|Death: ||Jun. 30, 1859|
Manuel, as he was known, was born in late 1795 in Saint Augustine, East Florida, New Spain (now Saint Augustine, Saint Johns County, Florida, USA). It is believed that he was christened at the Catedral de la Habana in Havana, Island of Cuba, Indies of Sevilla, New Spain (now Havana, La Habana, Cuba).
In the Spring of 1813, he was serving as a soldier in the 3rd Battalion of the Infantry Regiment of Cuba. He and his father were both assigned to the Desengaño Detachment (Destacamento del Desengaño). After they fell ill, they were reassigned to Saint Augustine. His father returned to Saint Augustine in May and Manuel in June.
As early as 1815, Manuel was working as a military legal clerk in Saint Augustine. By March 10, 1820, he held the rank of sublieutenant. In July 1820, he was assigned to the position of acting superintendent general in the absence of José Lubian. And later, he served as acting foreman from November 7, 1820, until April 14, 1821.
He married Juana Justa Germana Marín on April 25, 1821, at the Parish of Saint Augustine. He and "Jane" have nine children: 1 boy and 8 girls.
The Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, ceding West and East Florida to the United States, was ratified by Spain in 1820 and the United States on July 10, 1821. Afterwards, the 3rd Battalion was recalled to Havana, Cuba. Manuel chose to end his service in the Spanish military and remain in Saint Augustine. West and East Florida were united on March 20, 1822, to form the new U.S. Florida Territory. In 1824, Tallahassee became the new capital (formerly the capitals were Pensacola for West Florida and Saint Augustine for East Florida).
In 1831, Manuel with his daughters Celestina and Antonia, traveled to Havana, Cuba, to visit his father Blas Crespo. After the visit, they returned to the mainland aboard the Manuelita, arriving in New Orleans on April 18, 1831, then continuing on to Saint Augustine.
On January 13, 1836, Manuel was a lieutenant in Company D of the Saint Augustine Guards. He reached the rank of Captain sometime before retiring from military service.
On August 29, 1839, a petition was sent to the Florida Territorial Congress requesting that Florida be divided again into West and East. Manuel Crespo was among the signers.
After the passing of his sister María (in 1831) and her husband (in 1839), their children moved into Manuel's home and he raised them as if they were his own. This brought the number of children in his house to about fifteen. On November 13, 1840, he was elected alderman and was re-elected on November 13, 1841, and again on November 19, 1842. In 1841, Manuel owned a retail store at 53 Marine Street.
On August 14, 1843, the Mayor and Council of St. Augustine sent a letter to John Spencer, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, imploring him to provide maritime protection for the residents against Indians and abolitionists absconding with their slaves. Manuel was one of the council members.
A petition was sent, on February 28, 1845, to the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States requesting that "fifteen sections of land" be granted to the Catholic Church of St Augustine for the purpose of building a college. Among the list of petitioners were four wardens of the Roman Catholic Church of St Augustine, one of whom was Manuel Crespo. Florida became the 27th state on March 3, 1845.
Not long before midnight on July 23, 1845, a fire broke out in Saint Augustine. There was no fire department and the citizens did their best to battle the blaze. The flames reached Manuel's home and part of it took fire. Manuel threw bundles of clothing over his balcony to the street below. He also threw a package of money. After successfully extinguishing the fire, Manuel went after the bundles and the package only to discover that they were gone.
In 1848, he served as port warden, and was elected alderman again in November 1848. In 1850, he was operating a family store on the corner of Charlotte and Bridge streets.
Sometime in the early 1850s, Manuel left the Roman Catholic Church and converted to the Episcopalian faith. In 1852, he was a member of St John's Lodge No. 12 and was a captain in the York Rite Guard (then a part of Knights Templar). It isn't known when he joined Freemasonry, but it may have been around 1840.
In 1854, Sabina went to court in an effort to retain a young black man as her slave and not have him used as payment toward her ex-husband's debt. Although her father Manuel testified in her behalf, the Florida Supreme Court ruled against her.
Manuel and his wife, and his daughter Rufina, moved from Saint Augustine to Jacksonville in 1855 or 1856. In 1856, he was a member of the Royal Arch Masons, Jacksonville No. 12. Members also included Paul B Canova, who married his daughter Celestina, and George Flagg, who married his daughter Catalina.
-Cause of death: Bowel Inflammation
It is believed that burial in the Huguenot Cemetery was made available due to his Masonic affiliation.
His probate was filed by his son-in-law Pablo Bartola Canova on December 12, 1860. According to those papers, Manuel died at the age of 64.
[Note: Some have suggested that Manuel's middle name is Carmen. This is incorrect. Carmen, in Spanish culture, is strictly a female name.]
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(bio by: Raymond B.)
Blas Crespo (1778 - 1853)
Catalina María Gracía Étien Crespo (1780 - 1802)
Juana Justa Germána Marín Crespo (1801 - 1868)
Celestina Vicenta Crespo Canova (1822 - 1902)*
Antonia Máxima Crespo Rice (1826 - ____)*
María Anastacía Crespo May (1828 - 1876)*
Sabina Crespo Devine (1830 - 1912)*
Cornelia Gregoría Crespo (1832 - ____)*
Catalina Alicía Silvía Crespo Graybill (1834 - 1911)*
Florentina Balvina Crespo Culp (1837 - 1860)*
Rufina Dominga Crespo Marvin (1841 - ____)*
Manuel León Crespo (1844 - ____)*
Emanuel C Crespo (1795 - 1859)
María del Carmen Crespo Solana (1797 - 1831)*
To the memory of
June 30, 1859
Et. 63 Yrs.
Note: Interment - July 1, 1859
St. Johns County
Plot: Row 9, Grave 16.
Maintained by: Raymond B.
Originally Created by: Kimberly Nolan-Redfearn
Record added: Jul 01, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 14792282
Alton & Loudonia
Added: Oct. 9, 2011
According to cemetery history, he was the only Spaniard buried in this cemetery. He was an educated man from a good family.|
J.A. & D.S.
Added: Jul. 3, 2009