|History of St. Johns County
After the Civil War, the South received educational assistance through the Peabody Fund. The purpose of this fund was to promote elementary education. This fund was established in 1867 by George Peabody a banker and financier from Massachusetts. In 1867 Peabody bequeathed $1 million for the fund with the investment income to be used and applied "for the promotion and enocuragement of intellectual, moral or industrial educaion among the more destitute portions of the south and south Western States of our Union." In 1869 he donated another $1 million for the promotion of Southern education.
This fund was especially instrumental in funding Public School Number 1. While this school was started from the building that the St. Augustine City government had built in the 1850s, it was small and in need of repair. Teachers also needed to be paid. Payments from this fund would continue for many years.
|St. Augustine Acquires Grant:
In the spring of 1868 Barnas Sears, the agent for the Peabody Fund visited St. Augustine and found that the only school in operation for white students was the one run by the Sisters of St. Joseph. At Sears request, a Peabody Free School Committee was formed to direct the establishment of a free school for white children in St. Augustine. A circular was prepared to get subscribers to raise money to match the Peabody grant.
Whereas the Commissioners of the Peabody School Fund have offered to contribute two-fifths of the annual expenses necessary to the maintenance of Free Common Schools for the education of white childrehe ten Seceding States --
And whereas, it is desired to establish such a school in the city of St. Augustine the annual ses of which it is estmated will amount to $2500
Now therefore for the considerations and purposes above mentioned and on condition that three fifths of said sum viz $1500 shall be raised by subscription and also that the building now occupied by the common council, originally build out of the school fund and for school purposes shall be obtained free of charge, we the undersigned agree to pay the sums placed opposite our respective names whenever the total of individual subscription shall amount to said sum of $1500. St. Augustine April 13 1868 (MC1 Burt Papers Box 7, File 10 - St. Augustine Historical Society)
Geo Burt $100 FRANCIS ANDREU $2 CHAR? JOHN $5 W? $1
Jno E Peck $30 Bartolo Pacitty $2 Andreu ? $1 CHAS d. SEGUI $1
C W ALLEN $10.00 Jno Minucy $1 IGNITIO LOPEZ $! ? $2
G W WALTON $5 D B USINA $5 Anna GENOVA $1
bv December 2 the City organized to created the following committee to organize and establish a free School for the education of whren composed of The Mayor of St. Augustine ex officio "as Chairman", Reverend Canova, B F Olivero, E F Dimedicis, Oliver Bronson, Dr. N. D. Benedict, Dr. Andrew Anderson, Dr. John E. Peck, B E Carr, Fatio Dunham, Geo Burt and Godfrey Forter.
School Leased to Committee
Whereas a committee has been organized for the purpose of establishing in the City of St. Augustine County of St Johns and of Florida a free School for the education of white children. composed of the following members and their successors ....
And whereas by an ordinance of the May and Council of said City of St Augustine passed on 1st day of December inst certain rights and privileges powers and duties were conferred upon said Committee and the manner in which it shall be maintained was therein defined.
And whereas by an ordinance the Mayor was directed to execute a lease of the building and grounds situated in St. Augustine aforesaid and known as the City Hall under certain conditionsions then in mentioned with the said Peabody Free School Committee for the terms of one year and for such further time as a Free School shall be maintained aconducted in the manner and under the restrictions presented in said ordinance.
Now therefor this indenture witnesseth that for the land in consideration of the sum of one dollar in hand paid to the City of St. Augustine by the said Peabody Free School Committee and for other considerations the said City of St. Augustine by their presents doth leave let and hire unto the said Peabody Free School Committee to their successors all that attain for a parcel and lot of land with the building, thereon, and grounds belonging thereto siuate in St. Augustine aforesaid known as the City Hall for the term of one year for the date hereof such further time as a Free School for the education of White children shall be maintained by said Com. and conducted in the manner anductions prescribed in the Ordinance heretofore mentioned to while inferences here made at an annual reof to be paid to the City of St Augustine by said Committee of one cent.
The condition of this indenture is such tf said pervious be used for any other than educational purposes without consent of the Council of said city ? shall be permitted to be thought therein if any cause a Free School for the educaiton of children conducted in thder the restrictions prescribed in the aforesaid ordinance shall fail to be maintained by said Committee then this indenture to be null and void and the City of St. Augustine shall have the right to reenter with the possession of said premises.
In witness whereof the Mayor of the City of St. Augustine has here met his hand and caused the seal of said city to be herewith affixed the members of said of said Peabody Free School Com have herein to subscribed themselves this ___ day of ___ A. D. 1868. In presence of ________.
The Mayor and Council City of St. Augustine
A L Rogero F Fortez B E ? O Bronson
Ramon Canova Fatio Dunham G Burt
B G Oliveras B E Camron A Anderson
Earl J deMedicees (sp) A D Benedict John E. Peck
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