Spanish Land Grants

by: editors

Follow this link to view 1850 plat map, contemporary maps, and photos of this area.

The Board of Land Commissioners was established in 1822 (3 U.S. Statute 709, May 8) to settle all outstanding Spanish land grant claims in the territory that Spain ceded to the United States in 1821. It set up offices in Pensacola and St. Augustine to ascertain the validity of all titles and private claims to lands in East Florida and West Florida. The Board either supported or rejected the land claims by studying the documents supplied by claimants.

To the right of each thumbnail below is an abstract for that section of the claim. The abstract and numbered sequence for each abstract section corresponds to, and is from, the W.P.A. abstracts available at St Augustine Historical Society Research Library. (See end note.)

Leonardi, Roque, Heirs of Con. L 9; DG V 376, Rept. 1, No. 5 [stitched together l-12 in Spanish:]

Title page:, L. N.o. 7, Florida, year 1819, Don Jose Maria Ugarte and heirs of the defunct Roque Leonardi asking title of property of 2;000 acres of land they own on North River.

[Not stitched in] Andres Burgevin, named by the government surveyor, on the 5th of the current month, certifies plat of 600 acres conveyed to Roque Leonardi and Dona Agueda Coll between the road to San Vicente Ferrer and the lands of Juan Andreu, bordered on the south by lands of the heirs of Thomas Travers and on the north by vacant land, 4/28/1819.

The heirs of Roque Leonardi, former neighbors of this place, are now absent and on their name Jose Maria Ugarte, co-heir through his legitimate consort now present, Maria Leonardy, claims 2,000 acres in several sections granted to the defunct in December 1792, April 1793, and January 1799, in consecutive places from the creek called the King’s Landing, or Wharf, on North River, beginning with the limits recently verified for the heirs of Francisco Arnau. Roque Leonardi’s land was located on the map and measured by Captain Pedro Marrot, but he never gave Roque Leonardi any receipt or title which Jose Maria Ugarte now asks of the Secretary’s office. Governor Coppinger orders this to be done.

Roque Leonardi points out that 15 miles from this city there is a piece of land which in past times belonged to the King but which no one now claims or cultivates. He asks for this tract and signs his name Rocco Leonardy, 11/9/1792. Governor Quesada directs that his quota be given him, 12/24/1792, until the time of the survey.

Roque Leonardi, farmer, needs more land for his increased family, and asks for 300 acres more in the place that is confirmed within the King’s wood cutting, and still more 4 miles north at the plantation called El Arruz, [Arroz -The Rice Plantation.] Governor Quesada directs Marrot to make the survey, 4/11/1793, Roque Leonardi points out that when the land was surveyed, a corner on the south was left next to the land of Teresa Pall which has now grown into a very dense chaparral, which he now asks for himself. Governor White refers this request to Berrio, who reports favorably, and Governor White makes the grant, 1/3/1799. Aguilar attests all of the above as a correct copy.

The heirs of Roque Leonardi and Dona Agueda Coll claim, through Jose Maria Ugarte and Dona Maria Leonardi, only heirs present, the lands credited by the enclosed [missing] documents, and through the extended possession and perpetual cultivation of more than 26 years the territory described as follows: Beginning with the line that ought to run East-West, from its neighbors on the south [the heirs of Francisco Arnau on the Creek called the King’s Landing], a district 12 miles north of this place extending along the west [North?] River, until it terminates on the north with the land belonging to the now ancient plantation called Mester Men [trade, craft, or occupation, now obsolete], amounting to 300 acres granted in 1799. Also the plantation called “El Arros”, 16 miles away on the same North River, and only anciently measured by Marrot, except the Chaparral district, for which Ugarte asks survey by Burgevin. Governor Coppinger grants; Entralgo notifies the surveyor Burgevin who signs.

Burgevin certifies plat of 600 acres just outside on the west side of which runs the 20 mile road to San Vicente Ferrer or Bluff.

Burgevin certifies plat of 1400 acres* on the west side of North River, 12 miles away from this place, extending from land of heirs of Francisco Arnau on the south to the first Salt Creek [called on plat “first tide creek”] on the north, where a landing is now marked. Marshes on the North River are shown on the east, from which runs in, clear across and branching on the west side, Sweetwater Creek. This creek is crossed by the road to San Diego, running N-S.

* The concession is given in American State Papers as 1,400 acres on Pablo Road, 15 miles from St. Augustine, –DG, V, 377.

Power of attorney from Clorinda Leonardi, widow, of Havana, to Santos Rodriguez of St. Augustine to act for her. This document is on official paper, marked at the top “Second seal Twelve Reales, years 1818 and 1819,” followed by the official royal seal, “Spain and Indies, Havana, Fernando” [illegible here], which is followed by four printed cyphers. Her act is witnessed by Juan Puentes, Andres Alverez, and Fermin Ysquierdo, all of whom know her. Before Phelipe Alverez, who as attorney, by three men of the notarial college of Havana; Joseph Francisco Rodriguez, Manuel de la Torre. The printed seal of the notarial college is affixed below. Each signature is followed by an official cypher.

Santos Rodriguez, General Guard of Fortification and Provisions in this place [St. Augustine], attorney of Josefa Clorinda Leonardy, and Jose maria Ugarte, 2nd officer ad interim of artillery, together with Maria Leonardy, the only heirs present of the defunct Roque Leonardy and Dona Aqueda Coll, for herself and in the name of Juan Leonardy, who is absent in the country, and Bartolome and dona Antonia, who are in the U.S.A., we present, our power of attorney, and lend voice and song for the absent, and say that in three concessions, copies enclosed, one each in 1792, 1793, and 1799, the government conceded 2,000 acres of which we enclose surveys and ask if we have not complied with the conditions stipulated. The government can name farmers of that epoch, or we will nominate the Captains of the Provincial Militia, Jorge Flemming, Juan Gianopoly, and Pablo Sabate, the ancient [Senior?], all of whom will testify.

First, let me say whether Roque Leonardy took possession at once and cultivated continuously.

Second, whether after Roque Leonardy’s death his family and slaves were not scattered and ruined, as fragments of concrete and fruit trees testify, during the revolt of the Indians.

Third, whether the family which was scattered in 1800 during the revolt, did not return when peace was restored in 1802.

Signed: Santos Rodriguez and Jose Maria Ugarte.

On bottom Governor Coppinger orders, 7/19/1819, the formalities of law, as Entralgo attests and notifies Santos Rodriguez and Jose maria Ugarte.

Jose Maria Ugarte petitions to present witnesses, 4/12/1821, which Governor Coppinger grants, 4/14/1821.

Francisco Marin, married, carpenter, 50, deposes that Roque Leonardy took possession at once, and after his death, his sons, Juan and Bartolome, carried on, were driven out and returned; were ordered to withdraw during the revolution but were back in 1812.

Antonio Huertas, widowed, Indian interpreter, 62, testified that Roque Leonardy took possession and that his fruit trees and grape vines were famous, as were his experiments with wines.

Joaquin Sanchez, Ensign of Militia, married, native of Cartagena in the Levant, 25, testifies that Roque Leonardy continued to farm until he died, then his widow carried on. His sons were ordered out during the insurrection, but returned.

Governor Coppinger grants and orders title of absolute property sent.End note:
WPA. Spanish Land Grants in Florida; briefed translations from the archives of the Board of commissioners for ascertaining claims and titles to land in the territory of Florida… Prepared by the Historical records survey, Division of professional and service projects, Work projects administration. Tallahassee, Fl., State Library Board, 1940-41. 5 v. in 3. 28 cm.