The establishment of missions chiefly for the purpose of Christianizing the Indian population was one of the methods used by Spain in attempting to colonize Florida in the sixteenth century. The Mission of San Juan del Puerto was founded in the late 1500's by the Franciscan Order of friars to serve the Timucuan Indians living in the area. While working at this mission around 1600 Father Francisco Pareja prepared a Timucuan dictionary, grammar and several religious books in that language for use by the Indians. The Mission of San Juan del Puerto continued to exist throughout the seventeenth century in spite of the growing
conflict between Florida's Spanish inhabitants and English and French invaders. In 1696, Jonathan Dickinson, a Philadelphia Quaker who had been shipwrecked off the coast of Florida, passed this way and recorded a visit to "the town of St. Wans, a large town and many people." In 1702, Governor James Moore of the British Colony of South Carolina attempted to take St. Augustine from the Spanish. His effort failed, but in the process of the raid into Spanish territory, Moore destroyed the Spanish missions from St. Augustine northward, including the Mission of San Juan del Puerto.