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
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
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.
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