Trout Island and Vicinity

Henry Laurens toured East Florida in 1766 and decided to seek title to an 180-acre island on the east of the St. Johns River directly across from Spalding's Lower Trade Store. Recognizing its potential for a rice plantation, Laurens competed briefly with Lord Adam Gordon for title to the island. After Gordon's ardor for East Florida waned, Laurens received title to Lauren's Island, today Trout Island, the largest of today's Seven Sisters Islands near Stoke's Landing. Decidedly pessimistic on the quality of East Florida's soils, Laurens never invested in the four tracts he was granted by Governor Grant.

John Cornwall and James Taylor each received warrants for 10,000-acre tracts that adjoined north and south and were located south and west of Lake Gordon fronting on the St. Johns River. Taylor's heirs claimed that the grant was issued in 1766 and that although he had never improved the property the title was still valid at the time Britain ceded the province to Spain. The heirs located the tract at forty miles south of St. Augustine. The Cornwall and Taylor tracts were probably located in the vicinity of Possum Bluff, Saratoga, Grand View Grove and Seminole Grove. Neither Cornwall's nor Taylor's tracts were developed.

George Roupel received title in 1766 to another 10,000-acre tract in this vicinity that lay idle throughout the British years. Roupell, Searcher of Customs at Charleston, was appointed Secretary and Clerk of the Council in October 1766 and a member of the Royal Council, but did not take up his posts and was not confirmed. His 10,000-acre tract was never developed.

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The island granted to South Carolina merchant and planter Henry Laurens is the last of seven in this string, located today across from the beginning of the Cross Florida Barge Canal. Laurens never developed the island. The tracts granted to John Cornwall, Jamesd Taylor, and George Roupel can be seen to the left of and upriver from the islands.

 

Plat Map for George Roupel

Bibliographic Information

A Note On Sources

T77/17/3- Taylor ; T77/23-25/fragments for Cornwall and Laurens. Lauren's Island and Roupel's tract are placed on “An Exact Plan of the River St. Johns,” MR 2/6, National Archives, Kew .