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Smyrnea: Dr. Andrew Turnbull and the Mediterranean Settlement at New Smyrna and Edgewater, Florida, 1766-1777


A “Greek Community” in British East Florida: Early Plans, Selecting a Site at Mosquito Inlet, and Initiating the Smyrnéa Settlement

Contents of this section.
1) Travel to Charleston and St. Augustine.
2) Exploration of the St. Johns River valley and the Atlantic coast.
3) Selection of two 20,000-acre tracts at Mosquito Inlet
4) Selection of a 20,000-acre tract on the east bank of the St. Johns River.
5) Housing arrangements for the Turnbull family.
6) Purchases of tools, supplies, cattle, and enslaved Africans.
7) Contracts arranged with overseers and European carpenters.
8) Start-up plans prior to the arrival of Mediterranean laborers.

The “Peopling Plan”: Recruiting Indentured Laborers in Greece, Italy, and Minorca

Contents of this section.
1) Andrew Turnbull’s Mediterranean recruiting trip.
2) The approximate numbers of Italians, Greeks, and Minorcans recruited.
3) Terms of the indentured servitude contracts.
4) Explanations for the lengthy delays in the recruiting process.
5) Extraordinary expenses and resulting anxiety.

“Ready to Sail”: Crossing the Atlantic with 1403 Mediterranean Settlers

Contents of this section.
1) Ship lists and numbers of settlers bound for Florida.
2) Conditions aboard the ships and casualties during the Atlantic crossing.
3) Places and dates of landing in America.

Establishing the Smyrnéa Settlement; the First Thirty Months

Contents of this section.
1) Riot or rebellion by the Italian settlers within weeks of arrival at Mosquito Inlet.
2) Debilitating health problems and high death rates of the settlers.
3) Difficulty providing food for so many settlers.
4) Conditions of labor in the early months.
5) Efforts to establish an export crop.
6) Consequences of a hurricane that hit within weeks of arrival.
7) Housing, living, and labor conditions.
8) Turnbull is accused of deliberately starving the settlers, and beating and abusing them.
9) Turnbull claims he was establishing a utopian “Greek Community” to encourage settler loyalty.
10) Details of the indenture contracts and the “people’s debts.”
11) Prospering or failing; an early balance sheet.
12) Accomplishments of the laborers at Smyrnéa.

Turnbull Covets an Appointment as Governor

Contents of this section.
1) Governor James Grant leaves the colony.
2) Turnbull schemes to become governor.
3) Conflict with Lt. Governor Dr. John Moultrie.
4) Economic woes of the settlement.
5) The impact of drought and worms on provisions and indigo crops.
6) Turnbull moves his family from St. Augustine to Smyrnéa.
7) Turnbull’s mental and physical health problems.
8) Difficulties of travel in East Florida.
9) Food shortages and shockingly high death rates.
10) Turnbull’s relations with the Seminole Indians.
11) Debts owed to the partners by the settlers.
12) An agent, Archibald Neilson, inspects the settlement and reports to the partners.
13) Turnbull returns to England to campaign for the governorship and to negotiate a new business contract with his partners.
14) Turnbull announces he will begin construction of a mansion.

Drought and Economic Crisis Once Again; The Decision to Expand and Diversify

Contents of this section.
1) Turnbull’s despair as crippling drought caused failure of crops.
2) Duncan and Grenville refused to pay for emergency food imports.
3) Hunger and anxiety again became paramount, along with sickness and death.
4) To save on expenses Turnbull temporarily ended the clothing supply for the settlers.
5) Turnbull boldly diversified agricultural production via a massive canal and drainage project.
6) Sugar cane became a major crop.
7) Labor unrest again became a serious problem.
8) Sir William Duncan’s death in late 1774 brought Lady Mary Duncan into management decisions.
9) Turnbull asked to renegotiate partnership agreements, and offered to purchase his partners’ shares.

The Effects of the American Revolution; Turnbull’s Bitter Quarrel with Governor Patrick Tonyn; Smyrnéa Fails and the Settlers Depart

Contents of this section.
1) The acrimonious letters Turnbull writes about Tonyn, and Tonyn writes about Turnbull.
2) The effects of the American Revolution
3) Turnbull again journeys to London to renegotiate partnership contracts and to agitate for the dismissal of Governor Tonyn.
4) Settlers walk to St. Augustine and demand release from their indenture contracts.
5) The settlers testify against Turnbull and accuse him of abuse.
6) The governor sympathized with settler accusations; they are released from their contracts and settle in the St. Augustine area.
7) The Smyrnéa Settlement fails.

A Lawsuit vs. Turnbull brings him before the Chancery Court and Temporary Incarceration. Turnbull’s Final Years.

Contents of this section.
1) Turnbull is sued by his partners in the St. Augustine Court of Chancery.
2) Turnbull was incarcerated while the trial ensued.
3) After the trial ended Turnbull and family move to Charleston, South Carolina.