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Félicité de Kerlegand's adventures

My cousin just made a post on his blog about our 5th great grandmother Félicité de Kerlégand and her story:

The original owner of Félicité and her 3 kids (Agathe, Raphaël and Jean Baptiste) was Jean-René GUIHO de Kerlégand, a royalist from Bougenais, France.When the revolution broke out, Jean-René was exiled to the Caribbean with his wife and kids in 1783.There, he appears purchasing land in Saint-Domingue in the 1780s and enlisted as a merchant ship officer under Jacques de Mun.

When the slave insurrections began on Saint-Domingue, he again fled with his wife and kids, and apparently a slave named Félicité.

(Saint-Domingue was the name of the island that is now split into Haiti and the Dominican Republic)

The family made it to Maryland, where they were naturalized, although Félicité was still a slave. Later the family moved to Missouri, and later on, to St. Martin Parish, LA. Apparently Félicité and her grand-daughter Elisabeth Castillo belonged to Marie, the family's oldest daughter (an "old maid"), who freed Félicité in her will and gave Elisabeth to her niece Noémi with the understanding that she was to be taken care of by Félicité and freed when she was 30.

Well, Noémi was a minor, and her parents wanted to send her to finishing school, so they put the 15 year old Elisabeth up for auction anyway -- and Félicité bought her!

Yes, just freed, didn't read or write, according to this, but cagey enough to know what was what and to either have saved up the money already or gotten someone to loan it to her. Five years later, Félicité emancipated Elisabeth, my 3rd great-grandmother.

Elisabeth married Jean Stéril Narcisse Rochon. I've mentioned her daughter Josephine already.


( 1 comment — Something to add? )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 24th, 2012 12:37 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm impressed too!
My cousin is tireless about searching out and documenting the family ... all this was from him.

I have a soft heart for the women on the tree ... it must have been so difficult for them.

This story makes me want to find out more about Félicité ... where she came from, why she left with a family that was sure to keep her enslaved after they arrived (although it sounds as if things were pretty chaotic during the Haitian Revolution and she thought she might be safer that way), who her parents were ... each detail leaves more questions unanswered. I guess that's why I love genealogy ... :D
( 1 comment — Something to add? )