Leonardi home at 56 Marine Street

complied by halsema.org editors

Ann Kirkman Carter writes:
This is in regards to the house pictures you have on your Leonardy site. One picture is 56 Marine and the reason I know that is because it was in my family from 1858 until it was sold in the 1980s.

I am Ann Kirkman Carter. My mother was Harriette Jones (Kirkman), her mother Ellen Pacetti (Jones), her mother Amelia Monson (Pacetti), her mother Laureanna Leonardy (Monson) and her mother Antonia Paula Bonelli (Leonardy). Antonia was married to Bartolome Josef Leonardy who was the brother of Juan Aloysius Leonardy who would be the direct ancestor of yours. (I have been to your web page.)

The house at 56 Marine was bought by William (changed from Anton) Monson in 1858 and was sold as I said in the 1980s by my mother. My mother had been one of 4 daughters and she was the only one to marry. Her sisters remained in St. Augustine and lived at the family home 56 Marine St. Every summer until I was 21 I went with my mother (and my siblings) to visit her family in St. Augustine and we would be there almost the better part of 3 months.

I figure that is about 60 months give or take a few so approximately 5 years of my life was spent in that house. My mother when she married moved to NC where we lived. After her last sister died in 1980 there was no one in the family left to live in the house. My mother was infirm and my brother and sister both lived in NC with their families and I in MA with mine so it fell upon us to sell the house. We did so with heavy hearts since it had been in the family for so long.

The man who bought it from us was Anthony DeFiore and he and his wife completely renovated the house and was kind enough to invite us to visit which we did. He had done a thorough and complete study of the houses of St. Augustine of this type and truly toiled to make the house a showplace. However he soon after that sold the house and I think it has changed hands 4 or 5 more times with someone in the 1990s adding a dormer, a swimming pool and other modern things that I do not feel were appropriate. That is another issue though.

So I hope I have helped you out in your picture identification. I have all kinds of documentations about 56 Marine. It is built of coquina and the originals rooms date back to the to around 1690 (it was built during the first Spanish occupation of FL) and has always been considered one of the oldest houses in the city,although since it had continuous residents and major renovations through the years many people are not aware of its history.

I think the first record of an owner’s name that I have goes back to 1768. (Those 2 dates may be off as I do not have all the documents right with me as I am typing this.) I do know that it definitely came into my family in 1858.

The picture of 63 Marine is very familiar to me so that house is either still there or is very similar to one I remember. My husband and I are planning a trip to St. Augustine next month (we try to go down as often as possible). I will definitely be on Marine St. reliving many memories. If you think I can be of any other help to you please let me know.

. . . Ann Carter