The Brent House
200 W. La Rua
Pensacola, Florida

The F.C. Brent family of Pensacola - Francis Celestino, his wife, Mary Ella, and his children Isabelle (Belle), Catherine, Thomas (Tom), Mary Ella "Mollie" and Celestine - lived on Gregory Street in 1880. Sometime before 1900 the family moved to 108 E. Romana St. This house was one of several in a row which were close together. These houses are gone now, but used to be about where the Pensacola News Journal is located today. I believe the house on the left, with the porch steps is the one the Brents lived in. Close by, at 116 E. Romana, lived Francis Celestino’s mother, Merced Gonzalez Brent, a widow, and some of her grown children, all unmarried: Daniel Gonzalez, Anna Pauline, Catherine Irene, Mary Ella, Mary Bertha, and Robert Johnson.

It was not until about 1908 that the family moved into the house at 200 W. La Rua. Mary Ella had died in 1905, so she never lived in what the family knows as “The Brent House.” It is thought that F.C. Brent, by this time a very successful banker and businessman, bought the house rather than having it built. By the time the family moved to La Rua St., both Tom, the oldest son, and Catherine and Celestine, two of the older daughters, were married and no longer living at home. Still living at home were Belle, Mollie, Francis Celestino Jr. (Tino), Cora, her twin George, Genevieve, Robert, William and Frances, the youngest.

The house had a large porch across the front and two chimneys. There was a large dumbwaiter inside. Years later, Tommie Brent and her cousin Mary Brent, granddaughters of F.C. Brent, took turns riding up and down the dumbwaiter while one of them pulled on the ropes, moving it up and down. There was a large limestone fireplace with the Brent crest and the Brent motto – Silentio et Diligentia – carved into it.

View of the side of the house with a car parked under the porte cochere

Front of house with sun shades helping to keep the house cool. The house faced south.

There was a copper wire phone system in the house and each family member had their own ring. After F.C. Brent died in 1914, various members of the family continued to live there: Belle, Mollie, Frances and Tino. Genevieve married in 1916 and Frances married in 1918. Frances and her husband, Albert Whitted, lived there for several months during the year when they were not living in St. Petersburg. Mollie married in 1921 and George married in 1923. After Albert Whitted was killed in a plane crash in 1923, Frances lived there with her two daughters. After she remarried in 1927, Tino and Belle continued to live there. Robert and his family moved in also. He had gone blind by then. The family was living on the top floor and had had a kitchen put in upstairs.

Tino died in 1929, leaving only Belle and Robert and his family. Some family members wanted to sell the house – this was during the Depression and money was tight for some. In 1932, Frances, her husband Lt. Harold Fick, USN, and family were transferred to Coronado, California. Belle, who never married, was living with the Ficks by then; she lived with them until her death in 1947. Robert and his family moved into the house that the Ficks had been living in in Pensacola on West Brainerd.

The house, finally empty, was put up for sale but, with the economy in the middle of the Depression, the house did not sell. When the United States entered World War II, the house was bought by the USO. Later it was sold to the F.B.O.E. and was the Elks home for many years. It was sold again, this time to the boxer Roy Jones Jr. who used it as a training facility. In 2004, when Hurricane Ivan hit Pensacola and the Gulf Coast, the house sustained much damage. It was then sold, torn down and the site developed into a row of townhouses. Before it was torn down, Brent descendants in the area saved the limestone fireplace and the bricks for later use.

The house in 2005 before being torn down to make way for a townhouse development. In later years the front pillars and porch were removed and other remodeling and Hurricane Ivan turned what had been a beautiful home into a sad shell of its former glory.

The original limestone fireplace, with the crest and family motto. The fireplace was removed and saved from demolition by a Brent descendant.

The animal depicted is a wyvern or wivern, a legendary reptilian creature. The Brent motto was "Silentio et Diligentia." Despite the motto, the Pensacola Brents were not known for their silence.

Related Links
More pictures of the Brent home on La Rua, mostly of the inside
Pictures of the inside of the Brent home on Romana St.

Photographs from the collection of Jean Healy except for the last four photographs taken in 2005 by Genevieve Hamilton, a Brent descendant.

Anne Healy's Genealogy, Created October 2002
Photographs and web page content,Copyright © 2002-, Anne Field, all rights reserved.
Please feel free to link to my web page. For permission to use any pictures or content on my web pages, please email me at

11 Dec 2010
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