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From Contemporary Narratives and Letters
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On the Sunday afternoon in 1672 when the officials and townspeople of St. Augustine gathered in the shadow of the clumsy old wooden fort—the last in the succession of wooden forts since Menéndez time—a new era was in sight. Here was to be built a citadel whence all Florida could be protected—a mighty fort to check the English advance. For many months the limekilns had been roaring, converting oyster shells into lime, and the quarry workers chopped incessantly in the coquina pits, cutting out the shell rock for the new stone fort. Notary Juan Moreno (John Brown) attests to the ground breaking in the following document:

I, Juan Moreno y Segobia, notary public for the government of this city and presidio of San Agustín of Florida, do certify and [give] true testimony whereto may agree the gentlemen who might see these presents:

That today, Sunday, about four o'clock in the afternoon, the year of one thousand six hundred and seventy-two; being next to the fort of this presidio where the site of the new fort is marked, which by order of his majesty is to be built of stone, the señor sergeant major don Manuel de Sendoya, governor and captain general of these provinces for his majesty, in his royal name, accompanied by the judges, royal officials, sergeant major don Nicol&acuote;s Ponce de Le&oacuote;n and captain Antonio de Argüelles of this presidio, who are officers of his majesty, and many other persons and retired military officers of the presidio; [the said governor] with a spade in his hands and the other persons and royal officials present, began this said day to dig the foundation trenches to commence the building of said castle.

That the work continued on this said day and at most of it, I, the notary, was present; and so that it may be on record, by command of the señor governor and captain general I give these presents in the city of San Agustín of Florida, on the said day; witnesses being Antonio de Argüelles, captain of infantry for his majesty, the captain Lorensso Joseph de León and don Enrrique de Rribera, citizens and retired officers in the presidio.

It is written on ordinary paper inasmuch as the official stamped paper has not arrived in this presidio. Of which I do attest.

Witness my signum [rubric] in testimony of truth.

Scribe of the government

Affidavit Recording the Groundbreaking Ceremony for Castillo de San Marcos, October 2, 1672.


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