granddaughter
Mary Christopher Braddock; and one to John David Braddock for grandson
Spicer John Braddock.
Christopher S., son of William and Charlotte Christopher Braddock, was born. He later
married Elizabeth Bessant.
John David II, son of John David
and Martha Christopher Braddock was born. He later married Belinda Leigh.
November 1, 1810
Spicer Christopher signed deeds of gift deeding slaves to two of his
grandchildren, one to William Braddock for granddaughter Elizabeth Greenwood
Braddock; and one to William Christopher for granddaughter Martha Louisa
The same day,
Spicer Christopher sold to his son Louis three slaves for $1,000 and three
to his son Samuel Spicer for $1,000.
[EFP] Fernando de la Maza Arredondo, who had acted as agent for Spicer
Christopher July 14, 1809, requested for William McClure a translation of
several English language documents and requests the translations be filed.
The documents concern a debt owed by John McClure to William Berrie and
mortgaging of McClure's Louisa Plantation on
Ann B., daughter of William and Charlotte Christopher was born. She later married James
Richard James, son of William
and Ann Braddock Berrie, was born. He later married Mary C. Piles.
[EFP] Spicer Christopher Jr.
was prosecuted for shooting and wounding sailor Esteban Arnau for
picking fruit off his fathers trees. Arnau was on his way by water to
deliver mail to Fernandina.
[EFP] Of the countless publicly recorded exploits Ive seen of my direct
ancestors, starting all the way back to the mid-1600s with Dr. John
Cutler and proceeding down through Captain John Braddick, Captain William
Lyford Sr., Captain David Cutler Braddock to Captain John Cutler Braddock,
none has made me ashamed of them other than, like many people of their day,
they owned slaves. When I encountered in the East Florida Papers an index
record briefly describing in English the contents of the Spanish document
the index record represented concerning an act of my third
great-grandfather, an otherwise good man, I felt, and still feel, an almost
index record title said: Prosecution of William Braddock for beating
death of slave Duncan.
I do not have
easy access to the numerous rolls of microfilm on which the East Florida
Papers documents are recorded. Even if I did I, I dont have the ability
to translate one page, much less 178 pages the document consists of, from
Spanish to English. So I began searching around and found a book, Black
Society in Spanish Florida, by Jane Landers, that mentions the
tragic incident. The book, which relies heavily on East Florida Papers
Spanish documents, paints an excellent picture of how things were, not only
for Blacks, but for all residents of Spanish East Florida. Following is a brief paraphrase of what Ms. Landers described in seven
a slave, reported to Henry Yonge that William Braddock had horribly beaten
his slave Duncan.
died from the beating. Yonge informed authorities of the death and the
severity of the beating that caused it and urged that Braddock be
immediately arrested. When arrested, he seemed unrepentant and blamed the
death on Duncans arrogant and haughty manner and his earlier knife attack on
Braddocks white overseer. He said he had to punish Duncan
as an example to his others slaves. An official inventory showed Braddock
had only six slaves, three of them women. He later admitted he knew harsh
treatment of slaves was forbidden and that he did not mean to kill Duncan.
appearing as character witnesses testified that he was good to his slaves.
Some of their slaves testified that Duncan
had made threats to kill Braddock. Other slaves, some of them Braddocks,
testified that Duncan had been beaten until he fell to the ground and that
after the first beating he was locked up for the night, beaten the next
morning, and placed in a pillory. By midday he was dead.
neighbor Eber ONeill testified that he had vainly tried to intercede for Duncan, asking Braddock to forgive him. Surgeon Joseph Grants autopsy on
Duncans exhumed body found coagulated blood, which he attributed to the
blows, but could not find sufficient damage to believe the blows were the
cause of death.
further questioning by authorities, Braddock said he would not have beaten Duncan
so much if he had known it would kill him because he was poor and could not
afford the loss. He also said it was the overseer who gave
250 blows with a heavy walnut stick and that Duncan
had strangled himself to escape further beatings.
of the surgeons testimony, Braddock was cleared of the charge of murder.
However, he was fined court cost for excessive and cruel treatment of his
[EFP] John D. Braddock requested a license from the governor of
to cut pine on the St. Marys and Nassau Rivers.
[EFP] John Christopher requested a license from the governor of
to cut timber near Lofton Creek and
May 2, 1811
Elizabeth Susannah Christopher, daughter of Spicer and Mary Greenwood Christopher, and
John Carroll Houston, son of John Carroll Houston and Jane Harvey, were married.
[EFP] Santiago Cashen sent details to Juan Jose de Estrada of foreigners
timber. Names of
residents and non-residents are mentioned. Among them are Burroughs
Higginbotham and David Braddock.
June 19, 1811
Spicer Christopher sold his son Samuel Spicer Christopher a slave for $350
July 10, 1811
Spicer Christopher died.
[EFP] Acting Governor Juan Jose de Estrada ordered Spicer Christopher Jr. to
to pay the costs of the case of his wounding Esteban Arnau.
Charlotte M., daughter of John David and Martha Christopher Braddock, was born.
January 31, 1812
James Braddock Edwards, son of John and Mary Braddock Edwards, was born. He later married
Mary Kempes Turnbull.
February 12, 1812
An inventory of Spicer Christopher's estate was made. Other than February 12th,
I could not read the year, which was written in longhand, except for eighteen hundred.
According to some sources Spicer died July 10, 1811, so it is likely that the inventory
was made in early 1812. Except for seven brief wills leaving slaves to his grandchildren
and niece, which are included with the inventory, the inventory is completely in Spanish.
The poor resolution of the document on microfilm and the recorders handwriting made
the already difficult task of translating the document almost impossible. However, I
persevered enough to decipher some items of interest.
- The total value of the inventory
was 36,732 pesos, a lot of money back then, even in pesos.
- Of that, Talbot Island, along
with its grove of fruit trees, was valued at 20,000 pesos.
- His residence was valued at 1,500
- Among other structures listed
under "Casas" were two kitchens (it was common back then to cook in a separate
building to avoid burning down the residence), a stable, a cotton storehouse, a corn
storehouse, a carpentry shop, six slave quarters, two cottages, a grinding shed, and a
tannery (Spicers brother Spencer listed his occupation as shoemaker on the oath of
allegiance he signed in 1803).
- Included under "Muebles de
Casa" furniture of the house were a mahogany table, six chairs, two old
mirrors, a dozen knives and forks, a crystal glass bottle, six iron pots, two irons bells,
eight dozen plates, half-dozen platters, and 12 table spoons.
- Under the heading
"Animales," were listed two burros, two mules, a herd of branded beef cattle
valued at 450 peso 30 pigs, an illegible number of
horses valued at 300 pesos, three horses valued at 160 pesos, and eleven mares and seven
colts worth 1080 pesos.
- Legible items listed under
"Utencilios de labronia"tools of farmingwere a cart, three plows, a
mill stone, two machines for deseeding cotton, two machines for cleaning cotton, a copper
pan, a safe with shelves, two hand-saws, three old brushes, three old drills, two old
hammers, fifty hoes, 25 axes, an iron pot, two saddle mounts, two stools, an old farrier,
(for horse-shoeing), a canoe, a boat with six oars and a rudder, and a float (the
translation for "flota" is "fleet," so he apparently had several
vessels larger than a rowboat. Or the "flota" could also have been the
"Lord Nelson," the family's enormous periagua, a large open-deck ship, like a
giant canoe, used to transport cotton. Or it could have been the unnamed sloop of which
the 1786 census mentions him as being partner.
"Eslavos,"slaves46 are listed with names, ages, and value.
- Signatures affixed to four
sections of the inventory included Santiago Cashen, William Fitzpatrick, Eusebio Marie
Gomez, Lorenzo Solana, Eber A. Hull, and Spicers seven children: Charlotte, Samuel,
John B., Lewis, William, Elizabeth, and Martha. On one of the two sections Martha signed,
other than the one pictured, "Braddock" was added in a different handwriting.
Testimonies in claim C 41, give
some insights into Spicer Christopher and what he had made of Talbot Island: Juan Parades
deposed, "that in command of the schooner San Augustin of the royal
property for many years, he has, on his trips, become familiar with all of Spicer
Christophers 5 plantations and certifies to there excellent condition,
Thomas ONeil, who had migrated from South Carolina deposed that Spicer "had
sole charge of the Kings highway, extending north and south on Talbot Island,
through which he often passed; that Spicer Christopher had his residence in the center,
with houses for overseers and slaves on the outskirts; that he bred pedigreed mares and
had $3,000 invested in horses; he also raised China oranges, etc." Timothy
Hollingsworth, who had come from North Carolina, deposed "to good conditions of
everything, conveniences that he [Spicer] shared with passers by on the road from Barra
Chica to Barra Ciego, fine cattle pens and pedigreed mares and stallions." David
Solomon Hill, 33, from New York "testifies to entertainment of wayfarers;
one plantation of his son-in-law, David Brodick."
James Cusick, curator for the
University of Florida Special Collections Library, said the following in a recent email to me:
Christopher owned about half of Talbot Island where he lived in great estate, with a
cotton plantation worked by 100 slaves, a great house, ranching enterprises that comprised
about 600 head of cattle, and a large corral of horses (he was known for having the best
horses in the province, Arabians and English mares)."
Schafer, of the History Department of the University of North Florida, added the following
|"There is a very
interesting inventory of Talbot Island property of Spicer Christopher in the East Florida
Papers. SC, Jr. [Spicer Jr.] apparently shot a canoe mailman for eating from the
Christopher orange grove bordering the inland passage. Jr. skipped to Georgia before the
governor's soldiers sequestered the plantation. Sr. was on his death bed when the estate
was seized and inventoried. Check the will again and probate file (testamentarios in East
Florida Papers) for record of how Sr.'s property was split up.
"Another Christopher property, not Sr.'s but one of his sons, is the site at New
Berlin and the island across from there, today Blount Island and the Jax Port."
A force of American troops and "Patriot" volunteers from Georgia and Tennessee
crossed the St. Marys River from Georgia and landed at Roses Bluff. East Florida Papers
lists Burris Higginbotham, Joseph Higginbotham, and Elijah Higginbotham from St. Marys,
Georgia among the Rebels. Joined by some East Florida residents, they proceeded to Amelia
Island, hauled down the Spanish flag, ran up the "Patriots" flag, and
declared the land below the St. Marys to be the "Republic of East Florida."
John Houstoun McIntosh, was
self-appointed "Director" of the "Republic." McIntoshs house on
Fort King George Island became headquarters for the "Patriots." Built in 1798,
this oldest plantation house in Florida had been previously owned by John "Don
Juan" McQueen. Zephaniah Kingsley would own it after McIntosh.
In 1807, John David petitioned
for a grant of 640 acres on the road from Roses Bluff to the main road from St.
Johns River to Georgia. An entry in the journal of Henry Hamilton
Floyd gives the
proximity of John Davids land to Roses Bluff, where the Patriots had landed:
Tu. 17. Clear. At 10 A.M. left Jacksonville in a buggy and got to Mr. Braddock's, 2 miles
beyond Nassau Court House, by sunset. Mr. Phillip Fraser, Col. Pearson and Mr. St. George
Rodgers were in company.
Wed. 18. Clear
and cool. Started early for the ferry, near Rose's Bluff distance 10 miles, and got there
in little over an hour.
Floridas "Patriots War." The invaders were led by General George Matthew's
and were supported by the United States government, which was getting antsy about the
continued close presence of a foreign power to our young nations soil.
[EFP] John Edwards, William Christopher, David Braddock, John Christopher,
and Spicer Christopher Jr. are on a list of persons declared to be rebels.
July 17, 1812
A delegation of Patriots held a convention in Fernandina and drew up a constitution
for The "Territory of East Florida" even though only a small portion of the
territory had been captured. Following is a photo of part of the constitution's preamble
and signatures of the delegates who formulated it. John H. McIntosh, leader of the
Patriots, signed himself as president. Other notable signers were John D. and
William Braddock, their brother-in-law William G. Christopher, John C. Houston, and
The invading forces left behind
them ample evidence of their presence; one historian of the time commented, "The army
of Regulars and Irregulars appears to have left nothing in Florida that could be carried
away or destroyed." A claim brought against the United States government by William
Braddock attests to the damage the invaders left in their wake. He sued for losses
amounting to $10,235, of which he received only $1,622 when the case was settled April 18,
1840. Court records of the claim, which were provided to me by Dr. James Cusick, curator
of the University of Floridas special collections library, include testimonies of
two witnesses, Samuel Russell and Williams brother John David Braddock. In John
Davids testimony he reveals that he had been compelled to be a member of the
Testimony of John David
Claim for Losses
The United States
in 1812 and 1813
Answers of John D. Braddock to
the direct Interrogatories, a Witness in the above case.
1. Answer to the first direct
Witness says that he was acquainted with William Braddock in the years 1812 and 1813 and
prior thereto and has been since
2. Witness says that in 1812 and
1813 Claimant did reside in East Florida and that he was then a Spanish
3. Witness says that claimant did
own at this time and cultivate a plantation in East Florida situated in that part of the
Province now known as Nassau
4. Witness says that Claimant did
sustain heavy losses in East Florida in the years 1812 and 1813 by the act, conduct, and
operations of the American Troops.
5. Witness says Claimant did
plant and cultivate crops upon his two plantations in East Florida, one on Nassau and one
in ONeils Neck, so called in 1812, and he planted in all, about seventy-five
or eighty acres consisting of cotton, corn, potatoes, pease, about forty acres of Cotton
Thirty acres in corn, and some five to seven in potatoes, and as many acres in pease and
corn, with the corn and pease on the same land.
6. Witness says that
Claimants lands, if they had been properly cultivated, would have produced from one
hundred and seventy five or eighty pounds of clean cotton per acre, eighteen or twenty
bushels of corn per acre, from one hundred and fifty to two hundred bushels of potatoes,
and from seven to ten bushels of pease over the same number of acres as corn, pease and
corn are cultivated on one and the same land.
7. Witness says that
Claimants crops were well cultivated till September 1812 when he was compelled to
abandon the cultivation and to leave all; claimant worked in this year ten or eleven full
8. Witness says Claimant crops
were an entire loss to him in 1812. Claimant was compelled to abandon his plantation for
safety, such was the hostile conduct of the invading army. Claimant, as above stated, was
compelled to abandon his said place in the month of September this year.
9. Witness says that the manner
of destruction and loss to Claimants is explained by saying he was obliged to
abandon the cultivation and not permitted to return to it. The United states and Patriot
Troops had possession of this country and it was unsafe from their conduct to remain on
the place. After the Claimant abandoned the place, it was plundered and robbed by foraging
parties detached from the main body of the invading army.
10. Witness says that Claimant
did cultivate and plant a crop on his plantation in ONeils Neck in the year
1813. It consisted of cotton, corn, pease, and potatoes. Claimant planted this much as he
did the year before, [word illegible] the labors of two hands that were stolen from him in
1812, but he in planting this year hired a white man to plough for him, and witness thinks
this additional aid made his force nearly equal to what it was the year previous. Claimant
planted this year from forty to forty-five acres of cotton, from-twenty-five to
twenty-eight acres of corn, as many pease as corn, on the same land with the corn, from
five to six acres of potatoes. If Claimant had been permitted to cultivated his crops to
ripeness, witness has every reason to believe that his crop would have been good for one
hundred and seventy-five to eighty pounds clean cotton per acre, from eighteen to twenty
bushels per acre of corn, about from one hundred and fifty to two hundred bushels of
potatoes. Claimant was compelled to abandon his crops, and in consequence, it was lost. In
the early part of 1813, the pillaging and foraging and quartering in this part of the
country for a little time ceased, and the people were encouraged to plant; but soon after
this, and by the time the crops were well enough set to grow, the scouring of the country
commenced again when Claimant was compelled to abandon, and he never returned to his
place, for before the country was clear, the crop was ruined.
11. Witness says that this part
of the country was in possession of the United States Troops and Patriots from the time of
their arriving into it till the time of the evacuation in 1813, some time in May of that
year. This allied army of occupation continued during all the period scouring the country
for forage and subsistence and some of them, or its followers, plundered anything that was
valuable in their way, slaves especially were an article much sought out. This army was in
the habit of coming to a plantation and letting their horses in upon the crops and thus
wantonly destroying what they could not consume.
12. Witness says in the years
1812 & 1813 sea island cotton such as Claimant made was fifty-six cents per pound;
corn was fifty cents per bushel; potatoes were fifty cents per bushel & pease were
worth one dollar and twenty-fives cents per bushel.
13. Answer to thirteenth direct
interrogatory: Witness says that Claimant in the year 1812 was the owner of a male slave
named Boatswain and of two female slaves, one named Betty & other named Syke. These
slaves were worth sixteen hundred dollars. Boatswain was worth say six hundred dollars;
his wife Betty four hundred dollars; & Syke six hundred dollars. Syke was a very
valuable young woman.
14. Witness says the said Negroes
were taken from the plantation of Claimant in the year 1812 after the American troops
entered East Florida & while they were with their allies the Patriots in the
neighborhood of the plantation. These Negroes Claimant never again got nor did he ever
receive any value for them; they were lost property to the Claimant total & entire.
15. Witness says Claimant had at
the time the American troops entered East Florida a large quantity of ranging timber
hauled at the waters edge. Witness says he never measured this timber; but he has
been often among it, is well acquainted with the business of getting of such timber, is
sure that there was seventy five thousand of it at least and believes there was a great
deal more agreeable to his judgment; Remembers the lumber perfectly. This lumber was all
lost. Claimant was prevented from selling it, & it lay until it was burned up; and
what was not burnt was a total loss. It was caught on fire from the woods supposed to have
been set on fire by the army encamped, as they were, here & there, and firing the
woods as their custom was. Timber was worth ten dollars per thousand at the time spoken
16. Witness says that the
invading army did fire the woods in the vicinity of Claimants plantations; and to all
appearance it was done wantonly that the fires might catch the fences, timber, and houses
about & on the plantations. Claimant had a good frame dwelling burnt up in this way on
his place together with all the outhouses, fences, &c. This house was twenty-two feet
long, by sixteen feet in width, with a good piazza and a shed room one story and a half
high. This house was worth at least one thousand dollars; it cost more & cant be
built now for less money. Witness did not see anyone burn or set fire to it but had never
any doubt that the loss of it was occasioned by the operations of the invading army.
Claimant was compelled to leave it, & no one could stay to protect it from approaching
fire. This house was burnt in 1813.
17. Witness says the ranging
timber was to the best of his belief burnt up by the fact of the invading army having set
fire to the woods & from this the fire run & caught the timber. The timber was
burnt sometime in 1813; month cant state.
18. Witness says he knows that
Claimant owned a gray mare, a good animal, & a brown horse; they were lost in the
early part of 1813 while the troops were in the province, and through their means. Did not
see any one take them. The mare was worth one hundred and twenty dollars; the horse was
worth one hundred fifty dollars. Cant state the month that they were taken off in;
but knows that they were lost to Claimant as witness has stated. The horse was a very fine
19. Witness says that he resided
within six miles of Claimants Nassau place & sixteen miles from his place in
ONeils neck & was often at both places in the years 1812 & 1813.
20. Witness says that Claimant
was a respectable planter in easy circumstance at the time of the invasion. Witness says
that these losses should not have occurred if the country had not been invaded by the
United States troops. In his judgment they were caused singly & entirely by their
conduct & acts: for all the losses witness has said Claimant sustained occurred after
the troops came into the country in 1812 & before they left in 1813.
21. Witness says he has stated
all he knows about this claim, either for or against it.
Answers to the cross
1. Witness says that he knows
that Braddock sustained losses, not from information derived from hearsay, but from his
own personal knowledge.
2. Witness says that he is more
than sixty years of age. Was in that part of Florida known as Nassau County in 1812 &
1813 only that part of the time he was driven out by the invading army. Witness says that
he was with the Patriots by compulsion. Claimant is witness brother. Has no interest
direct or indirect in this claim.
3. Witness says that all the
losses that he has testified that Claimant sustained he has stated above were caused by
the operations of the American troops and the Patriots acting in alliance. Indians or
Alexanders men had no agency in causing these losses. Witness says that all these
losses he has spoken of occurred in the years 1812 and 1813 after the American troops came
into the Province of East Florida in March of the former & before it left in May of
the latter year. Witness says he cant state more particularly than he has, when
these losses occurred.
4. Answer to the fourth cross
interrogatory: Witness says that he has told all he knows of this claim.
Sworn & subscribed to before
me at Nassau August 7th, 1838 ) John
Jus. L. Doggett
was not the only East Florida resident on which the Patriots War inflicted damage. Dr. James Cusick, curator of the University of Florida Special
Collections Library says:
Christopher] died around 1811, just before the outbreak of the
Patriot War, an American invasion of Spanish East
aimed at overthrowing the government and installing a rebel
government in its place. This conflict, which lasted two years,
merged into the War of 1812, and created chaos in Florida, where
Spanish troops and militia, backed by Indian and maroon allies, were
fighting against the U.S. Army, the Georgia militia, and a group of
settlers who had revolted and had dubbed themselves the
"Patriots". Property damage in
was later assessed at $1.2 million. Christopher's offspring were
listed among the rebels against Spanish authority, and late in the
conflict, in 1813, their
plantation became a haven for retreating rebel forces and was
heavily raided and looted by the "Patriots." This was
fairly typical of the times--people joined the rebels, then ended up
losing everything they owned to rebel looting. There is an extensive
claim regarding the Christopher property that was made out against
the U.S. Treasury Department in "First Auditor, Records of the
Accounting Offices of the Department of Treasury, Miscellaneous
Division, relating to Claims and Accounts, Record Group 217, Entry
347, National Archives and Records Administration, II,
. First Auditor, Records of the Accounting Offices of the Department
of Treasury, Miscellaneous Division, relating to Claims and
Accounts, Record Group 217, Entry 347, National Archives and Records
Administration, II, College Park, Maryland."
Claim of Spicer Christopher, No. 84,642, RG 217/347.
In order to win compensation, the Christophers had to downplay their
own role in the rebellion and had to prove that their losses had
been caused by either the Patriot rebels or the U.S. Army. Besides
an inventory of the estate, there is a lot of testimony in this case
about the Christopher family's involvement with the
"Patriots" and about the damages to the property,
including the requisition of the "Lord Nelson," the
family's enormous piragua, a large open-deck ship, like a giant
canoe, used to transport cotton; the seizure of many slaves; the
confiscation of the cattle; and other depredations. Like many of
their neighbors, the Christophers applied for and received an
amnesty from the Spanish government that allowed them to remain in
East Florida after the rebellion was put down, but they suffered
much abuse from settlers who had remained loyal to the Spanish
government and who blamed the Christophers and other former rebels
for all the property destruction that occurred between 1812 and
What little I have
included above about the Patriots War falls far short of doing it justice.
For a full and highly interesting account of this important event in
Florida's history and a much better understanding of the time and place in
which our first Florida ancestors lived, be sure to read Dr. James Cusick's
"The Other War of 1812," which will soon be published in paperback
form by the University of Georgia Press. Click here: The
Other War of 1812.
One of the maps in
the book, rendered from an early Spanish map, shows the location of William
Braddock's plantation. The map is being used with Dr. Cusick's permission: