Saturday, March 17, 2018

First European Farmer in Canada – Louis Hébert

B. about 1575 in Paris, France
M. 19 Feb 1601 in Paris, France
Wife: Marie Rollet
D. 25 Jan 1627 in Quebec

Louis Hébert was one of the earliest European settlers in what is now Canada. He was born in Paris to Nicolas Hébert and Jacqueline Pajot sometime between 1572 and 1575. Louis had an older sister and brother, and a younger sister, but his mother died when he was a young boy.

As Louis came of age, he studied to become an apothecary, the same profession as his father. By 1600, he established himself in Paris, selling medicine and spices in a shop. Because his work involved cultivating plants, Louis took a great interest in gardening throughout his life; it was said he had a passion for growing herbs. On February 19, 1601, Louis married Marie Rollet at the Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris. The couple was only known to have had three children, who were born between about 1602 and about 1614.

Louis’ life took a dramatic turn through his association with some men interested in setting up a fur trading outpost in America. The leader of the effort was Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt, who was married to Louis’ wife’s niece. Because of this connection, and a need for someone with knowledge of medicine in the settlement, Louis was recruited to join them. The company of men had chosen a location in what would become Port-Royal, Acadia, and when Louis arrived there in 1606, they had already been there for two years. Louis didn’t bring his wife and children as there were no women in the new settlement. The following year, he returned to France with the company when their fur trading grant expired. The outpost started up again in 1610 and Louis moved back. His time in Acadia ended in 1613 when the English attacked and destroyed the settlement, forcing everyone to return to France.

Samuel de Champlain got to know Louis in Acadia, and in 1617, he sought him out to join in a new colony he was starting on the St. Lawrence River, which would become Quebec. Champlain made an offer to Louis to bring his family and stay there for at least 3 years; in return, Louis would get land and an annual salary of 600 livres (which was later reduced to 300 livres). So he, his wife and children settled in Quebec, making them the first European family in all of Canada.

The 10 acres Louis was given in Quebec was the first ever land grant by the French government in New France. The present-day site is in the heart of Quebec City where the Basilica of Notre Dame stands. Louis planted crops, thereby becoming Quebec’s first farmer. The land was outside the small compound that served as the outpost. Since fur trading was the primary objective of the French settlers, Louis was the only one besides Champlain who was interested in growing crops. He was said to have “gardens in which flourished a variety of vegetables,” along with “cultivated land filled with fine grain.” The farm eventually had a pasture for cattle and an apple orchard. The cultivation was accomplished by using hand tools only, because Louis didn’t have a plow.

When Champlain left Quebec to return to France in 1620, Louis was assigned the position of “king’s attorney,” giving him some authority over administration of the colony. Some of the fur traders were at odds with Louis because clearing forests was bad for their business, but he was said to have great relations with the Amerindians, and he sometimes treated them with his medicines.

In late 1626, Louis slipped and fell on some ice, and on January 25, 1627, he died from the injuries he suffered. His wife Marie remarried after his death and gained her own reputation by caring for Amerindian children. She died in 1649. Louis and Marie have their own monument in a park in Quebec City; it features a statue of Louis, and a statue of Marie with their three children.

Louis' descendants include Hillary Clinton and Celine Dion.

1. Anne Hébert – B. about 1602, Paris, France; D. 1619, Quebec; M. Etenne Jonquet, 1617, Quebec

2. Marie-Guillemette Hébert – B. 1604, Paris, France; D. 20 Oct 1684, Quebec City, Quebec; M. Guillaume Couillard (1588-1663), 26 Aug 1621, Quebec

3. Guillaume Hébert – B. about 1614, Paris, France; D. 23 Sep 1639, Quebec City, Quebec; M. Hélène Desportes (1620-1675), 1 Oct 1634, Quebec City, 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
Hélène’s World: Hélène Desportes of Seventeenth Century Quebec, Susan McNelley, 2014
Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Louis Hébert (Wikipedia article)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Dropping Her Crepe – Marie-Madeleine Bordeleau

B. 23 Oct 1761 in Vincennes, New France
M. 9 Jul 1779 in Vincennes, Northwest Territory
Husband: Jean-Baptiste Renaud dit Deslauriers
D. 21 Feb 1819 in Vincennes, Indiana

Marie-Madeleine Bordeleau lived during an era when Creole culture dominated her community, and she was mentioned in a folk story handed down over the generations. Marie-Madeleine was born in the French fur trading outpost at Fort Vincennes on October 23, 1761. Her parents were Antoine Bordeleau and Marie-Catherine Caron, and she was one of ten children, only four of whom are known to have survived to adulthood.

Vincennes was a lively place when Marie-Madeleine was a girl, and the people there often gathered for traditional celebrations centered around holidays. As in New Orleans, the Tuesday before Lent was a time for wild behavior, and one of the events was a competition between marriageable girls that involved cooking skills. It was a contest to see who could flip the most crepes without dropping one, and the winner would have the honor of choosing which man she would like to marry.

The story was told to a writer who was compiling a book about Vincennes culture in the 1930s, and it was prefaced that it may not be “historically accurate,” but it was said that at the crepe-flipping contest in 1778, the girl who won beat out her “pretty” rival, Marie Bordeleau. The story went that a woman who was a friend of the winning girl distracted Marie-Madeleine with conversation until she dropped one of her crepes, causing her to lose.

Whether or not the story is true, Marie-Madeleine did find a husband the following year. It was an eventful time in Vincennes because the Americans under George Rogers Clark had attacked the fort in February, freeing the French settlers from British rule. Later that year, on July 9th, Marie-Madeleine married Jean-Baptiste Renaud dit Deslauriers at St. Francis Xavier Parish. Attending the service were her parents, her godfather, two uncles, and presumably many of the people in town. The wedding was conducted by Father Gibault, who served as priest for the entire Illinois Territory at that time. The priest hadn't visited Vincennes in many months, so it was the very first American wedding to be held there.

The date of Marie-Madeleine’s marriage and birth of her first child suggests that she was pregnant before she got married. Her first child, Genevieve, was born October 11, 1779, and was followed by eleven more, the youngest born in 1803.

Marie-Madeleine died on February 21, 1819 in Vincennes. Her husband survived her, and he died in 1834.

1. Genevieve Deslauriers – B. 11 Oct 1779, Vincennes, Northwest Territory; D. before Feb 1819, (probably) Vincennes, Indiana; M. Joseph Marion Edeline (1774-1819), 18 Feb 1799, Vincennes, Northwest Territory

2. Marie-Desanges Deslauriers – B. 1782; M. Guillaume Tougas (1779-?), 6 Jul 1801, Vincennes, Indiana Territory

3. Archange Deslauriers — B. 22 Apr 1784, Vincennes, Northwest Territory; D. Feb 1793, Vincennes, Northwest Territory

4. Jean-Baptiste Deslauriers — B. Feb 1786, Vincennes, Northwest Territory; D. Jul 1789, Vincennes, Northwest Territory

5. Pierre Deslauriers – B. 13 Sep 1787, Vincennes, Northwest Territory; D. 2 Par 1860, Vincennes, Indiana; M. Marie-Theotiste Ravellette (1795-?), 12 Nov 1813, Vincennes, Indiana Territory

6. Barbe Deslauriers — B. 2 Oct 1789, Vincennes, Northwest Territory

7. Victoire Deslauriers — B. 11 Jul 1791, Vincennes, Northwest Territory; D. Feb 1793, Vincennes, Northwest Territory

8. Marie-Anne Deslauriers — B. 1 Feb 1794, Vincennes, Northwest Territory; M. François Mallet (1790-?), 14 Aug 1818, Vincennes, Indiana

9. Françoise Deslauriers — B. 1 Feb 1794, Vincennes, Northwest Territory; D. Jun 1835, Vincennes, Indiana; M. Louis Lacoste dit Languedoc (1790-1838), 11 May 1816, Vincennes, Indiana

10. François Xavier Deslauriers – B. 13 Feb 1798, Vincennes, Northwest Territory; D. 8 May 1837, Vincennes, Indiana; M. Cecile Racine dit Ste-Marie, 7 Aug 1820, Vincennes, Indiana

11. Adélaide Deslauriers — B. 20 Jan 1800, Vincennes, Northwest Territory, D. Jul 1829; M. François Racine dit Ste-Marie, 26 Jul 1824, Vincennes, Indiana

12. Catherine Deslauriers — B. 22 Jul 1803, Vincennes, Indiana Territory; D. 2 mar 1865, Vincennes, Indiana; M. Joseph Cardinal (1799-?), 14 Jul 1823, Vincennes, Indiana

“Records of the Parish of St. Francis Xavier,” Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia, Vol. 12, 1901
Creole (French) Pioneers at Old Post Vincennes, Joyce Doyle, Loy Followell, Elizabeth Kargacos, Bernice Mutchmore, and Paul R. King, 1930s
Indiana Births and Christenings, 1773-1933,
Indiana Church Marriages, 1780-1993,

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The “Grim” Boston Jailer – Richard Brackett

B. Sep 1610 in Sudbury, England
M. 6 Jan 1634 in London, England
Wife: Alice Blower
D. 3 Mar 1690 in Braintree, Massachusetts

Richard Brackett was an early inhabitant of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and he became one of the first men to take care of the town jail. He was born in September 1610 in Sudbury, England to Peter Brackett and Rachel Wheatley, one of four children. Richard’s father died when he was 6-years-old; his mother then married a man named Martin Saunders and had four more children with him.

The town of Sudbury, located in Suffolk, was a “hotbed of Puritan sentiment” at the time Richard lived there, and this likely had an influence on him. At the age of 19, Richard sailed to New England with the Winthrop fleet; his name is on the covenant to establish the first church in Boston dated August 27, 1630. After a couple of years in the colony, it seems that Richard returned to England for a short time. On January 6, 1634, he married Alice Blower in London, then he brought her back to Massachusetts. Their first child, Hannah, was born within a year. They went on to have seven more children, with the youngest born in about 1655.

At first, Richard and his family made their home in Boston near what is the present-day corner of Court and Washington Streets on property he acquired in 1636. The following year, he was appointed to be “keeper of the prison” with a salary of £13 6s 8d; on June 6, 1639, his salary was raised to £20. For a time, he moved into the house at the jail. In colonial New England, a prison wasn’t a place for long-term confinement; it was used to keep those who had been accused of a crime until they were tried in a court. The usual sentence handed to the guilty involved immediate punishments, such as public whippings, and afterwards the person was released. It isn’t known what cases Richard played a role in, but a vague source referred to him as the “grim” jailer. This description may have been applied by a 19th century author, but it has been repeated in many accounts of his life.

There is a suggestion that Richard aspired to be a farmer and it motivated him to leave Boston in 1642 for the new settlement of Braintree. Richard’s mother and step-father, who had migrated to New England in 1635, also moved to Braintree. From then on, this would be his family’s home.

On July 21, 1642, Richard was appointed first deacon of the church at Braintree. It’s thought that Boston's church had some authority over the new church in Braintree, and that they hand-picked Richard to be Braintree’s deacon. During his time as deacon, there was a major disagreement between Braintree and Boston over 600 acres of land. It’s noteworthy that even though Richard lived in Braintree, he favored Boston’s position regarding the disputed land.

Richard was captain of Braintree's militia by 1655, and he served in that rank during King Philip’s War. One story about his service involved an Indian who surrendered to the colonists, and was about to be treated with some leniency. But Richard stepped in, seeing that the man was taken to Boston and kept in their jail, later to be sold into slavery.

During the years 1655-1665, 1667, 1671, 1672, 1674 and 1680, Richard was Braintree's deputy to the Massachusetts General Court. The gap of service between 1675 and 1679 is thought to be associated with King Philip’s War and the lingering trouble with natives afterwards; perhaps Richard needed to devote attention to his role in the military during that time. Besides all of his other roles in life, Richard also served as Braintree’s town clerk, and for a time, he may have been a teacher. In his later years, he was authorized to perform marriages and swear oaths.

On March 3, 1690, Richard died in Braintree. His wife Alice survived him by about nine months, passing away on November 30th. One object that belonged to Richard and Alice survives today: a silver wine cup with their initials on it, made by silversmiths John Hull and Robert Sanderson. The cup was donated to the church in Braintree about nine years after they died and it was used as a communion cup. The church kept it for many years and it’s now part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Richard’s descendants include Henry Fonda, George H.W. Bush, and all of their famous offspring.

1. Hannah Brackett – B. 1634, Boston Massachusetts; D. 3 Jul 1706, Dunstable, Massachusetts; M. (1) Samuel Kingsley (?-1662); (2) John Blanchard (?-1691)

2. Peter Brackett – B. 7 May 1637, Boston, Massachusetts; M. (1) Elizabeth Bosworth (?-1686), 7 Mar 1661; (2) Sarah Parker (?-1718), 30 Mar 1687

3. John Brackett – B. 7 May 1637, Boston, Massachusetts; D. 18 Mar 1687, Billerica, Massachusetts; M. (1) Hannah French (1644-1674), 6 Sep 1661, Braintree, Massachusetts; (2) Ruth Ellice, 31 may 1675

4. Rachel Brackett – B. about Nov 1639, Boston, Massachusetts; D. 1735, Massachusetts; M. Simon Crosby (1637-1725), 15 Jul 1659

5. Mary Brackett – B. 1 Feb 1641, Braintree, Massachusetts; D. 23 Mar 1678, Billerica, Massachusetts; M. Joseph Tompson (1639-1732), 1 Feb 1662

6. James Brackett – B. 8 Jul 1645, Braintree, Massachusetts; D. 8 Apr 1718, Braintree, Massachusetts; M. Sarah Marsh (1649-1727), 1674

7. Josiah Brackett – B. 8 Mar 1652, Braintree, Massachusetts; D. about 1681; M. Elizabeth Waldo (1648-1743), 4 Feb 1673

8. Sarah Brackett – B. about 1655, Braintree, Massachusetts; D. 1690; M. Joseph Crosby (1639-1695), 1 Jun 1689

Find a Grave
Brackett genealogy: descendants of Anthony Brackett of Portsmouth and Captain Richard Brackett of Braintree, Herbert Ierson Brackett, 1859
Simon Crosby the Emigrant: His English Ancestry and Some of His American Descendants, Eleanor Francis Crosby, 1914
Early American Silver in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Beth Carver Wees and Medill Higgins Harvey, 2013
New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, Volume 1, William Richard Cutter, 1913
Great Migration Study Project, New England Historic Genealogy Society, 2000
Sudbury, Suffolk (Wikipedia article)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

New England Town Surveyor – Jonathan Danforth

B. 29 Feb 1628 in Framlingham, England
M. (1) 22 Nov 1654 in Boston, Massachusetts
Wife: Elizabeth Poulter
M. (2) 17 Nov 1690 in Billerica, Massachusetts
Wife: Esther Champney
D. 7 Sep 1712 in Billerica, Massachusetts

When 17th century Puritans settled all over New England, they needed to transform wilderness into communities. Surveyors like Jonathan Danforth played an important role in making that happen.

Jonathan was born in Framlingham, England on February 29, 1628 to Nicholas and Elizabeth Danforth. He was the youngest of seven children, one of whom died young, and his mother died two days after he was born. Five years later, Nicholas and his six surviving children migrated to Massachusetts; it’s believed they arrived on the ship Griffin.

After settling in the town of Cambridge, Nicholas died in 1638. Jonathan was just 10 years old and was likely cared for by his oldest sister who was married the following year. He had two older brothers who rose to prominence in New England. One was Samuel, who became a famous Puritan preacher, poet and astronomer. The other was Thomas, a Puritan leader who played a small part in the Salem witch trials in 1692; his name was used as a judge in the play The Crucible, although the character was a composite of several men.

After Jonathan came of age, he became one of the earliest settlers of Billerica, Massachusetts. On November 22, 1654, he married Elizabeth Poulter, the first marriage recorded in town records. Jonathan and Elizabeth had 11 children born between 1656 and 1676, 3 of whom died as infants.

Jonathan’s service of planning towns likely began in 1656. That year, several thousand acres were granted by the Massachusetts General Court to become the new town of Billerica, and Jonathan was part of a committee that divided the land into five- and ten-acre lots. By 1659, he was working as a surveyor, a profession he would pursue for the rest of his life. In 1661, Jonathan partnered with his wife’s step father, John Parker, to survey and lay out 4,000 new acres allotted for Billerica. In return for his work, the two were allotted 1,000 acres to be divided amongst themselves

During the 1660s, Jonathan was actively surveying throughout Massachusetts and beyond. He helped plot out portions of Massachusetts north and northwest of Boston, and the towns of Nashua, Hudson, Litchfield, Amherst and Milford in New Hampshire. He was responsible for drawing up plat maps and was referred to in documents as an “artist.” It was said that he gave his measurements using the 32-point compass system, and that instead of a pencil to make his lines, he used a knife impressed into the paper. Jonathan’s last known surveying project was in March 1702 when he was 74-years-old.

Besides his work as a surveyor, Jonathan held other important positions in the community. He was town recorder in Billerica for over 30 years, and for a time, he was Billerica’s representative to the General Court. He also served as militia captain during King Philip’s War, and was one of four men responsible for fortifying the town. His house was used as a garrison, housing two other families besides his own whenever the alarm was sounded. After the conflict ended the following year, Jonathan received a 12-year-old Amerindian boy as a bound servant. The boy was named John Warrick, but he died in 1686.

Jonathan’s wife Elizabeth died on October 7, 1689, and he married Elizabeth Champney a year later. He passed away on September 7, 1712 and was buried at the Old South Burying Ground in Billerica. The salt-box-style house he built and lived in stood until the 1880s. A historical plaque is there today that reads:

Site of homestead of Captain Jonathan Danforth, pioneer of Billerica and famous surveyor. “He rode the circuit, chained great towns and farms to good behavior; and by well-marked station he fixed their bounds for many generations.”

Children (all by Elizabeth Poulter):
1. Mary Danforth — B. 29 Jan 1656, Billerica, Massachusetts; D. May 1732, Chelmsford, Massachusetts; M. John Parker (1647-1699)

2. Elizabeth Danforth — B. 27 May 1657; M. Simeon Hayward

3. Jonathan Danforth – B. 18 Feb 1659, Billerica, Massachusetts; D. 11 Jan 1711, Billerica, Massachusetts; M. Rebecca Parker (1661-1754), 27 Jun 1682, Billerica, Massachusetts

4. John Danforth — B. 23 Jan 1660; D. young

5. John Danforth — B. 22 Feb 1661; D. 4 Jun 1661

6. Lydia Danforth — B. 1 Jun 1664; M. Edward Wright

7. Samuel Danforth — B. 5 Feb 1666, Billerica, Massachusetts; D. 19 Apr 1742, Billerica, Massachusetts; M. Hannah Crosby (1672-1752), 8 Jan 1694, Billerica, Massachusetts

8. Anna Danforth— B. 8 Mar 1668, Billerica, Massachusetts; D. 13 Aug 1737; M. Oliver Whiting (1665-1736), 22 Jan 1690

9. Thomas Danforth — B. 29 Apr 1670, Billerica, Massachusetts; D. 31 Jul 1670, Billerica, Massachusetts

10. Nicholas Danforth — B. 1 Apr 1671 Billerica, Massachusetts, D. 8 Mar 1694, Billerica, Massachusetts

11. Sarah Danforth — B. 23 Dec 1676, Billerica, Massachusetts; D. 15 Oct 1751, Concord, Massachusetts; M. William French (1668-1723), 22 May 1695, Billerica, Massachusetts

Thomas Danforth (Wikipedia article)
Samuel Danforth (Wikipedia article)
“Jonathan Danforth (1628-1712)”, Backsights Magazine, published by Surveyors Historical Society
Property and Dispossession: Natives, Empires and Land in Early Modern North America, Allan Greer, 2017
The Early Grants of Land in the Wilderness North of Merrimack, George Augustus Gordon, 1892
Find A Grave

His House Is Now A Condo – William Lewis

B. about 1620 in England or Wales
M. (1) 1644 in Hartford, Connecticut
Wife: Mary Hopkins
M. (2) 22 Nov 1671 in Boston, Massachusetts
Wife: Mary Cheever
D. 18 Aug 1690 in Farmington, Connecticut

The house that William Lewis built in the 17th century is still being lived in during the 21st century. William was born in about 1620 to William Lewis and Felix Collins. Some sources say that he and his parents were from Wales, but the raw data supporting this isn’t evident. William was the only known child of his parents.

William migrated to Massachusetts with his parents on the ship Lyon in 1632. For a couple of years, the family lived in Cambridge and Braintree, then joined Reverend Thomas Hooker’s party who settled in Hartford. After William came of age, they settled in the new community of Farmington, originally named Tunxis. In 1645, William became Farmington’s first town clerk.

In 1644, William married Mary Hopkins in Hartford, and over the next 23 years, they had ten children. Mary died in 1671 and later that year, William married Mary Cheever, the daughter of Boston Latin School headmaster, Ezekiel Cheever. The wedding took place in Boston on November 22nd. William and his second wife had six children, with the youngest born in 1681 when William was over 60-years-old.

William was a prominent person in Farmington. Along with being town clerk, he was deputy to the Connecticut General Court in 1689 and 1690. He also served in the town’s militia, first as a lieutenant in 1651, then as captain in 1665. He led the militia during King Philip’s War which was involved in the Narragansett campaign in 1675.

William owned several slaves, two of whom were Amerindians. He was also known to have an African slave named Sampson. The slaves were left to his family in his will, and were freed later on.

On August 18, 1690, William died. He was buried in the Ancient Burying Ground in Farmington. His wife survived him by many years, passing away on July 10, 1727.

The lasting legacy of William is perhaps the house he built during the 1660s on property he got from his father. He lived there with his family and presumably, his younger children were born there. The house remained in the family after his death and was expanded during the 18th century, becoming a much larger house. By the American Revolution, it became the Elm Tree Inn, a landmark in Farmington for many years. Today the building is condominium with over 8 units. At least one of them includes the original house built by William.

Famous descendants of William Lewis include Franklin Delano Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, W.K. Kellogg, television inventor Philo Farnsworth and Mitt Romney.

Children by Mary Hopkins:
1. Mary Lewis — B. 6 May 1645, Farmington, Connecticut; D. about 1691, Farmington, Connecticut; M. Benjamin Judd (1643-1689), about 1667, Farmington, Connecticut

2. Phillip Lewis – B. 13 Dec 1646, Hartford, Connecticut; D. about 1723, Fairfield, Connecticut; M. Sarah Ashley (1648-1698), about 1669, Hartford, Connecticut

3. Samuel Lewis — B. 18 Aug 1648, Farmington, Connecticut; D. 28 Nov 1725, Farmington, Connecticut; M. (1) Elizabeth Orton (~1654-?), about 1687, Farmington, Connecticut; (2) Mary (?-1745)

4. Sarah Lewis — B. 1 Oct 1652, Farmington, Connecticut; D. 10 Aug 1722, Hadley, Massachusetts; M. Samuel Boltwood (1648-1704)

5. Hannah Lewis — B. about 1653, Farmington, Connecticut; D. 24 Feb 1725, Hadley, Massachusetts; M. (1) Samuel Crow (1649-1676), 17 May 1671, Hadley, Massachusetts; (2) Daniel Marsh (1653-1725), 5 Nov 1676, Hadley, Massachusetts

6. William Lewis — B. about Mar 1657, Farmington, Connecticut; D. about 1737, Farmington, Connecticut; M. Sarah Moore (1681-?)

7. Felix Lewis — B. 12 Dec 1658, Farmington, Connecticut; D. 1738, Hadley, Massachusetts; M. Thomas Selden (1655-1734), 1675, Hadley, Massachusetts

8. Ebenezer Lewis — B. 1660, Farmington, Connecticut; D. 22 Jan 1709, Wallingford, Connecticut; M. Elizabeth Merriman (1669-1750), 2 Dec 1685, Wallingford, Connecticut

9. John Lewis — B. 15 May 1665, Farmington, Connecticut; D. Oct 1694

10. James Lewis — B. 10 Jul 1667, Farmington, Connecticut; D. 1728, Jamaica, Long Island, New York; M. Mary Meekins (1670-?), about 1694, Farmington, Connecticut

Children by Mary Cheever:
1. Elizabeth Lewis — B. 20 Oct 1672, Farmington, Connecticut; D. 1674, Farmington, Connecticut

2. Ezekiel Lewis — B. 7 Nov 1674, Connecticut; D. 14 Aug 1755, Boston, Massachusetts; M. (1) Mary Braden (1669-1703), 18 Mar 1702, Boston, Massachusetts; (2) Abigail Kilcup (~1678-?), 11 Oct 1704, Boston, Massachusetts

3. Nathaniel Lewis – B. 1 Oct 1676, Farmington, Connecticut; D. 24 Feb 1752, Farmington, Connecticut; M. (1) Abigail Ashley (1681-1727), 25 Nov 1699, Westfield, Massachusetts; (2) Thankful Pomeroy (1679-1773), 4 Jul 1726, Northampton, Massachusetts

4. Abigail Lewis — B. 19 Sep 1678, Farmington, Connecticut; D. 24 Jan 1707, Farmington, Connecticut; M. William Wadsworth (~1671-1751), 10 Dec 1696, Farmington, Connecticut

5. Jospeh Lewis — B. 15 Mar 1679, Farmington, Connecticut; D. about 1680, Farmington, Connecticut

6. Daniel Lewis — B. 16 Jul 1681, Farmington, Connecticut; D. 16 Mar 1682, Farmington, Connecticut

Book VXIII of the Genealogy of the Lewis family, William Richard Cutter, 1891
Passengers on the “Lion” From England to Boston, 1632, and five generations of their descendants, Sandra Sutphin Olney, 1992
Connecticut Houses: An Historical and Architectural Study, Norman Morrison Isham and Albert Frederic Brown, 1900
History, Charter and By-laws: List of Officers and Members Together with a Record of the Service Performed by Their Ancestors in the Wars of the Colonies, Society of Colonial Wars, Illinois, 1896
Find A Grave
ElmTree Inn historical papers, Connecticut Historical Commission

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Early Settler of Vincennes – François Turpin

B. between 1743 and 1750 in New France
M. about 1777 in (probably) Fort Vincennes, New France
Wife: Marie-Josephe Levron dit Metayer
D. 1 Oct 1809 in Vincennes, Indiana

François Turpin is of an uncertain background, but it’s highly likely that he was a descendant of a 17th century Montreal fur trader named Pierre-Alexandre Turpin (1641-~1709). The progenitor of the Turpin family was married three times and was known to have seven sons, four of whom moved to remote places in the fur trading territory of New France.

A 1787 census suggests François was born in 1743, but he matches the identity of a François Turpin born in Kaskaskia in 1750. The story goes that Pierre-Alexandre’s son Joseph settled in Kasakaskia and married Hypolite Chauvin de la Freniere, the illegitimate daughter of a Frenchman and his Amerindian slave. Joseph and Hypollite had two children, the second of whom was François, born after Joseph had died. This François was said to have settled in Vincennes, but one source has been cited that he had a child with a woman named Françoise Mallet, not Marie-Josephe Levron. However, there appears to have been only one François Turpin living in Vincennes at the time.

The earliest known record of the François Turpin of this biography was the baptism of his oldest child, François-Jospeh on October 20, 1777 in Vincennes. His wife was Marie-Josephe Levron dit Metayer, but no marriage record exists for them. They went on to have at least eight more children with the youngest born in 1798. Of the nine children, at least four died as infants or young children.

François was one of the patriots who made his mark on the Oath of Allegiance to the American colonies on July 20, 1778. He served on the northwest Territory Court of General Quarter Sessions grand jury in August 1798, and he was a member of the first Grand Jury of the territory of Indiana that met on March 3, 1801.

In 1799, François was named in a lawsuit involving a debt owed by his father-in-law, Joseph Levron dit Metayer, to a man named André Lacoste. The suit was filed 28 years after Joseph Levron had died. François never showed up at court, and the ruling was that he and his wife, along with a few other heirs, were to pay $1,450, a very large sum of money. It’s not known if anyone actually paid.

François died on October 1, 1809 and was buried in the St. Francis-Xavier church cemetery in Vincennes. His wife survived him and was known to be living in 1815.

1. François Joseph Turpin – B. 20 Oct 1777, Vincennes, Indiana; M. Josephine Guelle, 14 Jul 1805, Vincennes, Indiana

2. Antoine Turpin – B. 13 Jan 1779, Vincennes, Indiana; D. 18 Aug 1786, Vincennes, Indiana

3. Jean-Baptiste Turpin — B. 30 May 1782, Vincennes, Indiana; D. 18 Aug 1786, Vincennes, Indiana

4. Marie-Josephe Turpin — B. 15 Oct 1784, Vincennes, Indiana; D. 7 Mar 1786, Vincennes, Indiana

5. Raphael Turpin – B. 8 Sep 1786, Vincennes, Indiana

6. Louis Turpin — B. 13 Mar 1789; D. 8 Aug 1745; M. Celeste Joyeuse, 2 May 1830, Vincennes, Indiana

7. Rosalie Turpin — B. Mar 1791; M. Charles Grimard (1776-?), 19 Dec 1809, Vincennes, Indiana

8. Ursule Turpin — B. 1795, Vincennes, Indiana; D. 8 Aug 1797, Vincennes, Indiana

9. Elizabeth Turpin — B. 12 Nov 1798; D. 1835, Vincennes, Indiana; M. François Ravalet (1791-1857)

Dictionnaire généalogique des familles canadiennes depuis la fondation de la colonie jusqu'à nos jours, Cyprien Tanguay, 1890
Roster of Soldiers and Patriots of the American Revolution Buried in Indiana, Mrs. Roscoe C. O’Byrne, 1938
History of Knox and Daviess Counties, Indiana, 1886
Wabash Valley Visions & Voices Memory Project,
The Family of Joseph Turpin, Sadie Greening Sparks, 18 Oct 2000,
Enumeration of Males Residing in the District of Poste Vincennes, 8 Oct 1787

Friday, January 19, 2018

French Peasant or Italian Prince – François Joseph Savoie

B. about 1621 in (probably) Martaizé, France
M. about 1651 in Port-Royal, Acadia
Wife: Catherine Lejeune
D. about 1685 in Port-Royal, Acadia

François Joseph Savoie has perhaps gained more notoriety centuries after his death than he had during his life. He was born in about 1621 and made his way to the colony of Acadia during the 1640s. He settled in Port-Royal, and in about 1651, he married Catherine Lejeune, who is believed to have been born in France in about 1633. They had nine children born between about 1653 and 1669.

The entire family was listed in the 1671 Acadia census as living in Port-Royal, with François being a farmer. Despite the large number of people in his household, he only owned 4 cattle and no sheep. Oldest daughter Françoise was listed a second time in the household next door as the 18-year-old wife of Jean Corporan and mother of a newborn daughter.

François’ wife Catherine died in 1678, and he died in about 1685. Like most early settlers of Acadia, within a couple of generations, François' descendants scattered to a number of places in America, many of them ending up in Louisiana. Amongst some descendants, stories were passed down that claimed François was not a Frenchman — that he was actually the illegitimate son of an Italian nobleman named Tommaso Francesco Savoie, making him a “prince.” While this story hasn’t been disproven, there’s no documentation to back it up. Other research has shown there was a family named Savoie in the village of Martaizé, France, and other Acadian families appear to be from the same area. This seems a more likely place of origin for François.

1. Marie-Françoise Savoie – B. about 1653, Port-Royal, Acadia; D. 27 Dec 1711, Port-Royal, Acadia; M. Jean-François Corporon (~1647-1713), 1668, Port-Royal, Acadia

2. Germain Savoie – B. about 1654, Port-Royal, Acadia; D. 24 Nov 1749, Port-Royal, Acadia; M.Marie Breau (1662-1749), 1678, Port-Royal, Acadia

3. Marie Savoie – B. about 1657, Port-Royal, Acadia; D. 10 Mar 1741, Louisbourg, Nova Scotia; M. Jacques Triel (1646-?), about 1676, Acadia

4. Jeanne Savoie – B. about 1658, Port-Royal, Acadia; D. 3 Nov 1735, Port-Royal, Acadia; M. Etienne Pellerin (~1647-1722), 1675, Port-Royal, Acadia

5. Agnés-Catherine Savoie – B. about 1662, Port-Royal, Acadia, D. about 1712, Port-Royal, Acadia; M. François Levron dit Nantois (~1653-1714), 1676, Port-Royal, Acadia

6. François Savoie – B. about 1663, Port-Royal, Acadia; D. 1685

7. Barnabé Savoie – B. about 1665, Port-Royal, Acadia, D. 1686

8. Andrée-Marguerite Savoie – B. about 1667, Port-Royal, Acadia; D. 6 Jun 1733, Beaubassin, Acadia; M. Jean Prejean (~1651-1733), 1683, Port-Royal, Acadia

9. Marie-France Savoie – B. about 1669, Port-Royal, Acadia; D. 10 Apr 1714, Beaubassin, Acadia; M. Gabriel Pierre Chiasson (1667-1741), 1688, Port-Royal, Acadia

1671 Acadian Census
Acadians in Gray (website)
Martaizé (Wikipedia article)