Searle’s Sack in St Augustine

Searle’s Sack, the annual event that re-creates the famous bloody pirate raid on St. Augustine in 1668, took place on Friday and Saturday, March 2 and 3, 2018.  This deadly raid was led by Robert Searle when he and his crew laid siege upon the city and its inhabitants.

This living history event, presented by Searle’s Buccaneers and the Men of Menéndez (both members of Historic Florida Militia), is made up of three parts: a historic procession of participants on St. George Street on Friday evening, a historic encampment on Saturday at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, followed by the reenactment of the battle at 4:30 p.m. in the city’s historic district.

The reenactment of the battle between the freebooters and the city’s Spanish defenders took place in St. Augustine’s historic district at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, beginning at the Plaza de la Constitución and ending at the Old City Gate. The English brigade headed up St. George Street from the Plaza toward the city gates, and the battle started when the English try to invade the Spanish defenders who were stationed at the Santo Domingo Redoubt off Orange Street across from Potter’s Wax Museum. Living history got real when the period re-enactors demonstrated how the Spanish settlers had to fight off Searle and his pirates.

Background on Searle’s Raid – In 1668, Captain Robert Searle and his privateers sailed from Jamaica to loot the silver ingots (metals that can be shaped into various things) held in the royal coffers (small chests) at St. Augustine. Under the cover of night, they slipped into the harbor and attacked the sleeping town, killing sixty people and pillaging government buildings, churches and homes. The devastation wrought by these pirates prompted Spain’s Council of the Indies to issue money to build a massive stone fortress on Matanzas Bay to protect the city. The Castillo de San Marcos still stands as an enduring reminder of Florida’s gripping heritage.

The Minorcan Heritage Celebration 2018

The Minorcan Heritage Celebration 2018 marks the 250th Anniversary of the arrival of the Minorcan colonists in St. Augustine. This heritage event took place on Saturday, March 3, 2018, from 10am to 3pm, at The Llambias House located at 31 St. Francis Street. The event featured engaging activities, traditional foods, music, dancing and more. Admission was free.

This celebration includes descendants from the original Minorcans in St. Augustine, all sharing traditional dances, songs, stories, family photos, Minorcan family crests, and traditional crafts, as well as demonstrations of mullet net making by Mike Usina. There were also  programs in the downstairs room of the Llambias House featuring speakers. Food at this event included delicious variations of pilau, Minorcan chowder, fromajadas and different baked goods were also available.

The term “Minorcan” describes the group of Mediterranean people (about 1400 in all) who came to British East Florida in the late 18th century to work as indentured servants on a plantation settlement in New Smyrna. Many of these were actually from the island of Minorca, but they were joined by many others who were from other Mediterranean towns and regions, including Greeks, Italians, Corsicans, French and Spanish. Their first several years in Florida were harsh and their numbers decreased, but in 1777 they were granted a space to settle in the northwest section of the fledgling port town of St. Augustine. They have been an integral part of the community of the nation’s oldest city ever since.




A Spanish Film Crew and The Minorcan Connection

First Coast.TV got the chance to sit down with two members (Celia and Luis) of a film crew from Spain. They are filming a documentary on the Minorcans here in the St Augustine area and their history and connection to Minorca. Menorca or Minorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. Its name derives from its size, contrasting it with nearby island of Majorca. The film crew shared some of their thoughts related to this project and the goals they hope to achieve through it..

Emancipation Day Celebration Packs the House

Emancipation Day was Jan. 1, 1863. Emancipation freed 3.1 million of the country’s 4 million slaves. This historic event was observed Jan. 1 beginning at 2 p.m. at the Lincolnville Museum, 102 MLK Ave. There were historical re-enactors, story tellers, music and soul food tasting. A short play about the document was presented to the public, some of the public had to stand because a full capacity attendance. Before the play people were able to walk through the ever changing Lincolnville Museum. The Buffalo Soldiers from Orlando were also at attendance, educating and answering questions to the public. Despite the chilly weather the museum was full of people and positive energy.

For more information about this and other events at the Lincolnville Museum, call 904-824-1191 or email

Celebrate Emancipation Day at Lincolnville Museum

Emancipation Day was Jan. 1, 1863. Emancipation freed 3.1 million of the country’s 4 million slaves. This historic event will be observed Jan. 1 beginning at 2 p.m. at the Lincolnville Museum, 102 MLK Ave. There will be historical re-enactors, story tellers, music and soul food tasting. Come out and celebrate this historical event. For more information about this and other events at the Lincolnville Museum, call 904-824-1191 or email

Dia de los Difuntos / The Day of The Deceased

All Souls’ Day is an annual celebration honoring deceased loved ones and is held on November 2. It is the final day and culmination of the three days of Allhallowtide, which include All Saints’ Day (November 1) and its vigil, All Hallows Eve (or “Halloween” – October 31). It is an ancient custom, officially dating to the end of the first millennium and almost certainly associated with much older traditions, such as the Roman Lemuralia. Over the centuries, many secular customs and traditions have become associated with this religious observance.
I. 11AM – 3PM – The first part of this new, day-long heritage Event will take place at the Tolomato Cemetery (14 Cordova St.). From 11AM to 3PM, docents from the Tolomato Cemetery Preservation Association will discuss the history of the cemetery, one of the oldest in the continental United States (founded c. 1737), as well as the traditions associated with this holiday. Florida Living History, Inc.’s, volunteer reenactors will be on hand to portray some of the famous Floridians who are buried at Tolomato, such as General Biassou (died 1801), Elizabeth Forrester (died 1798), Don Juan McQueen (died 1807), and Father Varela (died 1853).
II. 7PM – The second part of FLH’s Dia de los Difuntos Event begins at 7PM. La Marcha de la Santa Compaña (“The March of the Holy Company”) will begin at the south end of St. George Street, by the Plaza de la Constitucion and the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine. Proceeding north up St. George Street towards the City Gates, this torch-lit procession will include historical reenactors representing the souls of “The Noble and Loyal City’s” citizens over the past 450+ years. The public is encouraged to join in the procession and march behind the Faithful Dead as they parade through St. Augustine’s historic district before returning to the Tolomato Cemetery.
III. 7:45PM – Returning to the Tolomato Cemetery, FLH’s Dia de los Difuntos Event will conclude with its third part, an abbreviated, candle-lit production (in English) of Bernardo de Quirós’ classical Spanish play, El Muerto (“The Dead”), published in 1658 and now presented by FLH’s Theater with a Mission group from Tallahassee, illustrating the triumph of love over death.

Second Seminole War Fallen Honored

Convocation of Seminole War Historians in St. Augustine

was organized by the Seminole Wars Foundation, this event was a gathering of organizations and individuals throughout Florida interested in the Seminole War era. On Friday at 5 p.m., there was a social at the St. Augustine Officers Club at the St. Francis Barracks, 82 Marine St. On Saturday and Sunday there were workshops and lectures presented each day by some of the foremost experts on the Seminole Wars in Florida at the St. Augustine Officers Club, Trinity Hall at the Trinity Episcopal Parish, 215 St. George St., Ringhaver Student Union Theater at Flagler College, 50 Seville St., and Mark Lance National Guard Armory, 190 San Marco Ave. Also on Saturday at 10:30 a.m., there was a parade featuring more than 40 re-enactors followed by a commemoration ceremony of the 1842 funeral of Major Francis Dade at the St. Augustine National Cemetery, 104 Marine St. Public was welcomed.

Jacksonville Nazi Submarine Attack 1942

It’s been there for 75 years now after a German Submarine U-123 put a torpedo into the stern of the SS Gulfamerica and then raked its hull with gunfire to make sure the ship would never float again. Nineteen of the 48 onboard were killed.The shoreline was packed on a busy Friday night when the torpedo hit on April 10, 1942. Many people watched the flames fill the sky about four miles off shore. Others who didn’t see the explosion flocked to the beach over the weekend to catch a glimpse of the wreckage. The bow of the ship bobbed on the surface for six days before finally sinking below the waves.

First Coast.Tv sat down with Scott Grant, who is a wealth of information concerning that dreadful day for the SS Gulfamerica on April 10, 1942. He went into detail on the events of that day, and the German Captain who carried out the attack.

Lightner’s Museum Writing on the Wall

When Rick Hernandez was hired to restore the plaster work on the walls of the fourth floor Alcazar Hotel staff bedrooms, he did not expect it to reveal secrets of an age past.  To prepare for the Upstairs/Downstairs Tours, debuting in October with the arrival of the Dressing Downton™ exhibition, staff worked to clean and restore the upstairs bedrooms, and they found something unexpected: pencil writing on the walls.

“The hotel staff wrote notes to themselves on the walls of the rooms marking restaurant hours and prices and even complaining about annoying customers,” Curator Barry Myers said about the staff of the former Alcazar Hotel.  “They were more polite than we are today, so the rudest comments described customers as ‘a pain in the neck’ or ‘a pain in the back.’”

The pencil writings included the date 1917, exactly 100 years ago.  Staff is currently working to translate them from Italian. During the Lightner’s time as the Alcazar Hotel, from 1888 to 1932, the rooms served as part of the staff quarters.  Today they provide storage space for the many items in the collection that Myers cannot squeeze into the displays on the floors below. First Coast.TV got a chance to speak with some of the people involved with this project.

Stetson Kennedy – His Life and Legacy

Mr. Kennedy developed his sense of racial injustice early. A native of Jacksonville, Fla., he saw the hardships of black Floridians when he knocked on doors collecting payments for his father’s furniture store. His social concerns developed further when he began collecting folklore data for the Federal Writers’ Project in Key West, Tampa and camps for turpentine workers in north Florida, where conditions were close to slavery. Sandra Parks, widow of famed civil rights activist Stetson Kennedy, spoke … As part of Black History Month, at the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center about his life and legacy.