Submitted by Descendants: The LUJAN / PAPY / TOPPINO Families
Clara Arnau (aka Arnow) was born 5 March 1804 in St Augustine, East Florida, purportedly into a family originally from Minorca. At some point Clara became a ward of her brother Stephen who when Clara was 20, in 1824, bonded her into a marriage with Theodore Clinquebies, a wealthy merchant who was 30 years her senior. Theodore took Clara to Key West, where he died around1828, leaving Clara as the head of a large household according to the 1830 Census. Records show that in Clara’s household she was supporting five of her brothers and sisters who had come from St Augustine to live with her and her small son. Fortunately Clara had inherited considerable property from Theodore based on property records from Monroe County.
In 1832, Clara married a second time, though now she was able to marry out of love rather than duty. Her marriage to Peter Gandolfo, according to The Gazette newspaper took place on Saturday, 14 January 1832 in Key West. Peter Gandolfo, an Italian gentleman, had arrived in Key West from the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1829. Clara and Peter remained married until his death in 1865 and during their time together they had numerous children of which 7 survived to adulthood, Clara already had on son when they married. This son, William Pinkney, was adopted by Peter and raised as his own.
Clara lived for 10 years after Peter’s death, and during that time she lived a devout Catholic life, true to her deceased second husband. In the 1870 Census, Clara’s personal wealth was reported at $2,000, and her real estate valued at $10,000. She tended to the family businesses and was an astute business woman who managed both her own wealth, inherited through her first marriage, and her second husband Peter’s estate, so that when she died in 1875 the Gandolfo children and grandchildren inherited substantial property in Key West.
Clara Arnau was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 2011