Maria Catalina “Mary” BONELLY

Submitted by Descendants:  Marguerite Jule Pacetty BROWN; Frances Mordina Brown EVANS; David William, Marguerite Marree Evans, and Robert Thomas MATHEWS

Maria Catalina Antonia “Mary” Bonelly was born 20 February 1784 in St. Augustine, Florida, daughter of Joseph Bonelly of Livorno, Italy & Maria Moll, of Ciudadela, Minorca.  Maria Catalina Bonelly, as listed on her marriage document, married first to Tomas (Thomas) Paxeti on 16 November 1801 in St. Augustine.  Thomas Paxeti was born 10 February 1776 in New Smyrna, Florida, son of Andres Paxeti, of Trapani, Sicily, Italy & Getrudis Pons of Mahon, Minorca.  Mary and Thomas Paxeti (Pacetti/Pacetty) were living in St. Augustine when in January 1802 the Joseph Bonelly plantation at Matanzas was pillaged and burned by the Miccosukee Indians.  The Indians scalped Mary’s eldest brother, Thomas Bonelly, and they captured her mother and her five younger siblings.  Her father, Joseph Bonelly, sold his Matanzas land grant in order to generate ransom money demanded by the Indians for the release of his captured family.  They released all but young Joseph Bonelly, who later escaped, and Antonia Paula Bonelly, who were detained another fifteen months by the Indians.  Joseph Bonelly finally secured the additional money, and in November 1803, the Indians delivered Antonia Paula Bonelly to her brother-in-law, Thomas Pacetty, who brought her back to St. Augustine.

Mary and Thomas Paxeti had five sons:  Andrew Pacetty born 1802, Joseph Pacetty born 1804, Thomas Pacetty born 1806, Dennis Pacetty born 1808 – all born in St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida (all four births are documented in the Cathedral Parish Records).  Their fifth son, John Pacetty, was born about 1811 in St. Mary’s Camden County, Georgia (his age and place of birth are documented by Camden County, Georgia census schedules and by his death record).

Mary and her husband, Thomas, lived in St. Augustine, Florida from the time they were married in 1801 until or through the year 1811.  Sometime between 1811 and 1820, Mary, and perhaps Thomas, moved up to St. Marys, Camden County, Georgia.  There is no definitive death date or death place for Thomas Paxeti.  According to the “Journal of Archibald Clark, Camden County 1822-1840” (housed in the Bryan-Lang Historical Library, Woodbine, Georgia), Thomas Paxeti was a seafaring man.  On the 1820 Camden County, Georgia Census for the City of St. Marys, Mary Persity [sic] was listed as head of household with five males in her household whose ages correspond to those of her five sons.

Mary Pacetty designated “The widow Pacetti” among the Arnow notes (housed in the Bryan-Lang Historical Library, Woodbine, Georgia) married second to Joseph S. Arnow (Jose Sebastian Montiano Arnau born 24 March 1798 in St. Augustine).  They had two sons:  Columbus I. Arnow born 1823 in St. Marys, and, George Joseph Arnow born 1825 in St. Marys.  Joseph S. Arnow was a tailor in St. Marys where he earned a good living.  His shop was on River Street within fifty feet of the St. Marys River.  In 1834, he purchased a large lot in Block 26 in St. Marys and built a substantial two-story house.  The house, at 206 Ready Street, is now on the St. Marys Historic Register.

Mary (Maria Catalina Antonia) Bonelly Pacetty Arnow died after 1 October 1835 in St Marys, Camden County, Georgia.  She was known throughout her life as simply:  Mary Pacetty.

Maria Catalina “Mary” Bonelly was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 2005