|Did Roque Leonardi Come To America With A Sister?
by Doug Halsema
|The Italians in Colonial Florida, Roselli, B. Drew Press; FL, 1949?.
Bruno Roselli seems to have asked a question that no one has followed up on.
Did Roque Leonardi come to New Smyrna, Florida with a sister, and are there documents concerning this woman that point out place of origin etc.?
On page 34, Roselli writes:
Corolinda or Corolinda Josefa, who could not be the same person as the Josefa Corolinda mentioned above [list of Roques children] (born 1775), because in 1785 she stood godmother at the baptism of Anna Corolinda Antonia Hosies; also in 1788 at that of Catalina Corolinda Regina Papi. And she could hardly be the person who stood godmother of Lorenzo Roque Domingo Grasseschi in 1791 -- Josepha Corolinda being even then only 16 years old; all the more in that the godmother at this baptism is given the title of Dona --she may have been a sister of Don Roque. (See also under RICCIARDI, Francisco. brackets mine.
It seems that Francisco Ricciardi had a wife in Haiti who never joined him in Florida and was never heard from.
Under RICCIARDI, Francisco, on page 45, Roselli includes the following footnote 43:
“As to the illegitimate daughter of Francisco R. and Clorinda Leonardi [note Roselli’s different spelling] who was baptized at St. Augustine 1n 1802, she was probably a sufferer from circumstances --in this case the turbulent status of Haiti, whence neither news nor legal certificates could be obtained. The father had just been a witness at the marriage of the Leonardi family; and the mother never married. All of which would imply good intentions.” brackets mine. (Concerning the relationship to Francisco R. see notes below by Mark McDonough)
It seems to me that there is no reason to believe that Colorinda was no one other than Roque Leonardi's oldest surviving daughter.
Midge Matthews writes: "Whether or not Corolinda was a sponsor at age ten in 1785 - I do not see why not: 1. There were not that many people at that time to do these required things and they tended to use family or close friends or someone they considered with community standing. 2. All those girls matured at a very young age and were perfectly capable of being sponsors. You may want to look at other birth records & compare ages of those girls standing as sponsors. Also, having a child out of wedlock" was not as uncommon as it may seem among the Italians, Minorcans & Greeks. In Irene Hamilton's research on the Leonardy lines - she does not say if Corolinda Leonardi's husband, Mariano Moreno, had died. According to her notes, the implication is that he had not. (His name is not listed in CPR Deaths Bk. I - nor in Deaths Bk. II). It is most unlikely that she would have a child with someone else under her husband's nose! I would guess that he had died and that she had a daughter by someone else - due to many different circumstances which for now we can only surmise."
Some of the records available on Colorinda Leonardi:GOLDEN BOOK = Fr. Pedro Camps' Registers (Births in New Smyrna beginning in 1768- 16 Nov. 1777; Births in St. Augustine 16 Nov. 1777-1784)
From Mark McDonough
i have some information for you in reference to your page:
i have done extensive research on the richard family, and am in the process of writing a book on them. they are from a noble french family. you reference roselli's book. rosselli was mistaken when he wrote that francisco richard's surname was really ricciardi. totally incorrect, though he was born in florence in 1746. his father was sent there in 1745, from lorraine france, as a representative of the duchy of lorraine. if he (francis richard) hadn't killed a man in a duel & consequently fled to their plantation in haiti, he would have remained in florence, probably, as did his siblings.
francis richard senior might have been the one who signed as witness to the Leonardi marriage. rosselli wrote that "his wife never joined him in florida." true, because she remained at their home in st. marys, georgia. plenty of documentation.
the francis richard who fathered clarinda's illegitimate daughter in 1802, francisca antonia josefa richard, was actually francis richard, junior who was born in haiti in 1777.
francis richard junior became a prominent land owner, like his father, in duval and st. johns counties. i'm not sure how good his intentions were to miss clarinda/colorinda because, 4 months after the baptism of their daughter, he married maria del rosario ferreira, daughter of juan bautista ferreira (of portugal) and elizabeth bently nixon (of charleston, sc).
francis richard junior was a bit of a philanderer even after he got married. he had many illegitimate children with a free black woman. he provided for all of them in his will, though. this is very well documented in several books written about slavery in florida.
i hope that helps.