Antonia Paula de la Resureccion BONELLI

Submitted by Descendant:  Jeannette Marie SAY

Antonia, born 16 April 1786 in St Augustine, Florida, was the first generation of Bonelli’s born in Florida.  She was the fifth child and second daughter born to Joseph Giuseppi Bonelli and Maria Moll.  Her heritage was Italian and Minorcan.

She was a child during a time of great unrest between the Indians and white settlers.  In 1835 Antonia gave a deposition during which she related the story of being taken prisoner in 1802 and held captive by a band of nine Miccosukee Indians.  During the raid, her home was plundered and multiple members of her family were taken captive, and her brother was killed.  They were forced to march 24 days to reach the town of Mickasuky.  After seven month of hardships and cruelties, several members of her family were ransomed for $300, but the ransom was not enough to free Antonia and her brother.  It was another 15 months before an additional $200 ransom was paid for her release.  In 1803, at age 16, during her time in captivity, she bore a daughter to a Miccosukee Medicine Man.

In 1808, Antonia married Bartolome Josef Leonardy.  This couple was blessed with 11 children.  Little else is known about Antonia’s life.  Life slipped quietly from her on 5 April 1870 while she was sitting in her favorite rocking chair at “The Coquina House”.  She is reportedly buried with her husband in the San Lorenzo Cemetery, St Augustine, Florida.

Antonia Paula de la Resureccion Bonelli was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 1986