Thomas (Tomas) PAXETI

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

Thomas Paxeti was born at New Smyrna, los Mosquitos, San Pedro Parish (Volusia County) Florida on 10 February 1776 – the year of the American Revolution.  His parents were Andres Paxeti of Trapani, Sicily known then as “in the region of Naples” Italy, and, Gertrudis Pons of Mahon, Minorca.  Andres Paxeti was one of the 110 Italians recruited at Livorno, Italy, by the Scots physician-entrepreneur and land developer, Andrew Turnbull, to work on an indigo plantation project at New Smyrna, Florida.  While Turnbull scouted the Mediterranean seeking more recruits for his mammoth project, the Italians were ensconced at Mahon; many met and subsequently married Minorcan girls.  Andres Paxeti married Gertrudis Bonaventura Pons on 17 March 1768 in Mahon, just prior to setting sail from the port of Mahon, Minorca to New Smyrna, Florida.

There was only one man with the name:  Andres Paxeti or variations thereof (Andrea/Andrew Pacetti/Pasetty/Pachetti/Pacety/Pacetty), who sailed with the Turnbull group.  Only two (Clara and Thomas) of Andres Paxeti’s five children by Gertrudis Pons were born and baptized at New Smyrna, and amazingly, these two actually survived the harsh wilderness surroundings.  Many people, particularly children, died due to food shortages, diseases and despairingly miserable living conditions.  After nine years of exploitation, deprivation and broken promises, the New Smyrna colony failed.  The English governor granted them their freedom and the entire group, dubbed The Minorcans, walked the King’s Highway to begin anew in St. Augustine.

Thomas Paxeti age 17 and single, was listed with his father and step-mother and living siblings, in the household of his sister, Clara and her husband, on the 1793 Spanish Census for St. Augustine.

Tomas (Thomas) Paxeti married Maria “Mary” Catalina Bonelly, daughter of Joseph Bonelly and Maria Moll, on 16 November 1801 in St. Augustine.  They had five sons, four of whom were born in St. Augustine and one born in Georgia:  Andrew, Joseph, Thomas, Dennis, John.

As noted in the American State Papers, “Military Affairs”, in 1803, it was Thomas Pacety [sic] who brought his wife’s sister, Antonia Paula Bonelly, who had been captured and detained for nearly two years by the Miccosukee Indians, back to St. Augustine.

Thomas and his wife, Maria (Mary), lived in St. Augustine, Florida at least through the year 1811.  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.  Various Pacetti family members say that Thomas earned his living as a fisherman and that he plied boats in and around the waterways from St. Marys, Georgia to Fernandina, Florida – traditions carried on by his direct descendants to this day.

Alone in Georgia, his wife was listed on the 1820 Camden County, Georgia Census for the City of St. Marys: Mary Persity[sic], head of household with five males in her household whose ages correspond to those of their five sons.  There is no definitive death date John or death place for Thomas Paxeti.

Thomas (Tomas) Paxeti was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 2005