San Marco: Jericho/Chichester
In the autumn of 1772 acting governor John Moultrie surveyed the route for what later became the St. Augustine to Cowford segment of the King's Road in East Florida. South of the Cowford he visited with Thomas and Kay Cawdrey, new planters in the province who had purchased two tracts granted to John Higdon and Paul Pigg. Moultrie reported to James Grant, who was still governor of the province but on leave in England, that Cawdrey "has settled on the river on an extraordinary good bit of land, and has made twice or thrice as much rice, corn, peas, potatoes, pumkin, etc., as his very large family can consume, and has a fine stock of poultry, cattle hoggs, etc. and he was making a sledge, as there is not yet a road for a cart, to carry fifty roasting pigs to town, that were laying before his door when I was there."
Beginning at today's Lakewood Shopping Center (shown above with New Rose Creek where it enters the St. Johns River) Jericho Plantation extended downriver to Point La Vista. Owned successively by John Higdon, Paul Pigg, Thomas and Kay Cawdrey, James Penman, and Denys Rolle, it was one of the earliest tracts developed in British East Florida. Jericho expanded from a small farm to a major plantation. The last British owner, Denys Rolle, was a wealthy Member of Parliament for Barnstaple. Rolle changed the name from Jericho to Chichester.
The Cawdrey property extended from today's Point LaVista upriver to New Rose Creek, near the Lakewood shopping center at the intersection of San Jose and University Boulevards. In 1774 James Penman purchased Cawdrey's property to gain water access for what became the 3,000-acre Jericho Plantation .
James Penman arrived in East Florida in 1766 as agent for the fortunes of a wealthy Englishman named Peter Taylor. The two men were partners in a venture to establish two plantations on the Mosquito River, seventy miles south of St. Augustine. The partnership dissolved in 1772 with Penman retaining an estate of 3,000 acres. Penman flourished as a St. Augustine merchant, prompting him to establish an African slave trading venture in partnership with his brother Hugh Penman, and William Mackdougall. He also established two settlements near St. Augustine and then concentrated on Jericho Plantation, which he extolled as "superior to any other in the province."
Jericho Plantation was formed from 1,300 acres granted to Penman by Governor Tonyn, and the purchase of the two adjoining Cawdrey holdings which gave Penman water access and permitted him to construct a large wharf and an extensive network of thirty buildings to house overseers and 120 enslaved laborers. He purchased a herd of 150 black cattle, eighty horses, and numerous hogs and poultry. The estate was self-sufficient in provisions and sold corn and beans at market. Rice, indigo, lumber, tar, pitch and turpentine were the estate's profitable export crops. Penman's Jericho Plantation became one of the premier plantations in the province.
The overseer at Jericho Plantation may have been the black man Henry Laurens shipped to Penman in 1768 and described as "purchas'd at a Publick Sale a Negro of a good Character & who was said to have been a driver for the last five Years Constantly which I thought much In his favor but he has a Wife tack'd to him; however I believe you will think the Couple cheap at £710 [Carolina currency, or £110 Sterling]." Penman had previously requested that Laurens find a "proper Negro Man for...managing Rice & Indigo."By 1780 Penman had tired of his role "in the Cultivation of an Infant Colony under all the disadvantages attending a First Settler in a Desart," and of what he thought to be tyrannical policies established by the colony's second governor, Patrick Tonyn. He sold his plantations and buildings in St. Augustine and moved to Charleston, which was then occupied by the British army. Jericho was sold for £4,600 Sterling to the former Member of Parliament for Barnstaple, Denys Rolle. The extent to which Penman had converted from indigo to naval stores can be gauged from the following excerpt of an inventory of property at Jericho Plantation that was sold to Rolle.
Jericho Estate Inventory - May 1, 1781
Despite repeated failures and staggering losses at Rollestown , a 78,000-acre plantation at today's East Palatka, Denys Rolle was in 1780 enthusiastic about the future prosperity of East Florida plantations. He had returned to the colony in 1779 with 150 enslaved Africans and newly-hired white overseers in another effort to salvage his investments. The next year he bought Jericho Plantation along with its buildings, tools, cattle and hogs, twenty-four horses, and fifty-six of Penman's slaves. Rolle changed the name of the estate to Chichester Plantation, after his wife's family estate in England. Like Penman, Rolle profited from lumber and turpentine exports. In his 1783 "State of the Plantation of Chichester," Rolle said the estate consisted of five separate tracts on which thirty thousand pine trees had been slashed and boxed for turpentine, and production had reached four hundred barrels a year. A large reserve of forest land had not been touched.
There is every reason to believe that Rolle's East Florida enterprises had become profitable before he decided to evacuate his laborers to Great Exuma in the Bahama Islands in 1784. During the process of disassembling the buildings at Chichester and Rollestown and moving to the Bahama Islands, forty-two men and women died. Surviving the evacuation were 110 enslaved men, women and children. At Great Exuma, Rolle received a grant of 2,000 acres. Two settlements were established, Rolleville and Rolletown. Later the property was increased to 5,000 acres.The following document, taken from Rolle's claim for losses suffered as a result of the cession of East Florida, contains extensive detail concerning naval stores and slave labor in East Florida .
General conclusions on repeated experience of a gentleman planter of great judgement. (T77/15/13 the Memorial of Denys Rolle, Folios 210-3. Turpentine. East Florida 1780.)
Each Negroe tends 2400 or 2500 trees. They box the trees in December. Large Trees have two boxes. They gouge or scar the trees with channels to conduct the sap or turpentine to the boxes in 10 days after boxing them. And from time to time chipping the bark as little at a time as possible to make them run gradually more.
The trees have their boxes fixed in March and so on every 5 weeks till the end of Autumn. Each Negroe produces from the above number of trees 50 casks of turpentine of 32 gallons each. Each gallon weighing 9½ pounds each.
If one Negro performs the whole work on fresh trees he should begin boxing them in November as it would take 7 weeks to box so many. I mention fresh as the same trees produce a 2d & 3d the two following years and sometimes a fourth portion but diminishing in quantity each year. The tree then dies but many types of them remain unperished especially the (knotts?) & with those of a long course of years back wherein the resinous substance is still retained in considerable quantity is applicable to the manufacture of Tarr and Pitch.
The other necessary person for the Turpentine Tarr & Pitch crops to bring it to market is a cooper. He can make and set up...[not legible] in a day. There should be two iron hoops to each cask, these were afforded ready made by the above gentleman at 6/6 a cask. His cooper at £70 a year with plantation provisions finding himself Rum. might make them at less value.
The clothing of Negroes have been engaged for at a guinea per annum to which must be added once in 3 years a blanket at near a crown or 1/8 annually. But as I chuse to buy the materials for cloathing, blankets & some extra articles to make them pleased & happy and medicines (in Carolina a physical attendant is at 3sh per head) [line not legible].
The Turpentine work minutely exemplified so as to evince the credibility of the general positions on the other side.
Each tree in 5 weeks runs the box full more than 3/4 of a pint. This seems very far within probability especially in the average of dimensions of the trees as the larger have 2 boxes. 1 Negro from each tree---3 [&] 1/4 quarter of a pint weighing 14 ounces. 20/21. In each hour 10 trees.
Tag only 8 hours 8 in a day 80 [trees]
Neat Weight 304 of each cask, with 50 casks, equals 15200. By tracing it back from the general position the practicability by labour of an individual appears as well as the reasonable quantity in the abstract.
The above gentleman computed 2 barrels were made in each acre. Note – The residue of the year from the last of October by the time of renewal of work for the next year's crop may afford some produce by labor in the lumber trade or clearing of land.
Turpentine sold in 1780 in Florida on the spot for 36 shillings per barrel. In 1781 also I sold 29 barrels at that price.
Turpentine in 1781 sold in England for 38sh. Per hund: that is at 250 w’t (24lb lost weight) 4.15.0 per cask. But after all charges freight commission insurance etc. even at 34/9 per hund. it has been found to have added 15 sh per cask to the 36, that is more profit in each cask. [times] 50 [casks] 37.10.0 more clear profit in each cask 106.5.0
It was said above 2 barrels per acre consequently as in other side it was 4:5:0 per acre. On a merchants average on 200 casks of turpentine 2.0.22 draft & tonnage, deduct 50 casks: 2.0.11 = 105.1.8 at 34/8 18210/6
The General State of the Settlements of Plantations of Denys Rolle in East Florida 1783
The possessions of Denys Rolle consist of two distinct plantations, a small island that has been partly had by him, one more detached piece of 1000 acres and another smaller piece untouched. In the whole about 80,000 acres being of grants to D.Rolle from the Crown and many others purchased by him. These tracts appear by the office plans to consist of about [in acres]
The Higher Plantation on St. Johns River consists of a Tract of Land nearly 23 miles in length and 8 miles in Breadth almost surrounded with 36 miles of water navigation and an impassable swamp wherein there is a secure range and that esteemd of the finest feed for cattle in the inhabited part of the province in which it was supposed D. Rolle had in 1769 and 1770 above 1000 head till a villanous agent sold them at vendue to himself and was protected in his villany by the chief justice, but now would have produced a considerable annual income from above 24 per head had not the Indigent refugees in their starving condition made free with forty or more of them. In those years there was also a flock of sheep and goats which thrived greatly and exhibited a profit from that land which has the Epithet of barren or pine barren fastened on it. The mutton of them eat at Augustine was greatly esteemd by the Bon Vivant on the sale. There was placed a few sheep again in 1780.
The Buildings at One Plantation are valued at 300 and were at the time supposed worth much more. Of Plantations stores tools etc., an immense quantity unvalued boats, draft nett fishing tackle, etc. Cattle from what is above said uncertain, also hoggs sheep poultry.
The state of the Negroes in good order and health. Total number is 138, among whom are 96 working Negroes.
Nineteen were tradesmen valued at £100 Sterlng each. Included in the tradesmen were 1 Tar Burner; 1 Driver; 1 Carpenter; 1 Ast Carptr; 4 Coopers; 8 Sawyers; 1 Squarer; 2 Carters.
Seventy-seven were categorized as field laborers, including 17 male turpentine workers; 32 male field workers; 17 female field workers; 1 Gardiner, possibly a male. Among the female field workers, one was also a midwife.
Thirty-two of the enslaved were children of various ages: 17 Boys of "Rising Generation," and 15 Girls of "Rising Generation."
Ten of the slaves worked in the kitchen, five males and five females, all of whom were counted as "Past Labour." The Tradesmen and some of advanced value by instruction therefore may be valued on an average:
Tho the accumulating so great a quantity of land might appear needless in respect of land occupied in tillage yet it not only gives the owner power of chusing for that purpose particularly as his leisure in increase of hands permits him to enlarge yet turpentine trade must require an extent of ground to make any considerable quantity but a large range is absolutely necessary for the run of cattle and Planters in Georgia and Carolina are obliged to retire further back as plantations increase unless they have large grants. Must observe the common produce annually sufficient to have served half the garrison in St. Augustine in 1769 & 1770 if not embezzled–would have proved equal benefit to the garrison as to the proprietor.
The value of uncleared swamp land is 10 s[hilling] per acre and of uncultivated pine land 1 sh per acre (as sent out under the seal of the province). The value of DR’s [Denys Rolle’s] was not sent out as there had been till lately hopes of remaining planter in the province. Some advices of DR’s agents add that of £5? per acre for rice land and 3 for corn and orange grove cleared. The rice land is well known to produce £4 an acre in the clean and unbroken rice for market besides the small rice as good for plantation and home use. The shed rice fatting the Hoggs & Fowls, the second crop springing from the roots the same year fatting the cattle in the cattle season.
The pine land produces naval stores as turpentine tarr & etc. One Negroe tends 2500 trees producing 60 barrels the clear profit appears from the sale at the present low price of 16 shillings per hundred all expenses whatsoever deducted. £1-1s-7p Str per barrel, two barrels being produced on an acre. 2-3-3 is the first years income, the 2ndnbeing less & the 3drless again. 2-16-9 say is the 2 next years income. In all 5 for the 3 years. Tar is also made from the remaining part of the exhausted trees–can’t be ascertained in value but suppose w’d add only 1-0-0. Then 6 pounds income of 4 years. If the land is assumed destitute of produce–infertile–if had yet a permanent interest accrues to the owners of the 6£ principal for ever. But low pine lands at the Indian Store higher up the river has produced Indian corn of 14 in height & a good crop.
The Negroe coopers are said to be compleatly taught under a white man and therefore not only sufficiently able for providing for the turpentine & tarr manufactory but are capable of executing more stores for sale to others or export to the West Indies–and the sawyers can produce a vast quantity of lumber for like sale & export. Colonel Malovin Of Georgia, [whose] chief income arose from sawing by hand.
The list of products will then appear thus
Hides from game is an article of produce. This is vast grape country, wine certainly might be produced.
The Pine Land tho it has the epithet of barren affixed to is hardest put to deserve it by the produce in 3 and 4 years to produce 5 guineas per acre from turpentine. A fund producing as many shillings invest for ever, therefore improperly valued at only 1 sh by the provincial valuators. I refer to the gentlemen present for their description of the produce of such land. By raising lumber from a strong instance of which they gave to Col. Marvin near Savannah [who] I think employed 10 pair of sawyers cutting on that business many years.
But after the timber is by either mode destroyed it is not a barren spot. In 1765 D. Rolle raised some cotton of which this is a sample: from a low species of plant about the size of a Rose Bush spreading 3 feet either way. Being hand picked it appeared to prove 3 eighths in clean cotton. At 6 feet distance an acre takes 1089 plants. Suppose we deduct 289 failed, then remains 800. It flowered & ripened for 4 months & could not produce less half a pound per plant. Mr. Long relates in Jamaica a pound a plant but by weighing the podds & comparing the produce I found it nearly the half pound. On an average 400 gross then produced 150 neat weight clean fit for market which at 8p a pound only is 5 per acre. The sort appears finer than the present Bahama species which sells for 1.0 & new at 15 pence. This plant is known to be the produce of the poorest soil, the burning lands of Arabia? where it is the only plant to be seen. It thrived within the pine land of Florida; for 5 years I had some plants still living in. The fine mutton eat in 1771 in Augustine was the produce of these pine lands & suppose a thousand head of cattle ranged partly in them as well as the savannah lands. Now at the cession I had purchased just before of a Mr. Godfrey a large breed at 7-10-0 per head and broke to plough supposed 800 weight. The pine lands tho naturally bear a tender grass if ploughed produce the coop grass a rich pasture.
The annual Produce of Denys Rolle’s Higher Plantation or Vill Rolle.
N.B. Indian corn by the lowest calculation produces 10 bushels an acre, but 30 bushels is reckoned a common crop in Georgia, which at 5s a bushel (11.0 Corn was sold at the lower plantation at 2 Dollars or 9/6 per bushel) is 2.10.0.
There is also rice sown during the intervals which usually produces as many bushels but say only 6 at 5/--1.1.0 = 4.0.0
Mr. Rolle had a tolerable crop of rice without dams & had seen a great crop in the province in Inland Swamps. His Rice Dam was but lately compleated before the cession, but the Sir James Wright, Governor of Georgia, cleared £4 to £5 an acre, 30 Negroes under one overseer managing 100 acres as he informed Mr. Rolle.
W. Pengree, the most judicious manager of Turpentine in the province gives the following Estimate and Mr. Rolle had a considerable quantity made on each of his plantations by his direction.
1 hand tends 2500 trees which make the 1st year 60 barrels, 2 to an acre, so 30 acres about 93&1/3 (23?) trees to an acre at 1.1.7½ per bushel clear. Say 1 hand tends 2400 trees on 30 acres and produces 50 barrels at 1 or (7)1.0 is 52.10.6 clear in the 1st year; 35. 0.0 in the 2nd year, and 17.10.0 in the 3rd year. This amounts to £105.0.0 or £35 a Hand per year....[remainder not legible].
Six weeks free from Turpentine work can raise provisions on already cleared land in their work in sawing, shingling, & lumber trade will more than answer for provisions, in which time for 3 coopers will clear their interest & expence.
Now is no value yet put for the tar and pitch the old knotts & residue of the trees make after the three years turpentine hath killed the tree & also the feed from sheep and range for cattle, some also will be found fit for corn & pease, but the above quantity of 42000 acres would feed 20 Negroes for six years in affording turpentine only. Before the sale in 1770 sheep were fed on these lands whose mutton was much esteemed in Augustine.
The interest of the clear income say £600 at 5 percent is 30, which is 1 per acre for the 600 acres for ever.
Poultry and Hoggs, which are fed on the waste corn, as well as orange juice which was made in large quantity and sold on the spot for two shillings a gallon produce a considerable income as well as Myrtle Wax, Bees Wax, Hides, even Peaches & China Oranges as been have produced by small planters [?] a source of pounds.
Planting cotton was not pursued by the Memorialist’s Agents but he had the first year he set down in Florida some of as fine cotton as the Brazils afford. The pine lands after being despoild of Trees will nourish it -- as the barren lands of Arabia when no other plant or grass produces it in abundance. It flowered & ripend for 4 months in Florida and a computation was made of 400 gross weight per acre....
Denys Rolle’s Higher Plantation commonly called Vill Rolle
Denys Rolle’s Assortment of the Quality of the land and value as put by some Agents & overseers of several other proprietor’s lands not as the opinion of D. Rolle (see the other side).
Quality of the Land & Value under the Provincial Seal
It is divided into uncleared or uncultivated land and cultivated land. Comparison is for the Upper Plantation and the Lower or Chichester Plantation, and “Perry’s [or Ferry’s] separate lot higher up the River.”
[Below are generalizations]
At the Upper Plantation (Vill Rolle), Rolle claims a total of 75,635 uncultivated acres. Break down is Rice = 23735 acres valued at 11860; Corn = 4175 valued at 1562.10.0; Pasture = 6100 valued at 1525 (for 34010 acres valued at 14947.10.0); and Turpentine or Pine Land = 41625 valued at 2081.5.0. Total value of 17025.15.0.
The provincial evaluators mixed the rice, corn and pasture together, totaled the acreage at 28022 and valued it at 7812.15.0; then evaluated 47635 acres of turpentine or pine land at 2382.7.6 or £4843 less than the figure Rolle arrived at. The difference apparently the result of provincial evaluators declaring about 6000 of the acres turpentine or pine land rather than rice, corn or pasture as Rolle had labeled them.
On the cultivated land, both sides agreed on acreage (200 rice; 250 corn), but Rolle estimated £5 per acre for rice and £3 for corn, whereas provincials said £3 for rice and 30 shillings for corn. Difference of £775.
Total of the Higher Plantation. For Roll = 76085 acres valued at £18778.15.0; for Provincials = 76085 acres valued at £13170.2.6.
At the Lower Plantation (Chichester) the cultivated acreage is: Rice 25 acres valued at 125; Corn 245 valued at 735; Turpentine or Pines running? 1400 acres valued at £35 (total of 1670 acres valued at 895). Uncleared acreage was corn land 200 valued at 7/7 or 75; Unexamined land 462 at 1/0/0 valued at 23.2.0; Unexamined on West Side of the River 1000 valued at 1/0/0 or 50.
At Perry’s (Ferry’s?) Separate lot higher up the River, Rolle lists Rice at 50 acres valued at 10/ or 25; Corn at 100 valued at 37.10.0; and Pine 50 valued at 2.10.0. Total acreage at Chichester was 3532 valued at £1108.2.0.
Provincial evaluators subtracted 10 acres from pine land and called it garden valued at 5.0.0. Total value was given at £573.15.0, or less than Rolle’s figure by £543. The estimates of value for Perry separate lot was £65 by Rolle and £70 by province.
Summary: Denys Rolle’s estimates and Province figures.
Note in right margin: The Lower Plantation of 3200 acres was purchased at the price of £1200. General Tonyn informed your Memorialist by letter the opinion he heard of the produce was above £1000 the year before the cession. The account to your Memorialist is mixed & [confused] with others--with difficulty is distinguished.
T77/15/13 the Memorial of Dennys Rolle. Robert Legg, A Pioneer in Xanadu, ch. 14.