[Pensacola: 1778]. Two documents, attached with the original wax seal in the upper left corners. Both in very good condition. The manuscript document, 7 1/4 x 9 in., delineates a piece of property surveyed for John Glover, 500 acres "level rich cane land dark mould," including a brook, marked with the various trees and posts used to survey the property, and noting the adjacent land surveyed for William Henderson. Verso gives a descriptive summary of the survey markers, certified and signed by Elias Durnford, Surveyor General.
The partially printed document, completed in manuscript, 8 x 11 1/4 in., is on Spanish-made paper, watermarked "MCAELOSA," (a variant of "Miguel Losa" or M. Losa" watermarks?). It is the order directing Durnford to survey the "Plantation or tract of land" needed to renew John Glover's warrant of the 12th of November 1777, for "Five hundred acres situated near Thompsons Creek to adjoin a tract of one thousand acres lately advised to be Granted to William Henderson" in West-Florida, and signed by Peter Chester and Elihua Hall Bay on Nov. 23, 1778. Docketted on verso "John Glover Renewal of Warrant of Survey for 500 acres of Land... Grant Passed... March 1779." Item #62227
Shortly after the British surrendered Pensacola to the Spanish on May 10, 1781, the Spanish occupation forces made a survey of the residents, in case of later land claims. This "List of the Inhabitants of Pensacola Who Were Householders at the Time of the Capitulation" [see the article by Coker & Carrion, reprinted in the Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 77, No. 1, Summer 1998] included a "John Glover, Master Carpenter."
Elias Durnford (1739-1794), a British army officer and civil engineer, was the surveyor of Pensacola, which served as the capital of West Florida territory from 1763 to 1781, until the Spanish took control. He was responsible for the original survey and town plan for Pensacola, and was Lieutenant Governor of British West Florida from 1769-1778. In addition to his official duties, he performed numerous private surveys to supplement his income. This example represents one of those survey documents done for new settlers and for veterans of the French and Indian Wars who were eligible for tracts of land as a reward for their service. Though the map and description are presumably in a clerical hand, Durnford's original signature matches other examples of his writing from the time. It is identical to the signature on similar certificates in the collection of Pensacola imprints and land grants, 1775-1780, held in Special Collections at Florida State University.
The attached printed document on watermarked paper is presumably a product of a press operated by the British administration in Pensacola. It carries the signature of Peter Chester, the fifth and last governor of British West Florida, 1770-1781, and the signature of the territorial Secretary Eli Hall Bay. Bay later removed to South Carolina, becoming one of that state's foremost jurists.
Durnford's signature is scarce in auction records. Two similar documents have appeared at auction in recent years, one in a Siegel auction (Sale 760A, item 3016) for the Manuscript Society of America, held on May 28, 1994 in Atlanta, which consisted of a printed form only, dated June 21, 1776, completed, but signed only with Durnford's initials, estimated at $2500-3000. The other, consisting of both a printed form and survey map, dated Sept. 5, 1776, with no mention of Durnford's signature, sold at Early American History Auctions in Dec. 2009, for $2420. American Book Prices Current 1975-present, lists only a printed form signed by Peter Chester directing Durnford to survey a land grant, with no indication of Durnford's signature, $800 at Swann, 1993; and a similar document sold at Swann in 1978 for a modest amount. The Florida State University collection description states that each document is signed by Peter Chester and Elias Durnford.