Francisca de Paula Petronita FONTANET; Joseph DELESPINE; Frances Jane DELESPINE; Christian Jacob Bernhard BOYE

Submitted by Descendant:  Submitted by Descendants:  Laura Lee BERENSON, Johanna Schuster JONES; Emily Johanna PERKINS and Mary Pauline SCHUSTER

Francisca, or Frances as she was known, was born in St. Augustine on 31 May 1792, and baptized there on 6 June as the daughter of Joseph and Maria Judith Fontanet.  She married Joseph Delespine on 17 May 1813.  Joseph was the son of Joseph and Sarah and was born on the island of St. Salvador in the Bahamas on 28 August 1789.  Joseph was also the grandson of French citizens who were murdered in the slave revolt on the island of St. Dominique in 1791.  His father was a surgeon who tended the American Army in Charleston, South Carolina.  After his marriage to Frances, Joseph began his rise as a successful merchant, providing food and supplies to the Spanish government and its various military detachments during the American invasion in 1812.  He was granted 43,000 acres in present day Brevard County by Governor Coppinger for those services.  Continuing as a merchant, Joseph had ties to the Caribbean, Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina.  In the 1820’s, Joseph began acquiring huge tracts of land, often purchasing Spanish land grants which had been given to other individuals.  Among these were 8,000 acres of the Gomez Grant, the 10,240 acres of the Fontane Grant, and the Arrambide Grant of 92,160 acres, making him one of the largest landholders in the state of Florida.  On 17 May 1834, Joseph died and was buried in the Protestant (Huguenot) cemetery in St. Augustine.  Litigation surrounding his estate continued for more than fifty years after his death.  Following her husband’s death, Frances allowed one of her daughters to open a school for young ladies in her home.  Nine students are shown in the 1840 census.  Several of Frances’ children migrated to Key West, Florida, and Galveston, Texas.  It is believed she went to live with a daughter in Texas for a while, but by 1856 Frances was in Key West and was shown living with her daughter, Frances Jane, and son-in-law, Christian Boye, in the 1860 census.  Grandson Frank H Boye states Frances died at the Boye home in Key West in 1862 or 1863 and is buried there.

Frances Jane was born about 1818 in St. Augustine to Joseph and Frances Delespine and in 1845 she married Christian Jacob Bernhard Boye who was the widower of her sister, Emmeline.  Christian was born in Hamburg, Germany about 1809 and applied for a German passport in 1837, to visit New York.  In 1839 Christian arrived in St. Augustine and opened a clothing and dry goods store.  By 1850 Christian and Frances Jane had moved to Key West where Christian continued his success in business, owning at least two wrecking ships.  In 1858 Christian began deeding his real estate and slave holdings to his wife.  Frances appears in numerous deeds for the purchase of slaves until the start of the Civil War.  According to family tradition, Christian died of yellow fever in Key West shortly after 23 September 1862.  Frances Jane moved to Galveston after the death of her husband, selling most of her Key West property in 1867.  She lived with her daughter, Mary, and son-in-law, Capt. James Pritchard.  After a brief residence in Missouri, Frances moved back to Florida around 1876 with her two children and their spouses to settle the Spanish land grant of 43,000 acres of her father Joseph.  In 1901, Frances Jane Boye died in Brevard County, Florida.

Francisca de Paula Petronita Fontanet, Joseph Delespine, Frances Jane Delespine, and Christian Jacob Bernhard Boye were first established as Florida Pioneers in 2010