From time to time, Acadians descendants speak of inheritances from America. I remember my childhood vacations at Archigny when I too heard of those cousins in America who had become rich. But was that not a common event, a dream of having "a rich uncle in America?"
Even Rameau de Saint Père seems to have been taken in by these never-ending questions.
"Thus I arrived in Puye at sunset, pensive and
dreaming of taking up again my rented carriage.
And later on:
"When I left, Mrs Pichot, my hostess, quided me to see the ravine where the Puye brook begins. I think this is where the village gets its name. She too found an indirect way to bring up the subject of her inheritance; which shows just how difficult it is to convince these people that one can conduct objective research. (extract from leaflet 13).
Even the notary public of Archigny became involved:
"Mr. Collet former notary and Mayor first looked upon me suspiciously, thinking that I was an inheritance agent. "(extract from leaflet 11)
But the most interesting passage is certainly that of a meeting with the person that Rameau de Saint Père calls "the Foucher woman".
But first, who was this woman?
Besides the fact that she was my great-great-great grandmother, she is also the daughter of Marie Therese Daigle and her second husband, Gabriel Guérin. She was born at Puye on May 8, 1800 and married Francois Foucher on June 18, 1817; she died at Puye on January 8, 1871.
So let us take a closer look at the 8th leaflet.
Following the father Boudrot, I shall discuss the Foucher woman, Suzanne Guérin. Her mother, a Marie Daigle, had first married a man by the name of Farine, and then a second marriage to Gabriel Guérin.
Marie Therese Daigle, daughter of Francois Daigle and Jeanne Holley, was born on December 9 1797 at Cherbourg. She first married, at the age of 14, on November 18, 1776 at Archigny, Rene Baudeau, and then on May 24, 1796 at Puye to Gabriel Guérin.
"I suspect she is mistaken here because the woman does not appear to be more than 45 or 50 years old, and therefore born in 1810 at the earliest. But a woman coming from Acadia would have been more than 50 years old, which would have been rather old to have children."
Marie Therese was not born in Acadia but at Cherbourg in 1761, and Suzanne must have appeared much younger than she was. In fact, she was 60 at the time of the meeting.
"Be that as it may, a Daigle brother or uncle of her mother left Puye to go, as the Spanish would say, to the Mississippi. It seems that he must have made a fortune because a few years later, he was able to send money to his mother, (I'm told that it was several thousand franks) and he has also written several times."
Francois Daigle, Jeanne Holley and five of their six children - only Marie Therese stayed in France - departed for Louisiana on June 11, 1785 on the Beaumont, (families 6 and 23). We will see later exactly what the Daigle fortune actually was.
"He was also related to the Guillots, and he wrote to them about 20 or 30 years ago, offering them all sorts of assistance to come to Louisiana, even giving them the name of a person at Orleans who would give them funds for this purpose. At one point, he even considered sending them the assistance of a young 19 year old man of the family. But the long journey frightened him and he refused to go. They have had no news since. This Daigle claimed to have ships and to live at Baton Rouge on the Mississippi."
Francois Daigle is the uncle of Theotiste Daigle, the wife of Ambroise Guillot.
(As for me, I cannot decide if the man of whom we are speaking a Diagle or a Guillot who had left for the Mississippi.)
If, in the Daigle family, all except Marie Therese left - the opposite is true for the Guillot family. All the children of Ambroise Guillot stayed in France except one, Fabian Amateur, who went to Louisiana where his descendants still live to this day.
So let us now return to Francois Daigle and Jeanne Holley.
Francois Marie Daigle, son of Abraham and Anne Marie Boudrot was born about 1740 at Pisiquit in Acadia. He was deported to Cherbourg. The exact date of the deportation is unknown. He married on January 17, 1761 to Jeanne Holley, daughter of Thomas Holley and Scholastique Le Gentilhomme, a nobleman from Cherbourg. A marriage contract executed on December 17, 1760, give the impression that this family was rather well off.
The marriage contract, written in French, is in the archives of Blubonnet Library in Baton Rouge, and is almost illegible. I obtained an English transcription which has many blanks spaces.
Extract of the marriage contract bewtween Francois Daigle and Jeanne Holley
In the name of the father, of the son, and of the Holy Ghost
On Sunday, the seventh day of the month of December, of one thousand sevent hundred and sixty, at Cherbourg, the portions of marriage expected to be performed after the ceremonies of our Holy Mother the Church, observed between Monsieur Francois Marie Daigre, son of Abraham Daigre and of Anne Marie Boudrot, originaly from the parish of St. Jean in Cadiz, is the father and mother on one part and Jeanne Holley daughter of Monsieur. Thomas Holley and Scholastique Le Gentilhomme the father and mother on the other part
The said future wife has declared to be owner of one [..] bed [..] a [ ...] with every thing for a bed, one dozen sheets, a dozen and a half of chemises and an dozen napkins [..]. a dozen handkerchiefs, five ensembles complete, a dress with the [...] apron , an ensemble of white cotton, and another of Indiana with an apron , two cottonade petticoats [ ..] The [ ..] furniture has been estimated at the sum of two hundred and fifty nine pounds .. Done in the presence and with the contentement of the brother of the said future husband, in the presence of Jean Daigre, brother of Pierre Daigre, Marguerite Daigre, Marie Rose Daigre, brother and sister of the said future husband [..] and on the presence of Schlolastique Le Gentilhomme, mother of the said future wife, Marie Marguerite Condry, wife of Jean Francois Holley, Marie Catherine Holley, the wive of Pierre Danoit, and of Anne Holley...
Their first four children were born in Cherbourg: Marie Therese in 1761, Francois Alexandre in 1763, Louis Francois in 1766, Marie Jeannne Jacqueline in 1769. The couple then moved to Havre where Flore Adelaide (1770) and Marie Louise (1773) were born.
Then the Poitou adventure ensued. He is granted farms 17 and 19 to him; his neighbor is Francois Arbour, who also came from Havre. He did not do much work on the farm because he frequently went to Nantes in hopes of leaving for Louisiana. His wife, however, took a full part in the life of the colony and her signature appears on several requests or petitions. In 1776, the marriage of Marie Therese to Rene Baudeau took place. Farm 29 was given to the newly weds, but they to wanted to go to Louisiana. However, this could not be because Rene Baudeau was not Acadian.
The long awaited departure finally came on June 11, 1785. On the ship, the Beaumont, were Francois Daigle and four of his children (family 16) along with Francois Arbour (family 17) Francois Alexandre Daigle who had married on September 23 at Chantenay, was also on board along with his wife, Rose Adelaide Bourg,, and his two children (family 23) The youngest was still nursing.
|The Daigle family settled at Manchac in Louisiana. This family did not do things halfway. In 1790 the unwed children were 24, 21, 20 and 17 years old. It was time to get them married and that is occurred, all within in a period of three months. Louis Francois married Marie Rose Moulaison and Flore Adelaide married Jean Charles LeTullier in a double ring ceremony on July 21, 1790, at St. Francis of Pointe Coupee. On Septenber 27, 1790, in another double ring ceremony, this time at St. Gabriel parish of Iberville, Marie Jeanne married Francois Marie Arbour and Marie Louise married Isidore Francois Tullier.||
|Let us now turn for a moment to the spouses of the Daigle
children. At least two names are not unknown and have left some traces on
the records and documents related to the Acadian line.
Francois Marie Arbour is none other than the son of his neighbor in the colony and his neighbor on the Baumont.
Marie Rose Moulaison, was born on July 21 1775 at Cenan. Her parents had married on May 7, 1774 at Chatellerault.
There is no doubt that the colony of Archigny is being rebuilt across the Atlantic.
Jean Charles LeTullier and his brother, Isidore Francois LeTullier had also come to Poitou because they and their parents were in the third convoy that left Chatellerault for Nantes on December 7, 1775. The father, Rene LeTullier was not Acadian but had married an Acadian, Colette Renauld, on September 6, 1763 at Cherbourg. His journey was similar to the journey of Francois Daigle and Jeanne Holley.
The year 1790, hoerver, was not only a year of marriages and happiness. In October, Francois Daigle died. We might even suspect that these rushed weddings were due to the illness of Francois Daigle signaling an imminent end, and thus his desire to secure his children's future.
Francois Daigle's wealth was not great, but this might be this inheritance that gave rise to repeated questions from the Acadian descendants to Rameau de Saint Père 70 years later.
Here is the transcript of Francois Daigle's will, preserved in "Spanish West Florida Documents" Vol. 1 of the Blubonnet Regional Library at Baton Rouge.
In the Fort Bute of Manchac, on the twenty first day of the month of October of the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety, I, Don Francisco Rivas, lieutenant of the regiment of infantry of Louisiana, and Commandant civil and military of the expressed fort and its districts, in consequence of having presented herself before me, Jeanne Holley, wife of the deceased Francois Marie Daigre and her children heirs Alexandre Daigre, Louis Daigre, Jeanne Daigre and her husband Francois Arbur. Flora Adelaide Daigre and her husband Isidore Tullie, who having agreed and accorded among themselves to divide the property which is shown in the present inventory, belonging to their deceased father, at the price at which they were appraised, in consequence of which and at the request of the stated heirs, I went at the hour that was about eight o'clock in the morning of this same day, accompanied by the witnesses and appraisers of the present inventory, to the domicile of the said deceased and in the presence of the cited witnesses and appraisers , the named heirs divided among themselves the property expressed in this inventory in the same kind and quality as its estimation, in the following form: The expressed widow Jeanne Holley received the sum of the marriage contract which she presented and is inserted which is fifty nine pesos which deducted from four hundred and ninety five pesos and seven reales of the total sum of the inventory,four hundred and thirthy six pesos and seven reales remain, of this sum she she received also the half, which is two hundred eighteen pesos hich correspond to her from the community of the marriage and the other two hundred and eighteen pesos and seven reales remaining, they divided in six equal parts which amount to thirty six pesos and four reales which each one of the stated heirs, children of the deceased has received. And the aforesaid widow has also received thirty six pesos and four reales for the part of Maria Theresa Daigre, also daughter of the deceased, because of her being absent in France, with the obligation of remitting it to her. And all expressed themselves as satisfied with the succession of their deceased father; and that it may appear for all time, In testimony where of they signed it and those who did not know how to write made the accustumed sign of the cross, whith the witnesses and appraisers who were all present with me, the said Commandant of the same day, month and year that "ut supra".
Louis Daigle Jeanne Holley
Sign of Alexandre Daigre X
Sign of Flora Adelaide Daigre X
Sign of Jeanne Daigre X
Mari of Franxois Daigre X
Sign of Marie Louise Daigre X
Sign of Isidore Tullie X
Jean Charles Tullie Pol Trahan
Jo Sephmir J W Butler
Sign of Pierre Guidry
In reading this division, there is no doubt Marie Therese is meant to receive an inheritance from her father. Her mother, Jeanne Holley, was suppose to see that she got it. Personally, I believe she did receive that sum, and perhaps that is what gave rise to the myth of inheritances from the USA.
But what does this sum of thirty-six pesos and four reals represent? To get an idea, we can look at an inventory done in Louisiana in 179, a bed (mosquito net included) was valued at 4 pesos, a team of oxen at 12 pesos, and 18 pigs at 12 pesos. For Marie Therese, this sum was not negligible. We can note at that time, an inheritance was not burdened with various taxes that we have it today. The inheritance was totally shared by the inheritors.
Let us now come back to the children of Francois Daigle and Jeanne Holley.
We know very little about Francois Alexandre and his wife Rose Adeleide Bourg. They settled near Iberville and bought a little plot (125 square meters) in the village of St Michel. This plot was located between the houses of Francois Arbour and Frederic Arbour
Francois Alexandre died on August 31` 1817. His house and other properties, valued at $6000, were sold to Jean Baptiste Trahan.
After her marriage to Jean Charles Tullier, Rose Adelaide settled at Manchac on a plot of 48 hectors, in a place that later was called Sardine Point.
Rose Adelaide died in 1824.
At the death of Jean Charles, his properties were sold. One of them, located at Baton Rouge, was purchased by his brother, Isidore
Louis Francois and his wife settled on a property of 211 hectors in the southern part of Baton Rouge West. Then he acquired a second plot in a place known as Beauregard Town.
Louis Francois joined his brother-in-law, Isidore Tullier, to operate their sugar cane plantation and shared their slaves.
|He died at Baton Rouge on October 27, 1848 and was buried in the cemetery
of "La Yglesia de Dolores de la Virgin". When this cemetery was done away
with, the remains were transported to cemetery of St. John Baptiste de
His wealth was estimated at $36,000, which would now , in 1990, would be about one million dollars.
|With these numbers, reading the pages of Rameau de Saint.
Pare takes another twist. It is a brother of Marie Therese who became rich.
It is surely he who sent money to his sister and who prospered to help a
young man from the colonies establish himself in Louisiana.
By way of conclusion I would say, in spite of the reluctance of Rameau de Saint Père concerning reports by descendants of the Acadians, there is some some element of truth in all of those this
And then I found myself an "American Uncle". I did
not receive any money, of course, but I have met people on the internet who
have help with this research and I thank them. Particularly Janice Broussard
Coari who sought the gathered the documentation and who did not hesitate
to travel to take pictures of different places that relate to this family.
Thanks to Francis Doucette for the translation.