Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Who Is Jean Baptiste LeBeau?

This will be of no interest to most of my readers, but what else is a personal blog for if not to throw out a question to the world and wait for the long tail to drag in an answer.

Who was Jean Baptiste LeBeau?

In 1764, at the Mission of St. Ignace at Michilimackinac (in present day Michigan ), there was a double wedding of two sisters:

July 24, 1764, I received the mutual marriage consent of jean Baptiste le Beau, voyageur; and marie joseph, called lysette jourdin, after the three publications of Bans.

On the same day I received the mutual marriage consent of francois le Blanc, voyageur; and of marie joseph, called josette jourdin after the three publications of bans. P. DU JAUNAY, miss. of the society of Jesus. Francois le Blanc, + his mark; Baptiste Le Beau; Langlade; Laurent Ducharme; Cardin; Jean Baptiste Jourdain, + his mark, father of the brides.

Who was this Jean Baptiste Le Beau who married Lysette Jourdain in 1764? From the wedding register we know nothing about him except that he was a voyageur and he could sign his name (unlike the other groom and the father of the brides). He is a mystery that I would like to solve.

We know a fair amount about Lysette Jourdain although we don’t know her age because, confusingly, she and her sister were baptized with the same name. The first Marie Josephe Jourdain was born in 1747 the year after her parents were married at St. Ignace:

1746, I received the mutual [marriage] consent of B. Jourdain, son of guillaume [Jourdain and of] Angelique la Reine} and _______ Reaume, daughter of J.B. Reaume, residing at la Baye … P. DU JAUNAY, miss. of the Society of Jesus. Louis Pascale Chevalier.

June 20, 1747, I solemnly baptized (S.C.) marie joseph, legitimate daughter of jean baptiste jourdain and of josephe Reaume, residing at La Baye, the child having been born at la baye in the month of April last. The godfather was Mr. de Noyel, the younger, commandant of this post; and the godmother Mlle Bourassa, wife of Mr Bourassa, the elder, who signed here with me. P. DU JAUNAY, miss. of the society of Jesus. Noyelle, fils; Marie La Plente Bourassa.

Residing at “La Baye” meant that they were living at the French settlement at what is now Green Bay Wisconsin. The second Marie Josephe Jourdain was baptised in 1756 along with a sister and two cousins:

July 19, 1756, I, the undersigned priest, missionary of the society of jesus, supplied the ceremonies and baptized conditionally, jean Simon personne, son of Charles personne and of Suzanne Reaume, his father and mother; and hubert personne, son of the same above mentioned; marie joseph, daughter of jean Baptiste jourdain and marie joseph Reaume, her father and mother, and Marie magdelaine, daughter of the same – the first boy, six years old, born on the fourteenth of April, 1750; the second born on the 1st of December, 1753; the first girl born on the tenth of October, 1751, the second on the 25th of january 1754. The godfather of the first boy was jean le febvre; and the godmother marie josette farley; the godfather of the second boy was Mr Couterot, Lieutenant of infantry; and the godmother Charlotte Bourassa; the godfather of the first girl was jean Baptiste le tellier; and the godmother Marie Anne Amiot; the gofather of the second girl was Antoine janis; and the godmother Marie Angelique Taro. M. L. LEFRANC, miss. of the society of Jesus. H. COUTEROT; BOURASSA LANGLADE; JEAN LE FAIBRE; JOSETTE FARLY; JEAN TELLIER; ANTOINE JANISE; MARI ANGELIQUE TARO

In between a brother, Jean Baptiste, born in November 1748, was baptized. Then in 1760 another sister, Angelique, born in February 1759, was baptized.

Which of the Marie Josephe Jourdains was Lysette and which was Josette? We’ll never know. But on their marriage day one was 17 years old and the other was only 12 1/2 years old. Three years later, on February 9, 1768, her sister Magdeleine, was contracted to marry Jean Saliot in Detroit. She was 14 years old. There is no existing record of when Angelique Jourdain married her husband, Augustin Roc.

But who is Jean Baptiste Le Beau? Where did he come from and where did he and Lysette go after they were married?

1764 was a year of transition for the French in the Wisconsin/Michigan area. France had lost the Seven Years War and had ceded all of its territory east of the Mississippi River to Britain. The British were beginning to move into the territory and the French traders were seeing their livelihood dry up. Earlier in the same month of Lysette’s marriage, a deposition was given by Garrit Roseboom, Tunis Fischer, Cummin Schields and Wm. Bruce, merchants from La Bay “before a Court of Enquiry at the Detroit the 4th day of July 1764”.

Garrit Roseboom declares that about the latter end of April, 1763, he was going from the Bay to the Soaks [Sac Indians] to look for his Partnr Abrah Lancing who had been up there [with the Sac], being told that he was killed, that on his way he met some Indains coming down with some Packs [of furs], which he knew to be his, and which they said he might have for paying the carriage; That both the French and Indians told him Mr. Lancing and his son were killed by two Frenchmen, Tibot [Thibaut] and Cardinal, both servts. of Mr. Lancing, who, they had been told, upon the above Murder made their escape to the Illinois [the country south of Prairie du Chien along the Mississippi River]; that on his return to the Bay he found Mr. Garrit and the Garrison there, and came with them to Michilimackinac, leaving his goods in possession of one Jordan, a Frenchman and an Inhabitant at the Bay; that when he returned from Michilimackinac with the Indians to La Bay, he found some of his goods taken away he thinks of his and Mr. Fischer’s to the value of 20 pounds, wh. he [Jourdain] said was stolen by the Indians, but Mr. Roseboom declares he saw his goods wore by Jordan’s Family afterwards.

That was almost certainly Lysette’s father who was accused of taking Mr. Roseboom’s goods. Of course in a “he said/he said” situation it’s hard to know what happened and it doesn’t appear that the testimony of Mr. Jourdain was sought. But stolen goods might have been the least of his problems. Mr. Roseboom continued his deposition:

That the Indians told him that the French at the Bay … had told them there was an open war between the English and French; That the French would send the Indians ammunition enough & if they went down amongst the English they [the English] would put poison in their [the Indians] Rum, which he [Roseboom] was sure prevented the Indians from coming down [to trade] much sooner, [Roseboom] declares from the treatment He and the rest of the English Traders received, and the lyes propogated by the French at LaBay, among the Indians … he thinks these Inhabitants [of La Baye] were Very bad subjects …

So the new British overlords were hearing from Mr. Jourdain’s new competitors that Mr. Jourdain was a Very Bad Subject. The remainder of the deposition continues with the things that the English Traders heard from the Indians which was all mostly wishful thinking on the part of the French and the Indians that the French govt. would return.

But the deposition of William Bruce also refers to a LeBeau who must be the same LeBeau who married Lysette Jourdain:

That about the latter end of Sept. a Chief of the [Saks Indians] had brought him up [a river] called the [Wisconsin] and at the Renards Castle [the encampment of the Fox Indians], an Indian told him that he was come from la Bay with a letter from Goalie, the Interpreter, to one Le Beaue [sic] telling him that there were officers from France who had come with a large Fleet commanded by the Dauphin, etc., and that the Governor of Quebec had offered these officers a Purse of Money for their News, that soon after the Fleet was seen, and that Quebec and Montreal would soon be taken, being no more than 500 men in Each, which news immediately spread among the Indians, who were there at the time in great numbers; that the Sauteurs, Ottawas, Renards and Puants gave a Good Deal of Credit to it … but that the [Saks] and the Folloeavoines could not believe it; that at the [Saks] Castle, the Indians told him, the Deponent, that the French there intended to kill him, on which they called a council and brought the French to it, and told them if they killed the Englishman every Frenchman should die with Him, this had been told to [the deponant] by the Indians to whom the French had discovered their intentions; the Names of the French on the above Voyage up to the Wisconsin were Martoc [Jean Baptiste Marcot?], Jordan & Labeau , Rivier, St. Pier, Mon. Fontasie, Havness, Lafortain, the three first discovering all the marks of bad subjects and disaffection to the English in their whole behaviour; That he hear’d St. Pier say that if he had wrote such a letter as the Interpreter wrote to Labeau, he wo’d expect to be hanged if ever he went among the English.

Tensions were high at this time because in the summer of 1763 the Indians around Michilimackinac attacked the English, sparing the French. Given the political situation, and given that Jourdain was being tagged as a “bad subject” who showed “disaffection to the English” in his behaviour, maybe he thought he ought to start getting his daughters married because he might not be getting much in the way of trade goods in the future.

But who was the man he chose to marry Lysette?

Although there were many LeBeaus in the Detroit region, there were not many references to LeBeau in the Wisconsin, Northern Michigan area. In 1736, among the boatmen contracted for that year were “Baptiste Lebeau, Antoine Giguaire, Louis Marcheteau to the Sioux”. That same year a new Company of the Sioux had been formed to trade with the Sioux (west of the Mississippi in present day Iowa and Minnesota) and some of the traders licensed through that company were members of the Giguere family. This leads me to believe that the boatman, Baptiste LeBeau, might be the son of the Jean Baptiste Lebeau who married Marguerite Giguere. Their son, Jean Baptiste LeBeau, was born in 1705 which would make him 31 years old in 1736.

But he may have been in the area earlier. In the early 1730’s there is a reference to a Lebeau in a report made to the Canadian government regarding the exploration of some copper mines in the Lake Superior area:

The said Corbin left Sault Ste. Marie … with two men named Vaudry and Le Beau who were going to meet the Sieur de la Ronde’s son. The latter was returning after spending the winter at Chagouamigon. He embarked with Them and they were followed by two others named feli and Gobin. They took on board a savage at the place called The cove (L’anse") near the point of Kienon, who asserted that he had thorough knowledge of the mines and of the Copper in the said River of Tonnagane. They travel led thither, and after entering the said River, which they ascended for a distance of about 8 leagues from the shore of lake Superior, they found a mine about 15 arpents in length ascending the river, 30 feet from the water’s edge and which may be at a height of 60 feet in the cliff.

There is no indication of the first name of this “Le Beau”.

Jean Baptiste LeBeau is never a godfather (or a father, for that matter) at any of the baptisms at St. Ignace, but he was a witness at the 1747 marriage of Lysette Jourdain’s aunt, Suzanne Reaume, to Charles Person de la Fond. This seems to indicate a lasting relationship with the Reaume/Jourdain family. The only other church record that lists a LeBeua is on July 23, 1786, there is a Bte. Labeau listed as a churchwarden of the church of Ste. Anne de Michilimackinac. This seems unlikely to be the same Jean Baptiste Lebeau since he never showed any interest in the church before this, although at this point if it is the same man he would have been 81 years old and maybe the church appealed to him. More likely it is not him.

Of course if Jean Baptiste LeBeau, voyageur, was born in 1705, he would have been close to 60 when he married Lysette. This isn’t outside the realm of possibility but it does give one pause. So maybe that isn’t who Jean Baptiste LeBeau is. Or maybe it is his son – perhaps through a relationship with a Native American woman and the son was never baptised at St. Ignace. Or maybe he is just someone else. But I’ve been through all the possible Jean Baptiste Lebeaus and can’t pin anyone else down unless their wives died early or they were also bigamists. (This would be a real possibility in later fur trade years but less so in the 1700s – and why risk getting married in the church if you were committing bigamy? The Jesuits were big blabbermouths and wrote a lot of letters.)

In the list of Licenses granted for Michilimackinac and places beyond in 1778, the trader “J.B. LeBeau” is licensed to take two (2) canoes to the “Illenois” with Fuzees, gunpowder, shot and ball. This is interesting to me because two years later, in the summer of 1780, there was an attack on the town of St. Louis which was located outside of British territory on the Spanish side of the Mississippi River. And immediately after the attack a woman named Marie Louise Jourdain showed up in St. Louis to have two children baptized. The first was her son, Jean Baptiste LeBeau, who must have been a few years old already, and the second was a daughter named Marguerite who was a newborn. The father is listed as “Jacques LeBeau”.

What is the connection you may ask? In 1790 Marie Louise Jourdain married for the second time to Michael Quesnel and her marriage contract lists her parents as Jean Baptiste Jourdain and Marie Josephe Reaume. In 1800 she died and her age is listed as “about” 50. So the immediate question is whether this was a Jourdain daughter who was never baptized and who happened to marry a man named Jacques LeBeau who may or may not have been related to the husband of her sister Lysette? Or is this really Lysette using the name Louise. I’ve found numerous examples of French men and women using names different than their baptismal names, so it seems a real possibility that this is Lysette and that Jacques Lebeau is really Jean Baptiste LeBeau.

In any event, whether she is or isn’t Lysette, she is the daughter of the Jourdains. There is no reason she would have lied in her marriage contract. And Augustin Roc, the husband of Angelique Jourdain, is a fixture in the lives of her children (witnessing weddings, attending burials, etc.).

But who is Jacques LeBeau? If the name Jean Baptiste LeBeau leads to few places in the Green Bay/Michilimackinac area, the name Jacques LeBeau leads nowhere. There are a couple of men named Jacques Lebeau in other places but the facts just don’t match up. (And to add confusion there is one reference to her husband being Francois LeBeau.)

The St. Louis LeBeaus had three living children (that we know of): Toussaint Jacques LeBeau (who was about 21 in 1790 and who married Marie LaFernai or LaFernay), Jean Baptiste LeBeau (who married Marguerite Barada), and Marguerite Lebeau (who married a man named Etienne Bernard but died in childbirth a year later). If Jacques is the Jean Baptiste LeBeau who was the son of Marguerite Giguere, he may have wanted his daughter named after his mother. It’s a thought.

The reason I’m interested is that I’m descended from Jean Baptiste LeBeau and Marguerite Barada. And my dad and I have been looking for Jacques/Jean Baptiste Lebeau for years.

By the way, the reason I don’t think that the LaBeau who was a churchwarden in Michilimackinac in 1786 is the LeBeau I’m looking for has nothing to do with the St. Louis connection. I am fairly sure that the LeBeau family showed up in St. Louis after the Indian attack, had the baptisms performed and then left again. Why? Bechttp://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=1974275832677042000&postID=1333076643983233155ause when Marie Louse Jourdain remarried in 1790 she also had three children baptized at the same time – Joseph, Susanne and Etienne, all the children of Michael Quesnel, her new husband. So they were clearly not in St. Louis during those years. And then their daughter Angelique was born a few months later, so the bride was pregnant. But if the LaBeau who was in Michilimackinac in 1786 was the husband of Lysette, and if Lysette really was Marie Louise – she was cheating on him.

Anybody who has any helpful information please leave a comment or feel free to email me.


[Update August 14, 2010: In response to comments I've been looking through some of my information and want to confirm exactly what I have on Jacques/Jean Baptiste LeBeau and realized that the baptism records make it even more likely Jacques/Jean Baptiste are the same but show how confused the naming is:

The index to the baptism at the Old Cathedral in St. Louis shows that on June 19, 1780 were baptised Jean Baptiste "LeVeau" and Margaret "LeVeau" children of Baptiste "LeVeau" and Marie Jourdain.

There is no death record for Lebeau.

The transcription of the marriage contract for the second marriage of "Marie Louise" Jourdain to Michel Quesnel in 1790, lists her as the widow of "Francois LeBeau" and the daughter of Jean Baptiste Jourdain, deceased, and Marie Joseph "Reamme" (Reaume). Present was her brother in law Augustine "Roe" (Roc or Roch or Roque- transcribers often get his name wrong and he couldn't sign his own name) and Etienne Bernard, her son-in-law.

In the baptismal records of the Old Cathedral of St. Louis are records of "Guinel" children of Michel "Guinel" and Marie Louise Jourdain all baptised on July 1, 1790: Joseph, Susanne and etienne. Then Angelique is baptised October 19, 1790 (Marie Louise was pregnant when she and Michel arrived back in St. Louis.) Later there is an August listed with the same parents but not baptised until May 3, 1837 - this is either an error (since the parents were long dead) or he had never been baptised as a child and was baptised as an adult. On January 27, 1796 their daughter Emilie was born and was not baptised until May 1, 1796 at St. Charles Borromeo (so they may have left between 1790 and 1796).

The transcribed copy of the marriage contract, in 1795, of Toussaint Jacques LeBeau and Marie LaFrenais doesn't list any parents for either of them but lists those present for the groom as: Augustin Roch, his uncle, Pierre Quesnel, L. Chevalier, cousin" (the Chevaliers are related to the Jourdains through the Reaume mothers).

O.W. Collet's index to St. Charles Marriage Register lists the marriage on February 4, 1800 of Jean Baptiste LeBeau, son of "Jacques" Lebeau and Louise Jourdain now wife of MIch. Quesnel, to Margt. Barada daughter of Louis Barada and Marie Becquet.

The records of St. Charles Borromeo Church show the baptism of Marguerite LeBeau, daughter of Jean Baptiste LeBeau and Marguerite Barada on December 18, 1800 with godparents Toussaint LeBeau "uncle of child" and Marie Bequet.

Marie Louise Jourdain, wife of Michel "Quenelle" died October 3, 1802 and was buried at St. Charles Borromeo Church "age about 50 years". Michel "Quenel" died January 1, 1816 "husband of the deceased Marie Louise Jourdain" and was buried in St. Charles Borromeo.