|Roque Santos Bartolome Leonardi
by the Halsema.org Editors
Roque Santos Bartolome Leonardi, grandson of Roque Leonardi and Aqueda Coll, and son of Juan Leonardi and Catalina Maria Rogero.
Florida's Territorial Lighthouses 1824-1845 by Thomas W. Taylor pages 142ff states that Roque was Keeper from 1831 until after the first lighthouse was dismantled. Roque supervised the dismantling of the Lighthouse and the sale of much of it piece by piece. (See Below.)
The bricks from the lighthouse were salvaged and placed under the care of Keeper Leonardy. On March 5, 1834, he sent a statement to James Dell accounting for them:
Neil Hurley writes:
Evidence of Roque as "farmer."
Throughout the spring of 1833, the ocean crept closer and closer to the lighthouse. There was nothing more that could be done. Early that summer, as salt water intrusion softened the sand under the its foundations, the heavy, brick lighthouse began to lean. It was finally determined that the lighthouse would fall very shortly, and James authorized Keeper Roque Leonardy, who had served since 1831 to dismantle the lamps and reflectors and remove them from the endangered tower. After Leonardy had finished this task, a crew of men were sent out to begin tearing down the tower itself. Soon, the sixty-five foot tower at the mouth of the St. Johns River was only a memory.
Worried about his job and his salary now that he had no lighthouse to tend, Leonardy was relieved when Dell informed him that his regular salary would be continued until September 1st. On that day, Leonardy, wrote to James Dell saying that his salary should be extended, even if at a reduced rate, as someone would have to be paid anyway to watch over and guard the government property, stored in the keeper's dwelling. The keeper reminded Dell that he had salvaged all the lighthouse equipment, even the soapstones from the lantern decking, which he had hauled twenty to twenty-five feet up the shoreline to safety. When Leonardy had had to take his ill wife into St. Augustine, he had hired a man to watch over the government property. On his return, he had found that the soapstones had washed down the bank, but the keeper was able to get another man to help him haul the stones back up to safety. As Leonardy had no boat with which to make the trip to Jacksonville to report in person to Dell, the keeper hoped that the Customs Collector and Superintendent of Lights would himself to see the site where the lighthouse had formerly stood.
A week and a half later, Dell did visit the site, and he reported to Pleasonton that where the lighthouse had stood, there were now inroads of the sea with depths of three fathoms! The keeper's 'hut," "where the government lighthouse property was being stored, was yet about three hundred yards from the shore, but it might not be there for long."
This was Roque's second wife. He married once more.