Of course, my novelist's mind immediately starts wondering about Gabriel and Catalina. How did they meet? Was their marriage a happy one? Did they return to Spain or spend their lives in the Florida colony? Imagine if someone had told them that 415 years later, their marriage would be front-page news...
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Twenty-six years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Gabriel Hernandez, a Spanish soldier, married Catalina de Valdez in St. Augustine, Florida. The record of their marriage, handwritten by Father Diego Escobar de Sambrana and dated 1594, is one of the earliest known European documents in the United States. It is one of thousands of church records that chronicle the births, marriages and deaths of the Spanish settlers--missionaries, soldiers, and merchants--who lived in St. Augustine from 1594-1763. Scattered throughout this country and others through the centuries, these documents have recently been gathered and returned to the Diocese of St. Augustine, which is working on digitizing them. You can read the full article about this fascinating project here.
Posted by Julianne Douglas at 8:15 PM