Frederick Tresca, born in 1803, was originally from France. He was a ship captain in the Gulf. Because he conducted business along the waterways of Florida’s West coast, he befriended many Seminole Indians, including Chief Billy Bowlegs. Capt. Tresca was keeper of the Egmont Key lighthouse during the Second Seminole War and the government’s efforts to remove the Seminoles from Manatee after the wars. He was known to have been sympathetic to Seminole’s cause. He married Louisa Wyatt Ware in 1853, and had a son and a daughter.
Capt. Tresca also played a part in the escape of Confederate Secretary of State Benjamin. Benjamin stayed with Tresca and his family for about a month. While there, Louisa sewed pleats into Benjamin's vest and waistband to conceal gold coins. Tresca and others formulated a plan for Benjamin’s escape. Ezekiel Glazier drove a wagon from the Tresca home to Sarasota. Benjamin hid in the wagon under a load of freshly butchered beef covered with palmetto leaves. In Sarasota, Tresca and Hiram McLeod took Benjamin aboard their sixteen-foot open sloop and quietly slipped out of Whitaker Bayou on June 23, 1865. They deposited Benjamin in Bimini on July 10. Sec. Benjamin later sent ten yards of black silk, braid and buttons to the Tresca family. Capt. Tresca died in 1883. In 1943, a Liberty Ship sponsored by his great granddaughter, Lt. Virginia P. Tresca, was named in his honor.
Although many theories exist, it is not known where Frederick Tresca is buried.
Left to Right:
Ugenia Tresca - Grave # 74
Louisa Tresca - Grave # 76 (1973, Courtesy of Manatee County Public Library Historical Digital Collections.)
Louisa Tresca - Grave # 76
All images taken by MVHP staff in 2022 unless otherwise noted.