Richard Grenville, the Earl of Temple

Upriver from John Beresford's marshy property, four consecutive tracts were laid out east of the St. Johns, three of them by Dr. Stork. The first, however, was not located by Stork; it was surveyed by a deputy in the surveyor general's office at the command of Dr. Andrew Turnbull and titled to Sir Richard Grenville. The tract of 20,000 acres was located south of John Beresford and north of Lake Harney for Grenville, the Earl of Temple, and the brother of former Prime Minister George Grenville from 1763-1765. George Grenville was in 1766, when Turnbull was searching for this property, a member of Parliament and the privy council, and a silent partner of Dr. Andrew Turnbull and Sir William Duncan in the New Smyrna colony located several miles east of the St. Johns River at Mosquito Inlet. Baron Temple was fronting for his brother to shield the former prime minister from public and political criticism for using his influence to acquire valuable colonial properties. Turnbull became the resident manager of the partners' domain of more than 100,000 acres in East Florida and of the 1,400 indentured laborers he recruited Italy, Greece, and Minorca.

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The 20,000-acre tract awarded in 1766 to Lord Temple for his brother, former prime minister George Grenville, was located here on the left of the St. Johns. It extended to the east for nearly eight miles to near the border of two other 20-000-acre tracts awarded to Grenville's partners in what came to be known as the New Smyrna Settlement.

In December 1766, Dr. Turnbull selected a site on the St. Johns River for the 20,000 acres awarded to one of his three partners, Lord Temple. Turnbull had arrived at the governor's residence in St. Augustine on November 20th, carrying with him Dr. William Stork's Account of East Florida, published in 1766. By the time Turnbull and a party of surveyors began their journey up the St. Johns River, however, much of the good land on the lower St. Johns had already been claimed. Charles Bernard and Dr. Stork had staked out many valuable tracts on the middle and uppper stretches of the river. Stork had claimed the land on Lake Grant (now Lake Monroe) for the Earl of Bessborough and three members of Clan Grant, along with the tract for John Beresford and three additional 20,000-acre properties east and south of Lake Harney.

Intent on obtaining three contiguous tracts, Turnbull selected two at Mosquito Inlet (today on the Atlantic Coast at New Smyrna), one for himself and the other for Sir William Duncan. He then searched the St. Johns River for several weeks before choosing the only available and acceptable site left, the tract awarded to the Earl of Temple, which was nearly contiguous on the western boundary of the Mosquito Inlet tracts. Governor Grant promised Turnbull the intervening land would later be awarded to Turnbull and his partners.

Plat Map for Richard Grenville. A 20,000-acre tract located on the east shore of the St. Johns River awarded to Richard Grenville, the Earl of Temple, who assigned it to his brother, George Grenville, the Prime Minister of England at the time. It became part of the 103,000-acre partnership venture devised by Grenville, Dr. Andrew Turnbull, and Sir William Duncan, royal physician to King George III. A few miles beyond the eastern border lay 40,000 acres, also owned by the partners, that was partially developed and known as the New Smyrna settlement. This St. Johns River tract was never developed. Courtesy of the National Archive, Kew, England.


A 1768 map of two bordering 20,000 tracts granted to Dr. Andrew Turnbull and Sir William Duncan that bounded east on the Halifax River. In 1767 and 1768, Turnbull recruited 1,400 Greek, Italian, and Minorcan indentured laborers to work at a massive plantation known as New Smyrna. The settler's cabins extended for more than seven miles along the Halifax River, from the present town of Edgewater to the northern boundary of New Smyrna. The largest venture of its kind in the British North American colonies, the settlement failed in 1777. Courtesy of the Farrar-Duncan Papers, Dundee City Archives, Scotland.


Bibliographic Information

A Note On Sources

T77/7/13-Thomas Grenville. Bernard Bailyn, "Failure in Xanadu," from Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1986), Patricia C. Griffin, "Blue Gold: Andrew Turnbull's New Smyrna Plantation," in Jane G. Landers, Colonial Plantations and Economy in Florida (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2000), and Daniel L. Schafer, “The Rise and Fall of Andrew Turnbull,” in St. Augustine 's British Years, 1763-1784 (St. Augustine, FL: St. Augustine Historical Society, 2001).