For those that are interested in the family of Gaspar Joseph Trotti, this is the latest information. If you have already seen this in email form, you may want to skip it. I have this paranoia that my research will be lost and some other poor soul will have to redo mine and Virginia Trotti Dormon Miller's research.
The book, TROTTI, has been my basic source. With the exception of the James F. Trotti line, Virginia Trotti Dormon Miller did an incredible job considering the constraints she was under. By combining her work and that of Isabel C. Patterson, we have a picture of the family, that I can mostly verify by other sources. Census records, Court records, deed records, will records, obituaries, Gravestones, and newspapers provide us with a great deal of backup. HOWEVER, the information on Gaspar's background has proved somewhat elusive. The KEY to the whole background has been the colony of New Smyrna under the proprietorship of Dr. Andrew Turnbull.
For those of you not familiar with the colony, let me fill you in. The British controlled Florida from about 1763 to 1784 as a result of the treaty that ended the war known in the U. S. as the "French and Indian War." Dr. Turnbull was originally granted 20,000 acres to colonize with 500 people. He went to Florida, found the land he wanted, and filed the grant. With the backing of various prominent men in the government, he also secured funding and a subsidy of 3 pounds for each colonist he brought. This took until 1767.
In 1767, Turnbull went in search of colonists throughout the Mediteranean Sea. He found some 200 Greeks, 100 Italians (Gaspar Trotti for example), 100 of various nationalities and all of his movements were based around the harbor of Mahon on the island of Minorca, then being held by the British as a Naval Base. Here he found the Minorcans were in the 2nd or 3rd year of a drought and famine. He had a great number of persons that desired to go and Dr. Turnbull decided that if 500 is good, 1500 is even better. He scraped together 8 ships, got the British to send along a Sloop of War to protect his fleet and sailed for Florida.
While he was gathering colonists in Greece and arranging for ships, the unmarried males from Greece, Italy, and other countries were given leave to visit Mahon and get married. The Marriage records of Minorca (spelled Menorca by the Menorcans), show many marriages between males with Italian and Greek surnames and Minorcan women from January until April 1768, when the fleet left for Florida. Significantly for us, the descendants and researchers of the Trotti family, on the 20th of March 1768 is the Marriage Record of Gaspar Trotti Pugno, son of Bartholmeo and Theresa Maria; to Clara Julia Coroneus, daughter of Jordi Coroneus and Juanna Maria Gomila. (More on this record later.)
The Fleet arrived in Florida, unloaded the colony, and departed. Evidently, 30-50 of the colonists died on the trip. Additionally, the extra 1000 colonists, begin to lead toward disaster. Until the colonists learn how to grow crops, there is a famine caused by the tripling of the original numbers. The supplies for 500 people do not stretch to cover 1500. There is a rebellion, it is put down with the help of the British Army and Navy, and 40 men are executed or "punished severely" according to one of the naval captains. (Consider what a captain that ordered floggings for discipline might call "Severe Punishment") With some losses, the colony does learn how to subsistence farm in the new environment. The numbers are down to 1200 or so. The colony begins to prosper and many children are born.
Gaspar or his wife, Clara, become parents to Lorenzo Gorge Troti (Lawrence George Trotti) baptized February 10, 1771 and born February 3, 1771 and Francisco Juan Andres Troti (Francis John Andrew Trotti) baptized March 25, 1773 and born March 21, 1773. Between 1768 and 1773, Gaspar and Clara are also Godparents to 15 other children. The Baptismal records also give us the information that Juanna Maria Coroneus, the mother of Clara Coroneus, came with the colony. She is listed as Godmother twice.
This information comes from the church of San Pedro de Mosquito, whose pastor, Curate Doctor Pedro Camps, records the baptisms. Father Camps apparently did not have enough paper to keep up with the marriages and deaths, as no record of them has been found. His baptismal records become known as "The Golden Book of the Minorcans of Florida." These are the only known vital records to survive the colony. These records are moved from New Smyrna to St. Augustine when the surviving Minorcans, Greeks and Italians flee the colony in 1777.
During the good years, from 1770-1773, crops increase and an export crop, Indigo, is grown with increasing success. The best year harvested is 20,000 pounds.
New Smyrna appears to be a success, but the cracks in the cover are beginning to show.
A British traveler, notes the severe way the colonists are treated by the overseers. He remarks that no person that knew their rights under English Law, would put up with such treatment. Depositions later indicate that floggings, beatings, and imprisonment are common for those considered to be insubordinate, too interested in their rights under their contracts, or not working hard enough. But with the end of the contracts, soon to be completed, the colonists seem to be content to finish out their term and then leave. Then, one of the 6 year contract men tries to get what is promised him in the contract. Dr. Turnbull is reported to have told him that he, Dr. Turnbull, would decide when the contracts had been completed. When the man persists, he is beaten and thrown in prison.
Drought now appears, beginning in 1774. Food shortages are universal throughout Northeast Florida. The 13 colonies begin the fight for Independence. There is no money or ships to ship food and other relief to New Smyrna. The colonist begin to die again. By 1777, there are only about 500 left. The colonists send a delegation to the governor, who promises to protect them. They flee to St. Augustine. New Smyrna, a beautiful dream, dies in cruelty, hunger, and drought.
Marriage Record of Gaspar Trotti Pugno and Clara Julia Coroneus
The name Gaspar Trotti Pugno, fooled me. I found the marriage record some time ago, but decided that the name just wasn't correct and forgot about it. It took seeing the record in the light of the whole picture that changed my mind. Here are those reasons.
1. Trotti Pugno could be Trotti-Pugno. This could indicate that Trotti is his father's last name and Pugno is his mother's last name.
2. The date and location. March 1768 is in the middle of the dates when the foreign names fill up the Marriage book.
3. The Bride's family name Coroneus. This was the only Coroneos family in the Marriage, Death and Baptismal records. I have Clara and her brother, Pau, being baptized in 1752 and 1751 respectively.
4. The Baptismal records show the parents of Clara Coroneus to be Jordi Coroneus and Juanna Maria Gomila, just like the marriage of Gaspar and Clara does.
5. Father Camps shows the parents of Lawrence George Troti to be Gaspar Troti and Clara Corneus parents. They also show Juanna Maria Coroneus, the mother of Clara, in Florida.