This work compiled by Aline Lasseigne Mestayer and Warren Mestayer
was first published in Le Baton Rouge, Fall 2005.

Le Baton is a publication of the Baton Rouge Genealogical & Historical Society, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
It is with much gratitude that the Ancestral Home accepted this excellent piece of data
offered by Warren Mestayer so that other researchers might benefit from it.

Father Frank Uter the pastor of St. Michael, Convent, LA; St. Joseph, Paulina, LA; and Most Sacred Heart, Gramercy, LA discovered a book containing the St. James Catholic Church marguiller records at the church of St. Michel. Father Uter has made these records available to the Baton Rouge Genealogical & Historical Society for publication. The Society is grateful for the opportunity to introduce these original records to our membership and to other interested genealogical and historical readers.

The records are the annual results of the auction for the church benches (pews) done in the presence of the Pastor and Commandant. The Pastor has differed during the period. Michel Cantrelle was the Commandant during these years. The Marguillers (Church Wardens, Administrators, etc.) also changed during the years and are usually named in the opening comments. The Marguillers conducted the auction and were accomplished in a strict controlled fashion.

Genealogical readers take great interest in lists finding them fruitful for research. However, it cannot be excluded that others may find lists tedious. In an effort to add interest to the listings biographical data for the 1779 bidders has been separately researched and is provided with a tie to the listing.

The bids are denominated in Piastres and Escalings or Reauxs (a fraction of the Piastre) the currency available to the inhabitants. In most instances the columns may not total to the sum indicated. The rounding of Escalings or Reauxs to Piastres is not known. Additionally, there were difficulties with legibility.

The Inhabitants were virtually all Acadians exiled from Acadia currently the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia. One of the Acadian inhabitants were traced to Maryland 2 and subsequently to Louisiana using the Census of Acadian Coast - 1777.3 The biographical research was started using the auction results of 1 January 1779, a partial copy is attached, and compared to the 1777 Census. The biographies were done where only 1 such name appeared in the census and auction. For example, there was one Francois Croiset on the Marguiller list and one in the census. While not totally fool proof the preponderance of evidence is adequate to the purpose of this article.

1. (1806) Except for 2 years as noted in the listing.

2Wood, Gregory A. A Guide to the Acadians in Maryland in the Eighteenth and Nineenth Centuries Gateway Press, 1995.

3Bourgeois, Lillian C Cabanocey The History, Customs and Folklore of St. James Parish.Pelican Publishing Company Gretna 1987.


Bench 1: Francois Croizet (sometimes Croiset)

Francois Croizet, 54, in the census is described as having moved from Pointe Coupee Parish and married to Marianne Trepages, 35, with 9 children varying from 24 years to 6 months. The close age of the wife and the eldest son, Francois, suggested a second marriage. Sacramental records indicate that the son, Francoisís mother was Genevieve Cheval. Francois the father was cooper by trade from St. Maurice of Chaltat, Diocese of Angouleme, France.4 The same reference contains a record indicating a Francois Croiset of St. James was buried 27 February 1792. The marguiller list for 1 January 1792 shows his bid for Bench 9. The auction for 1793 lists the widow Croiset as the successful bidder for Bench 11.

Bench 2: Simon LeBlanc

Simon LeBlanc, 35, is listed as residing with his wife Anne Bergeron, 31, and 3 children, ages range from 7 years to 3 years. In 1763 Simon and the family were residing at Oxford, MD. This was actually Anneís second marriage and her family name was Arceneaux. She was the widow of Barthelemy Bergeron. The marriage to Anne Arceneaux 6 November 1767 was Simonís second marriage. The first marriage was to Marie Joseph Landry. Marie Joseph Landry was not in the Maryland household. She may have been deceased at this point.

Bench 3: Ambroise Martin

Ambroise Martin, 42, is shown living with his wife Magdelaine Gaudin, 39, 5 children from 16 years to 2 years, and Jean Gaudin, brother-in-law. Ambroise Martin was in New Orleans 30 April 1765 having arrived there by ship. His daughter Elizabeth was baptised 14 April 1765 in New Orleans. He was the son of Ambroise Martin and Anne Cyr.

Bench 4: Pierre Michel (sometimes a Michel)

Pierre Michel, 39, and his Marie Leger, 33.and their 5 children ranging from 9 years to 1 year.

Bench 5: Jean Arceneaux

Jean Arceneaux, 47, is living with his wife Judice Bergeron, 44, and 6 children from 20 years to 4 years. Judith, spouse, was buried 17 October 1779.

Bench 6: Jean Gravois

Not listed in the census of 1777. 4Diocese of Baton Rouge. Catholic Church Records Volume 1.

Bench 7: Pierre Bourgeois

Not listed in the census of 1777.

Bench 8: Jean Poirier

Jean Poirier, 40, is listed with his wife Magdelaine Richard, 35, and 4 children ranging from 17 years to 3 years.

Bench 9: Francois Hebert

Francois Hebert, 42, is living with his wife Madelaine Trahout (Trahant), 44, and 4 children ages 12 years to 1 year. Francois was the son of Joseph and Anne Poyrie (Poirier). Madelaine was the daughter of Claude and Marie Thiare. They were married 15 January 1771.

Bench 10: Etienne Melanson

Not listed in the census of 1777.

Bench 11: Joseph Braud (Breaux, Breau)

Joseph Breau, 25 and his spouse Marie Melanson, 20 and one son, 2 years were reported.

Bench 12: Paul LeBlanc

Paul LeBlanc, 33 is living with his wife Anne Babin and 5 children between 11 years and 4 years.

Bench 13: Baptiste Gaudin

Jean Baptiste Gaudin, 28 was reported with 4 children between the ages of 8 years and 2 years. Jean Baptiste is probably a widower. Sacramental records of the Baton Rouge Diocese show a marriage of Jean Baptiste Godin widower of Magdelaine Melanson to Elisabethe widow of David Marx 27 July 1778.

Bench 14: Pierre Chiason

Pierre Chiasson, 48 was reported with his wife Ozitte (Osita) Landry, 44. The couple had 3 sons between the ages of 8 years and 3 years. Monique Ustache, orphan also resided in the household.

Bench 15: Olivier Part

Ollivier Part, 30, is shown living with the family of his brother, Pierre and Pierreís wife Marguerite Melanson, her Mother, Marguerite Brounard (Broussard), and Francois Damour, an orphan. Pierre and Marguerite had two sons 4 years and 3 years.

Bench 16: Etienne Toup

Etienne Toup, 37 is listed without a family. A ? Delery is shown in the household.

Bench 17: Pierre Vincent

Pierre Vincent 34 is listed with his wife, Marguerite Cormier, 34, and 4 children ranging in age from 7 to 1 years.

Bench 18:Abraham Roy

Abraham Roy, 47 is listed with Madelaine Doucet, 41, his wife. The couple have 5 children living with them from 17 years to 6 years.

Bench 19:Firmin Giroire

Firmin Giroire, 26 was married to Marguerite Cormier, 25 and had 3 children from the age of 5 years to 5 months.

Bench 20: Simon Gautherau

Simon Gautherau, 41 and his wife, Magdelaine Breau, 41, had 5 children in the household ages 11 years to 1 years.

Bench 21: Paul Bourgeois

Not listed in the 1777 Census. The 1766 Census lists a Paul Bourgeois

Bench 22: Joseph Martin:

Joseph Martin, 38 was married to Marguerite Pitre, 37. In the house hold were 5 children from the ages of 12 to 2. One child , Michel, was not identified as a son/daughter.

Bench 23: Joseph Martin

Only one Joseph Martin is included in the census of 1777.

Bench 24: Joseph LeBlanc

There were 2 Joseph LeBlancís reported in the census. The first listed in the census is Joseph LeBlanc, 57 and his wife Elizabeth Gaudet, 57 and two sons aged 17 and 15 years. The second Joseph LeBlanc, 25 is listed with his wife Marguerite LeBlanc, 28 and 3 children ages 5 years to 1 year.

Bench 25: Bazille Deroche

Not reported in the census.


1779 Francois Landry
1780 Francois Landry, Simon LeBlanc
1781 Francois Landry
1782 Joseph Bourgeois (death of Francois Landry is noted)
1783 not available
1784 Joseph Bourgeois, Pierre Arceno (Arceneaux), Pierre a Michel
1785 Joseph Bourgeois
1786 Joseph Bourgeois, Pierre Arceneaux
1787 Joseph Therriot, Joseph Hebert
1788 not available
1789 - 1793 Bonnaventure Gaudin
1794 Bonnaventure Gaudin, Louis Barbay
1795 - 1796 Santiago (Jacque) Guerin, Louis Barbay
1797 Etienne Juteaux Tebedaut (Thibodeaux), Jacque Guerin
1798 Louis Barbay, Jacque Guerin
1799 Jacque Guerin, Antoine Ledoux
1800- 1803 Valentin Landry, Pierre Richard
1804-1806 Valentin Landry


1779 - 1782: Reverend Prospert.
1784 - 1793 Reverend Francisco de Azuqueca, O.M. Cap.
1794 - 1803 Reverend Patricio Mangan, O.M.Cap.
1804 - Reverend Juan Olivier

Note from the records of Notre Dame University Archives as regards the Diocese of New Orleans:

"Father Patricio Mangan, pastor of St. James of Cabahonoce has asked to go to Pensacola for his health. Hasset (NO Diocese official) considers his request and grants it. Since the district of Cabahonoce is heavily populated a substitute is needed and Hassett, with the verbal consent of the Vice-Patron, has selected Father Juan Olivier, a French priest, and gives him the necessary faculties. . . "

It appears that Father Mangan intended to return to St. James upon his recuperation. However, upon the return of Louisiana to France by Spain the clergy was given the choice of remaining under France or leaving to continue service under the Spanish. Father Mangan chose to leave and remain under Spanish control. The following quote from the Notre Dame University Archives is offered:

"Mangan received Hassettís letter of June 10 with the affidavit of the decree of the 6th with a copy of the edict about the surrender of this province to the French Republic. In the event of recession his intention is to go to Spanish territory. . . "

Items of Interest

A visit of the Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Santiago, Cuba, Titular Bishop of Tricali and responsible for the Louisiana Province:

Bishop Cirillo de Barcelona visited the parish in October 1785. The records of the church were declared to be scrupulously maintained. The notation was made in the Marguiller records and notarized. It was also noted that the records were in a rope bound book. A copy of this notation and the expenses for this period are attached. The language is Spanish. A copy of this record is attached.

Athanase Breaux first appears in the Marguiller records in 1782 as the purchaser of Bench 4. Breaux is reported to have lost his house resulting in a fire while attending church and requested the Spanish Governor for assistance. The date of the request is August 27, 1769.5

5 Brasseaux, Carl A., Emilio Fabian Garcia, and Jacqueline K. Voorhies, Quest for the Promised Land. The Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana.

Part II of this article and lists contained therein contained is in PDF Format.
In order to access it, you must have Acrobat Reader. For a free download of Acrobat 7.0 click here:

Click here for the PDF Records of St. James Parish, Louisiana
these are the Marguiller/Bench Records

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