“The oral tradition within my family has been alive and well for as long as I can remember. As a child, I would sit quietly with my mom, her sisters, and their aunts as they would discuss other family members. I realize now that it all bordered on gossip, but at the time, I felt that I was in an honored position to be able to listen to all of the tales of who did what to whom, what the other one said, and what happened after that. At times, it seemed that they did not even notice me in the room. At other times, I would notice the women looking at one another. They would raise their eyebrows when they glanced in my direction, and then they would speak a few words in a language I did not understand, which I later learned was French Creole.”
Read more in my book, “Got Proof! My Genealogical Journey Through the Use of Documentation.” http://michaelnhenderson.com/got-proof/
#igotproof2 #ourancestorsstoriesmatter http://michaelnhenderson.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Press-Release.Got-Proof.pdf
What Happened to the Bounty Land promised to My Ancestor a Veteran of the War of 1812? – A Cause for Concern
A few days ago, I received information requested from the National Archives in Washington DC about bounty land warrants for my 3rd generation great-grandfather, Innocent Mathieu (Mathew) also known as Louis Devau, a veteran of the War of 1812.
Included in Innocent Mathieu’s bounty land file is a document which indicates a land warrant No. 87991 was issued in accordance with the act of September 28, 1850.
Since this was my first look into the application process for bounty land, I needed to learn more about how veteran land warrants and patents worked, and under what authority they were issued.
Bounty land warrants (BLW’s) were originally authorized by the Continental Congress in 1776 as an inducement to enter and remain in military service, but later acts of Congress authorized them as a reward for past service. BLWs provide the right to free land in the public domain. The warrant was a piece of paper which states that, based on his service, the veteran is entitled to X number of acres in one of the bounty land districts set up for veterans of the War of 1812. These land districts were located on public domain lands in Arkansas, Illinois, and Missouri.
A veteran who decided to redeem his warrant was issued a patent for the land itself, and a bounty land warrant file was created in the General Land Office. This file contains the surrendered warrant, a letter of assignment (if he assigned his interest to another party), and any other documents pertaining to the transaction. The warrant itself should include the name of the veteran, his rank on discharge, his branch of service (including company), and the date the warrant was issued. It may also include the date the land was located and a description of the land. For more on Bounty-Land and Warrant for Military Service 1775-1855 see here.
Once I gained a better understanding of what this file was supposed to include, I continued my search and found a document within the file indicating that Innocent Mathieu received a bounty land warrant no. 87991 on May 13, 1853, for 40 acres for his service in the Louisiana Militia during the War of 1812 (the Battle of New Orleans, Dec. 1814 – Mar. 1815).
The death record found in same file, indicated that Innocent Mathieu (Mathew) died on April 13, 1845. Yet, as noted above, a bounty land warrant No. 87991 was issued to Innocent Mathieu on May 13, 1853. Also, a bounty land patent (title to the land) for 40 acres was issued on Oct 2, 1854 and assigned to a gentleman named Edward Stewart and his heirs.
A veteran of the War of 1812 was issued a land warrant eight years after his death, and another man, not the qualified veteran nor his family member, was granted the land patent. (Double click photo to enlarge)
Another document in this file indicates that the veteran’s widow received a land patent for 160 acres, under warrant No 53415, on Nov 3, 1855, in accordance with an act of March 3, 1855. She is identified as Claire Devau, widow of Louis Devau, a private who served as Innocent Mathieu under Captian Simon, Louisiana Militia, War of 1812. However, it was also documented in this file that no record application under the act of 1855 was on register (referencing Warrant no 53415).
I looked up Act of 1855 and discovered that on March 3, 1855 (10 Stat. 701), the U.S. Congress went beyond merely satisfying the former pledge of the Continental Congress and authorized the issuance of bounty-land warrants for 160 acres to soldiers, irrespective of rank, who had served for as few as 14 days in the Revolution or had taken part in any battle. Widows and minor children of such veterans were also eligible. An individual who had received a warrant under previous bounty-land legislation was limited by the act to receiving a second warrant for only such additional acreage as would total 160 acres. To see more about bounty land file and warrants see here
Another document indicated that the veteran’s widow received a land patent without having an application on file. How could this have happened?
In the case of the 160 acres under warrant 53415, a bounty land patent on July 2, 1860 was assigned to a Silas R. Mangrum and his heirs. However, the two bounty land warrents were set aside and granted to Innocent Mathieu. Yet, no record application under the act of 1855 was on register (referencing Warrant no 53415).
Puzzled by these findings, I now wish to know how the land, amounting to 200 acres, ended up in the hands of two unknown men and their heirs.
Was this land stolen from the widow and family of a dead veteran of the War of 1812? Was fraud involved in any of the application processes? Is there any evidence in the form of documentation that could prove such assumptions? What became of this land? These are just a few questions that came to mind as I summarized my initial review of the bounty land warrant file of Innocent Mathieu.
Stay tuned as I reveal more evidence discovered in this case of the bounty land promised to Innocent Mathieu, a veteran of the War of 1812 at the Battle of New Orleans.
On Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 2:30 p.m at the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church in Orion, Pike County, Alabama, the Alabama Society, Sons of the American Revolution in conjunction with the Wiregrass Chapter SAR honored with a Memorial Marker Dedication Ceremony, Patriot Jim Capers, 1742 – 1753, Revolutionary War Soldier, A FREE MAN OF COLOR, Drumer, 4th South Carolina Regiment.
History of Jim Capers bio Presented by Compatriot John Wallace:
“The small amount of information we have concerning the life of Jim Capers comes from his Revolutionary War pension application and widow’s pension application files following Jim’s death.
The story starts in 1849, when Jim Capers appears in the Pike County Court to file his Revolutionary War pension application in order to received the benefits of a persnion law by Congress in 1832. At the time, the court noted that his age was 107 and he was a man of Color. He stated that he was born on the 23rd day of September 1742. When asked if he had any documentation of this fact, Jim responded that this was the date my old master Capers told him. When questioned as to why he had waited so long to apply, he responded that he did not know a free man of color was entitled to receive a pension.
According to the pension application, Jim served better that seven years in the army as a drum major and was engaged with the enemy at Savannah, St Helena, Port Royal, Camden, Biggins Church, and was garrisoned at Charleston for some time. He was in the Battle of Eutaw Springs, often described as the bloodiest of the battles of the Revolutionary War. Capers reported he received four wounds at Eutaw Springs, including two saber cuts to his head and one to his face, and that a shot passed through his side killing the drummer behind him. At the end of his service he was at Yorktown and witnessed the surrender of British Forces to the patriots.
At the time of his pension application, Capers was living on the Norman McLeod plantation and was married to Milley, one of McLeod’s slaves. According to two pension applications, totaling more than 90 pages, McLeod did a great deal to assist both Jim and his wife in obtaining a pension. Neither application, however, was approved, but by a special act of Congress passed on 3 Feb 1853; the Secretary of the Interior was required to place the name of Jim Capers upon the list of revolutionary pension, and to pay him a pension at the rate of eight dollars per month; said pension to commence on the first day August, 1850 at $8.00 per month. Although there is nothing in the pension file to show how this occured, it is suspected that McLeod, who was a former state legistor, may have been involved through his political connections. There is a receipt where Jim’s wife Milley received $256.00 under this act. Jim died 1 April 1853.”*
*As published in the Memorial Marker dedication program Alabama Society SAR- Wiregrass Chapter.
The Alabama State Society Color Guard presented colors at the opening of the ceremony, and several chapters from the SAR and DAR within the state of Alabama and Southern District were present to present wreaths on behalf of their chapters.
I was extremely honored to present a wreath as Past President on behalf of the Button Gwinnett Chapter, Georgia Society Sons of the American Revolution, South Atlantic District. Many from the church and surrounding community were also in attendance. After the ceremony, a reception was held in the church fellowship hall.
Several current and retired members of the United States Armed forces were present during the Ceremony. I was honored to have a photo taken with fellow veterans.
Pike Country Probate Judge presented a proclamation honoring Jim Capers, the first African American patriot of the American Revolution in the state of Alabama.
Several church and community members pose for a photo with Alabama State color guard and militia members. The young man and lady in the middle (DJ Smith and Kiki Smith) will remember this moment forever.
Compatriot Henderson is congratulating Compatriot John Wallace and members of the Wiregrass Chapter, Alabama Society SAR on a wonderful tribute and memorial marker dedication for Patriot Jim Capers.
The Sons of the American Revolution is a lineage organization composed of gentlemen who can document a direct bloodline to one of the patriots of the American Revolution.
The grave dedication ceremony is part of the society’s ongoing program to honor American heroes who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of a new nation.
Jim Capers is one of many veterans who moved West following the American Revolution and is among the approximate 1,000 Revolution War soldiers known to have settle in present-day Alabama.
For additional information on Jim Capers, visit Southern Campaign American Revolution Pension Statements & Rosters
See more about Henderson’s personal journey and discovery of a Louisiana Patriot Ancestor in the American Revolution Also recipient of the 2014 National Society Sons of the American Revolution Minnesota Society Stephen Taylor Award.
How many of you keep hearing how difficult it is to document one’s ancestry through the female side of your family. Reason often given is because each time a female marry, she gives up her birth surname and takes on her husband’s surname. Well, while this is true in some cases, it also creates a great opportunity for some interesting genealogical research.
Here is what happened, when I went looking through my mother’s ancestry, through several family surnames such as Philips, Mathieu (a critical family surname – Mathieu documented and recently published in my Memoir – GOT PROOF!) D’arensbourg, Duclos-Deselle, Messier and Lemoyne.
What I discovered was our family’s French female progenitor back to 1657 in the Lemoyne family line. And guess what, It’s now documented through two lineage Societies. See more in recent blog post titled : French Female Ancestor Documented Back to 1657 Links New Orleans Native to Founders and Settlers of Quebec, Canada.
It is my sincere hope that each of you on a similar journey are continued to be inspired by stories such as this one and know that anything is possible as long as you believe and not give up the search. I did not and hope you to won’t either.
Return to click here: Henderson’s Descent From French Ancestor Michel Messier dit Saint Michel Certified
What a pleasant surprise to learn that a review of my recently published memoir, GOT PROOF! My Genealogical Journey Through the Use of Document (The Write Image 2013) was published in the December 2014 issue of National Genealogical Society Quarterly.
The NGSQ reviewer captures what many genealogist and family historians all go through during their research.
“Bewilderment, frustration, hopefulness, and elation — these emotions frequently attend the researcher’s journey to prove elusive ancestors. Family historian Michael Henderson has published an enjoyable and educational account of his journey of discovery . . . Henderson reviews the many name variations necessary to be reconciled from documents written in Spanish, French, and English. He describes the iterative, nonlinear process of piecing information to prove that Mathieu and Agnes are his ancestors . . .”
James Ison, AG, CG
French Female Ancestor Documented Back to 1657 Links New Orleans Native to Founders and Settlers of Quebec, Canada
Several months ago, I shared in a previous blog post titled Finding Ancestral Proof on Paper and in Stone how in 2007, I visited Montreal, Canada and found the city charming. In one particular area, called the Place d’Armes (parade ground), which dates back to the 17th century, stands a monument dedicated to five of the early settlers of Montreal who arrived in 1642. See more here.
The monuments in both Montreal and one New Orleans depict several French and French Canadians who were credited with settling New France, which covered a larger part of northeastern Canada and would be later include an area known as French Louisiana. This might appear to be an unlikely ancestral connection for me, a native New Orleanian; however, this is where, the research of my ancestral lineage gets interesting.
Using a number of colonial documents such as baptism, marriage and death records found in the Archives in Ottawa Canada, Illinois and in Louisiana and also a few published biographies, I have identified my 9th generation great-grandmother, Anne Lemoyne. Her marriage to Michel Messier dit St Michel in 1658 connects me to Canada’s early founders pictured above.
Between 1634 and 1662, 262 filles à marier or “marriageable girls” emigrated to New France, representing one quarter of all the single girls arriving in New France through 1673. They were recruited and chaperoned by religious groups or individuals who had to assure and account for their good conduct. In general, they were poor, although there were some members of the petty nobility among their ranks, according to Peter Gagné author of ”Before the Kings Daughters, Filles a Marier, 1634 – 1662.
Anne Lemoyne played a significant role in the settlement of French Canada and secured her position in history as a matriarch in my French ancestral line in North America. Anne Lemoyne was baptized on July 26, 1638 at St Jacques, Petitbourg, Rouen, Normandy, France. Though she arrived with her family, she may have been eligible for the Filles á Marier program, since she had been born in France and was contracted to marry Michel Messier. The wedding took place on February 25, 1658 in Montreal. (Gagné, 2002, pg 201-202)
Michel Messier was born on July 11, 1640 at St. Denis, Rouen, Normandy, France, the son of David Messier and Marguerite Bar. He and Anne had twelve children before her death on July 15, 1725 at Vercheres, Varennes, Quebec. Michel died on November 3, 1725. To view property granted to Michel Messier dit St Michel see here.
Children of Anne LeMoyne and Michel Messier dit St Michel were:
Catherine Messier was born on July 11, 1659 in Montreal and died on March 15, 1703 in Vercheres. She married Etienne Gentes on November 28, 1678 in Montreal. She had at least three daughters.
Jeanne Messier was born on June 18, 1661 in Montreal She married Ignace Hebert on January 31, 1679 and had a daughter Marguerite. She died on August 6, 1699 in Varennes.
Marie-Anne Messier was born on August 2, 1665 in Montreal. She married Jean Brodeur on January 31 1679 in Boucherville. The couple had six children. Following the death of her husband, she married Alexandre Petit on January 8, 1721 in Varennes. She died in December 13, 1751 in Varennes.
Anne was born on November 12, 1667 in Montreal. She died on January 1, 1668 in Montreal.
Anne was born on December 21, 1668 in Montreal. She died on January 29, 1669 in Montreal.
Anne Messier was born on February 5, 1670 in Montreal. She married Gabriel Lambert Duclos Deselle on August 26, 1687 in Boucherville. The couple had thirteen children. She died on March 15, 1720 in Sainte-Anne-de-Varennes, Vercheres Quebec Canada, (Cap Saint-Michel) (ile Sainte Therese).
Gabrielle Messier was born on May 2, 1672 in Montreal. She died on Jun 5, 1682 in Boucherville then ten years old.
Jean-Michel was born on 31 May 1674 in Boucherville. He died en-route to Fort Louis de la Mobile in the Month of April 1705.
Marguerite Messier was born on May 24, 1676 in Montreal. She married Pierre-Charles LESUEUR on March 29, 1690 in Bourcherville. She had five children. She died on March 5, 1741 at Fort Louis de la Mobile, Louisiana.
An unnamed child was born on August 20, 1678 in Montreal. His burial took place on August 22, 1678 in Montreal.
Francois-Michel Messier was born on 1679 probably in Varennes. He first married Marie-Anne Amyot on February 10, 1706 in Varennes. From this marriage, six children were born including four boys. He married his second wife Marie-Jeanne Duval on October 8, 1725 in Contrecoeur. Again he became a widower. He married his third wife Madeleine Lefabvre on Jul 25, 1729 in St. Francois-du-lac. And finally, he married Angélique Poirier on Jun 8, 1744 in St. Anne-du-Bout-de-Ile. He died on Jun 11 1751 in Varennes.
Rene Messier was born on April 20, 1681 in Varennes. His birth is recorded in Boucherville. On January 18, 1706 in Varennes, he married on August 25, 1718 in Batiscan, Madeleline Guillet with whom he had eight children. It is in Varennes on May 22, 1758 that Rene died.
Couple of Key Figures found in my ancestral tree:
The end of a long journey to receiving U.S. Citizenship for Bernardo de Galvez has finally happen with a President’s signature December 16, 2014. Many thanks to all who have supported this effort over the years.
Finally, our beloved and nearly forgotten Louisiana Spanish Colonial Governor General Bernardo de Galvez, an American Revolutionary War Patriot and now U.S. Citizen joins the ranks of only seven others.
As a native of New Orleans, Louisiana currently living in Atlanta, Georgia, I have a very interesting connection to this historical figure General Bernardo de Galvez and it too culminated with a signature.
235 years ago this month on Dec 16, 1779, when the then Governor of Spanish Colonial Louisiana signed the manumission papers which granted freedom to my enslaved 4th Generation Great Grandmother named Agnes.
Through further research, I also discovered, Agnes French consort, whom I later determined to be my 4th Great Generation Grandfather named Mathieu Devaux dit Platilla served in the New Orleans Militia, 3rd company Artillery under the Command of General Galvez. These two discoveries, finding Agnes and discovering my ancestral connection to the American Revolution have also connected my ancestry to both Spanish Louisiana and American History in a most interesting way.
I invite you to view the segment on the PBS program, the History Detectives, titled the Galvez Papers which helped to bring my ancestors story to a National audience. It will be the second segment once video starts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkVv06F9rn4
An in addition to discovering and documenting, my ancestral lineage to Agnes and Mathieu Devaux, In 2010, I was induction into the National Society Sons of the American Revolution because of my ancestral connection to a Louisiana Patriot of the American Revolution - Mathieu Devaux dit Platilla. Oh yes, by the way, I GOT PROOF! too.
Here is another major project which helped bring National attention and further focus on Bernardo de Galvez’s contribuiton during the American Revolution. https://www.
It is my hope that other descendants of those men who served with Galvez take time to appreicate, document and remember their ancestor’s contribution to the United States.
I stand today, as a Living Memorial of a rich legacy left to me by of my Louisiana Colonial Ancestors. I hope each of you are inspired by each of these actions taken.
Click here to return to post about Homer Plessy Presidential Medal of Freedom Award petition.
A couple of weeks ago, while driving down to my hometown of New Orleans, I decided to see if I could locate the historic marker of a place, I believe will become my earliest known French Canadian ancestral settlement equivalent to “Jamestown” on the Gulf Coast at Mobile. Like those descendants who can trace their ancestral lineage to the early English colony called “Jamestown” on the east coast of Virginia. I now believe those with colonial French Canadian ancestry in Louisiana can stake a claim as descendants of those who helped established and settled Old Mobile, Fort Louis de la Louisiana, in 1702.
I am working on documenting one ancestral line that originated out of Montreal, Quebec Canada down to the Lower Mississippi valley during the early the 18th century. The place which I refer to, was called Old Mobile: Fort Louis de la Louisiane. It was established in 1702 and remained in place until 1711. In his book with same titled Jay Higginbotham, the Director of the Mobile Municipal Archives chronicled this nine year period on what would become early French settlement – Fort Louis de la Louisiane, on the Gulf Coast at Mobile.
I will continue to blog about my Ancestor(s) who were discovered at Old Mobile, the research discoveries and the documents used to substanitate my evidence of a direct lineal French Canadian ancestors who was discovered at Old Mobile: Fort Louis de la Louisiane, between 1705 – 1711. Stay tuned.
I recently returned from Chicago, where I was the keynote speaker and had a book signing at the 32nd Annual Family History Conference. The Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society – Chicago (AAGHSC) theme was “Under The Vital Umbrella,” which focused on a broad selection of topics designed to enhance your research skills and protect your intellectual property.
Among the other speakers was a fellow researcher, Melvin Collier, who I first met in 2008 at another genealogy event in Atlanta. At the time, Melvin had just published his first book, Mississippi to Africa: A Journey of Discovery(Heritage Books Inc. 2008). I was impressed to meet this young man who had been researching his ancestry for many years and was now a published author.
I shared with Melvin my discovery of the manumission document of my 4th generation great-grandmother who was a former slave, born in French Louisiana in 1758, and gained her freedom in 1779 with the help of a French national. I learned that he was my 4th generation great-grandfather who had served in the local militia in Spanish Colonial Louisiana under the command of Louisiana Spanish Colonial Governor General Bernardo de Galvez.
“Wow!” Melvin said. “You know, that’s a book, right. You have to publish that story.” Hearing those words from someone who recently published his family story was a great encouragement to me. Further encouragement came when I opened Melvin’s book and saw that he had signed, “Tell your story! The Ancestors Are Smiling!”
Fast forward five years, and I finally got around to following Melvin’s advice to tell my story when I published my memoir, Got Proof: My Genealogical Journey Through The Use of Documentation (The Write Image 2013).
And there we were in Chicago, both speakers at a regional conference, encouraging others to continued with their research and tell their stories. This time, I was honored to share and sign a copy my book for Melvin as he had done with me in 2008.
During my book signing, a young man approached me and asked if he could give me a signed copy of his book, Keith’s Heart. It was a special moment. This 9 – year-old author was attending the conference with his mom and had a table in the exhibit area where he was selling his books.
“I have a brother named Keith,” I told him. “And I would be honored to have an autographed copy of your book.”
As it turns out, Keith’s Heart is a story about the death of Keith’s dad, due to gun violence. Keith told me, “I wanted others, especially those who have lost someone to gun violence, to know what it has done to me as a kid.”
I was touched by his desire to share his personal story with me and with others. With that, I was moved to share with him a signed copy of my book. I felt that sharing our stories had brought one aspect of my publishing journey full circle, having been encouraged to write and publish by one author, and then seeing another young author pursue his publishing dreams.
Genealogists and family historians have a tremendous opportunity to inspire others through sharing stories about our research and results. This AAGHS conference in Chicago gave three African American men an opportunity to inspire each other and many more with our stories. Indeed, Our Ancestors are Smiling.
Recipient of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution 2014, Minnesota Society Stephen Taylor Award
I was extremely honored to receive the 2013 – 2014 National Society Sons of the American Revolution Minnesota Society Stephen Taylor Award. This award is presented to a NSSAR compatriot who, by his research and writings, has made a distinguished contribuiton to the preservation of the history of the American Revolutionary War.
This award is named after an American Revolutionary War Patriot, Stephen Taylor. To see more about Patriot Taylor, click here.
My efforts to preserve and document the story of my Louisiana Revolutionary War ancestor, along with some other interesting historical discoveries, were captured in a segment of the PBS program, “History Detectives,” titled the Galvez Papers.
To learn more go here: GOT PROOF! My Genealogical Journey Through The Use Of Documentation.