Submitted by Descendant: Jeannette Marie SAY
Roque Leonardy was born 9 October 1741 in Italy. Roque was baptized as Rocco Peligrino Leonardy. Sometime after his arrival in the “New World” his name was Anglicized to Roque.
During 1768 he set sail, from Mahon, Minorca to St Augustine, Florida as an indentured member of Dr. Andrew Turnbull’s colony. The colony, called New Smyrna, was established just outside St Augustine.
On 15 May 1774 Roque married Agada Coll of Mahon, Minorca, also a colonist of Dr. Turnbull. Together they raised 11 children. In 1777, Roque took his young family and walked to St Augustine as part of the colonial revolt against oppressive conditions. British rule forced the colonists to reside outside the city gates. In 1783, Spain regained possession of the territory and a census was taken. This census records among Roque’s possessions, four houses on “the street of the doctor”. In 1784 Roque, along with other colonists, signed a letter of loyalty to the new governor. The 1787 census records Roque living in St Augustine on Medical Street with his wife, three sons and two daughters. In 1793, Roque was living on the 6th cross Street of Dragoon Barracks Street, St Augustine, Florida. He owned a significant wine plantation on the North River. His fruit trees and grape vines were famous as were his experiments with wines.
Prior to Roque’s death by drowning in 1801 he had acquired approximately, 2000 acres of land through 3 land grants awarded to him in December 1792, April 1793, and January 1799. Many documents record Roque’s name as “Don Roque Leonardy”. Don is a title of respect bestowed upon persons of prominence thus recognizing his status within the community. This is a testament to his ambition and clever business mind as he raised his status from the poverty of New Smyrna to prominence in just five years.
It is believed that Roque is buried in an unmarked grave in the Tolomato Cemetery at St Augustine, Florida.
Roque Pelligrino Leonardy was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 2003