Deposition of Antonia Leonardy
Territory of Florida, Saint Johns County
Personally appeared before me, Joseph S Sanchez, commissioned and duly qualified justice of the peace for the county aforesaid, Antonia Leonardy, who deposeth and saith, that some time in the year 1802 there came a party of nine Seminole Indians to Mr Pellicer's plantation, situated upon the Matanzas river, about twenty miles south of the city of Saint Augustine, for the purpose of killing and plundering the inhabitants; and, finding no white person upon the said plantation, they destroyed everything they could find upon it, and took and carried away a negro woman named Jenny, belonging to Pellicer.
The Indians then proceeded to Mr Josiah Dupont's plantation, lying on the east side of said river, and nearly opposite to the plantation of Pellicer, and lay in ambush until Mr Dupont and his son left this plantation to go to another, which he cultivated in a swamp, about four or five miles from the first; they met him on the road, and took from him and his son their horses and guns, after which; Dupont and his son, finding themselves disarmed and robbed, fled for safety into the swamp, where they remained concealed for some time.
The Indians after this proceeded to Mr Dupont's house, and took and carried away all of Dupont's negroes that were on his plantation. Deponent thinks that there were ten or eleven, namely: Big Filis, Little Filis, Molly, Tyra, Clarissa, and Florida, are the only names that deponent, after the lapse of so many years, recollects of. The Indians took and carried away at the same time five large horses and some cattle belonging to Dupont, and they took and carried away with them an English lad who was living with Dupont at the time. Deponent supposes that Dupont's negroes were worth from four hundred to four hundred and fifty dollars each, and his horses about one hundred dollars each. The cattle, some of which the Indians killed for food, deponent supposes to have been worth from ten to twelve dollars per head.
Two of Dupont's negroes having made their escape from the Indians, and come down to deponent's father's house, was the cause of the Indians, who were in pursuit of them, coming to deponent's father's plantation, which was situated about five miles north of Dupont's, where they found deponent, her mother two sisters, and two brothers. One of deponent's brothers was fired upon by the Indians, and killed; after which, the Indians commenced destroying everything upon the plantation. They killed and destroyed about ten dozen head of poultry and several head of hogs that were confined in an enclosure belonging to deponent's father; and destroyed, also, a lime-kiln, containing, as deponent supposes, about five thousand bushels of lime. Then the Indians started for the nation, taking along with them the property which they had plundered, and the deponent's mother, two sisters, and brother, and two horses belonging to deponent's father, which deponent knows had cost fifty dollars each.
Deponent's mother, two sisters and brother were detained by the Indians in the Indian nation seven months, after which time they were redeemed by deponent's father, who paid the Indians five hundred dollars for their redemption, and returned to Saint Augustine; one of the deponent's brothers escaping from the Indian nation, and going over to the island of Cuba a short time after he was taken by the Indians. Deponent was herself detained by the Indians twenty-two months before she was permitted to return to her parents in Saint Augustine. Deponent further says, that while in the Indian nation she often saw Mr Dupont's negroes; and she knows, with the exception of Molly, who was given up by the Indians and returned to Saint Augustine at the time deponent's mother and family were delivered up, all the other negroes belonging to Mr Dupont were held and detained by them; which negroes deponent knows were never recovered by Mr Dupont, but were entirely lost by him. And deponent further says, that Mr Dupont never received payment for his losses either from the Spanish Government or the Indians, Dupont having left Florida shortly after he was robbed by the Indians, and moved to South Carolina, where deponent understood he (Dupont) died.
Deponent further says, that she is now forty-eight years of age, and that she has resided ever since her rescue from the Indians in the city of Saint Augustine.
ANTONIA LEONARDY, her mark.
Subscribed and sworn to before me, the 31st March, 1835.
JOSEPH S SANCHEZ, Justice of the Peace Saint Johns County.
American State Papers
Class V, Military Affairs
Vol VI, p 500
Published Washington DC, 1861
Personally appeared before me, Joseph Sanchez, a Justice of the Peace for the county of Saint Johns, Antonia Bonelly Leonardy, who, being duly sworn, in explanation and continuation, says that at the time the Indians made the descent upon the settlements of Josiah Dupont, Mr Pellicer, and deponent's father in the year 1802, she, this deponent was about thirteen years of age. The persons of her father's family taken by the Indians were her mother, Mrs Mary Bonelly, and five children, viz: this deponent, Joseph, Theresa, Catherine, and John.
The nine Indians set out immediately with all the plunder that they and the prisoners could carry, and travelled by circuitous routes and by––paths for the interior of the country. Deponent's family were made prisoners about three o'clock in the afternoon, and were forced to march that day and the following night until daylight of the second day, when they halted and encamped until the morning of the third day when they started again, and travelled until sundown, and they encamped for the night, and so again on the fourth day, and for twenty-four days from the time of her capture. The party could not travel fast, as the plunder was heavy, and deponent and her sister Mary, who was eleven years old, were obliged to carry alternately their brother John, who was about twenty months old.
On the second day after they started from the Matanzas they crossed a small river, and afterwards they crossed the Saint Johns where it was very wide, probably a little lake. She recollects also crossing a river called Suwannee, in a skin. The skin was stretched out by two cross sticks, and a rim made of wood. She laid down in the bottom very still whilst crossing, and remembers she was afraid to look up. The banks of this river were very steep.
On the twenty-fourth day they arrived at a town called Mickasuky, the chief of which she recollects was called Ken-ha-jah. When we were within a short distance of the town the party halted and proceeded to make a division of their plunder and prisoners, after which we were turned over to some Indian women who came out to meet us; after which the Indian men went another way to dance over the scalp of deponent's brother. Whilst living with these Indians, which deponent learned were called by the name of Mickasuky tribe, deponent experienced many hardships and cruelties, and her trials were very severe; and the circumstances and history of her captivity and that of her family were so peculiar and barbarous that everything appears to be fresh to her mind, and she does not think that anything but death can efface them from her memory.
The Mickasuky town, where deponent was, she understood from the Indians, was about a day's journey from Saint Marks on the Gulf of Mexico, and a considerable distance from Apalachicola, and within the Spanish boundary of the two provinces of the East and West Florida.
Deponent's mother, Catherine, Theresa, and John, were detained seven months; and at the end of this time deponent's father sent one Jack Forrester with three hundred dollars to redeem the family, but the Indians not considering that a sufficient sum detained deponent and her brother Joseph. Deponent was detained fifteen months longer, but her brother Joseph escaped previously to that time, and got down to Saint Marks, from thence to Mobile, New Orleans, Cuba, and finally he reached Saint Augustine in a vessel commanded by Captain Stephen Benet.
About twenty-two months after deponent's captivity, her father sent two hundred dollars, being the additional sum demanded by the Indians, and she was then released and delivered up to her brother-in-law, Tomas Pacetty, who brought her to Saint Augustine, accompanied by Payne, the chief of the Seminoles, and a negro slave belonging to said chief. Deponent further says that her father and mother, the said Jack Forrester, the said Captain Stephen Benet, and her brother-in-law, Tomas Pacetty, are long since dead. Her sister Mary resides at Saint Marys, Georgia, and that the rest of her family that are living reside in the Island of Cuba.
She has always understood that the Mickasuky Indians were considered by the Spanish government to be under the military jurisdiction of the governor of West Florida, and not of East Florida.
ANTONIA LEONARDY, her mark
Sworn to before me this 1st day of October 1835.
JOSEPH S SANCHEZ, Justice of the Peace, Saint Johns County.
Deposition of Gabriel W Perpall
Territory of Florida, County of Saint Johns
Personally appeared before Joseph S Sanchez, Justice of the Peace for said county of Saint Johns, Gabriel W Perpall,
who, being duly sworn, says that he is now -- years of age, and has resided in Florida ever since the year 1803, and
remembers of hearing, in that year, and repeatedly since, circumstantial details of the descent made by the Mickasuky Indians upon the settlement of Josiah Dupont and others, at Matanzas, in 1802.
He has always understood, and has no doubt of its truth, that the family of Joseph Bonelly was captured by them in that year, and carried off; and he has personal knowledge of the time when Antonia, now the wife of Bartoloma Leonardy, was redeemed from them, and returned to her friends. He knows Mrs Leonardy well, and has never heard the least imputation against her credibility, and would receive, with confidence, any statement made by her under the solemnity of an oath.
He has always understood that the Mickasuky Indians resided on the west side of the Suwannee; their town was called Mickasuky, and was situated east of the Apalachicola, and about a day's journey from Saint Marks, on the Gulf of Mexico. Saint Marks was a Spanish post, with a small garrison, and, though within the geographical limits of East Florida, was considered as belonging to the western province. The Mickasuky towns were destroyed by General Jackson in 1818 or 1819, and the occupants driven down amongst the Seminoles, and deponent has understood that they have now become incorporated with that nation.
GABRIEL W PERPALL
Subscribed and sworn to before me, the 7th day of October, 1835.
JOSEPH S SANCHEZ, Justice of the Peace.
Deposition of Philip Solano
Territory of Florida, County of Saint Johns:
Personally appeared before Joseph S Sanchez, Justice of the Peace for said county of Saint Johns, Philip Solano, who,
being duly sworn, says that he is a native of East Florida; is now about fifty-three years of age; has most of his life had intercourse with the different tribes of Indians in Florida, and can converse with some of them in their own dialect. He was in Saint Augustine at the time the Indians made a descent upon the settlements of Josiah Dupont and others, at Matanzas, in 1802, and he saw the dead body of Thomas Bonelly, who had been killed by them in that affair, lying in the market-place in Saint Augustine, having been brought to town in a boat. From his own personal knowledge, and from what he always understood, the Indians who committed the depredations upon those settlements were of the Mickasuky tribe; they resided west of the Suwannee, and about a day's journey northeast of Saint Marks, on the gulf, and within the limits of the Floridas. The Mickasukies were considered under the military jurisdiction of West Florida, for convenience; because it was much easier to keep up a correspondence between Pensacola and Saint Marks, than between the latter place and Saint Augustine. When General Jackson entered the Floridas with his army, he destroyed the Mickasuky towns, and drove those Indians east of the Suwannee; and deponent understands that they have since been incorporated with the Seminoles.
Subscribed and sworn to before me, the 7th day of October, 1835.
JOSEPH S SANCHEZ, Justice of the Peace.