Josef Bonelly and Maria Moll were documented as a married couple in February 1775, when they sponsored a baptism in San Pedro Parish in New Smyrna. Their own marriage record doesn't exist. They had undoubtedly met as children during the long months in Mahón, Minorca, where Dr Turnbull slowly gathered the multi-national prospects for his enterprise. Upon their emigration to East Florida, Josef Bonelly was only eleven years old; Maria Moll was fourteen. By the time they reached Saint Augustine, they were twenty and twenty-three respectively.
Originally a family of the Italian piedmont, the Bonellys became a patrician family of Rome and Florence, with titles such as Duke of Rome, Prince of Salci, Count of Bosco, and Patrician of Rome. Josef Bonelly, however, claimed to be from Tuscany in later census documents. He was listed on the 1784 and 1787 East Florida Spanish census schedules as a Roman Catholic and as a farmer. In 1784, Bonelli cultivated fourteen acres, and had a house without grounds in Saint Augustine. In 1787, the Bonelli family lived at the ranch of Francisco Felipe Fatio. He was granted 600 acres on Turnbull Bay in Volusia County in 1796, and in the same year was granted ten acres at North Wharf on the Mosquito River. In 1799, Josef Bonelli was granted 600 acres at Matanzas Bar called "Buen Retiro."
It was at that plantation at Matanzas on January 21, 1802, that Miccosukee warriors raided and burned the property (see The Raid at Matanzas). Josef Bonelli was away. His eldest son, twenty-six year old Tomas, was murdered, while Maria Bonelly and her five youngest children were taken captive.
The survivor of that ordeal was Antonia Paula de la Resurreccion Bonelly, who was born in 1786 in Saint Augustine. She was the sixth of ten children born to her parents between 1776 and 1800. She shared her name with the memory of a deceased sister, Antonia, and would share much of her life and her lineage with another sister, Maria Catalina. Their respective grandchildren, Amelia Monson and Adolphus Pacetty, married in 1867 and closed a loop in the family tree forever rooted in Italy's ancient House of Bonelly.