Submitted by Descendants: Laura Lee BERENSON, Johanna Schuster JONES; Emily Johanna PERKINS and Mary Pauline SCHUSTER
Edward Ashton was born between 1746 and 1748 in Ireland to Samuel and Margaret O’Dair Ashton. After immigrating to the colonies he settled in Georgia. As Loyalists and upon the evacuation of Georgia by the British, his family took refuge in the Province of East Florida where they appear on a list of refugees dated July of 1783. Edward was a widower with four children by his deceased wife Dorothy Higginbotham and also had a stepson. Settling in St. Augustine, he practiced the trade of tailor and remained there after Florida was returned to Spain. As required, Edward converted to Catholicism and was baptized as an adult on 1 February 1786, the same year he remarried and took Maria Ana Hinsman Mott as his wife. In addition to his work as a tailor, Edward farmed 100 acres outside of the city with his stepson John Parrish. On 18 January 1816 Edward received a grant of 245 acres at the head of Turnbull Creek from Governor Coppinger. Edward died prior to 1828.
Judith Maria Ashton was born about 1775 and came to Florida with her father Edward. Documents show Augusta, Georgia, and Abbeville, South Carolina, as possible birth places for Judith. At the age of 13, she was baptized on 23 September 1788 and at the age of 15 Judith married 35 year old Spaniard, Jose/Joseph Fontanet/Fontane. Jose, son of Jose and Antonia Lago Fontanet was born in 1755 in Cartagena, Murcia, Spain. He first appeared in the St. Augustine records on 28 May 1785 when he was sentenced to two years public work in the hospital there. Circumstances of the sentence are unclear but he served his time as a cook. In 1793 Jose requested a license to open a store, then in 1796 applied for a license to open a billiards table in the store, followed by permission to operate a lottery game and to quarry stone to build a house in 1797. In 1808 Jose opened an inn. Judith and Jose had eleven children together. Jose died on 31 March 1817 with substantial holdings and Judith Marie, often referred to as Mary J., served as the administrator of her husband’s estate. She died on 14 August 1843 in St. Augustine, her obituary stating she was “a fond parent, devoted friend and zealous Christian”.
Edward Ashton, Judith Maria Ashton, Jose/Joseph Fontanet/Fontane were first established as Florida Pioneers in 2010