Jane Quinn


The Florida Supreme Court case, Robert R. Reid et al. v. Bishop Patrick Barry, cleared the cloud of title of the Roman Catholic Church to its downtown Orlando property. The final decree in Circuit Court, Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, was announced in Orlando, on June 21, 1927. The judgment also established that in Florida a bishop is a corporation sole and that a deed of property to him and to his successors conveys ownership in the bishop’s corporate capacity. The bishop who was first involved in this lawsuit was John Moore of St. Augustine, who presided over the Catholic Diocese of Florida from May 13, 1877, to July 30, 1901. The Orange County property that was the basis of the litigation had been sold to Bishop Moore on May 20, 1881, by Robert R. Reid, Sr., of Palatka and his wife. The Reids by deed had conveyed title to block 33 in Reid’s Addition to Orlando, the community’s first subdivision. The deed did not specify that Bishop Moore could or would build a Catholic church on the property, but a letter to him from Reid (which was not in the public records) makes that inference. At that time Bishop Moore was also securing other sites for future Catholic churches in the area. He purchased lots in Maitland on May 17, 1881, and in Sanford, November 3, 1881.