Private Miguel Guerrero was born in Minorca ca. 1805. From there he moved to New Orleans. In 1848 he moved to Palmetto, Florida. He was a fisherman.
In 1856, he served as a Private in the state militia, first in Addison’s Company from April 7th, 1856 to October 8th, 1856 and then in Parker’s Company October 8th, 1856 until December 15th, 1856. After his discharge, he returned to Terra Ceia and commercial fishing.
Shortly after his discharge from state service, he met and then married Fredrica Kramer who was from Bavaria. Her aunt, Julia Atzeroth (wife of Joseph Atzeroth, also of Company K), owned a store in Palmetto. Family lore has it that he didn’t speak German and she didn’t speak Spanish, and neither spoke English.
Miguel and Frederica moved from his modest fisherman shack to a small home on the long shell mound facing what is now “Miguel Bay” Their family grew at a rapid pace. Michael was born in 1857, and Frederick in 1859.
He was mustered into Confederate service on April 25th, 1862 when he was enlisted as a Private in Captain Smith’s Company (Key West Avengers), 7th Regiment Florida Infantry by Major R. B. Thomas at Tampa, Florida for a period of 3 years or the war.
He was present on all rolls until November 8th, 1862 when he was reported as absent sick in hospital at Knoxville, Tennessee.
On March 1st, 1863, he was reported as being discharged under Surgeon’s Certificate due to diagnosis of chronic rheumatism and general debility the result of age.
On this certificate, he is described as being 58 years of age, 5’ 6” high, dark complexion, gray eyes, light hair, and by occupation a fisherman when enlisted. He was discharged from service on March 9th, 1863 while his company was stationed at Watauga Bridge, Tennessee.
Returning to Terra Ceia, Manuel resumed his livelihood of fishing. Frederica bore three more children; Christopher on June 1st, 1864, Robert in 1866, and Mary in 1868. Shortly following Mary’s birth, yellow fever struck the family, killing Michael (11) and Fredrick (9). Miguel and Frederica buried their small bodies in the shell mound. Following the solemn service, Miguel had to leave on an extended fishing trip. When he returned, he found his wife dead; she was lying in bed next to her new baby. Miguel was not well himself. He, too, had been stricken with the fever. The two young boys were running around outside disoriented and hungry. They were confused; they didn’t understand why their mother wasn’t responding to them or where the two oldest children had gone.
Miguel couldn’t communicate with them. The extended fishing trip had left him weak. He was too faint to bury Frederica, or take a rowboat to the mainland and get help. He laid down next to his beloved wife, waiting to join her in the afterlife.
Asa Bishop (also of Company K), of Bishop’s Point in Palma Sola, eventually came sailing by. He was in a neighborly mood when he stopped in to discover the dire situation. He helped Miguel bury Frederica in the shell mound. According to an interview conducted by the Manatee County Historic Society, his son claimed he eventually caught the two boys in a castnet. He then loaded Miguel and the three children in his boat and carried them to his home. Miguel and the baby eventually died.
Reverend Edmund Lee (also of Company K) and his wife Electa of the Village of Manatee adopted Christopher, changing his name to Edmund Miguel Guerro Lee, or E.M. Lee as he was called.
Mary and John Fogarty adopted Robert. Robert was renamed Robert Guerro Fogarty. Both children quickly learned to speak English in their new homes.
After extensive searching as an adult, Robert Guerro Fogarty found his biological mother’s grave on a creek embankment near the original home. He moved her remains to Palmetto Cemetery.
Edmund M. Lee lived with his adopted family until he returned to Terra Ceia in 1892 to claim his portion of the Guerro homestead. He was a farmer and considered to be an expert in the art of making castnets. He lived in the Terra Ceia/Rubonia area until his death in 1940. He is buried in the Gillett Cemetery.