Thursday, January 15, 2015

Signers of the Declaration of Independence helped by FX Sanchez

What three American Patriots did FX Sanchez help to survive the prison in Castillo de San Marcos?

When Francisco Xavier Sanchez fed and clothed the Spanish sailors held prisoner by the English in the fort in Saint Augustine, there were three men also jailed who were American patriots and later signed the Declaration of Independence. These men were:

Thomas Heyward, Jr.
of Saint Helena Parish, South Carolina, 7/28/1746 - 3/6/1809. He was a lawyer and a plantation owner, who was married twice and fathered eight children before he died at the age of 62. 

Arthur Middleton

of Charleston, South Carolina, 6/26/1742 - 1/1/1787. He was a plantation owner who was married once and fathered nine children before he died at the age of 44.

Edward Rutledge
of Christ Church Parish, South Carolina, 11/23/1749 - 1/23/1800. He was a lawyer and a plantation owner who married twice and fathered three children before he died at the age of 50.

Submitted by the Rev. Dee Graham with assistance from Cindy Weatherby, DAR, and by Jon Wilson, journalist with the Florida Historical Quarterly. Watch the upcoming issue for his story about Los Flordianos. (1/15/2015)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

FX Sanchez now a Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot!

Rev. Dee Graham, DAR Regent Cindy Weatherby
and Austin Graham celebrate her DAR acceptance.

DAR accepts Austin Graham, FX's 5th great granddaughter

By admitting FX Sanchez as American Revolutionary patriot

Meeting the exacting criteria for new ancestors meriting patriot status in the Daughters of the American Revolution, Francisco Xavier Sanchez's fifth great granddaughter, Austin Graham, received acceptance into the Princess Hirrihigua Chapter of the DAR.

Thanks to the detailed work of Cynthia Weatherby, Chapter Regent, who worked with information supplied by Austin's mother, the Rev.Dee Graham, and extensive genealogy documented by her grandmother, Edith Jones Graham, the rigid qualifications of DAR were met and approved. Now, women who can provide proof of being direct descendants of FX Sanchez are also eligible to join the national organization under one of the first Spanish patriots qualified.

He qualified for his patriotic service to the American Revolution by "rendering aid to the Spanish and American prisoners of war" who were held in the Castillo de San Marcos, Saint Augustine's historic fort. Documentation of this service during the era of British occupation of Florida was found in WEBER, "JOSEPH SMITH'S DIARY" SC HIST & GEN MAG, VOL 34, #1, PP 31-32; TANNER, ZESPEDES IN EAST FL, P 44. 

Dee and Austin spoke about Los Floridanos, the organization of descendants of children born to the settlers of Saint Augustine during the first Spanish period, 1565-1763, to Saint Petersburg's Princess Hirrihigua Chapter DAR on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014 in Saint Petersburg, FL. President of Los Floridanos, Crystal Solano Bryan, was invited to participate.

This acceptance makes Austin a fourth generation DAR member, although her mother, grandmother and great grandmother Edith Day Jones qualified under the Day lineage.

FX Sanchez's entry on the national DAR website reads:

Ancestor #: A210165



Service Source: 
Service Description: 

Created: 2014-04-30 11:34:17.0, Updated: 2014-04-30 11:34:17.0, By: DLICKLITER 1) City: ST AUGUSTINE - State: FLORIDA


Created: 2014-04-30 11:34:17.0, Updated: 2014-04-30 11:34:17.0, By: DLICKLITER 1)

X X  
Created: 2014-04-30 11:34:17.0, Updated: 2014-04-30 11:34:17.0, By: DLICKLITER 2)

Hint: Click on the member number to see more.
Nat’l NumAdd
DocsChild[Spouse #] Spouse

To look up this information for yourself:  (Francisco Xavier Sanchez, DAR Patriot)

For more information about becoming a DAR member through Spanish Florida heritage, this posting introduces the process: 

Researching Your Spanish Patriot

Can you trace your family back to those living in Nueva España during the American Revolution 1776 - 1783?
If so, you may be eligible for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Can You Trace Your Lineage To A Patriot Who Served In Spanish America?

DAR members have traced their ancestry back to more than 400 Spanish patriots of the American Revolution. These patriots were residents of either Spanish Louisiana or Nueva España. Nueva España included portions of the present day states of Texas, California, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona, as well as Mexico. Spanish forces also served in Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean. Ongoing research continues to identify new Spanish patriots.
How were these people involved in the American Revolution?
In 1780, Carlos III, King of Spain, issued a Royal Decree that all subjects in Nueva España, or New Spain, make a voluntary contribution, in the form of a donation, to help fund the American Revolutionary War. Every citizen of Spanish America was asked to donate one or two pesos to the cause.
The Gálvez Expedition
Many Spanish patriots served under General Bernardo de Galvez in his Gulf Coast campaigns, including the Battles of Pensacola and Mobile. They were also stationed at militia posts throughout Spanish Louisiana. Some Spanish patriots were at the Battle of Fort San Carlos, in present day Saint Louis, and others were recruited from the Canary Islands to the Louisiana Infantry Regiment.
Texas Longhorn Cattle
Could your ancestor be one of the Texas cattlemen who supplied approximately 10,000 head of Texas longhorn cattle in response to a request by Gálvez in 1779? If so, you may have a Spanish patriot.

Useful Sources

The following resources are helpful for your research; however, a translator may be required as some are written in Spanish:
  • The Canary Islanders of Louisiana, Gilbert C. Din
  • La participación canaria en la formación y reclutamiento del batallón de Luisiana, Miguel Molina Martínez
  • Spanish Records, Lists of Men Under General Don Bernardo de Gálvez in his Campaign against the British, 1779, C. Robert Churchill
  • Honor and Fidelity, Jack D. Holmes
  • José de Ezpeleta, Gobernador de la Mobila, 1780-1781, F. de Borja Medina Rojas
  • The Texas Connection with the American Revolution, Robert H. Thonhoff
  • New Mexico’s Contributions to the American Revolutionary Cause from Original Letters and Documents, 1779-1785, Harriett McCallum
  • Cuba 1753-1815, Crown, Military and Society, Allan Kuethe
  • The Journal of Don Francisco Saavedra de Sangronis, Aileen Moore Topping, translator, and Francisco Morales Padrón, editor

Tracing Your Lineage

When researching a Spanish Patriot, ask yourselfp the following questions:
  • What do you know about that person?
  • Where did he or she live?
  • What type of Revolutionary War service did he or she perform?
Identifying who would be recognized as patriots through Spain’s contribution takes some detective work. It is best to start with the lineage by working your way back through the generations until you find a patriot.
When researching a Spanish patriot, you need to be aware of “What was Spanish America during the American Revolution?” This includes what is now the American Southwest, the Gulf Coast region and parts of the Central United States, and other areas, such as Mexico, Central America, South America, and Cuba.
For more information on Los Floridanos, visit their website: Los Floridanos Society.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cousins Reunited at Veterans' Day Picnic

Cousins Reunited:

Los Floridanos picnic at Little Manatee River State Park 

    WIMAUMA -- A small but devoted band of cousins gathered together for food and family connecting on Veteran's Day 2013 at Little Manatee River State Park, with thanks to the organizing efforts of Tom Santa Cruz for reserving the screened shelter complete with electricity for plugging in and comparing family trees.
    Partners, spouses and children added to the gathering, although a bigger turnout would have added to the event. 
    Sanchez (descendant) cousins include, standing, Bo Haven, Rick Sheffield, Ed Whitehouse; seated, Dee Graham, Tom Santa Cruz. Not pictured, Nickie Rucker.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Veterans in the Sanchez Family

Since we are going to have the get-together at the Little Manatee State Park on Veterans Day (11/11/13), it would be good to remember and honor at all the veterans in the family tree that we might find know of.

There were a few in every war this country has had since Florida became part of the U.S.

Many of the ancestors were in the Indian Wars.  There are records of many of there enlistments some received bounty land grants (some were converted to cash and some were settled on), a few lived to receive pensions,

There were Sanchezes in the Mexican War.  Roman B. Sanchez, who was in Livingston's Independent Comp., received a pension.  There were likely more.

There were Sanchez on both sides of the Civil War.  There is a databases of Soldiers and Sailor on both sides are listed in a National Park Service database.  The pension files in the Florida Memory Project are more than indexes but show the forms filed by the soldiers and their widows.

Were there Sanchez descendants in the Spanish American War?

For World War I there are the draft card files men of military age were required to file.  There are also service files of Florida soldiers and sailors in the Florida Memory Project.  Many of these servicemen returned with disabilities.

For World War II the free access files are few.  The Draft Registration Cards don't include Florida.  There is a list of Army Enlistments that is faulty.  There are commercial listings in and that might be better. However we are in the range of recent memory.  Many of us can remember or remember what our parents told us about this war..

This summer list from the Korean War and Vietnam War have been published: Korean War POWs, Korean War dead and wounded for the Army, Vietnam War Casualties, and Vietnam War Deaths.  You might know of other databases with additional information you might share with us.

I don't have information on databases of service members in the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We have many of these veterans among us now.  Let us plan to honor their service when we gather at Little Manatee State Park to discuss much lighter matters of who is descendant from whom and eat some potluck goodies.

All of the off-color (blue or violet) are clickable Internet links to the mentioned databases.  Many public libraries have free access to commercial websites of and some to as well.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Florida Pioneers: Conquistadors, Colonialists, & Crackers

The Florida State Genealogical Society (FSGS) is offering a free webinar on Thursday, September 19th at 8 pm EDT.  It will last an hour.  You will need to pre-register and then login with a link sent to you on Thursday evening.

For the FSGS link click here.  Your Internet connection needs to be DSL or a high speed connection.  I have watched these talks on a hand-held tablet computer.

The presentation by FSGS Pioneer Certification Committee Chair Amy Crabhill Lay. The question… Is participating in a lineage program really worth it or is it just for pretentious people? YES! … and… NO! Learn more about lineage programs, what to expect during the application process, and what the FSGS requires for the Florida Pioneer Descendant Program. We will review types of source documents, what’s important for a successful application, and the reward of participation.

If you have not attended a webinar before it is like attending a public presentation, but you are watching it on your computer.  There is a live narrative with slides and such.  At the end you will be able to type in questions for the speaker.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

YOU are invited to our family reunion on Veteran's Day!

Join the Tampa Bay area parientes for Veteran's Day

Los Floridanos Family Reunion

WHO:        Los Floridanos &  friends
WHAT:      Family gathering for fun, friendship & learning more about our stories.

Los Floridanos Historian Tom Santa Cruz, Ph.D.,
will tell the stories of how our ancestors first migrated into the Southwest Florida area.
The founder of the Francisco Xavier Sanchez Blog, he serves as a member of the board of directors of the Pasco County Genealogy Society, where he chairs the genealogy research committee. He is also a chemistry instructor for Hillsborough Community College.

WHEN:      Park opens 8am-5pm. Be there for shared lunch & special presentation following!
                  MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2013
WHERE:    Little Manatee River State Park, Pavilion #1, Wimauma, FL

Entrance to the park will be free on Veteran's Day, a Monday, Nov. 11!
Those who wish to make a weekend of this opportunity may wish to camp, as this state park includes full camping facilities.
For information about the park itself, contact (850) 245-2157.  

For more information on the Los Floridanos event, call Tom Santa Cruz at 813-783-2085.

PLEASE NOTE: This will be a shared picnic, so please bring enough for yourselves and some to share. There is no organized plan for food, drink or supplies, so we must be self-reliant. Volunteers, however, are welcome to step forward here. Thanks.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

"Dicho" : Learning to decipher from Spanish to Spanish

Logo de Archivos Estatales de la Secretaría de Estado de CulturaDicho : As they said it

Exploring the Spanish Archives & the stories of the ancestors

If you're wondering about what was on the minds of those Spanish and the folks they encountered in the early days, now there's a treasure hunt to help us find out!

Just like in this country there are new records online, the Archivo General de Indias   is now available online for those curious about digitalized primary documents from the European struggle for Florida.

It isn't easy to read. That's why I'm taking the Spanish Paleography class with Dr. Michael Francis at the University of South Florida Saint Petersburg in Florida Studies, which turns out to be quite exciting. The project I will tackle is "Cartas de Governadores" 1564, exploring the Spanish and Hugenot conflicts off South Carolina.

As students of FX Sanchez, there is the possibility there of learning something about the heritage of the mother of his first children, Beatriz de Piedra, as both of her parents come from this era. Her father was a carpenter who made parts for ships in Charleston and her mother was born in the islands, but became his slave. What was the culture and controversy from which they arose and met? How did they create this woman who set the tone of the beginnings of the FX Sanchez family?

But now we are simply at the point of determining one letter from another, a word from a scribble. Plus the class is only to translate from the written script into the Spanish word, not into English. That we leave for the experts.

 The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today. ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Aprender a leer otra vez

Learning to Read ... Again

Aprender a leer otra vez!

Although I haven't perfected my Spanish keyboard techniques yet, I'm excited to begin today my studies with Dr. J. Michael Francis, one of the country's leading experts of Spanish Colonial Florida.
He's letting me audit the class at the University of South Florida Saint Petersburg, in the Florida Studies Department  Florida Studies - USF Saint Petersburg . 

 It's my first step toward clarifying and updating DOUBLE COUSINS with a new chapter on Francisco Xavier Sanchez and his two spouses, Beatriz de Piedra and Maria del Carmen Hill. VIVA!

This time maybe I can shed more light on the "median Spanish" documents by reading them myself. There's definitely something to be said for being in the moment with one's ancestors when reading their own handwriting.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Jose Simeon Sanchez, brother of Francisco Xavier Sanchez, signed the original Florida constitution

FX Sanchez Descendant Double Cousins Salute Tio Jose

Photo from Florida Sesquicentennial in 1995 features FX brother Jose Sanchez

 Lamar Graham, grandson of Delia Sanchez, daughter of Alexander B Sanchez, son of FX Roman Sanchez, son of FX Sanchez & Maria del Carmen Hill, with his 1st cousins late Charlotte Maddox & her sister Frances, both of Thomasville, GA, also FX Sanchez descendants, photographed by me (Dee Graham) at the 1995 FL Sesquicentennial in Port Saint Joe. See photo & info on Tio Jose Simeon Sanchez, their 4th great uncle, between the sisters' heads.
Lamar T. Graham, Frances Maddox and Charlotte Maddox in 1995

Friday, August 9, 2013

Cousin Earl Sanchez of Plant City and his wife, Debi Smith Sanchez, had a unique encounter with some of the Cuban Sanchez descendants when they visited Tolomato Cemetery in Saint Augustine seeking the grave of Francisco Xavier Sanchez.
Here a link to the story of the chance encounter as told in the Tolomato Cemetery blog:
Tolomato Cemetery Times

Earl Sanchez

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Los Floridanos Make Connections:

Cousins & Connections: What Happened

Family Information Exchange for Descendants of First Florida Spanish Families

(Solana, Solano, Sanchez, etc)
6670 US #1 South
St. Augustine, FL
Saturday April 13, 2013
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

    Despite ongoing controversy about the topic, the Sanchezes were definitely the first to arrive to the library gathering of Los Floridanos at the informal meeting at the Saint John's east library where cousins and shirttail relatives gathered to meet and reunion with one another. While 15 people signed in, other spouses, children and friends accompanied the cousins to make this a successful event.
    Those who signed the book include Asaph and Marlaine Graham of Seminole, Fred and Diana Williams of Welaka, Earl and Debi Sanchez of Plant City, Tom Santa Cruz of Zephyrhills, Henry (Bo) Haven of Dade City, all from the Sanchez side, and Solanas Linda Brown of Jacksonville, Kathy and Christopher Garrett of San Mateo, and Crystal Solana Bryan of Saint Petersburg.
    Thanks goes especially to Crystal for setting up the meetings space and spreading the word.

Connecting the News

Photo at Tomolato Cemetery of FX Sanchez descendants includes cousins connected to Manatee County  Asaph Graham (face slightly hidden behind Ann Browning) on back row, then next, Travis Sheffield and Rick Sheffield. Kneeling in front are Dee Graham, holding grandson, Anthony Quandt Judd. (Photo by Alena Scandura.)

Earl Sanchez of Plant City is one person to the right from Rick Sanchez. Where is Tom Santa Cruz, because  you were there? More photos to come, but if the rest of you send in IDs we can add them to the photo. Please excuse any lapses of visual-naming memories.

Manatee folks mentioned in Bradenton Herald blog 

      After our trip to Saint Augustine for the memorial honoring Francisco X Sanchez's new status with the Sons of the American Revolution, Bradenton Herald columnist Vinn Mannix ran this photo and a feature in his blog about these attending descendants with Manatee County connections.
      Even though I'm in the photo, my name isn't mentioned since I'm now working as a reporter for the newspaper. Thanks to Vinn, who also wrote about my dad a few times and does a great job keeping up with local history.

from Rev. Dee Graham
8th great granddaughter of FX Sanchez

Sunday, April 14, 2013

More Information on the Tolomato Cemetery

There is a blog for the cemetery called, Tolomato Cemetery Times (the link should work).  There are several with Sanchez information:

It is proper etique to show links to other blog, but not to just copy them and include them without permission.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Even more Activity for Saturday, April 13th in St. Augustine

In a recent email from Dick Rousseau:

Crystal Solana Bryan will host a meeting on Saturday, April 13, 2013 in St. Augustine as follows:

Family Information Exchange for Descendants of First Florida Spanish Families
(Solana, Solano, Sanchez, etc)
6670 US #1 South
St. Augustine, FL
Saturday April 13, 2013
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Please plan to attend and exchange family information.
Any questions contact her at

This is about 10 miles due South of the Tolomato Cemetery Monument dedication that starts at 2 pm.  The library is on US-1 just North of the highway to Crescent Beach. There is plenty of free parking at this library.

Gosh! I better pack a lunch!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Preserving Florida’s History

Researchers at USF St. Petersburg are working to digitize a treasure trove of Spanish documents that shed light on Florida’s past in St. Augustine.

Exciting news -- the new professor at USF Saint Petersburg, J Michael Francis, has students digging into the original Spanish archives.

Wonder if we can locate more records on Francisco? Was there ever a marriage between him and Beatriz de Piedra? Can we find earlier family records?

Soon they will be online. Check out the story in the USF magazine:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Florida Trend Magazine

I got an email from Dick Rousseau that he received that you might like to follow up on:

I'm a writer for Florida Trend magazine and we're working on an upcoming "La Florida" issue for the magazine. More than most of our issues, this one is going to include quite a bit of historical information. In partticular we are interested in finding descendents of some of the earliest Spanish settlers that still live in Florida to interview. I'm hoping you can help connect me with some of these descendents.
You can reach me at this email or at the phone numbers listed below. I'm eager to hear from you soon.
Lilly Rockwell
Associate Editor
Florida TrendOffice: (850) 391-9272

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Florida Soldiers in Civil War (both sides)

Many of our ancestors served as soldiers during the Civil War.  There is a 6-volume set of books that includes information garnered from many documented sources about the soldiers and their military units from both sides of the conflict.

Biographical Rosters of Florida's Confederate and Union Soldiers, 1861-1865, by David W. Hartman (compiler) and David J. Coles (associate compiler); ISBN: 1568372884

It is an expensive set of books the Florida Catalog lists 44 locations in Florida to read this set.  It does not circulate and in county libraries that own it, it is in the "main" branch.  It is also in the larger colleges and universities in Florida.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Florida Townships & Ranges

In Florida the legal property description is based on a rectangular grid  (6-miles by 6-miles) of townships and ranges with a meridian (center-point) passing through Tallahassee.  Each township and range is subdivided into 36 square mile subdivisions (1-mile by 1-mile) termed sections.  The sections get further divided into aliquots.

There is a better explanation on a website called Section, Township & Range, at  There is another good explanation on Wikipedia as Public Land Survey System at

I have two "simple" online ways to local these coordinates.  One is to use the Official DOT County Maps of Florida, at  You can view and download the maps as pdf-files (the border have T[township] and R[range] with the sections in boxes on the map.)  The other (less simple) involves using Google Earth downloading a kml-file and executing it to apply the township-range-sections to the Google Earth map.  The kml-file is available from Earthpoint at  When you open this webpage, simply click the box labeled: View on Google Earth in the BML Township, Range and Section section.  The kml-file will be downloaded, you don't have to register.  Open your free copy of Google Earth, then find EarthPointTownships.kml in your downloads and double click on the file to temporarily install it on your Google Earth.  It is an intensive program and will slow down Google Earth so turn it off for other projects.

The Thomas Register for Florida, a large book in the Reference Section of your larger public Florida library will contain a township and range map as well.

Okay it isn't real simple, but it ain't rocket science either.  With a handle on the legal description of a piece of land, you will be able to find it on a map and likely on the road in front of it.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Land

At the recent Los Floridanos meeting in St. Augustine, someone was asking about how some family member got such large tracks of land.
There are several ways these pieces of land were obtained in Florida.
Land Grants, 

  • The Armed Occupation Act, 
  • Military Land Bounties, and 
  • Buying the land from the Government Land Office
  • Second-hand Railroad land

Are the most common methods in Florida.

Most of the files on the Spanish Land Grants are available through the Florida State Archives.  The physical copies remain in Tallahassee, but the State provides images of these files online at: Florida Memory – Spanish Land Grants,  
Prior to the sale of Florida to the U.S. government, the King of Spain gave land grants to many individuals.  After Florida became part of the U.S.A., the U.S. Supreme Court had to decide whether the land grants were valid which created a good paper-trail.  The original land grants were in Spanish, but for the court were translated.  That is why you will find both languages in the documents.  Only some of the West Florida (the Panhandle) land grants are missing.  At the website you will find images of each folder and it's contents that you can print or save as a digital color jpg-file (if you right-click your mouse when the cursor is over the image, you will find a selection of features.)  Since the legal proceedings were lengthy, the title of the land grant may have been passed to heirs or sold for cash.

An online tool for finding the other types of land acquisition from the U.S. government is the Bureau of Land Management’s Government Land Office Records, . Look over the information page, but click the words Search Documents next to the house symbol on the green bar down from the top.  You should be on the Search Page with the defaults of “Search by Document Type” and “Patents” selected.  You will need to select Florida for a location for your initial search leave the county unselected.  Next in the names area type the last or surname (if more than one spelling is possible you will need to repeat the search for each), for the initial search don’t enter first or middle names.  The click Search Patents on the orange-brown line near the bottom of the page.  To see a record, click the leading image or accession number.  If you need to shorten your list, add first names or a current county.  It is an informative database for you to find land records and some history.  DO NOT BUY CERTIFIED COPIES, you can print and download images for free.

The State of Florida maintains a similar looking website that you may find useful called the Land Document Search, .  It is free.

In the 1840s the U.S. government passed the Armed Occupation Act of 1842.  A Florida resident could claim 160 acres of land by settling on land South of Newnansville and Palatka and also away from other regular settlements and outposts, register with the General Land Office (GLO), farm 5 at least of the acres, built a house.  This put the settler on the Indian Frontier and he needed to be prepared for conflict.

Military Land Bounties were granted to the soldiers after wars.  The size of the bounty was sometimes determined by the soldier’s rank.  And sometimes the bounty could be transferred to an heir.  In Florida the veteran could apply for a military warrant that could be applied to acquiring a government owned land.  The veteran had the option of selling the warrant.  Typical military warrants in Florida were for the Seminole Wars and Mexican War.

Buying land from the government is the largest category whether it is homestead land (cheap with strings) or outright (more expensive without as many strings) some land is dry and some still submerged.  And there are second-hand land deals.  The railroads were often given large tracks of land adjoining the railway, these were many times sold (the Florida Land Document Search catches many of these transactions.)

This posting is already too long.  I will write another discussing Townships, Ranges, and Section soon.

Please comment, if I explained poorly or got it wrong.  Or if you have more tips for us.  

The software omits anonymous comments so leave us your link.