Michael N. Henderson, LCDR, USN Ret. Past President, Button Gwinnett Chapter SAR Photo credit: Gregory Smith, Atlanta Chapter SAR
If you follow my blog, you know I speak to genealogical and historical groups across the country about my genealogy research. I’ve shared the joy and excitement of having identified and documented ancestors from as far back as 1653, and my honor of being a member of several lineage societies. It’s always a pleasure to speak to my compatriots of those societies to share my genealogy research journey.
Michael N. Henderson accepts certificate of appreciation from Mark Bell of Atlanta Chapter SAR
Recently, I presented a talk to the Atlanta Chapter of the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR). Thanks to an invitation from Mark Bell, program coordinator for the chapter, I shared the complexity of my research journey to connect slavery and American independence to colonial Louisiana.
Below is a segment of the PBS program on the History Detectives titled; “The Galvez Papers” where a Spanish Colonial document, a Manumission or freedom papers of my 4th generation great-grand mother, an enslaved woman named Agnes and her French consort Mathieu Devaux dit Platillo linked to an interesting period in Spanish Colonial Louisiana and American history:
“The Galvez Papers” will play after PBS promo.
Anyone who has conducted research involving enslaved individuals knows the complexity of delving into property records (i.e. slave inventories, bills of sale) as well as some more common documents, such as birth, baptism, marriage, and death records along with military service and census documents. Add to that the complexity of linking enslaved, freed, and European ancestors through documentation, and you have a serious research project on your hands.
In addition to the challenge of combing through these documents, I faced the challenge that many of the documents were written in French and Spanish, neither of which are my native language, making my research journey that much more complex.
In addition to the honor of speaking to the Atlanta Chapter, I had the pleasure of witnessing the induction of several new members to the NSSAR. The ceremony was quite moving, as each inductee shared insightful words of what being a part of this organization means to them and to their family.
Edward Moses Anderson, Sr. and Michael N. Henderson, members of the Georgia Society SAR
As it turns out, one of the new members being inducted was a gentleman I met four years ago when I gave a presentation at another Georgia Society SAR meeting in Washington Wilkes County. Following that presentation, Ed Anderson had shared with me his interest in joining the SAR. His challenge at the time was linking one of his mixed-raced ancestors to a white patriot ancestor. Since I had shared my journey to do just that, he and I continued to compare notes and strategies to help him along the process. Over the years, Ed was diligent in his research and was able to document another ancestral line connected to a patriot ancestor named Walter Hanson. And that was his open door to become a member of the NSSAR.
Two more individuals were also inducted at the meeting, one a recently discovered cousin of Ed’s, who also documented his lineal descent from the same patriot ancestor.
Atlanta Chapter, Georgia Society SAR inductees. (l to r) Barry Neil Miller, Julius Waye Dudley Ph.D., Edward Moses Anderson, Sr.
It was truly an honor to welcome the new members into the SAR, and to meet many other new compatriots in the Georgia Society.
Jim Freeman, President, Atlanta Chapter SAR with Michael N. Henderson
(l-r) Paul L. Anderson (brother of) Edward M. Anderson, Michael N. Henderson, John James Smith, Barrett Hansen, and Julius Wayne Dudley, Ph.D.
Michael N. Henderson, Button Gwinnett Chapter SAR, Photo credit: Gregory Smith, Atlanta Chapter SAR
Atlanta Chapter SAR members and guest, Photo credit: Gregory Smith, Atlanta Chapter SAR
The Georgia Society SAR, awarded the NSSAR Bronze Good Citizenship Medal to Atlanta Chapter NSDAR member Dorothy Camerio for her Service to Veterans
John James Smith (white jacket) shares his common ancestral connection to both Edward M. Anderson and Barrett Hanson. All three men are descendants of Walter Hanson, patriot of the American Revolution.
In another blog posted back in 2015 titled, Getting to Know Anna and Victor at the Whitney Plantation, we were able to determine the lineal descend of Victor Haydel, using a single document, his St John the Baptism church baptism record. Listed was the name of his mother, Anna,(an enslaved woman-owned by Marie Azelie Haydel) and his father who was listed as, Antoine Haydel, the brother of Marie Azelie Haydel, the last Haydel family member to own the Whitney plantation.
Once again, So what is the significance of these documents?
The name of Antoine Haydel (who is a white member of the Haydel family) is listed as the father of the mixed-race child, Victor Haydel on the certificate of baptism. Records in other states rarely show documented evidence of white slave owners as parents of black slaves. However, in Louisiana, there are many instances where these relationships are seen documented.
The baptism record can serve as the beginning paper trail in gathering evidence of a bloodline connection to the white Haydel family on the German coast of Louisiana.
This mixed-race person born of a mother who was enslaved makes the child enslaved, according to the Code Noir in Louisiana. This law states that the status of the child will follow that of the mother at the time of birth. These laws were enacted in Louisiana as early as 1724 during the French colonial period in Louisiana. They were later modified, yet still defined the status (free or enslaved) of individuals born during the time of Victor’s birth.
The child identified as Victor is given the surname Haydel, which is the same as the white family that owned him and his mother, Anna. Consequently, it is the same surname as the man identified on Victor’s baptism certificate as his father, Antoine Haydel.
Since the father, Antoine Haydel is the brother of the slave owner, Marie Azélie’s Haydel, that makes Victor Haydel not only Azélie’s slave but her blood nephew.
See ancestral chart starting at the progenitor of the Haydel family- Ambroise Heidel:
I also discovered whereas late as 1860, both Anna and Victor were listed on a property inventory of slaves being assessed after the death of Marie Azelie Haydel.
Given those two documents, the baptism record, and slave inventory, evident is established showing, the white ancestral bloodline into the Haydel family via Antoine Haydel, then on back to the Progenitor of the Haydel family- Ambroise Heidel.
Victor Haydel, the Progenitor of the Haydel’s, Creoles of Color family.
Moving forward, the use of U.S. census records (1870, 1880) helps us to reconstruct, the first generation of descendants, the children of Victor Haydel and Marie Celeste Becnel.
In the census of 1870 below, we see for the first time, Victor is referred to as Theophile Haydel, age 50 (m) male, (m) mulatto and listed as a domestic servant. We also see, Celeste Becnel, age 45, (f) Female (m) Mulatto listed as domestic servant. there are also 6 other individuals, assumed to be related, however, no indication of relationship stated on the document, other than seen living in the same household.
Next, we see Victor is listed as head of the household on the 1880 U.S. Census within the 2nd Ward of St John the Baptist Parish. Celeste is shown on the 1870 census, as Celeste Becnel, however, she is now listed as a Haydel and referred to as Victor’s wife. No marriage record has been found yet. There are also nine children, 1 female and 8 Males ranging in age 22 to 1 year old.
Using the information found on the 1880 U.S Census of St John the Baptist parish, we are now able to construct a two-generation family tree showing the 9 children of Victor Theophile Haydel and Marie Celeste Becnel Haydel.
Based on the above information, we have now constructed a lineal ancestral descent from Ambroise Haydel to Victor Theophile Haydel to his first generation of Haydel’s descendants of Color Creoles.
So now, why is this first generation important to all the descendants of Victor Theophile Haydel and Marie Celeste Becnel? This is your lineal connection to another interesting aspect of the Haydel family and Spanish Colonial Louisiana history.
“Until the Lion has his own storyteller, the hunter will always have the best part of the story” an African Proverb
In a blog post I wrote on December 16, 2014, titled,Freedom for One, Citizenship for the Other, Two Signatures 235 Years Apart , I share how a series of events in my family’s Louisiana colonial past brought three individuals — an enslaved woman of color named Agnes, a white French national named Mathieu Devaux dit Platillo, and the Spanish colonial governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Galvez— together in the cause of freedom and independence. Both Devaux and Galvez have been recognized as patriots of the American Revolution for their contributions as soldiers in the cause for America’s freedom from Great Britain.
See below how the story played out in a segment of the PBS programs History Detectives titled the Galvez Papers.
“The Galvez Papers” will play after PBS promo.
Their lives and historic actions have forever changed my awareness about knowing and claiming my family’s history. With the stroke of two penned signatures, history was made: Freedom was granted to Agnes on December 16, 1779, by Bernardo de Galvez, and 235 years later, on December 16, 2014, citizenship was granted (posthumously) to Galvez himself by President Barack Obama, an amazing connection of which my family and I can forever be proud.
As we approach the 125th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Plessy v. Ferguson, a concerted effort is being waged to acknowledge Plessy’s long overdue impact on the American Civil Rights Movement. In 1892, Homer Plessy, a fair-skinned, mixed-race man of color, was arrested in New Orleans, LA for taking a seat in a train car designated for white passengers only, despite the fact that he had paid for a first-class ticket. How interesting that a man of mixed race would be treated in such a way.
What would have happened if the train conductor and the whites who opposed him had known Plessy’s genealogy. He is the descendant of Agnes (mentioned above), a formerly enslaved Afro-Creole woman who fought in court and gained her freedom, and Mathieu Devaux, a Frenchman and patriot of the American Revolution who fought for America’s freedom well before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and statehood in 1812. Would he still have been denied his full rights and privileges as an American citizen under the constitution of the United States?
Plessy’s case was taken to the local courts and later to the Supreme Court, where it was upheld, thereby ushering in the era known as Jim Crow in America. However, as was stated by those who took this case all the way to the Supreme Court:
“We, as freemen, still believe that we were right and our cause is sacred.” ~ Statement of the Comité des Citoyens 1896
Long before the modern Civil Rights Era, Plessy and the Citizens Committee, with whom he planned the event, made history. Yet, because the Supreme Court case was not decided in his favor, Plessy has since stood as a scar in the struggle for civil rights for all people in America. Homer A. Plessy has never been officially acknowledged for his sacrifice on the altar of freedom. Those who know the truth of Plessy’s actions look upon him as a figure of immense historical importance. The time is now for all of us to acknowledge his rightful place in the history of American Civil Rights.
For as we know, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
See below to learn more about the Plessy v. Ferguson case.
It would be three years trying to locate documented proof of service for three German Coast of Louisiana ancestors of mine, who lived in the parish known today as St John the Baptist, about 30 miles outside the city of New Orleans, La.All three ancestors,according to their death records are said to have been buried in unmarked graves in the St John the Baptist Cemetery in St John the Baptist Parish.
While visiting the Whitney plantation in 2016, I spoke with the director of research, Dr. Ibrahima Seck. I shared with him, some of my revolutionary war ancestral research concerning several ancestors who lived in St John the Baptist Parish. I shared how excited it was about my discovery and the recent approval of them as Patriots of the American Revolution, because of finding documented proof of service for having served under the command of the Spanish Colonial Louisiana, Governor, and General Bernardo de Galvez.
Dr. Seck has written extensively about the Heidel,(Haydel) family and the Whitney Plantation in his book Bouki Fait Gombo. However, he was not aware of any involvement by any Haydel men during this time in Louisiana’s Colonial history. I mentioned seeing several of the Haydel men also listed in that same document and what that could mean for them and their descendants.
Taking a closer look at a blog post, I wrote in 2015, we can now understand the significance of this document, the 1778 Militia list for St. John the Baptist parish, and also how it too, relates to several of the Heidel (Haydel) men titled: Three More Colonial Louisiana Ancestors Approved By the SAR.
Galvez March, Conquest of Baton Rouge, 1779 by Augusto Ferre-Dalmau.
I also mentioned the significance of documenting these ancestors, many from the surrounding areas of St John the Baptist, St Charles, St James, and a few others parish militia groups who joined in when Bernardo de Galvez marched on through en route to his first battle at Baton Rouge.
If you aren’t familiar with this aspect of the historical narrative of the War of Independence, I invite you to view here below: Spanish Support and Participation in the American Revolution: I showed Dr. Seck, the names of several Haydel and Becnel men (marked in red) on the same militia list dated 1 Jun 1778, as my direct ancestors (marked in blue). I asked Dr. Seck if he knew of the final resting place of the two former builders/owners of the Habitation Haydel, now Whitney Plantation (Jean Jacques Haydel and the Evergreen Plantations (Christophe Haydel) who both lived in St John the Baptist Parish. (double click to enlarge militia list below)
(Militia list with several Haydel Men named are in red)
These men listed above would remainmembers of the second company of Militia in St John the Baptist Parish in support of and during the entire time Louisiana, under the command of Spanish Colonial Governor and General Bernardo de Gálvez, who with 1,400 men, took to the field in the fall of 1779 and defeated the British in battles at Manchac 7 Sept 1779, Baton Rouge and Natchez (21 Sept 1779).On March 14, 1780, after a month-long siege with land and sea forces, Gálvez, with over 2,000 men, captured the British stronghold of Fort Charlotte at Mobile 1781. The climax of the Gulf Coast campaign occurred the following year when Gálvez directed a joint land-sea attack on Pensacola, the British capital of West Florida. He commanded more than 7,000 men in the two-month siege of Fort George in Pensacola before its capture on 10 May 1781.
Habitation Haydel, The Whitney Plantation
Dr. Seck said, Jean Jacque Haydel, the original builder/owner of the Habitation Haydel, now called Whitney Plantation was buried in St John the Baptist Cemetery and he also believed, Christophe Haydel, and Mathias Haydel were also buried there too.
Since my three ancestors were according to their death records, buried in St John the Baptist Cemetery, Dr. Seck, suggested, we drive over and to the cemeteryto visit the gravesite of Jean Jacques Haydel.The cemetery located adjacent to church at 2361 Highway 18 (River Road), Edgard, LA.
St John the Baptist Church and Cemetery, St John The Baptist Parish, La.
According to a brief history: “St. John the Baptist Catholic Church is one of the oldest church cemeteries in Louisiana. On 21 Feb 1770, Spanish Governor O’Reilly issued an order of expropriation for 4 arpents (almost 4 acres) of land from Jacque Dubroc to build a church on the west bank of the Mississippi to serve the people of the Second German Coast in what is now the civil parish of St. John the Baptist. Most of the residents of the Second German Coast were of German or Acadian ancestry. The church served the east and west bank of the civil parish until the formation of St. Peter Catholic Church at Reserve on the east bank in 1864. Burials in the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church cemetery began shortly after the first church was erected. After the formation of St. Peter Catholic Church, some of those families continued to be interred in Edgard until 1870 and in some cases later if there was a family tomb. Many famous people have been buried here, i.e. John Slidell’s family tomb and the wife of P. G. T Beauregard. St. John the Baptist Catholic Church cemetery remains an active cemetery today”.
On our drive over to the cemetery, Dr. Seck mentioned, the original cemetery was reduced in size over the years, as the Mississippi river and levels system overtook part of the older parts of the cemetery, and there was a likelihood, that the gravesites of my three ancestors, may no longer exist and was probably washed away by the river.Here are a few pictures were taken while visiting the St John the Baptist cemetery:
There it was, the tomb of the original owner/builder of the Haydel/ Whitney Plantation, Jean Jacques Haydel. Except for some minor repairs needed on some missing cement plaster, the site was in relatively good condition. The inscribed on the tombstone was his name, Jean Jacque Haydel ” Godfather of the Church” 1744-1826.
Here we have proof of service and a burial site of Jean Jacques Haydel. He is listed as Jacobo Haydel on the 1 Jun 1778, St John the Baptist parish militia list as Sargent Jacobo Haydel. see below
I was a little concerned about the reference to a Sargent Jacobo Haydel and wondered if this was the same Jean Jacques Haydel. I looked through the names of all the sons of the progenitor of the Haydel family, Ambroise Haydel, and none were referred to in any other documents, I came across as Jacobo Haydel.
So I research to see, if Jacques was a variant of Jacob and found according to Wikipedia, Jacques as given name James is derived from Iacomus, a variant of Iacobus. As a first name, Jacques is often phonetically converted to English as Jacob, Jake (from Jacob), or Jack. Jack, from Jankin, is usually a diminutive of John but can also be used as a short form for many names derived from Jacob like Jacques.
I also knew that Jean Jacques Haydel’s, mother Anna Marguerite Schoff’s father was named Jacob Schoff (also spelled Schaaf) and it is plausible, that the recorder who wrote down the names of the men mustered on 1 Jun 1778, took the liberty of spelling, Jean Jacques Haydel as Jacobo Haydel.
We can see clearly in other instances where the recorder of the militia muster list also phonetically spelled other Haydel men names differently too ( Mathias Haydel is seen spelled Matias Heydel, Christophe Haydel is seen spelled Xtof Heidel, Nicolas Haydel is seen spelled Nicolas Haydel, and George Haydel is Jorge Heidel). None of the other Haydel men listed on the muster were found in marked tombs during my visit this day, however, according to each of their, St John the Baptist church baptism records, they are all said to be buried in the St John the Baptist Parish Cemetery.
Any descendant who can link their family’s ancestry to one of the children of Victor Haydel and Marie Celeste Becnel Haydel can now link themselves to individual Haydel ancestors who were on the militia service of 1 Jun 1778, under the command of the Spanish Colonial Governor-General Bernardo de Galvez and his support during the American Revolution.
Now I invite you to view this video and remember, “it was a white Haydel man who fathered the mixed-race son named Victor Haydel” and now provides him, (Victor Haydel) and his descendants with an even great legacy and ancestral connection to Louisiana’s participation and support in the War of Independence.
Mr. John Cummings, owner and visionary of the Whitney Plantation. Photo Credit: Whitney Plantation
I had the pleasure of visiting the Habitation Haydel, known today as the Whitney Plantation, several years ago after meeting Mr. John Cummings, the owner and visionary behind this amazing project. He invited me to see what he was planning to do with the property he had purchased.
Since that meeting, Cummings and his staff have turned the sprawling site into a living museum, dedicated to those whose lives helped build this place. Their enslavement fueled the wealth and prosperity of the Haydel family.
Michael Nolden Henderson Memoir GOT PROOF!
I was excited and curious to visit the Whitney Plantation because I had earlier traced part of my ancestry back to an eighth-generation great-grandmother, a French immigrant named Ann Marie Schoff, daughter of Hans Jacob Schoff and Marianne Foltzlouer. Ann’s sister Marguerite Schoff was the wife of the progenitor of the Haydel family, Ambroise Heidel. Mr. Cummings has built on the property several memorials dedicated to the over 100,000 slaves who were researched, compiled, and documented in Dr. Gwendylon Midlo Hall’s Louisiana slave and free database. Many of them lived on Habitation Haydel, the Whitney Plantation.
Over the years, this database has helped me identify and document several of my enslaved Louisiana ancestors who lived during the French and Spanish periods in Louisiana’s history. One such person was Agnes, an enslaved woman born in 1758 in St. Charles Parish. By 1779 she had gained her freedom with the assistance of her French consort, Mathieu Devaux dit Platillo. Agnes and Mathieu are my fourth-generation great-grandparents. Their story, along with my personal research journey, was told in my memoir, Got Proof! My Genealogical Journey Through the Use of Documentation (The Write Image 2013).
During my visit to the Whitney Plantation, I was hoping to locate the name of Agnes and any of her enslaved family members on the site’s memorial wall. On this particular sunny day in late April 2015, I returned to see what had become of Mr. Cummings’ grand vision for the place now called the Whitney Plantation.
As I drove up to the entrance of the plantation, I started to sense that Cummings’ vision, spoken of many years earlier, had finally been realized. I prepared myself to step back in time and learn a few new things about slavery in Louisiana.
Michael Nolden Henderson and Dr. Ibrahima Seck Photo Credit- Anita R. Henderson
As I approached the visitor’s center, I was met by Dr. Ibrahima Seck, the Director of Research at the Whitney Plantation. I first met Dr. Seck in 2010 while attending a Louisiana Creole genealogy research conference in New Orleans. In fact, I was introduced to him by Dr. Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, who had worked with him to develop the Louisiana Slave and Free Database. I was pleased to see Dr. Seck that day because I wanted to bring him up to date on my ancestral findings, connections to several members of the Haydel family, and several of the enslaved persons hopefully included on the stone memorial walls on the property.
The Antioch Baptist Church Photo Credit -MNH
Dr. Seck and I sat for a few minutes, while I showed him some of my ancestral family pedigree charts linking me as a descendant to the Schoff and Haydel families. He also shared with me some of his research, which has been published in his book, BOUKI FAIT GOMBO: A History of the Slave Community of the Habitation Haydel (Whitney Plantation) Louisiana 1750-1860. After our short conversation, we agreed to connect later that afternoon following my tour of the plantation. As I began the guided tour with several other visitors, I immediately knew we were in for a different perspective about slavery in Lousiana, particularly plantation slavery at the Whitney.
Our first stop was at the Antioch Baptist Church that had been moved from another location and brought to the Whitney as part of a preservation effort. The building had a musty smell and featured several life-sized figures depicting the enslaved children who would have lived on the plantation.
Slave memorial wall of some of those who actually lived on Whitney Plantation Photo Credit – Michael N. Henderson
Next to the church is a large granite memorial wall dedicated to the many enslaved individuals documented as having lived on the Haydel Plantation during the Antebellum period.
As our tour guide spoke briefly about the many persons listed, she mentioned two individuals who were identified as being direct ancestors to the Haydels and who were also Creoles of color. This mixed-race family is a branch of the white Haydel family of the German Coast of Louisiana, who were descendants of an enslaved woman named Anna and a white male member of the Haydel family named Antoine Haydel. The male child born of this illegal relationship was named Victor Haydel. As the guide explained the family ties, I suddenly realized the missing piece in my own Haydel family research. At that moment, I knew how Victor Haydel was also related to me.
My ancestral connection to the Haydel family is via two sisters, Ann Marie Schoff, and Marguerite Schoff. Marguerite Schoff married Ambroise Haydel. Together they had three daughters and seven sons: Regina, Marie Françoise, Anne Marie, Jacques, Nicolas, Mathias, Jean Christophe, Jean Georges, Jean, and Jean Jacques. Jean Jacques Haydel, their youngest son, is credited with building the Big House on the Whitney Plantation. He later passed ownership on to two of his sons. It is through the line of his brother, Mathias Haydel and his wife Marie Magdeleine Barb Huber, that the bloodline of the mixed-race enslaved child Victor Haydel can be traced back to Ambroise Haydel. See chart below; double click to enlarge:
Pedigree chart showing a common ancestral link to two sisters and where Michael Nolden Henderson is a 4th cousin, 4x removed to Victor Haydel.
Mathias had a son named Alphonse Haydel who was married to Marie Troxler. They had a son named Antoine Haydel. Antione had an illicit affair with Anna, the slave of his sister, Marie Azelie Haydel, the last Haydel owner of the property. Anna was the mother of the mixed-race son named Victor Haydel (pictured on the right side of the chart above).
Michael Nolden Henderson standing in the doorway of one of the slave cabins Photo Credit- Anita R. Henderson
As the tour continued, we stopped at several other buildings, including the slave prison, pigeonnier, slave quarters, kitchen, blacksmith shop, Wall of Honor, Allées Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, and The Field of Angels. I thought about those who once lived on this plantation and how challenging their day-to-day lives must have been. Knowing that I share an ancestral connection to both the white and mixed-race Haydel members who lived on this plantation gave me a deep sense of ownership of this troubled history in Louisiana.
Michael Nolden Henderson At the Entrance of the Whitney Plantation Photo Credit -ARH
On this visit, I came away with a sense that Mr. Cummings’ vision has been realized. He has turned the Whitney Plantation into the first-ever museum dedicated to the lives and stories of individuals enslaved along the German Coast of Louisiana. While more projects and research are still underway, I believe this amazing educational site promises to help fill in some of the gaps in the narrative of the lives of those who worked, survived, and died as a result of plantation slavery in Louisiana.
So I hope on your next visit to New Orleans, Louisiana, you will plan some time to visit the Whitney Plantation. It will be well worth your time; it sure was well worth mine. Stay tuned for more on my discovery about Victor Haydel and his bloodline connection to the Haydel family in Louisiana. Stay tuned for more, as we come to know Anna and Victor Haydel at the Whitney Plantation.
See more photos of the Whitney Plantation below:
Memorial dedicated to the many enslaved Children who died on the Whitney Plantation, Statue and place titled: The Field of Angels Photo Credit – Anita R. Henderson
Slave Jail on the Whitney Plantation
Slave children depicted in these images throughout the old church on the Whitney Plantation Photo Credit – Anita R. Henderson
A little slave girl representing the many children on the Whitney Plantation Photo Credit – Michael N. Henderson
Several buildings and sugar pans in the back of the Big House on the Whitney Plantation Photo Credit – Anita R. Henderson
Robin’s Blacksmith Shop on the Whitney Plantation Photo Credit – Anita R. Henderson
Oak Alley front of the Whitney Plantation home Photo Credit – ARH
Habitation Haydel, The Whitney Plantation, Wallace Louisiana Photo Credit – Anita R. Henderson
Memorial dedicated to the 107,000 enslaved Africans who are documented in the Louisiana Slave and Free Database. The area is titled Allées Gwendolyn Mildo-Hall Photo Credit – Michael N. Henderson
In the March 2015 issue of Le Raconteur,Judy Riffel published a previously undiscovered 1 June 1778 list of the Company of Volunteer Militia of the German Coast. This list contained many of the settlers of the area who served under the Spanish and assisted in the defeat of the British in the Battles of Fort Bute at Manchac and Baton Rouge in September 1779.
Many members and prospective members with ancestors from this area were very excited to be able to have their ancestors recognized as American Patriots by either the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR).
See list of Company of Volunteer Militia o the German Coast (St John the Baptist Parish Jun 1, 1778, below:
National Society Sons Of The American Revolution (SAR) Policy Change:
In an effort to expedite three applications that had been pended by the SAR some three years prior due to a lack of proof of service, on June 2015 the SAR Genealogist General was contacted in an attempt to move those applications along. The genealogist general responded that the German Coast Militia list did not qualify since it was dated prior to the date that Spain declared war on Britain on 21 June 1779. This was extremely confusing since the SAR (and the DAR) had previously recognized Spain’s assistance to America beginning 24 December 1776 when the King ordered Spain to assist the Americans in their battle against the British.
It was then realized that a change in the SAR genealogy policy concerning the Spanish had been approved in 2011 but the impact on the Galvez Patriots had not been recognized. The problem arose since most of the militia lists that have historically been used date between 1777 and early 1779. (Typically 20-30 percent of new Louisiana SAR members are accepted using a Galvez Patriot.) This change in policy initiated a lot of discussion between various SARs. State societies and the genealogy committee.A review of the policy was initiated by the SAR genealogy committee and at the 2015 September Leadership Meeting,a revised policy was approved that returned the date recognizing American patriots with Spanish service after 24 December 1776.
The text of the revised SAR policy: Sons of the American Revolution Genealogy Policy No. 2015-01, Consolidated Genealogy Policy Portion of Section 2.30001, that pertains to Spanish Involvement to the Cause of the American Revolution.
Changes up to 25 September 2015;Any member of the Army or of a Spanish colonial militia who served as shown by contemporary rosters, in a Presidio or garrison in the Spanish territories, bounded within by the area now included in the present-day United States of America, and which Presidio or garrison is shown to have provided military or material support, such as a contribution of the donativo or participation in the cattle drive, to the cause of American Independence, may be considered to have performed qualifying military service in support of the Patriot cause. Any member of the Spanish Army, Navy, or militia who served in the Spanish Navy in support of Galvez, in the Gulf of Mexico, from Texas to Florida, along the Mississippi River, or were members of the Louisiana Infantry Regiment betweenDecember 24, 1776 and November 26, 1783, maybe considered to have performed qualifying military service in support of the Patriot cause. Any resident of the Spanish territories bounded within by the area now included in the present-day contiguous United States of America, who provided material aid or contributed to the donativo requested by King Carlos III in 1780 to fund Spanish involvement in the war effort, may be considered to have performed qualifying patriotic service. Exceptions will be considered on a case by case basis.
See Spanish Support for the American Revolution in a short video:
Results after NSSAR Policy change:
Shortly after the approval of the above policy, the SAR approved all three applications recognizing these individual ancestors of mine from the German Coast as patriots in the American Revolution on 30 Sept 2015:Francois Noel Dupont (Fran co Dupont), George Kerner (Jorge Kerner), (Francois), Daniel Madere :
See below ancestral chart starting at my great-grandmother Georgiana Legaux, also a brief biography of each new Patriot Ancestor.
Short Biography of my recently recognized Ancestor:
Francois Noel Dupont (1737 – 1785) was born in Montreal Quebec, Canada on 7 December 1737, the eldest son of Noel Marie Dupont and Marie Angelique MORNEAU both of Montreal Quebec, Canada. He was married to Madeleine Michel. It isn’t clear as to how or when, Francois Noel Dupont arrived in the lower Mississippi valley, known then as the German Coast. (French: Côte des Allemands) was a region of early Louisiana settlement located above New Orleans on the east side of the Mississippi River – specifically, from east (or south) to west (or north), in St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. James parishes of present-day Acadiana. The four settlements along the coast were Karlstein, Hoffen, Mariental, and Augsburg.
Francois Noel Dupont’s arrival had to have taken place sometime shortly after Louisiana, then a French colony from (1699-1763) was transferred to the Spain crown in 1763. For it is here, on 17 Jan 1770, when we first discovered Francois Noel Dupont described as Fusiliers, 35-year-old, from Germany, and on another militia dated 1 Jun 1778, still a member of the Second company – St. John the Baptist Militia under in the company of Don Robert Robin Delongy, Captian. He would remain a member of the Second Company of Militia in St John the Baptist Parish in support of and during the entire time Louisiana, under the command Spanish Colonial Governor and General Bernardo de Gálvez, who with 1,400 men, took to the field in the fall of 1779 and defeated the British in battles at Manchac 7 Sept 1779, Baton Rouge and Natchez (21 Sept 1779). On March 14, 1780, after a month-long siege with land and sea forces, Gálvez, with over 2,000 men, captured the British stronghold of Fort Charlotte at Mobile 1781. The climax of the Gulf Coast campaign occurred the following year when Gálvez directed a joint land-sea attack on Pensacola, the British capital of West Florida. He commanded more than 7,000 men in the two-month siege of Fort George in Pensacola before its capture on 10 May 1781.
Francois Noel Dupont, a landowner, father of five children, died on 10 Jan 1785 in St. John the Baptist Parish La. According to his death record, he is said to be buried in an unmarked grave in St. John the Baptist Cemetery.
SAR Patriot Certificate: Francois Noel Dupont:
Short Biography of my recently recognized Ancestor:
George Kerner, (1745-1795)the progenitor of the Kerner Family in Louisiana was born in Germany abt 1745. He was married to Marie Eva Jacob and lived in the lower Mississippi valley, known then as the German Coast. (French: Côte des Allemands) was a region of early Louisiana settlement located above New Orleans on the east side of the Mississippi River – specifically, from east (or south) to west (or north), in St Charles, St John the Baptist and St James parishes of present-day Acadiana. The four settlements along the coast were Karlstein, Hoffen, Mariental, and Augsburg.
From as early as 17 Jan 1770, when we first discovered George Kerner, he is described as Fusiliers, 35-year-old, from Germany, once again, we see him listed as of 1 Jun 1778 a member of the Second company – St. John the Baptist Militia under in the company of Don Robert Robin Delongy, Captian.Kerner would remain a member of the Second Company of Militia in St John the Baptist Parish in support of and during the entire time Louisiana, under the command Spanish Colonial Governor and General Bernardo de Gálvez, who with 1,400 men took to the field in the fall of 1779 and defeated the British in battles at Manchac to capture of Fort Bute (7 Sept 1779), Baton Rouge and Natchez (21 Sept 1779). On March 14, 1780, after a month-long siege with land and sea forces, Gálvez, with over 2,000 men, would capture the British stronghold of Fort Charlotte at Mobile 1781. The climax of the Gulf Coast campaign occurred the following year when Gálvez directed a joint land-sea attack on Pensacola, the British capital of West Florida. Galvez commanded more than 7,000 men in the two-month siege of Fort George in Pensacola before its capture on 10 May 1781.
George Kerner, landowner, father of eleven children died on 7 Feb 1795, in St. John the Baptist Parish, La.
According to his death record, he is said to be buried in an unmarked grave in St. John the Baptist Cemetery.
SAR Patriot Certificate: George Kerner:
Short Biography of my recently recognized Ancestor:
Francois Daniel Madere/Matere (1753 -1823) was born Natchitoches, Parish Louisiana on 6 January 1753, son of Jean Mader and Marie Materne. He was married to Marie Magdeleine Kerner on 25 May 1787 daughter of George Kerner and Marie Eva Jacob. He lived on the lower Mississippi valley, known then as the German Coast. (French: Côte des Allemands) was a region of early Louisiana settlement located above New Orleans on the east side of the Mississippi River – specifically, from east (or south) to west (or north), in St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St James parishes of present-day Acadiana. The four settlements along the coast were Karlstein, Hoffen, Mariental, and Augsburg.
According to 1 Jun 1778, Francois Daniel Madere/Matere is a member of the Second Company of Militia in St John the Baptist Parish under in the company of Don Robert Robin Delongy, Captian. And he would remain a member of same militia company in support of and during the entire time Louisiana, was under the command Spanish Colonial Governor and General Bernardo de Gálvez, who with 1,400 men, took to the field in the fall of 1779 and defeated the British in battles at Manchac to capture of Fort Bute (7 Sept 1779), Baton Rouge and Natchez (21 Sept 1779). On March 14, 1780, after a month-long siege with land and sea forces, Gálvez, with over 2,000 men, would capture the British stronghold of Fort Charlotte at Mobile 1781. The climax of the Gulf Coast campaign occurred the following year when Gálvez directed a joint land-sea attack on Pensacola, the British capital of West Florida. He commanded more than 7,000 men in the two-month siege of Fort George in Pensacola before its capture on May 10, 1781.
Francois Daniel Madere/Matere father of five children died on 22 Aug 1823 in St John the Baptist Parish, La.
According to his death record, he is said to be buried in an unmarked grave in St John the Baptist Cemetery.
SAR Patriot Certificate: Francois Daniel Madere/Matere
As a proud descendant, I am a living memorial of these three men, whose service and contributions under the command of the Spanish Colonial Governor and General Bernardo de Galvez will be forever remembered. As a member of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution and a retired military officer, I continue our family’s rich and enduring legacy of duty, honor, service. I hope my research and shared stories of discovery continue to inspire others on a similar path.