St. Johns County Biographies

The USGenWeb Archives for St. Johns County biographies contains an impressive collection of genealogical material, including biographies for the following people:

  • George Washington Bassett, Jr.
  • Barton B. Bigler
  • Goold Taylor Butler
  • Edward Noble Calhoun
  • Charles Augustus Choate
  • Harold Wilfred Colee
  • Louis Albert Colee
  • Granville D. Coxe
  • Augustus H. Craig
  • George Rainsford Fairbanks
  • Herbert Felkel
  • Robert S. Garnette
  • William P. Genovar
  • Obe P. Goode
  • James B. Griffin
  • Louis F. Hindry
  • Fountain N. Holmes
  • Charles F. Hopkins
  • John Johnson
  • Lack A. Lew
  • Joseph Albert McDonald
  • Maria Catalina Bonelli Pacetti
  • Thoedore V. Pomar
  • G. Walter Potter
  • Frank A. Rolleston
  • John Warren Sackett
  • Leonard F. Sanchez
  • Henry Edwin Sewall
  • General Edward Kirby Smith
  • Reginald White

Obit – Emory L. Dalton

Received today in the mail . . .

I am sending out obituaries that came from Melanie Crain’s “Dalton Newsletter” that she published for about twenty years. After publishing the Newsletters she archived them on a web site she maintained for a long time. But, she could no longer maintain the archival site and I thought the data should remain available to the American genealogical community. I suggested sending them to the GenWeb community and she concurred. So, I’m sending them to the coordinators. 

Emory L. Dalton

Ponte Vedra Beach, St. John’s County, Florida

Emory L. Dalton, 72, died Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008, at his home in Florida. He was born July 15, 1936, to Jesse and Lula Dalton in Campbell County Virginia.

Emory was a longtime resident of Palm Valley, flew his own private airplane for a number of years, and played triple A baseball for a season with the New York Yankees.

Survivors include his wife, Hazel Wern Dalton; four children, Elizabeth Barkoskie (Martin), Jeffrey Farris, Karen Farris and Cory Dalton; one sister, Elizabeth Vernon; two brothers, James Irving Stockner and Donald Akers; two grandchildren; and one great grandchild.

[Contributed by Sharon Minton Hill to the “Dalton Gang Letter” published by Melanie D. Crain, Vol. XIV, No. 1, Winter 2009]

Spanish Land Grants

In 1790, during the second Spanish period, Spain began to offer land grants to encourage settlement in the colony of Florida. When Florida became a territory of the United States in 1821, the United States agreed to honor any valid grants. As a result, family researchers now have access to those records which offer a fascinating look at the history of our area and the families who settled here.

Florida Memory has published their collection of Spanish Land Grants including scanned copies of the original grant documents. The collection is searchable by name or location.

Below is a list of “confirmed” land grants in St. Johns County. Beginning on page 18 of the land grant collection, the “unconfirmed” grants are listed. Note also that the place names and descriptions have changed over time so the list below may have missed grants in those areas.

*For more information, see “Spanish Florida offered land grants to African-Americans” by Susan Parker.

Florida Public Archaeology Network

original colony location
View from the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park across to the great cross at the Mission of Nombre de Dios.

The Northeast Region of Florida’s Public Archaeology Network is headquartered at Flagler College in St. Augustine. Although archaeology seldom provides details on individuals, it does a great deal to help us understand the environment our ancestors lived in. This is especially useful when records are lost due to disaster, war or other events. Their purpose is . . .

The Florida Public Archaeology Network is dedicated to the protection of cultural resources, both on land and underwater, and to involving the public in the study of their past. Regional centers around Florida serve as clearinghouses for information, institutions for learning and training, and headquarters for public participation in archaeology.

Through archaeological digs, we now know that the original St. Augustine colony was located in the area that is now part of the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park and the Mission of Nombre de Dios.

Family History Centers

Family History Centers are facilities operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are more than 4,600 family history centers in 134 countries. All family researchers are welcome to take advantage of the services these centers offer. Services include free public access to online resources, one-on-one help, how-to classes, and microfilm and microfiche readers. You can also order genealogical materials from the Family History Library which will be sent to your local center for you to view.

Find a Family History Center near you using the locator at FamilySearch.

First Plots?

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAYou are looking at the southwest corner of the St. Augustine National Cemetery.  The marble slab on the ground in the corner is plot 1 and contains the remains of Lieut. Stephen Tuttle.  The nearer slab is plot 4 and contains the remains of John Winfield Scott McNeil.  If you are thinking these were among the first burials in this cemetery, you would be wrong.

This cemetery served the U.S. Army Post of St. Augustine long before it became a National Cemetery in 1881.  The first interment was 1828 with most of the early graves resulting from casualties of the Seminole Wars.  Most notable among these was the Dade Monument [ see article at Graveyard Rabbit of Moultrie Creek].

TuttleStephen Tuttle was a 1st Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers and was serving in St. Augustine on a huge project to rebuild and extend the seawall protecting the town.  He died in 1835.  J.W.S. McNeil served with the 2nd Regiment of Dragoons and died in 1837 of wounds received in action at Mosquito Inlet.  Both were originally buried at the Huguenot Cemetery just outside the city gates and reinterred at the National Cemetery many years later.

McNeilSome time back, I received a call from Greg Moore, Command Historian for the Florida National Guard, wondering if I had run into these two officers as part of my Huguenot Cemetery research because he thought they had been buried there first.  Sure enough, looking at a cemetery inventory from 1892 published in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (see Huguenot inventory ), we found both men with descriptions of the graves and the inscriptions on their tombstones.  These tombstones match the descriptions from the Huguenot inventory.

A search in Google Books turned up an Annual Report from the Secretary of War published in 1916 stating:

“During the year the following remains of soldiers were removed from fields and abandoned cemeteries and reinterred in national cemeteries:   . . .  2 known officers from old Huguenot Cemetery, St. Augustine, FL to the St. Augustine (Fla.) National Cemetery; . . .”

Huguenot Cemetery had been closed in 1884 and there are many reports of various efforts to clean up and restore the cemetery.  The first serious project didn’t begin until 1946 so from the Army’s perspective this cemetery may well have been a concern for the veterans interred there.

So, why were these Soldiers initially buried in the public cemetery instead of the post cemetery?  What were the circumstances of their move?  And, how did they become the first plots at the National Cemetery?  This mystery will take a lot more research to unravel.

The plots thicken.


  • Leeds, B. Frank.  Inscriptions in the Old Protestant Graveyard at St. Augustine, Fla., The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vols. 37-52. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1883-98.
  • United States War Department.  Annual Reports of the Secretary of War. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1916.
  • Florida. St. Augustine National Cemetery Index and Biographical Guide: (Preliminary Abridged Edition). Special archives publication, no. 44. St. Augustine, Fla: State Arsenal, St. Francis Barracks, 1980.

Minorcan Research

In 1763 the British took control of Florida. The British saw the economic potential of the area and encouraged colonists with land grants to come and settle in the colony. Among those settlers was Andrew Turnbull. In 1768 he arrived with more than 1200 indentured colonists to build a settlement on the coast south of St. Augustine. He named the colony New Smyrna.

The colonists were recruited from Greece, Italy and Turkey, but most of them came from Minorca, one of the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain. Collectively they are referred to as Minorcans.

Life in the New Smyrna colony was difficult. In addition to illnesses and Indian raids, the colonists were mistreated by Turnbull and his overseers. They revolted in 1777 and walked to St. Augustine where they asked the govenor for santuary. When Florida returned to Spanish control in 1783, the Minorcans remained.

Below are a number of research resources available for Minorcan research. Note that links to books point to WorldCat. Use WorldCat to find the closest library holding the book.

San Lorenzo Cemetery

When the Diocese of St. Augustine was established in 1870, Tolomato Cemetery was serving the local Catholic community. The City of St. Augustine ordered Tolomato and the public burying ground (Huguenot) closed in 1884. Catholic burials were then held at the Mission of Nombre de Dios. Because its location on the water was not ideal for a permanent cemetery, the diocese continued to look for a more appropriate cemetery location.

San Lorenzo Cemetery photo
San Lorenzo Cemetery, St. Augustine, from the author’s collection at Flickr

Also at this time St. Augustine was enjoying a boom in tourism thanks to Henry Flagler’s railroad and elegant hotels. City fathers wanted the new cemeteries away from the primary tourist areas. Evergreen Cemetery, the new public graveyard, was located across the San Sebastian River in what was then called New Augustine (now West Augustine). The diocese also chose a spot west of town, but further to the south. San Lorenzo Cemetery opened in 1892 and is the oldest cemetery still operated by the Diocese. It continues to accept burials today.

Bishop's house photo
Bishop’s house at San Lorenzo Cemetery from the author’s collection at Flickr.

A mortuary chapel was built in 1924. It is often called the Bishops House because Archbishop Josephy Hurley and Bishops John Moore, William Kenny and Patrick Barry are interred there. Surrounding the chapel are the graves of nuns from the Sisters of St. Joseph and priests who have served the diocese.

The cemetery is operated by the diocesan Office of Catholic Cemeteries and is located between U.S. 1 and Old Moultrie Road just north of the K-Mart shopping plaza.


  • Julie Conrey, At the Hour of Our Death, St. Augustine Catholic Online, November 2006.
  • Charles Tingley, presentation at the T’omb It May Concern conference on the historic cemeteries of St. Augustine, June 11-13, 2009.