Sanford Links: A famous French novelist is linked to Sanford

Welcome to the first chapter of “Sanford Links.”

Maybe it’s just hometown pride, but I like to think that every awesome person, thing or event has a connection to Sanford, Fla.

Like the game “six degrees of Kevin Bacon,” where you attempt to connect the actor Kevin Bacon to any other actor or movie in six links or less, Sanford Links will connect our great city with important events, interesting people and exceptional things.

For example, do you know the connection between a 19th-century French novelist and the city of Sanford?

Link 1Alexandre Dumas was born in France in 1802. He went on to become one of the most read French novelists, and his works have been translated into more than 100 languages. His best-known novels include “The Count of Monte Christo” and “The Three Musketeers.”

Link 2King Louis XIV of France is a central character in “The Three Musketeers.” Louis XIV’s Second oldest grandson was Philip, Duke of Anjou.

Link 3 – Philip went on to become King Philip V of Spain, when the childless King Charles II named Philip his heir. Phillip’s father and older brother actually had stronger genealogical claims to the Spanish throne; however they could not be displaced from their place in the succession to the French throne.

In 1715, the mint in Mexico City produced special “royal” gold coins to be presented to King Philip V. Most coins of the day were imperfectly round because the exact weight was more important than the shape. These coins, known as 8 escudo (escudo is a historical unit of Spanish currency) were perfectly round because they were meant to be used by the king.

As the Spanish fleet made its way from Mexico to Spain, the fleet ran into a massive hurricane on July 30, 1715. All 11 ships were sunk in the storm, along with tons of gold, jewels and these special 8 escudo coins.

Link 4 – Finally, The Schmitt family of Sanford recently discovered one of these coins (now known as a Tricentennial Royal Coin) valued at $500,000 among the remains of the shipwrecked Spanish fleet off the coast of Fort Pierce.

There you have it, French novelist to Sanford, Fla. in four links.

If you have ideas or recommendations for a Sanford links story please contact me at

– by Dan Ping


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