Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Probably Killed by Iroquois – Louis Gasnier

B. Sep 1612 in Igé, Perche, France
M. 11 Jun 1638 in Igé, Perche, France
Wife: Marie-Madeleine Michel
D. (probably) June 1661 in Iroquois country south of Quebec

There is a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest Louis Gasnier was the victim of a brutal death at the hand of raiding Indians. He was born in  Igé, France, a village in Perche, on or about September 13, 1612. His parents were Louis Gasnier and Marie-Marguerite Launay, and he had at least three brothers. We know that Louis was literate because he signed many documents as an adult, and he did so with a flourish in his signature.

When Louis was in his 20s, he worked at a mill with his father. On June 11, 1638, he married Marie-Madeleine Michel at St-Martin-du-vieux-Belleme in Igé. They had a son born the following year, who died young, and a daughter born in 1642. Then in about 1644, Louis and his family migrated to Quebec. The family grew in Quebec with the births of seven more children between 1644 and 1659.

The first place where Louis settled in Quebec was Cap-Tourmente, located on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River near the eastern end of Ile-d’Orleans. Cap-Tourmente was originally set up as a farm by Samuel de Champlain in 1626 to use as a source of food for the fledgling Quebec colony. The farm was attacked and destroyed by the English in 1628; after France regained control of their colonies, the farm was rebuilt, and in 1646, Louis signed a lease to live there for six years. Before that time was up, on October 6, 1650, he was also granted land of his own in the settlement of Beaupré. His property included 5 arpents of river frontage (about 367 feet) and had a length of four and a half miles. By 1653, Louis built a house and the family moved in.

About eight years later, Louis disappeared from the records, and it’s believed he was among of a group of 8 people who were captured in a raid by some Iroquois on the morning of June 18, 1661. The settlers were forcibly taken to the tribe’s village near Lake Champlain in what is now New York. There the victims were tortured, then killed; one of them was known to have been beaten with “clubs and iron rods” before being scalped by the Iroquois.

On July 14th, Louis’ estate was inventoried, and because an inventory for a known victim of the Iroquois massacre was done the same day, it’s a clue that Louis suffered the same fate. Louis’ possessions at the time of his death included livestock, farm equipment and a small boat. His wife Marie-Madeleine remarried in 1666. She died in 1687.

Louis’ children spelled the family name as Gagné. Other variations were Gagnier and Gagner. Louis was the 9G grandfather of Celine Dion.

1. Louis Gasnier — B. Sep 1639, Saint-Côsme-de-Vair, Perche, France; D. young

2. Louise Gagne — B. Jan 1642, Igé, Perche, France; D. Apr 1721, Saint-François-Xavier-de-la-Petite-Riviére, Quebec; M. Claude Bouchard (~1626-1699), 25 May 1654, Quebec City, Quebec

3. Marie Gasnier — B. 5 Sep 1644, Quebec City, Quebec; D. 18 Nov 1717, Beaupré, Quebec; M. (1) Andre Berthelot (1640-1687), 26 Jan 1659, Quebec City, Quebec; (2) Jacques Abelin (~1644-1704), 30 Jul 1690, Beaupré, Quebec

4. Pierre Gagné — B. 27 Mar 1647, Quebec; D. 25 May 1714, Cap-Saint-Ignace, Quebec; M. Louise Faure (~1636-1714), 28 Oct 1668, Quebec

5. Olivier Gagné — B. 7 May 1649, Cap-Tourmente, Quebec; D. before Jul 1738, (probably Ile-d’Orleans, Quebec; M. Elizabeth Pépin (1662-1738), 8 Nov 1679, Ile-d’Orleans, Quebec

6. Louis Gagné — B. 7 Jul 1651,Quebec; M. Marie Gagnon (1659-1722), 9 Feb 1678, Château-Richer, Quebec

7. Anne Gagné — B. 27 Oct 1653, Quebec; M. François Normand Lacroix (1641-1710), 11 Sep 1670, Beaupré, Quebec

8. Ignace Gagné — B. 12 Mar 1656, Quebec; D. 20 Jul 1702, Quebec City, Quebec; M. Louise Tremblay, 6 Nov 1689, LAnge-Gardien, Quebec

9. Joachim Gagné — B. 1659; D. 7 Feb 1688, Quebec; M. Therese-Louise Marcoux (1667-1735), 12 Jan 1682, Beauport, Quebec

Dictionnaire généalogique des familles canadiennes depuis la fondation de la colonie jusqu'à nos jours, Cyprien Tanguay, 1890
Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1997
Our French-Canadian Ancestors, Gerard Lebel (translated by Thomas J. Laforest), 1990
Gagnier (Gagne) History Web Site, by Rev. John F. Gagnier

Monday, May 21, 2018

Flemish Carpenter in Quebec – Joseph Vandendaigue

B. 1653 in Brussels, Spanish Netherlands
M. 18 Apr 1678 in Quebec City, Quebec
Wife: Marie-Louise Chalifour
D. 10 Jan 1725 in Charlesbourg, Quebec

Joseph Vandendaigue was of a small percentage of Quebec settlers who didn’t come from France. He was born in Brussels in about 1653, which was then a part of the Spanish Netherlands. Ethnically, it was in the heart of Flanders, and Joseph’s family had the Dutch name of Van Den Dyck. His father’s name was Josse or Joseph and his mother was Madeleine Dubois, but nothing else is known of them.

Joseph had at least a basic education and learned the trade of carpentry. Around the time he was starting to make a living, war broke out between the Netherlands and several other countries, and by 1675, France had control of Brussels. It was around then that Joseph was recruited to migrate to Quebec, possibly by Jesuits who were looking for good artisans to work in the colony. So Joseph boarded a ship for a new life in America.

Once in Quebec, Joseph changed his name to Vandendaigue, and he settled in Beauport, a district in the Quebec City area. On April 18, 1678, he married Marie-Louise Chalifour. She brought a large dowry of £2,500 into the marriage, which included land and a house. Later that year, she gave birth to a baby girl. They had six daughters and one son born between 1678 and 1693; two of the girls died as infants.

The rest of Joseph’s life was spent applying his carpentry skills to the construction of homes; it’s likely that he made interior woodwork and cabinetry rather than framework construction. In July 1715, when he was in his early 60s, he received custody of his oldest daughter’s children after they were orphaned. The five grandchildren ranged in age from 2 to 15.

Jospeh died in Charlesbourg, Quebec on January 10, 1725. His wife Marie-Louise lived another ten years, passing away in 1735. Both are buried at Saint-Charles Borromée Cemetery in Charlesbourg.

1. Jaquette Vandandaigue — B. 27 Dec 1678, Quebec City, Quebec; D. 24 Apr 1714, Quebec City, Quebec; M. Pierre Boutillet (~1676-1715), 5 Oct 1699, Beauport, Quebec

2. Marie-Anne Vandandaigue — B. 12 Jan 1680, Quebec City, Quebec; D. 31 Mar 1752, Montreal, Quebec; M. (1) Antoine Bourg Lachapelle (~1662-1729), 26 Nov 1696, Beauport, Quebec; (2) Pierre Thibault Leveilé (1688-1747), 6 Oct 1732, St-Laurent, Quebec

3. Claude Vandandaigue — B. 2 May 1682, Quebec City, Quebec; D. 10 Mar 1752, St-François-de-Sale, Ile Jésus, Quebec; M. Marie Brideault (1691-?), 5 Nov 1708, Beauport, Quebec

4. Jeanne Vandandaigue — B. Mar 1684, Quebec City, Quebec; D. 11 Sep 1684, Quebec City, Quebec

5. Marie-Charlotte Vandandaigue — B. 29 Jun 1685, Beauport, Quebec; D. 8 Oct 1727, Montreal, Quebec; M. Jean-Baptiste Dugas (~1670-1758), 9 Jan 1708, Beauport, Quebec

6. Louise Vandandaigue — B. 23 Mar 1687, Beauport, Quebec; D. Oct 1725, Montreal, Quebec; M. (1) Jacques Gervais (~1677-1708), 17 Nov 1704, Beauport, Quebec; (2) Jean Étienne Boutin (1684-?), 14 Nov 1712, Beauport, Quebec; (3) François Lefebvre (1679-1727), 17 Jan 1718, La Pairie, Quebec

7. Marguerite Vandandaigue — B. 7 Apr 1693, Beauport, Quebec; D. 1693, Beauport, Quebec

Dictionnaire généalogique des familles canadiennes depuis la fondation de la colonie jusqu'à nos jours, Cyprien Tanguay, 1890
Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1997

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Main Inhabitant on a Maine Island – John Dollen

B. about 1626 in (probably) England
M. (1) about 1658
Wife: (probably) Sarah Gridley
M. (2) before 1700
Wife: Mary Waters
D. after 1706 in (probably) Boston, Massachusetts

The life of John Dollen is tied to the early history of Pemaquid, Maine, a settlement established in 1631, and of Monhegan Island, 12 miles off the coast. These places were not part of a Puritan colony; they were founded by Englishmen interested in fishing and fur trading. Because they were so remote, neither place had much protection from invasion. In addition, Monhegan Island was exposed to pirates who sometimes attacked and plundered it.

Into this wild place came John Dollen (also spelled Darling), an Englishman born in about 1626. How exactly he migrated to Pemaquid, whether he moved directly from England, or from one of the American colonies, isn’t known. By the 1650s, he was married to a woman who was believed to be Sarah Gridley of Boston. Together, they had several children that included three daughters. In around 1656, John purchased most of Monhegan Island (totaling 400 acres) from Thomas Elbridge, a son of one of the original patent holders. He paid for the land with three gallons of liquor, presumably a valuable thing in 17th century Maine.

For the next 20 or so years, John seems to have divided his time between Pemaquid and Monhegan, but became more identified with the island. He was said to be the “principal inhabitant” of Monhegan. His primary occupation was as fisherman, but he also ran a tavern on the island (in the records it was called a "house of public entertainment"). It's likely that the tavern served men passing through on ships.

In 1675, Pemaquid was drawn into King Philip’s War which was playing out to the south in Massachusetts. John served as a sergeant under Thomas Gardiner in a company called the “Devonshire Militia.” Pemaquid was vulnerable because it was so far away from major English settlements, and the Indians could easily raid the town. Tensions rose after one English ship owner tried to enslave some Indians, causing the Indians to attack Pemaquid. It was said that the town was “enveloped in one devouring mass of flame.”

John was among the people who returned to Pemaquid in 1678 to rebuild it. He was made constable of Monehgan and a justice of the sessions court. Ten years later, another war broke out, this time with France. Once again the Maine coast was targeted by enemies, and in August 1689, the French and Indians destroyed Pemaquid, killing and capturing the people who lived there. John’s married daughter Grace was one of the victims who was hauled away by the Indians; her young daughter was probably murdered.

It’s believed that in his old age John moved away from Pemaquid and Monhegan. His first wife had died and at some point he married a woman named Mary Waters. John was listed as living in Boston in 1700 and 1706. His second wife’s death was recorded at Boston on November 4, 1717, and John had died maybe several years before she did.

Children by (probably) Sarah Gridley:
1. Grace Dollen — B. 1659, Pemaquid, Maine; D. 19 Jan 1734, Flatbush, New York; M. Denys Hegeman, about 1680, (probably) Pemaquid, Maine

2. Joanna Dollen — M. (1) Reynald Kelly; (2) James Mander

3. Patience Dollen — M. Walter Mander

Letter from Maine Historical Society librarian, Marian B. Rowe, 12 Jul 1949
Soldiers in King Philip’s War, George Madison Bodge, 1906
Genealogy website of John Blythe Dobson

Deaf Farmer in the Midwest – Jackson Sutherlin

B. about 1815 in (probably) Putnam County, Indiana
M. 17 Jan 1838 in Putnam County, Indiana
Wife: Mary Fleming
D. (probably) 1879 in Merriam, Kansas

Jackson Sutherlin spent most of his adult life farming in Missouri and Kansas. His date of birth and parents’ names are unknown, but he was born in Indiana sometime between 1812 and 1819. With a name like Jackson, he may have been born around the time Andrew Jackson became a national hero after the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Jackson likely grew up in Putnam County given that he was married there, and that he lived there in 1840. The name Sutherlin (also spelled Sutherland or Southerland) was common in parts of Indiana. The family originated from Virginia, and no doubt Jackson was part of this clan.

All of the documentation about Jackson’s life comes from census records and his marriage record. From some censuses, we can tell that he was illiterate, so he almost certainly received no education. It’s also noted on an 1860 listing that he was deaf. The 1840 census has a mark in a column saying someone in his household was blind. It seems likely that a mistake was made and the mark should have gone in the deaf column; we know that the three people in his household weren’t blind. If it’s true he was deaf in 1840, he had a hearing problem at a young age, and possibly from birth.

Jackson married Mary Fleming on January 17, 1838. Mary gave birth to a daughter in 1840, followed by three more girls, then three boys, with the youngest born in 1859. One of the girls seems to have died as a child. Jackson started out with a farm in Putnam County, but by 1844, had moved to Missouri, and in 1850, was living in Holt County.

To be hearing impaired must have been a hardship for a man operating a farm in the 19th century and Jackson moved around a lot. In about 1854, he returned to Indiana for maybe a couple of years, but was back in Missouri by 1859. The 1860 census has him listed twice — once in Anderson County, Kansas, and a few weeks later in Lexington, Missouri. Finally by 1865, Jackson was in Johnson County, Kansas. From the census records, it appears that he never owned the land that he worked and his personal wealth was small.

The area of the country where Jackson lived was a violent place. Northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas were hotbeds of sentiment regarding the issue of slavery.  During the late 1850s and early 1860s, the family was surrounded by acts of terror that took place between pro- and anti-slavery gangs. This must have been a difficult environment for a man trying to run a farm and raise a family.

The last census that lists Jackson was in 1865 in Kansas. His three sons attended school that year, and the household also included his married daughter Elizabeth with her baby son Thomas. There is no listing for the family 1870, but it’s believed they continued to live in Johnson County, Kansas. Jackson was said to have died in the town of Merriam in 1879. According to the story, he was struck by a train and killed because he was deaf and couldn’t hear it coming. His wife Mary survived him by many years, dying in 1907 in Oklahoma.

1. Sarah Ann Sutherlin — B. 16 Feb 1840, (probably) Putnam County, Indiana; D. 26 Jan 1901, Payne County, Oklahoma; M. Thomas Jefferson Nail (1833-1902), 3 Oct 1859, Westport, Missouri

2. Elizabeth C. Sutherlin — B. about 1844, Missouri; D. about 1869, Kansas; M. (1) Simon C. Carey (~1844-1865), 24 Dec 1863, Ray County, Missouri; (2) James Hiram Hampton (~1834-1893), 13 Aug 1868, Allen County, Kansas

3. Susan Sutherlin — B. about 1846, Missouri

4. Catherine Sutherlin — B. about 1848, Missouri; D. (probably) young

5. Andrew Jackson Sutherlin — B. about 1852, Missouri

6. James Madison Sutherlin — B. 22 Apr 1854, Indiana; D. 18 Jan 1948, Grady County, Oklahoma; M. Sarah Margaret Smith (1861-1933), about 1877

7. William M. Sutherlin — B. Sep 1859, Missouri

Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007
1840, 1850, & 1860 U.S. Census records
1865 Kansas Census
Rootsweb message boards: Carey, Sutherlin

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Adultery & Divorce in Early New England – Sarah Wilcox

B. 3 Oct 1648 in Hartford, Connecticut
M. (1) about 1668 in (probably) Hartford, Connecticut
Husband: Thomas Long
M: (2) 3 Oct 1684
Husband: David Ensign
D. 3 Feb 1718

Something unusual happened to Sarah Wilcox in 17th century Connecticut: she became divorced. She was born in Hartford on October 3, 1648 to John Wilcox and Sarah Wadsworth. Sarah was the only child of the couple and her mother died within two weeks of her birth.

Sarah’s father remarried three times giving her ten half-siblings. One of Sarah’s step-mothers brought children from a previous husband into the marriage, and when Sarah came of age, she married one of them. His name was Thomas Long and he was technically her step-brother. The wedding took place by about 1668, and on August 31, 1669, Sarah gave birth to a son. By early 1679, she had five more children.

Then Sarah met a married man by the name of David Ensign and began “keeping company” with him. Adultery was a crime in colonial New England and subject to prosecution in court, so they were risking a lot with their actions. In 1679, both were charged with having sexual relations on many occasions, suggesting that they were serious about each other, and likely in love. On September 4, 1679, Sarah and David were each arrested and charged with “accompanying together in a secret manner and in an obscure place.” Two weeks later, Sarah’s husband Thomas put up his property as bond in order to get her released from jail.

After getting out of prison, Sarah apparently continued her affair with David. In 1681, Thomas sued for divorce on the grounds that Sarah was guilty of adultery, and the divorce was granted on December 15th. She had to wait for another year and a half for David to be divorced from his wife. Soon after, the two lovers married, and in 1688, she had a baby boy.

Within a couple of years, Thomas and the former wife of David each married new spouses. Everyone continued to live in Hartford; it isn’t known in which household Sarah’s older children were raised. She remained with David for the rest of her life, dying on February 3, 1718. David died in 1727 at the age of 83.

Children by Thomas Long:
1. Joseph Long — B. 31 Aug 1669, Hartford, Connecticut; M. Martha Smith (1674-?)

2. William Long — B. 4 Feb 1671, Hartford, Connecticut; D. Jul 1740, Coventry, Connecticut; M. Mary Henbury (1672-1759), 1701, Hartford, Connecticut

3. Jerusha Long — B. 1672, Hartford, Connecticut; D. 11 Jan 1723, Hartford, Connecticut

4. Sarah Long — B. 1673, East Greenwich, Rhode Island; D. Mar 1756, Morris County, New Jersey; M. (1) John Colver, 30 Jun 1695, Groton, Connecticut; (2) Emmanuel Rouse, 2 Sep 1711, East Greenwich, Rhode Island

5. Mary Long — B. 1676, Hartford, Connecticut; M. Ephraim Bushnell, 9 Nov 1697, Old Saybrook, Connecticut

6. Hannah Long — B. 26 Feb 1679, Saybrook Point, Connecticut; M. Simon Large (~1670-~1702), 24 Jun 1700, Saybrook, Connecticut; (2) Jonathan Moore (1679-1770), 9 Jan 1705

Children by David Ensign:

1. David Ensign — B. 10 Oct 1688, Hartford, Connecticut; D. 4 Dec 1759, Hartford, Connecticut; M. (1) Hannah Smith (1689-1719), 16 May 1709, Hartford, Connecticut; (2) Sarah Moody (1702-1776), 29 Apr 1726

New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, Volume 2, William Richard Cutter, 1913
Women Before the Bar; Gender, Law and Society in Connecticut, 1639-1789, Cornelia Hughes Dayton, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Arranging a Prenup in 1641 – Mary ______

B. about 1615 in England
M. (1) date and place unknown
Husband: Thomas Horton
M. (2) 1641 in Springfield, Massachusetts
Husband: Robert Ashley
D. 19 Sep 1683 in Springfield, Massachusetts

This is the story of a woman whose life before her marriage is completely unknown, but her later life is somewhat well-documented. Her name was Mary and she came from England in the 1630s to settle in the Connecticut River Valley. It isn’t known if she arrived with her parents, or if she was already married to her husband, Thomas Horton. He was one of the earliest settlers of Springfield, Massachusetts, and was there by 1636. Mary had two sons with him, one born in about 1638 and the other in about 1640.

Thomas died in 1641, and Mary was on her own with two small children, so she needed to marry another man. But her husband didn’t leave her penniless; she had their house and 15 acres of land. While offering this to a new husband, she wanted to make sure that her sons were the beneficiaries of the inheritance, so she had her wishes put in writing in what we would consider today as a prenuptial agreement. By August 7th, she became engaged to Robert Ashley, an unmarried settler of Springfield, and the prenup was recorded in town records. The founder of Springfield, William Pynchon, recorded the arrangement and signed his name to it. In it, Mary agreed to give Robert possession of the house, property and all of her goods in return for the promise to pay her sons £15 when they each came of legal age. In addition, Robert was to use the profits from the farm to provide educations for the boys, and apprenticeships if they wanted to learn a trade.

Before her marriage, Mary appeared again in town records, cited for having sold a gun to an Indian. Such transactions were strictly forbidden in New England towns because of the potential danger of arming people who might turn hostile. When Mary was brought before authorities, she said she didn’t know she had broken the law and promised to get the gun back. The court told her if she didn’t retrieve the gun, she would be punished. Presumably she was able to get her gun back because there was no further record of the case.

Mary married Robert Ashely probably in the fall of 1641, and the following June, she gave birth to twins, one of whom didn’t survive. She went on to have four more children with the youngest born in 1652. Mary and Robert ran a tavern from about 1646 to 1660. On June 27, 1655, the town leaders issued an order that they not sell “wine or strong waters” to the Indians. At the time they didn’t even have a license to sell liquor, but the order authorized them to serve alcohol to “English” patrons only.

Mary was often mentioned in town records alongside her husband, so it’s likely she played an active role in their business. It was also noted that although Robert couldn’t sign his name, Mary could write “fairly well.” She got involved in financial matters, too. Robert used his own labor to pay for transactions at the town store, a not uncommon practice in the days before there was formal currency. On October 10, 1656, Mary disputed a transaction with the man who ran the store, sending one of her boys to say that two days of labor from her 11-year-old son were not accounted for.

Decades before the Salem witch trials, Springfield had some witch trials of its own, and the people who were accused were among the Ashley tavern’s clientele: Hugh and Mary Parsons. During one of the hearings on February 27, 1650, Mary Ashley gave testimony, reporting about a conversation she had with Mary Parsons when she had visited the Ashley tavern recently. The case centered around the death of one of the Parson children and whether the parents were guilty of witchcraft. As in Salem, the accusations started amongst townspeople who judged their behavior to be strange and suspicious. The Parsons were eventually acquitted.

After 1660, Mary and Robert built a new house on the western bank of the Connecticut River in a location that was more protected from flooding than where they had been living. They remained at their new home for the rest of their lives; Robert died in 1682 and Mary passed away on September 19, 1683.

Mary’s descendants include Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Rutherford B. Hayes, J.P, Morgan, Clint Eastwood and Bess Truman.

Children by Thomas Horton:
1. Jeremiah Horton — B. about 1638, (probably) Springfield, Massachusetts; D. 18 Aug 1682, Springfield, Massachusetts; M. (1) Mary Gibbard (1644-?); (2) Ruth Ely (1641-1662), 3 Aug 1661, Springfield, Massachusetts; (3) Mary Wright

2. Thomas Horton — B. about 1640, Springfield, Massachusetts; D. 8 Mar 1716, Rehoboth, Massachusetts; M. Sarah

Children by David Ashely:
1. David Ashley — B. 3 Jun 1642, Springfield, Massachusetts; D. 8 Dec 1718, Springfield, Massachusetts; M. Hannah Glover (1646-1722), 24 Nov 1663, New Haven, Connecticut

2. Mary Ashley — B. 3 Jun 1642, Springfield, Massachusetts; D. 3 Jun 1642, Springfield, Massachusetts

3. Mary Ashley — B. 6 Feb 1643, Springfield, Massachusetts; D. 9 Mar 1701, Farmington, Massachusetts; M. John Root, 18 Oct 1664

4. Jonathan Ashley — B. 25 Feb 1645, Springfield, Massachusetts; D. Feb 1705, Hartford, Connecticut; M. Sarah Wadsworth (1649-1705), 10 Nov 1669, Springfield, Massachusetts

5. Sarah Ashley — B. 23 Aug 1648, Springfield, Massachusetts; 18 May 1698, Connecticut; M. Philip Lewis (~1646-1724), 1669, Hartford, Connecticut

6. Joseph Ashley — B. 6 Jul 1652, Springfield, Massachusetts; D. 18 May 1698, Springfield, Massachusetts; M. Mary Parsons (1661-1711), 16 Oct 1685, Springfield, Massachusetts


The Ashley Genealogy, Francis Bacon Trowbridge, 1896
“Robert Ashely,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Henry Fritz-Gilbert Waters, 1879

Monday, May 14, 2018

Bridging a French and Indian Culture – Agnes Richard

B. 5 Jul 1719 in Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec
M. (1) about 1735
Husband: François Godere
M. (2) 8 Aug 1756 in Poste Vincennes, New France
Husband: Jean-Baptiste Vaudry
D. before 1778 in Poste Vincennes

Agnes Richard had two heritages and she lived amongst both of them. She was born in Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec on July 5, 1719 to Jean-Baptiste Richard and Marie-Anne You. Her father was an interpreter of Native American language who spent time in the Illinois country, and her mother was a half-breed woman of the Miami tribe. They had married in Montreal and already had a one-year-old girl when Agnes was born; later, they had a son.

When Agnes was about three-years-old, her father went to Fort Ouiatenon to work as a blacksmith. Men didn’t usually bring their families to such places, but Agnes’ mother wanted to return to her people, so special permission was granted. The family loaded up canoes and made the journey up the St. Lawrence, across the lengths of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, and up the Maumee River, finally arriving at the fort on the Wabash River. Typically such a journey took at least 2 months. Parts of the trip required portages where the family traveled on foot; it’s likely that young Agnes had to walk for at least some of the distance. Agnes spent the rest of her life in the Illinois country, and she probably never again visited the Montreal area.

Agnes’ new home was a fur trading outpost that was set up next to the Indian village, probably where her mother had grown up. A small fort was built in 1717 by a group of French men that included Agnes’ father, and during time the family settled there, it was a lively place. There were houses within the fort and many more just outside of it. Every year, French men and Indians from other places would gather at Ouiatenon to trade furs and goods. The population grew to as much as 3,000 people during the 1740s, and was said to be made up of French, Indians and people of mixed blood. Agnes likely received no education, as she was unable to sign her name as an adult.

When she was still a teen, Agnes married a French man named François Godere. There is no record of her marriage, or of the births of her children, but later records of her children as adults establish a timeline. Between about 1736 and about 1752, she gave birth to five sons followed by three daughters, with two of the girls dying young. One of the girls drowned in the Wabash River in 1750, “15 leagues” from Poste Vincennes, and she was buried at the church there. Agnes and her husband were described in the burial record as being residents of Ouiatenon, but at some point soon after, the family relocated to Vincennes.

During the mid-1750s, Agnes’ husband François died, and on August 8, 1756, she married Jean-Baptiste Vaudry at St. Francis Xavier church in Vincennes. She must have been far along in a pregnancy at her wedding since she gave birth to a daughter two months later. Agnes had two more children, with the youngest born in 1761. Jean-Baptiste served as an interpreter at a meeting with Indian tribe leaders in 1775 and was one of the signers of the Vincennes oath of allegiance to America in 1778, but Agnes had died by that time.

Children by François Godere:
1. Rene Godere – B. about 1736, Ouiatenon, New France; D. 9 Feb 1793, Vincennes, Northwest Territory; M. Catherine Campeau, 3 Mar 1761, Vincennes, New France

2. Pierre Godere – B. about 1737, Ouiatenon, New France; D. 24 May 1789, Vincennes, Northwest Territory; M. Susanne Bolon (1740-?), 5 May 1760, Poste Vincennes, New France

3. François Godere — B. about 1739, Ouiatenon, New France; D. 12 Jul 1779, Vincennes, Virginia Territory; M. Marie-Therese Campagnot (~1745-1803), 18 Jan 1773, Poste Vincennes, Illinois Territory

4. Louis Godere — B. about 1740, Ouiatenon, New France; D. 15 Jun 1794, Vincennes, Northwest Territory; M. Barbe-Elizabeth Levron (1748-1798), 8 Feb 1770, Poste Vincennes, Illinois Territory

5. Toussaint Godere – B. about 1746, Ouiatenon, New France; D. 30 Oct 1792, Vincennes, Northwest Territory; M. Barbe Chapart (1758-?), about 1775, Poste Vincennes, Illinois Territory

6. Ursule Godere — B. about 1748, Ouiatenon, New France; D. 12 Nov 1756, Poste Vincennes, New France

7. Agnes Godere — B. 17 Oct 1750, Illinois Territory, New France; D. 6 Dec 1750, Illinois Territory, New France

8. Marie-Josephe Godere — B. about 1752, Ouiatenon, New France; M. Amable-Charles Bolon (~1750-?), 26 Jan 1773, Poste Vincennes, Illinois Country

Children by Jean-Baptiste Vaudry:

1. Marie Vaudry – B. 17 Oct 1756, Poste Vincennes, New France; D. 7 Nov 1801; M. Antoine Richardville (1759-?), 14 Jul 1779, Vincennes, Northwest Territory

2. Marie-Ursule Vaudry – B. 20 Apr 1759, Poste Vincennes, New France; D. 23 Oct 1813, Vincennes, Indiana Territory; M. Pierre Gamelin, 24 Jul 1778, Poste Vincennes, Illinois Territory

3. Jean-Baptiste Vaudry – B. 18 Feb 1761, Poste Vincennes, New France; M. Marie-Claire Chappard

“Detroit River métis Families – Part 16 – Tiverage to You Families,” Diane Wolford Sheppard, 2015
Fort Ouiatenon and Feast of the Hunters’ Moon School Guide, Tippecanoe Historical Association
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church Records: Baptisms 1749-1838, Barbara Schull Wolfe, 1999
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church Records: Marriages and Deaths 1749-1838, Barbara Schull Wolfe, 1999