John and Frances Wilson started spending their winters in St. Augustine in 1868 and eventually built the house at 34 St. Francis Street next door to the Inn. This is where Joe and Margaret Finnegan live. During that time he also added the 3rd floor to the Inn. Emily Wilson made her first visit to “Uncle John and Aunt Fanny” in 1892, and later she purchased and lived in what is now known as the Wilson House. Emily was an artist and a historian who gathered together much of the information (documents, records, etc.) that became the basis of the Historical Society’s library. For more information on these fascinating “Victorians”, click here.
The St. Augustine Record ran a front page story yesterday (click on the title above for the complete story) about John and Frances Wilson – for whom our Wilson House is named. (The front porch of the Wilson House is pictured above.) The story is timely and fascinating with the Wilsons’ links to Haiti (John Wilson was appointed the United States Consul to Haiti by President James T. Polk). Haiti was hit by a devastating earthquake in 1842, but that quake destroyed the seaport town of Cape Haytien. For John’s account of the damage and Frances’s account of life in Haiti, click here.