Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Prisoner of the Iroquois – Urbain Tessier dit Lavigne

B. about 1624 in Breil, Anjou, France
M. 28 Sep 1648 in Quebec City, Quebec
Wife: Marie Archambault
D. 21 Mar 1689 in Montreal, Quebec

Urbain Tessier dit Lavigne was one of the rugged pioneers who helped establish what would one day become the city of Montreal. He was born in about 1624 in Breil, France, a town about 60 miles east of La Rochelle. His parents were Artus Tessier and Jeanne Mesme. Artus was a carpenter and likely taught the trade to his son. Urbain was illiterate, suggesting he didn’t attend school as a boy.

The exact date of Urbain’s arrival in New France isn’t known, but it was some time after 1641 and before 1648. He may have been recruited while still in France to help settle a new post in the west, Ville-Marie (later renamed Montreal), and on January 10, 1648, he was granted a tract of land there. The post was set up for the purpose of fur trading, but needed men with skills like Urbain to help construct buildings. Urbain was a “long sawyer,” which meant he used the kind of saw that turned raw timber into planks of wood. He was known to have built many early houses in Montreal, and he also supplied wood to other settlers in the community.

After he received his grant of land, Urbain looked to find a wife in Quebec City, and on September 28, 1648, he married Marie Archambault there. He may have connected with her through a friend, Michel Chauvin, who had earlier married her sister Anne. Another sister named Jacquette was married on the same day as Urbain and Marie, and all three couples ended up in Montreal. Marie was just a child when she married, not yet 13 years-old, and the following year, she gave birth to twins who didn’t survive. Marie and Urbain would go on to have a total of 17 children.

The challenges of living in a place like Montreal in the mid-17th century went beyond just carving out a home in the wilderness — the greatest threat came from the Iroquois tribe across the river to the south. During 1651, two Montreal settlers were brutally murdered in an Iroquois raid. On May 10th, the attackers came back, said to be 40 men, and set fire to Urbain’s house, as well as his friend Michel Chauvin’s house. The following month, on June 18th, Urbain had another encounter with the Iroquois. He heard four men who were being attacked in a vulnerable location away from the settlement, and he rushed to their aid, avoiding being shot as he navigated to where they were. The settlers were barricaded in a hut, and after Urbain joined them, they fought off the attack together.

Urbain was known to be fearless against Iroquois attackers, but on March 24, 1661, he was captured with some other settlers and became a prisoner for several months. The men were taken to a village of the tribe located in present-day New York State. The Iroquois were notorious for torturing their captives. While a prisoner, one of Urbain’s finger was cut off. He had no contact with his family during his time with the Iroquois, and his wife Marie didn’t know he if he was dead or alive.

There’s no doubt that Urbain suffered during his captivity; he later admitted becoming so desperate, that he nearly joined his captors when they went off to battle another tribe. It was the Jesuits who negotiated for his release, and he was handed over to them in August along with eight other people. The Jesuits noted that his hand where his finger had been cut off was in pretty bad shape, but it healed enough six months later so that he could use his hand again.

Even after all he had been through, Urbain wasn’t afraid to fight off the Iroquois yet again. A short time after he had returned home, he woke up in the middle of the night and saw a group of warriors sneaking into town, looking to kill more settlers. He was said to have ”silently awakened his companions, and having the rest of the night for consultation they arranged their plan well, so that some of them sallied from the rear of the house, came cautiously upon the Iroquois, placed them between two fires and captured them all."

As the years passed, the threats in Montreal became less and less as it became more populated. The presence of military in the area also helped, and Urbain lived out the rest of his life in a safer community. He died in Montreal on March 21, 1689; his wife Marie survived him by many years, passing away in 1719.

Urbain Tessier dit Lavigne left a legacy in Montreal that is evident to this day. Saint Urbain Street was said to have been built by him — today, it’s a major street in Montreal. Much of the downtown area was originally part of his land. On the Royal Trust Company building that faces the Notre-Dame Basilica, there are plaques in both French and English that read:

“This building was built on a piece of land initially granted to Urbain Tessier dit Lavigne. This was the 8th concession made to a citizen of the island of Montreal.”

Urbain was the ancestor of Pierre and Justin Trudeau.

Children:
1. [unnamed girl] Tessier – B. 19 Jul 1649, Montreal, Quebec; D. 19 Jul 1649, Montreal, Quebec

2. Charles Tessier – B. 19 Jul 1649, Montreal, Quebec; D. 24 Jul 1649, Montreal, Quebec

3. Paul Tessier – B. Feb 1651, Montreal, Quebec; M. Marie-Madeleine Cloutier, 13 Oct 1681, Chateau-Richer, Quebec

4. Madeleine Tessier — B. 19 Jul 1653, Montreal, Quebec

5. Laurent Tessier — B. 3 Jun 1655, Montreal, Quebec; D. 27 Sep 1687, Montreal, Quebec; M. Anne-Geneviéve Lemire, 20 Oct 1681, Quebec City, Quebec

6. Louise Tessier – B. 26 Mar 1657, Montreal, Quebec; M. Pierre Payet dit St-Amour, 23 Nov 1671, Montreal, Quebec

7. Agnés Tessier – B. Mar 1659, Montreal, Quebec; M. Guillaume Richard dit Lafleur, 26 Nov 1675

8. Urbain Tessier – B. Jun 1661, Montreal, Quebec; D. Mar 1685, Montreal, Quebec

9. Jean Tessier — B. Jun 1663, Montreal, Quebec; M. (1) Jeanne LeBer, 16 Jan 1686, La Prairie, Quebec; (2) Louise Caron, 21 Apr 1688, La Pairie, Quebec; (3) Marie-Catherine De Poiters, 27 aug 1703, Montreal, Quebec

10. Claude Tessier — B. Dec 1665, Montreal, Quebec

11. Jacques Tessier — B. May 1668, Montreal, Quebec; D. 23 Jun 1670, Montreal, Quebec

12. Pétronille Tessier — B. Mar 1670, Montreal, Quebec; M. Pierre Janot dit Lachapelle, 31 Jan 1684,

13. Jean-Baptiste Tessier — B. Jan 1672, Montreal, Quebec; M. Élisabeth Renault, 4 Nov 1698, Montreal, Quebec

14. Pierre Tessier — B. Feb 1674, Montreal, Quebec; D. 23 Feb 1674, Montreal, Quebec

15. Jacques Tessier — B. Mar 1675, Montreal, Quebec; M. Marie Adhémar dite St-Martin, 10 Mar 1699, Montreal, Quebec

16. Ignace Tessier — B. Mar 1677, Montreal, Quebec; D. 1747; M. Marguerite Luissier, 23 may 1703, Repentigny, Quebec

17. Nicolas Tessier — B. Jun 1679, Montreal, Quebec; M. Marie-Genevieve Augé, 27 Jan 1716, Montreal, Quebec

Sources:
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
The Old Regime in Canada, Francis Parkman, 1874
French Canadian and Acadian Genealogical Review, Volume I, No. I, Spring 1968, Rev. Archange Godbout, 1968
Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, Volume 36, Reuben Gold Thwaites, 1899
Saint Urbain Street (Wikipedia article)

A Farmer in Lower Manhattan — Teunis Nyssen

B. about 1615 in Bunnik, Utrecht, Netherlands
M. 11 Feb 1640 in
Wife: Phoebe Sayles
D. about 1663 In Brooklyn, New Netherlands

It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time when much of lower Manhattan was farmland. This is the story of a man who lived there named Teunis Nyssen. He was born in Bunnik, Netherlands in the province of Utrecht, roughly in about 1615. There has been speculation about who his parents were, but the information has not been confirmed.

The exact date of when Teunis arrived in America is unknown. The earliest record of him was in a court proceeding in New Amsterdam on July 15, 1638 when he filed a suit against a man named Gerrit Jansen over “delivery of a cow” (the case was ruled in his favor). This would suggest he was already established as a farmer, putting his arrival maybe a year before that date, if not earlier. A record of a 1639 transaction of property near the Hudson River mentioned that Teunis had once lived on that land.

On February 11, 1640, Teunis married Femmetje Jans, a girl who at the young age of 15 was the widow of a man named Hendrick de Boer. Teunis and Femmetje would have nine children born between about 1641 and 1655. She was originally from England, born with the name Phoebe Sayles. Her family had migrated to New England, but her father was somewhat of a trouble-maker there, and relocated to the Dutch colony with his daughter in 1638. His name was John Sayles which he changed to Jan Celes after he moved to New Amsterdam.

When Jan died in 1645, he left part of his farm to his son-in-law, Teunis. The tract of land, which was called “Old Jan’s Farm,” was located just above the present-day Canal Street in what would one day be the western end of Soho. The farm was surrounded by other farms and had frontage on the Hudson River.

Teunis was involved in several other land sales during the next couple of years. On December 1, 1646, he bought a house on a lot located on the “great highway” (the early name for Broadway). It was “opposite the Company garden” and he paid 160 guilders for it. A few years later, on May 13, 1649, he sold the place to someone else. As for the farm he owned in Manhattan, he sold that on June 15, 1651.

At that point, Teunis seems to have left Manhattan, and he next turned up in the records at the baptism of two sons at the Dutch Reformed Church in New Amsterdam. It’s not known if the two sons were twins, or if the boys were born when the family didn't have easy access to a church. It’s believed that the family was living in Gowanus, and the farm was in an area bounded today by streets Carroll, President, 4th and 5th.

Teunis resided in Brooklyn and the surrounding towns for the remainder of his life. He was a magistrate from 1658 to 1661. And he and his wife became members of the Brooklyn Dutch Reformed in 1660, the year it was started.

Teunis died in about 1663, sometime before June 7th when his wife Femmetje was recorded on a document as a widow. She remarried later that year, but died on December 13, 1666.

He was an ancestor of Humphrey Bogart.

Children:
1. Jannetje Teunise – B. about 1641, New Netherlands; M. Jan Hans Bergen (~1644-?)

2. Marretje Teunise – B. about 1644, New Netherlands; M. Derick Janse Woertman

3. Aertije Teunise

4. Annetje Teunise – B. about 1646, New Netherlands; M. Jeronimus Jorise Rapalje

5. Elsje Teunise – B. about 1648, New Netherlands; M. Gerret Snediker

6. Femmetje Teunise – B. about 1650, New Netherlands; M. Michiel Hansen Bergen (~1646-~1712)

7. Denyse Teunissen – B. about 1654, New Netherlands; M. M. (1) Elizabeth Polhemius, 1 Oct 1682, New York; (2) Helen Cortelyou, 12 Aug 1685, New York

8. Jan Teunise Van Middleswart – B. about 1654, Gowanus, New Netherlands; D. after 1742; M. Catalyntje Tunisen Bogaert (1657-?), 16 Nov 1679

9. Cornelis Teunise Denyse – M. Neeltje Tuneisen Bogaert (~1665-?), 22 Aug 1687, New York

Sources:
Calendar of Historical Manuscripts in the Office of the Secretary of State, Albany, N.Y., Edmund Bailey O’Callaghan, 1865
The Bergen family: the Descendants of Hans Hansen Bergen, Teunis G. Bergen, 1876
The Iconography of Manhattan Island, Isaac Newton Phelps Stokes, Victor Hugo Paltsits, and Frederik Caspar Wieder, 1915
Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam and New York, Thomas Grier Evans, 1901

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Chain of Longevity – Amos Carpenter

B. 6 Nov 1693 in Northampton, Massachusetts
M. 23 Oct 1718 in Coventry, Connecticut
Wife: Deborah Long
D. Jul 1792 in Coventry, Connecticut

The most significant thing about Amos Carpenter is that he lived a very long life. Amos was born to Benjamin Carpenter and Hannah Strong on November 6, 1693 in Northampton, Massachusetts. He was the third of twelve children. When Amos was 14-years-old, the family moved to Coventry, Connecticut, which was a new settlement, and he would spend the rest of his life there.

Amos bought some land from his father in 1717, and on October 23, 1718, he married Deborah Long. Between 1719 and 1744, they had 14 children. There is little else noteworthy about his life; he doesn’t appear much in town records, he didn’t fight in any wars, and he didn’t make trouble in the community. He was a farmer who seems to have kept a low profile. But he did live a long time. Amos and his wife Deborah lived to see their 65th wedding anniversary, then she died in 1784. Amos went on for another eight years, and passed away in July 1792 at the age of 98.

How could someone born in the 17th century live almost 100 years? There’s reason to believe that genetics played a part in Amos’ longevity — he was part of a chain of people who lived to near-90 or older. There must have been something in the DNA he inherited and passed on to his descendants:

John Strong, his great-grandfather, died at age 89.
Jedediah Strong, his grandfather, died at age 96.
Hannah Strong, his mother died at age 91.
Amos Carpenter died at age 98.
Rachel Carpenter, his daughter, died at age 86,
Phebe Boynton, his granddaughter, died at age 97.
And Rachel Clapp, his great-granddaughter, died at age 100.

Children:
1. Seth Carpenter – B. 18 Jul 1719, Coventry, Connecticut; D. young

2. Mary Carpenter – B. 18 Jul 1719, Coventry, Connecticut; D. (probably) young

3. John Carpenter — B. 20 Feb 1721, Coventry, Connecticut

4. Seth Carpenter — B. 3 Oct 1695; D. 29 May 1785, Coventry, Connecticut; M. Rebecca Smith (1705-1788), 12 Apr 1726

5. Elisha Carpenter – B. 13 Apr 1723, Coventry, Connecticut; D. 1816; M. Deliverance Meraugh (~1728-?), 14 Apr 1748, Coventry, Connecticut

6. Timothy Carpenter – B. 5 May 1727, Coventry, Connecticut; D. Sep 1793, Coventry, Connecticut; M. Miriam Parker, 8 Feb 1759, Coventry, Connecticut

7. Rachel Carpenter – B. 29 Mar 1729, Coventry, Connecticut; D. 28 Feb 1816, Westhampton, Massachusetts; M. (1) Joshua Boynton (1723-1752), 9 Nov 1749, Coventry, Connecticut; (2) Ebenezer French (1731-?), 5 Sep 1754, Coventry, Connecticut

8. Phebe Carpenter — B. 20 May 1731, Coventry, Connecticut

9. Joshua Carpenter — B. 30 Jun 1734, Coventry, Connecticut, D. 19 Jun 1781; M. Submit Webster (1734-1815), 15 jan 1755, Lebanon, Connecticut

10. Anna Carpenter — B. 22 Sep 1736, Coventry, Connecticut; M. Benjamin Fenton, 24 Feb 1786

11. Ephraim Carpenter — B. 1 Apr 1738, Coventry, Connecticut; M. Mary Wheeler, 21 May 1761

12. Simeon Carpenter — B. 23 Mar 1740, Coventry, Connecticut; D. 21 Oct 1830, Waterbury, Vermont; M. Anna Burton (1750-1841), 11 May 1769

13. Dan Carpenter — B. about 1742, Connecticut; M. Rebecca Smith

14. Azubah Carpenter — B. 13 Sep 1744, Connecticut; M. Perez Sprague, 16 Dec 1782, Coventry, Connecticut

Sources:
Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915, familySearch.org
Connecticut Births and Christenings, 1649-1906, FamilySearch.org
Connecticut Deaths and Burials, 1772-1934, FamilySearch.org
Carpenter Cousins [website], carpentercousins.com
History of Northampton, Massachusetts: From its Settlement in 1654, Vol. 1, James Russell Trumbull and Seth Pomeroy, 1898
Find-A-Grave.com

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Marrying into a Creole Family – Isabelle Elizabeth Hunter

B. about 1803 in Indiana
M. 11 Jun 1826 in Vincennes, Indiana
Husband: Jean Baptiste Edeline
D. 8 Jan 1872 in Vincennes, Indiana

Isabelle Elizabeth Hunter was of a different culture and different religion than the man she married. Unfortunately, we know very little details of her background — when and where she was born, or who her family was. She was born somewhere in Indiana, probably not too far from Vincennes, and she was of English and/or Scotch-Irish heritage. The year of her birth is in the range of 1803 to 1806. Since she was illiterate, she probably never attended school, which was common during those times.

On June 11, 1826, she married Jean Baptiste Edeline in Vincennes, Indiana. She wasn’t Catholic, and they weren’t allowed to be married in the church Jean’s family attended, so it’s likely they had a civil marriage. Jean had a long heritage in Vincennes going back to the days when it was part of French Canada. The French people in Vincennes were considered “Creoles" — they had their own traditions, food and music that was a hybrid of French culture and the American frontier. Isabelle most likely was from the people who came into Indiana after the American Revolution from places like Kentucky and Virginia — a very different sort of people than the French.

Between 1827 and 1848, Isabelle gave birth to seven children, one of whom died as an infant. Her oldest boy died at age 14. All of the children were baptized as Catholics, except possibly the two youngest because there is no record of them in the church. The family had a farm on the southern outskirts of Vincennes, and the children did go to school, at least for a few years.

In March 1849, Jean died, probably of a sudden illness because his will was written just days before his death. Her youngest son was just a baby, but the other two boys were almost of age and helped keep the farm going. The 1850 census showed the farm to have a value of $1,500, considerably more than the ones around it. By 1860, though, one of Isabelle’s sons was listed as the head of the household and the farm was worth a lot less money.

Isabelle spent her remaining years amongst her children, and was with her married daughter’s family in 1870. She died two years later on January 8, 1872 in Vincennes. The family got permission to have her buried next to her husband in a small Catholic cemetery. Unfortunately, the cemetery was desecrated years later by a farmer who used the headstones for the foundation of his barn.

Children:
1. Joseph Edeline – B. 21 Oct 1827, Vincennes, Indiana; D. Jan 1842, Vincennes, Indiana

2. Marie Jeanne Edeline – B. 5 Oct 1829, Vincennes, Indiana; D. about 1851, Indiana; M. Paul D. Richardville (~1825-?)), 21 Sep 1850, Knox County, Indiana

3. Robert A. Edeline – B. 26 Sep 1831, Vincennes, Indiana; M. Suzanne Queret (~1840-?), 14 Jan 1861, Vincennes, Indiana

4. John Edeline — B. 9 Dec 1833, Vincennes, Indiana; D. 23 May 1896, Cairo, Illinois; M. Eliza Joyce (~1836-~1873), 19 Feb 1855, Vincennes, Indiana

5. Patience Naomi Edeline – B. 10 Feb 1838, Vincennes, Indiana; D.4 Oct 1838, Vincennes, Indiana

6. Isabelle Edeline – B. 10 Apr 1840, Vincennes, Indiana; D. 24 Mar 1895, Vincennes, Indiana; M. John Richard Glass (1830-1908), 25 Jul 1858, Vincennes, Indiana

7. William Marion Edeline — B. 1848, Vincennes, Indiana; D. 1876, Indiana; M. Mary Louise Ravellette (1850-1918)

Sources:
“My Ancestry & their descendants plus misc research,” Denis Paul Edeline, RootsWeb.Ancestry.com
1850, 1860, and 1870 U.S. Census
Indiana Births and Christenings, 1773-1933, FamilySearch.org
Indiana Church Marriages, 1780-1993, FamilySearch.org

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Fur Trader’s Wife – Marie-Madeleine Drousson dit Robert

B. 3 Apr 1689 in La Prairie, Quebec
M. 15 Jan 1720 in Longueuil, Quebec
Husband: Louis-Antoine Edeline
D. 25 Aug 1747 in Montreal, Quebec

Marie-Madeleine Drousson dit Robert lived in and around Montreal during a time of fur traders and adventurers. She was born on April 3, 1689 in La Prairie, Quebec, which was across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal. Her parents were Robert Drousson dit Lafluer and Marie-Jeanne Tarde dit Geoffrey, and she was one of 9 or 10 children in their family.  

When Marie-Madeleine was 19-years-old, she was involved with a married man in his 40s, Pierre You de La Découverte, and she became pregnant. Pierre was a fur trader who had traveled with La Salle during the 1680s. He had married a woman of the Miami tribe in 1693, then married a French woman in 1697. During the time he was with Marie-Madeleine, he lived in the western end of the Montreal island where he engaged in fur trading, some of it illegal. It’s not known if her relationship with Pierre was consensual, but it seems likely that it was. On April 30, 1706, she gave birth to a daughter, Marie-Charlotte, who was baptized in La Prairie. On September 9, 1708, she had another daughter by Pierre, Marie-Catherine, and he attended the baby’s baptism in Longueuil. Nothing more is known of the older girl, Marie-Charlotte, and she presumably died young. Marie-Catherine died at the age of 16.

On January 15, 1720, Marie-Madeleine married a fur trader named Louis-Antoine Edeline in Longueuil. She was age 30, which was old to be a first-time bride. The couple had four children over the next 10 years, two of whom died young.

Fur trading expeditions took Louis-Antoine away from home for much of the time. During the years 1727, 1730, 1733, 1734 and 1738, he was known to have made trips to Fort Detroit, Michilimackinac and Grande Rivière. Typically, a fur trading expedition would last from spring to autumn. Louis-Antoine’s 1730 expedition to Fort Detroit meant that she was alone while pregnant with their youngest child, although he was probably home for the birth in December. His frequent trips continued all the way through their marriage, and for much of the time, Marie-Madeleine was left to raise their son and daughter alone. Their son must have had an education because later records show that he was literate.

In July 1747, Louis-Antoine was working as a clerk at Fort des Miamis, a remote trading outpost located in present-day Indiana. Marie-Madeleine died in Montreal on August 25, 1747, so it’s likely that he was away at the time of her death. She was buried in the graveyard of Notre-Dame “near the church,” a structure that was torn down in 1830.

Children by Pierre You de La Deécouverte:
1. Marie-Charlotte You – B. 30 Apr 1706, La Prairie, Quebec

2. Marie-Catherine You – B. 9 Sep 1708, Montreal, Quebec; D. 22 Jul 1724, Longueuil, Quebec

Children by Louis-Antoine Edeline:
1. Marie-Louise Antoinette Edeline – B. 25 Oct 1720, Longueuil, Quebec; D. 25 Apr 1748, Montreal, Quebec; M. Jacques Denis dit Lyonnais (1716-1755), 25 Nov 1743, Montreal, Quebec

2. Marie-Josephe Edeline — B. 21 Jun 1722, Montreal, Quebec; D. (probably) young

3. Antoine Edeline — B. 13 Feb 1725, Longueuil, Quebec; D. 19 Oct 1727, Longueuil, Quebec

4. Louis Victor Edeline – B. 23 Dec 1730, Longueuil, Quebec; D. 28 Apr 1799, Vincennes, Northwest Territory; M. Marie Joseph Thomas (~1743-~1808), 14 May 1759, Fort Detroit, New France

Sources:
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
“My Ancestry & their descendants plus misc research,” Denis Paul Edeline, RootsWeb.Ancestry.com
“You de La Découverte, Pierre,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Online Database of Voyageur Contracts

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Surveyor and Clerk in Colonial New Jersey – John Brokaw

B. about Sep 1709 in Somerset County, New Jersey
M. (1) about 1734 in New Jersey
Wife: Maritje Van Cleef
M. (2) after 2 Apr 1789
Wife: Catherine Van Vechten
D. 25 Sep 1804 in Bridgewater, New Jersey

During his long life, John Brokaw gave lots of service to his community. He was born in Somerset county, New Jersey to John Brokaw and Sarah Teunise Van Middleswart on about September 26, 1709. He was one of 8 children. In 1725, his father purchased a large tract of land near Millstone, and this is where John came of age. In about 1734, John married Maritje Van Cleef, a native of Freehold. They settled in Somerset County where they had twelve children, two of whom died young.

John seems to have been well-educated, holding several important offices in Somerset County; in most of the records he had the title of “esquire” on his name, suggesting his status. He was commissioner of peace in 1752, 1759 and 1769, and a justice in 1768 and 1767 to 1770. In 1761, John took on the job of surveying and mapping some land belonging to a neighbor named John Dumont, dividing the tract in smaller lots. He did the same thing four years later for the estate of another man named Hendrick Wilson. Then in 1771, the board of Millstone made him their clerk and paid him 30 shillings for the year.

John’s oldest son served in the American Revolution as a lieutenant. In 1777, he died while leading his men in the Battle of Germantown. His heroics were so noteworthy that two years later, General Washington rode to the home of his widow to “express his sympathy.”

John’s wife Maritje died on April 2, 1789, and some time after that, John remarried a woman named Catherine Van Vechten. He made out his will in 1803, and he died on September 25, 1804 in Bridgewater. His probate inventory showed that his estate was valued at a total of $2,779.93. His will bequeathed a silver tankard to the son of his late son. He also mentioned a single slave, a woman named Hannah, appearing to free her at his death, but the will has ink spilled across it, obscuring the words. It reads: "I order and devise that my Negro wench named Hannah _____ not be sold but have choice to live where she pleases so that she m__________________.”

John was the ancestor of Humphrey Bogart and Tom Brokaw.

Children (all with Maritje Van Cleef):
1. John Brokaw – B. 5 May 1736, Somerset County, New Jersey; D. 4 Oct 1777, Germantown, Pennsylvania; M. Maria Vanderveer (1742-?), about 1760

2. Catherine Brokaw – B. 18 Oct 1737, Roycefield, New Jersey; D. 10 Dec 1819, Somerset County, New Jsersy; M. Hendrick Van Arsdalen (1731-1820)

3. Henrietta Brokaw – B. 26 Sep 1739, Roycefield, New Jersey; D. 9 Jan 1829, Millstone, New Jersey; M. Cornelius Lott (1738-1816)

4. Sarah Brokaw – B. 11 Jan 1741, Somerset County, New Jersey, D. before 1748

5. Benjamin Brokaw – B. 19 Dec 1743, Somerset County, New Jersey; D. 27 Apr 1815

6. Isaac Brokaw – B. 4 Feb 1746, Somerset County, New Jersey; D. 18 Sep 1826, Morristown, New Jersey; M. Elizabeth Miller (~1750-?), about 1764, New Jersey

7. Sarah Brokaw – B. 12 Sep 1748, Somerset County New Jersey; M. Jacob Van Deventer

8. Derck Brokaw – B. 12 Mar 1751, Somerset County New Jersey; D. young

9. Mary Brokaw – B. 14 Jun 1753, Somerset County New Jersey; D. 10 Dec 1833; M. Cornelius Van Dyke

10. Bergon Isaac Brokaw – B. 6 Jan 1756, Somerset County New Jersey; D. 25 May 1813, Bridgewater, New Jersey; M. Jane Sudyam Mount (1760-1830), 29 Mar 1779, Millstone, New Jersey

11. Richard Brokaw – B. 7 Sep 1758, Somerset County New Jersey; D. 24 Jan 1841

12. Phebe Brokaw – B. 18 Dec 1760, Somerset County New Jersey; D. 20 Jan 1808; M. John Field

Sources:
Our Brokaw-Brogaw Heritage, Elsie E. Foster, 1967
History of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, New Jersey, Everts & Peck, 1881
New Jersey Probate Records, 1678-1980, FamilySearch.org

Monday, December 4, 2017

Duck Hunter Patriot – Jean-Baptiste Renaud dit Deslauriers

B. 6 Nov 1754 in Vincennes, New France
M. 9 Jul 1779 in Vincennes, Northwest Territory
Wife: Marie-Madeleine Bordeleau
D. 29 Sep 1834 in Vincennes, Indiana

Jean-Baptiste Renaud dit Deslauriers lived a long life in Vincennes, seeing the transition from French trading post to 19th century Midwest town. He was born on November 6, 1754 to Jean-Baptiste Renaud dit Deslauriers and Marie-Therese Mallet, the second of their seven children. His mother died when he was about 8 years old.

Jean-Baptiste was a young man in his twenties when the events of the American Revolution reached Vincennes. The French had ceded control of Fort Vincennes to the British in 1763, but the British didn’t maintain too much authority until 1778, when it became strategically important against the American colonies. That year, the Catholic priest who served several French outposts, Father Pierre Gibault, learned that France had allied with the American rebels. He came to Vincennes to encourage the men there to sign an oath of allegiance to the American cause. The signing of the oath took place at St. Francis Xavier and Jean-Baptiste was among the men who attended, making his mark on the document.

In December 1778, the British sent a regiment to Vincennes to man the fort. The French people had no choice but to go along with the arrangement, but the Americans under Colonel George Rogers Clark were closing in. On February 20, 1779, Colonel Clark and his militia were six miles from Vincennes, trying to find a way to navigate through a flooded area, when they came upon a boat of five French men who were hunting ducks, one of whom was Jean-Baptiste. The hunters were taken prisoner, but quickly established they were on the side of the Americans, and they told Clark’s men that the British were unsuspecting of any sort of attack at that time of year. The French men helped guide Clark’s force toward Vincennes, a trek that took them through icy cold water that was chest-high in places.

Colonel Clark later described what it was like the next day when the area looked impassible: “The Frenchmen we had taken on the river appeared to be uneasy at our situation. They begged that they might be permitted to go in the two canoes to town in the night. They said that they would bring from their own houses provisions without a possibility of any person knowing it; that some of our men should go with them, as a surety of their good conduct; that it was impossible that we could march from the place until the water fell; that (would not be) for a few days, for the plain, for upward of three miles, was covered two (feet) deep.”

The militia led by Clark made it through the flooded area anyway; they entered Vincennes on the evening of the 23rd, capturing the fort the next day despite being outnumbered by the British. The win at Vincennes was considered an important one because it gave the Americans a foothold in the West. The help of the French people who lived there was vital in making it happen.

Later that year, on July 9th, Jean-Baptiste married Marie-Madeleine Bordeleau at St. Francis Xavier church, the only wedding in the parish register for that year. Father Gibault performed the ceremony and it was attended by brothers Louis and François, his uncle Antoine Mallet, and his friends André Roy and Toussaint Godere. Marie-Madeleine had her parents, her godfather and two uncles. Their first child, Genevieve, was born in October, suggesting that Marie-Madeleine was already pregnant when they were married. This was common in a place where priests weren’t always available to perform marriages.

Jean-Baptiste and Marie-Madeleine went on to have a total of 12 children. They raised their family and lived out their lives in Vincennes. Jean-Baptiste was on the list of the 143 land claimants of Vincennes in 1790 and was entitled to 400 acres. Marie-Madeleine died February 21, 1819 in Vincennes. He lived on several more years, passing away on September 29, 1834, one of the last survivors of the men who took the Vincennes Oath of Allegiance. He is believed to be buried in the The Old Cathedral “French and Indian” Cemetery in Vincennes in an unmarked grave.

A note about the surname
The use of surnames in places like Vincennes was often not very consistent. Jean-Baptiste sometimes used the “Renaud” part of his name, which was also spelled “Renault,” but more often the second part of the surname was given as his name. Later generations in Vincennes dropped the first part altogether, using only the name Deslauriers, which had a wide variety of spellings.

Children:
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

Sources:
“Records of the Parish of St. Francis Xavier,” Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia, Vol. 12, 1901
The Colonial History of Vincennes Under the French, British and American Governments, Vol. 2, John Law, 1858
History of Knox and Daviess Counties, Indiana, 1886
Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River Ohio 1778-1783 and Life of Gen. George Rogers Clark, William Hayden English, 1897
“A New Document Bearing on the History of George Rogers Clark in Vincennes,” Indiana Magazine of History, Stephen L. Cochran, 1998
Forts of Vincennes, Indiana (Wikipedia article)
Pierre Gibault (Wikipedia article)
Indiana Births and Christenings, 1773-1933, FamilySearch.org
Indiana Church Marriages, 1780-1993, FamilySearch.org