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
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
Sanchez's company, that he was 62 years old, and gotoso (gouty). Since
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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 Martinez 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
Further Information on the
Martinez Gallegos House
In the course of research on the property owners of St. Augustine
at the end of the First Spanish Period, I have discovered additional facts
about the family of Martin Martinez Gallegos. The three children cited in
R. H. Steinbach's report of January, 1974, are the ones that survived.
There were at least two other children, who were buried only four days
apart in September, 1751.1 By that time, the unfortunate Martinez Gallegos
was a widower, for his wife Victoria Escalona had died in November of the
previous year. 2 For several years he remained single, but by 1762 he had
taken another wife, one Isabel Serrano, identified in the baptismal registers
as a native of Germany. 3She had most likely come to St. Augustine either
as a member of the shipload of Swiss who were wrecked off St. Augustine in
the 1740's or as one of a group of German Catholics who had come from the
English colonies in 1756. How she acquired her Hispanic surname is unknown.
Possibly it was an approximate Spanish equivalent; possibly it was acquired
by adoption, or from a godparent. Since no record of this marriage was
found, it must have occurred after 1756, for the marriage records of
Spaniards from 1756 to 1763 are missing. We have no idea of the number
of children born to this marriage, only that a daughter Isabel was baptized
Overton G. Ganong
September 15, 1974
1. Cathedral Parish Registers, Burials, 1751, p. 144
2. Ibid., 1750, p. 134.
3. Ibid., Baptisms, 1762, p. 112.
1. 1 *"