MARTIN MARTINEZ GALLEGOS
Martin Martinez Gallegos was in St. Augustine by July 29, 1743, when
he married Victoria Escalona, an 18- year old widow; Gallegos was 28
years old at the time. There is no information on his occupation at
this time; however on February 11, 1748, he joined the military as an
artilleryman. There were three known children resulting from his
marriage to Victoria: a son, Joaquin, born March 20, 1748, and two
daughters, Rosalia and Francisca. Their birth dates are presently un-
At the time of the Spanish withdrawal in 1763, Gallegos was at least
part-owner of a tabby house located on the southeast corner of St. George
Street and Fort Alley. The question of ownership and/or identity arises
from the entry on the 1764 Puente map for this property: "#75 Casa de
ripio de Juan Garcia Martinez Gallegos 14x71".
It should be noted that all documentary references to Gallegos refer to
him as either Martinez Gallegos or Martin Martinez Gallegos, with the
exception of the Puente entry.
Gallegos and his family left St. Augustine at the end of the first Spanish
W Period and moved to Cuba. He and his wife evidently died there some
time before 1784, as two of his children are heirs to the St. George Street
property by April 24, 1784.
Gallegos' wife, Victoria, had a sister, Lucia Escalona. Lucia, a widow,
returned to St. Augustine in 1784 armed with a power of attorney from the
heirs. Using this, she claimed the lot, evicted a Minorcan, Juan Frias,
who had planted the lot to fruit trees, and built a wooden house. There
is no evidence that she ever compensated the heirs for the lot.
The documentation leaves no doubt that Martin Martinez Gallegos did in
fact own the tabby house known as Puente #75. The unknown quality is
the two name prefix, Juan Garcia, which appears on the Puente key. The
only presently viable explanation for this is that the property was actually
in dual ownership at the time Puente made his map and that Juan Garcia
and Martinez Gallegos held the property jointly.
A search of some of the existing rosters shows that a Juan Garcia was a
soldier in the Second Infantry Company; that he was a native of San Martin
de Havana and that he had been in the army since June 26, 1702. A roster
of 1745 informs us that Garcia was a soldier in Captain Don Sebastian
S Sanchez's company, that he was 62 years old, and gotoso (gouty). Since
there are no other Juan Garcia's listed for this period, we must assume
* that this is-the man whose name appears on the-Puente map.
A possible reconstruction of events that would have made this possible
is as follows:
Gallegos' father was one of a number of reinforcements and replacements
that arrived in St. Augustine around 1740. Gallegos came as a member
of the family. In 1743 he decided to marry Victoria Escalona but did not
have a house. Juan Garcia was a widower with a house and being gouty,
needed someone to look after him. He and Gallegos strike a bargain
whereby Gallegos gets the house when Garcia dies, in exchange for
caring for him. In the meantime, Gallegos is carried as part-owner to
protect his investment.
In 1750 the household would have had the following composition:
1. Martin Martihez Gallegos age 35, artilleryman
2. Victoria Escalona, his wife, age 26
3. Joaquin Martinez, his son, age 2
4. Possibly 2 daughters, ages unknown but less than 8
5. Juan Garcia, age 66, infantryman, an invalid
R. H. Steinbach
15 January 1974