In an effort to determine if Francisco Juan Espineta is the same person as “Juan Espinosa,” John Spinholster, and John Pinholster, this is a summary of the documentation I have found up to this point (22 April 2017).
From the following we can determine that Francisco Juan Espineta was born in 18 Mar 1773 in New Smyrna, Mosquitos, East Florida and christened the next day. About 1777 the family fled to Saint Augustine. Francisco’s father Josef was a sailor with his own boat and Francisco also became a sailor serving on the ships San Pedro and San Agustin. In September of 1794 Francisco became too ill to work and requested his position on the San Augustin be filled. By September 1795, Francisco’s father requested part of his son’s wages to pay for Francisco’s mother’s (Maria Triay) funeral. In 1796 Francisco’s ship had delivered documents to Savannah, Georgia. When his father wrote his will in 1820, Josef Espineta stated: “Son Juan Francisco left St Augustine more than 25 years ago and believed dead.” These seem to indicate that Francisco Espineta left Saint Augustine about 1796. If he fled to Savannah, he could have travelled up the Savannah River as far as it allowed (Augusta, Georgia and across the river in Edgefield County, South Carolina). The earliest record found for John Pinholster is the 1820 Census in Liberty County, Georgia. John and Delilah Pinholster’s oldest son, David, was born in 1797 in South Carolina, so the timeline does match up for Francisco Espineta to be John Pinholster.
Francisco Juan Espineta was born about 6 in the evening on 18 Mar 1773 in New Smyrna, Mosquitos, East Florida, the son of Jose Espineta and Maria Triay, a married couple. Pedro Camps was the priest at his christening on 19 Mar 1773 at Saint Pedro’s Parish Church, New Smyrna. His godparents were Rafael Arnandez and Margarita Arnandez. The events were recorded by Father Camps in what is now known as Father Pedro Camps’ Golden Book of the Minorcans.
Francisco’s father was Josefa Jose Espineta, born about 1748 in Mahon, Minorca, to Juan Francisco Espineta and Juanta Cintas. Francisco’s mother was Maria Triay, daughter of Sebastian Triay and Magdalena del Pozo, who was born about 1739 in Ciudadela, Minorca. Josefa was married in Minorca about 1767 to Elizabet Henandez, who probably died on the voyage to New Florida or in the early years of the colony. Josefa and Maria married about 1771 in New Smyrna.
Josefa and Maria had come to New Smyrna, in Spanish East Florida, in 1768 with more than 1200 immigrants who were indentured under the Englishman Andrew Turnbull to work in future indigo plantations, for which they would be given land. They were to serve for 6 to 8 years, after which each family would receive 50 acres, and each child 5 acres. By 1777 Turnbull had not made the transfers and many had died. The survivors were sick and starving, and over 600 fled to Saint Augustine.
After they arrived in Saint Augustine, many of the survivors testified as to their experiences in Turnbull’s colony. The below depositions of Pietro Musquetto mention Josef Spinata, who is probably Josef Espineta, and Mathew Trei (Triay), who may be related to Maria Triay.
10 May 1777: Deposition of Pietro Musquetto
Grievances against Doctor Andrew Turnbull
" Pietro Musquetto being duly sworn saith that about seven years since this Dept.'s father Anthony Musquetto being a very old man and not able to do his work was always very much beaten and abused by Nichola Moveritte a corporal, but more especially one day when the said Anthony Musquetto was sick in his bed the said Nichola Moveritte came there and beat him very severely with a large stick and this Dept. says that the said Anthony Musquitto died within two hours after and believes that the beating he received, together with being put on half allowance was the cause of his death, and this Dept. further saith that he hath been always badly used and severely beat by the said Nichola Moveritte and always told this Dept. that he would kill him as well as he killed his father and this Dept says he was afraid the said Nichola Moveritte would kill him and therefore he came away.
Pietro Musquetto (his mark)
Sworn the 7 th day of May 1777 before Spencer Man
Pietro Musquetto being duly sworn saith that he was present when Mathew Trei a servant of Dr. Turnbulls was in the field at work when Nichola Moveritte the Corporal was quarrelling with Joseph Spinata who was standing close by the said Mathew Trei and saw the said Nichola Moveritte lift up an ax, and throw at the said Josefa Spinata, but missed him, and hit the said Mathew Trei in the head & killed him.
Pietro Musquetto (his mark)
Sworn the 10 th day of May 1777 before Spencer Man
20.C05/557:465 East Florida
In 1783 Josefa Espineta is listed on the St. Augustine Census. The 1783 Treaty of Paris gave Florida back to the Spanish and Josefa had to swear a loyalty oath:
Josef Espieta Nat. de Mahon C.A.R. tiene mujer y un hijo Oficio Marinero tiene una Canta en sola del junto al hornaugue tien un acre de tierra y solita mas.
Translation: Josef Espieta Nat. De Mahon C.A.R. has a wife and a son. Occupation Sailor. Has a cottage near the hornaugue (ironworks?). Has an acre of land and a bit more.
1784 Census St. Augustine, Florida Index:
Joseph Espinosa [Espinera?] native of Minorca, Catholic
Abides by the Memorial [swearing loyalty to the Spanish Crown and Catholic Church]
Wife and two sons live with him [another translation says wife and 4 children]
Fisherman by trade, owns his own boat.
Lives near the Gate of the Virgin of La Leche on almost an acre. Owns the house but pays an Englishman ? Duros, 5 reales for the land.
[This location is part of the defenses north of the fort.]
1786 Hassett's Census, Saint Augustine, Florida, Thomas Hassett. Parish Priest, Vicar Ecclesiastical Judge. 19 Dec 1786.
House No. 73
Joseph Espinete, age 40, Minorcan, Fisherman
Wife Maria Treal [Triay], Minorcan, age 48
Son Francisco, age 13, born Mosquitos
1787 Census, Saint Augustine, Florida
Josef Espineta, Native of Mahon, Minorca, Catholic
Wife and son live with him
Mariner by trade
Cottage on acre plot of the King next to hornworks.
[This location is part of the defenses north of the fort.]
In December 1789 Josef de Espineta witnessed the license for the marriage of Juan Gianopoly.
December 29, 1789 Juan Gianopoly requests license to marry Geronima Peso de Burgo
6p Francisco Peso de Burgo and Maria Lucia (Geronima's parents); witnesses: Juan Genovar, Josef de Espineta.
In 1793 Francisco was listed with his parents on the Census:
Joseph Espineta, age 45, the son of Juan Espineta and Jauna Cintas. Wife Marie Trual (Triay), age 54, daughter of Sebastian and Magdalena del Pozo. Son Francisco, age 20, single.
On November 30, 1793 Francisco and Miguel Diaz requested permission to change ships, Francisco to serve on the San Agustin moving from the San Pablo.
Sailors Miguel Diaz and Francisco Espineta to Governor of Florida
1p. request permission to exchange positions on respective ships; Manuel Bernal; SAN PABLO; SAN AGUSTIN
On September 4, 1794, Francisco was a witness to the wedding of Miguel Seguy and Maria Elesa:
Miguel Seguy and Maria Elesa request license to marry
9p Juan B. Collins; witnesses: Rafael Hernandez, Francisco Salord and Francisco Espineta.
On September 9, 1794 Francisco requested permission to nominate a replacement, since he was ill.
Francisco Espineta to Governor of Florida, 9 Sep 1794:
1p. requests permission to nominate replacement because of inability to serve resulting from illness; St. Johns River; SAN AGUSTIN; Francisco de Entralgo.
On September 18, 1794 the Captain of the ship San Agustin requested that Francisco Espineta’s vacated position as a sailor on his ship be filled.
Juan Pons to Governor of Florida
1p. requests appointment to position vacated by sailor Francisco Espineta; Francisco de Entralgo; SAN AGUSTIN; St. Johns River.
On 9 Sep 1795 Josefa petitioned the governor of Florida for his son’s wages:
Jose Espineta to Governor of Florida
5p. requests that his son, sailor Francisco Espineta, receive part of wages to pay for mother's funeral and for debts; Juan Sapia; SAN AGUSTIN [Francisco’s ship]; Maria Espineta [Francisco's sister].
On January 30, 1796 the ship San Agustin was reported as having delivered documents to Savannah, Georgia. Francisco Espineta is mentioned. Details of this abstract might provide important information about Francisco. It does indicate that Francisco could have gone to Savannah.
Sailor Manuel de Ben to Governor of Florida:
4p. requests payment of costs incurred delivering documents to Savannah; SAN AGUSTIN; LTC Carlos Howard; Bernardino Sanchez; San Vicente Ferrer; Guillermo O'Neille; Francisco Espineta.
The will of Francisco Espineta’s father, Josef Espineta, is dated 24 November, 1820.
Nov 24, 1820 Will of Joseph, son of Francisco & Juana Sintas. Wife Maria long dead. Son Juan Francisco left St Augustine more than 25 years ago and believed dead.
[Joseph was the son of Juan Francisco Espineta and Juanta Cintas]
Father Pedro Camps' Golden Book of the Minorcans, Translation and Index: Baptisms, 1768-1784, Marriages, 1776-1784 : Roman Catholic Church Records, St. Pedro's Parish Church, New Smyrna (Mosquito) and St. Augustine, East Florida, Leonard Joe McCown; Location: Irving, Texas; Date: 2003;
On-line on Family search: Father Pedro Camps' Golden Book of the Minorcans
Spanish Colonial Records at the University of Florida [website], P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 2010
Florida History Online [website], Schafer, Daniel L., Department of History, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
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22 April 2017