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HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS

These document were collected from various sources, the primary, being the Northwestern University Library Archives. Some of the documents were in French. They were translated by a student at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
(CLICK on an Item to see document)

DOCUMENT TITLE

SOURCE

About The Natchez Indians Herbert Metoyer
Louis Metoyer Granted his Freedom Court Records
Pierre Metoyer Granted his Freedom Court Records
Surgeons Report on The Death of Pavie's Runaway Slave Court Records
Coincoin Purchases the Freedom of Her Daughter Marie Louise Court Records
Pierre Metoyer Land Purchase NSU Library Archives
Estate Holdings Of Monsieur de St. Denis (June 12, 1744) Court Records
Death of Etienne Pavie's Slave / Witness was Metoyer Court Records
Ownership of Coin Coin Transferred From St. Denis' Wife To St. Denis' Son Court Records
Sale of land by Coin Coin to Son, Toussaint Metoyer Court Records
Will of Juchereau de St. Denis Court Records
Document Concerning Coincoin's Annuity From Thomas Pierre Metoyer Court Records
Emancipation of Augustin Metoyer Court Records
Emancipation of Benjamin Metoyer Court Records
Emancipation of Marie Susanne Metoyer Court Records
Metoyer Purchases His Two Slave Children, Dominique & Sister From St. Denis' Daughter Court Records
St. Denis Documents Relative To The Natchez War NWU Library Archives
Thomas Pierre Metoyer's Purchase of His Slave Children (Augustin, Marie Suszanne, Louis & Pierre) From St. Denisí» Daughter Court Records
St. Denis' Estate Sealed following His Death Court Records
A Story About Slavery VICTORIA L. PRICE
   

 

About The Natchez....

A Historical Essay by Herbert Metoyer

 

The Natchez Indians were exterminated by the French under the leadership of Juchereau de St. Denis, founder of the City of Natchitoches and Commandant of the Fort St. Jean Baptiste. This article is an overview of their unusual society.

 

The first Europeans to encounter the Natchez were probably the remnants of Hernando de Soto's expedition in 1543. This group reported that as they passed a complex of some forty villages on the banks of the Mississippi during their return journey to Mexico, they were attacked and pursued for several days by a band of hostile Indians.
No other contact was reported until 1678, when Renè Robert Cavelier de La Salle completed his trip down the Mississippi to its mouth. Eight years later, La Salle's assistant, Henri de Tonti, repeated the same journey. Both visited the Natchez without encountering any unusual problems. There was, however, no prolonged contact with the Natchez until the brothers, Iberville and Bienville, planted France's first settlement in Louisiana in 1699.
All accounts, however minor, mentioned some facet of the unusual social order, strict discipline, and total devotion of the Natchez to their chief, the Great Sun. Because of this, and the fact that they were sun-worshipping headhunters who practiced a severe form of head-shaping, many historians speculate that they might have been distant descendants of the Aztec or maybe even the Olmec.

The Natchez were also a matrilineal society composed of four classes: the ruling Sun Class, which included the sons and daughters of the Sun females; the Nobles, which included primarily the children of the Sun Class males, their families, and a few warriors of the War Chief rank; the Honored people, which included the families of the lowest class who had distinguished themselves in battle or some unusual service; and the lowest class, the Earth people , or Stinkards, as they were commonly referred to by the French.

Any person, male or female, could raise their station, and the station of their family, one level higher (but not to include the Sun Class) by sacrificing a small child at the death of a Great Sun. Their tenure, however, was limited to the span of their lives. At death, their family members automatically reverted to their previous level.

Custom required all persons, regardless of their station, to select mates from the bottom of the social order. This practice prevented close intermarriages and inbreeding without interrupting the charter bloodlines. Except for the children of the Sun class females, all other children were born one class lower than that of the highest rank held by either parent. For this reason, the son of the chief, who is born a nobleman, was prohibited from serving as a Great Sun.

Since the Sun class females were the procreators of the ruling class, they were given a great deal of latitude in the mate selection process. They chose mates from among the Earth People who were handsome, brave, and above all, intelligent. If a Sun class female later discovered that her choice had been less than desirable, she was free to have her spouse killed or replaced with another. As her slave, her mate could not eat or sleep in her presence. He never challenged her decisions or offered advice, and was required to shout loud praises at her every remark.
Although the Sun females had no direct role in the government of the Nation, they did exert a strong behind-the-scenes influence upon its activities. The older females were especially influential since they were responsible for selecting the successor to the position of Chief. This, in most cases, was accomplished well in advance so that the young incumbent could be molded and trained to accept his responsibilities at the proper time. This custom also prevented other problems that, in all probability, would have developed had such a delicate decision been delayed until the candidates reached adulthood. As children, innocent and free of jealousy, they were more apt to accept the judgment of the council without contest. As a result, many times, older brothers were destined to be servant to their younger.

Besides their unique social order, the Natchez were also unique in the manner in which they constructed their lodges. A majority of the Indians of the area used branches to form a circular framework which they covered with skins or thatch. The Natchez buried poles upright in the ground to form a rectangular frame. Branches and small, slender saplings were then woven laterally between the poles and the intervals between them filled with bousillage, a mixture of mud, moss, straw, and deer hair.
While the outside walls were usually left rough, great care would be taken to smooth those on the inside. Larger saplings, covered with thatch, formed the roofs. Many of the structures were also whitewashed with lime. Because of the durability of their buildings, this basic method of construction was quickly adopted by the French and widely used throughout their settlements.

The Natchez community consisted of several villages from as few as twelve, by one account, to as many as forty by another. (It seems that the number reported varied with the speed with which the traveler passed through their territory as in the case of de Soto's men who did so quite hurriedly.)
I, however, suggest that the Natchez community may have been an empire of sorts at one time, and that de Soto's men were more accurate than inaccurate in their estimate. I base this theory, in part, on the fact that by the time the French dropped anchor in 1699, the Natchez Empire had split into at least three different tribes ╛ the Natchez, the Avoyels, and the Taensa, all whom spoke the unique Natchezan language. Then, there is also the possibility that their numbers were reduced by diseases as a result of their prolonged contact with La Salle and de Tonti.
Be that as it may, only five known primary villages were still extant when the French arrived. These were ╛ the Great Village, and the smaller villages of White Apple, The Hickories, Grigra, and Tiou.
The Great Village was the largest and served as the center of all major activities. It was dominated by two huge structures perched on mounds eight- to ten-feet high. One was the residence of the Great Sun, supreme ruler of the tribe, and the other, larger one, was the Temple. (A description of this temple is included in chapter two of this book.) The temple faced the east with the rear wall overlooking the banks of the Mississippi river. Between the temple and the Great Sun's lodge, which was on the opposite side of the village, was a plaza, a large, open area used for social activities. Clustered around the plaza were the lodges of the general population.

The Great Sun was considered, in all respects, to be a God with absolute power over the life and death of his subjects. He served as a visible communication link between the earthbound and his celestial brother, the Sun. As such, his feet were never permitted to touch the ground. Whenever he had reasons to leave his quarters, he rode in a special litter chair or walked upon mats which were rolled out ahead of him by his servants.
Below the Great Sun were the War Chiefs. Each village had three or four. They were commanded by a Great War Chief who was usually a blood brother or a close relative of the Great Sun. He and the War Chiefs were solely responsible for all matters relating to war and to the security of the tribe.

Responsibility for other matters concerning the government of the Natchez rested with a council of Noblemen (and women) with representation from the War Chiefs.These arrangements freed the Great Sun from such routine activities and enabled him to devote his full attentions to his primary duty ╛ that of worshipping his celestial and spiritual brother, the Sun.

Of all the tribes that inhabited the Louisiana territory, the Natchez were probably the most independent. They displayed an affinity for the African slave and were quick to provide sanctuary to runaways, despite the laws of the French. They also refused to assist the French in their political wars. For these reasons, they quickly lost favor with the French shortly after their occupation.

Another item that I found especially intriguing was the custom that required the wife and servants of the Great Sun to accompany him in death. A similar custom existed in ancient Egypt. Like the Egyptians, the Natchez believed in an after-life and were concerned with the preservation of the dead, especially their leaders. But since the climate and humidity did not lend itself to mummification, the Natchez chose the next best solution, that of preserving the bones of their deceased. I suggest, too, that the building of earthen mounds might have been substituted for pyramids in a land where building stones were not readily available. Archaeological evidence also suggests that conch shells were used widely as currency for bartering and trading much as it was in the primitive tribes of Africa. What connection, if any, that might have existed between these cultures, worlds apart, I dare not speculate. Suffice it to say, the Natchez were a special and distinct breed, and what might have been learned from them regarding their origin was lost when they were exterminated by the French in 1731.

There has been very little recorded about the Natchez, only bits and pieces. These bits and pieces, however, were enough to excite my imagination beyond bounds. In the process, I fell victim to their mystique and developed a profound fondness for this savage band of noble heathens.

Copyright 1988 Herbert R. Metoyer

Historian

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Louis Metoyer Granted his Freedom

Courtesy of Northwestern University Library Archives

Translated by Eric Talley (Wayne State University) for Herbert Metoyer 1996

 

Natchitoches Courthouse

Miscellaneous Book #2

Page #208

             Today, the twenty-eighth of the month of May of the year one thousand eight hundred two, I, Pierre Metoyer, a resident of this post of Natchitoches, by virtue of my contract of marriage with Therese Buard, presently my wife, signed with the Clerk of this said Post, under the date of October the tenth, of the year one thousand seven hundred eighty-eight, by which it is recorded that I reserved to myself the right and the power to give liberty, when it would seem good to me, without my wife being able to oppose it in any manner whatever, to six of my slaves, mulattoes or mulattresses, named in the said contract, who are independent of our community property, in consequence of that right, the man named Louis, a mulatto, the son of marie Therese called Coincoin, a free negress, having always served me, and who is in a position to earn his living whereever he will be; for these reasons I declare, in the presence of the Sieurs Jean Baptiste Ailhaud St. Anne and Jean Baptiste Buard, witnesses required and undersigned, to have given verbally on the first of January, one thousand eight hundred one, liberty to the said Louis, which liberty I confirm this day and declared him irrevocably free since the said time, that he is entirely free to go where ever it will please him, and to enjoy the privileges accorded to freed slaves, such is my will, which is irrevocable. Therefore I have signed the presence act of the witnesses named here in above, and who have also signed, to the end that present act may have its full and entire effect.

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Pierre Metoyer Granted his Freedom

Courtesy of Northwestern University Library Archives

Translated by Eric Talley (Wayne State University) for Herbert Metoyer 1996

  

Natchitoches Courthouse

Miscellaneous Book #2

Page #209

  

                Today, twenty-eight of the month of May of the year one thousand eight hundred two, I, Pierre Metoyer, a resident of this Post of Natchitoches, by virtue of my contract of marriage with Therese Buard, presently my wife, passed with the Clerk of this post under the date of the tenth of October of the year one thousand seven hundred eighty eight, by which it is recorded that I reserved to myself the right and the power to give liberty, when it should seem good to me, without my said wife being able to oppose it in any manner whatever, to six of my slaves, mulattoes or mulatteresses, named in the said contract, who are independent of our community property. In consequence of this right the man named Pierre, mulatto son of Marie Therese called Coincoin, a free negress, having always sered me faithfully and exactly, having comported himself to my satisfaction, wishing to reward him for all the god services that he has rendered me, who is in a position to earn his living wherever he will be, for these reasons I declared, in the presence of the Sieurs Jean Baptiste Ailhaud St. Anne and Jean Baptiste Buard, witnessed required and undersigned, that from this moment on I give him his liberty and declared him free, that of his own will he may go wherever it will be to his good pleasure, and enjoy the privileges accored to freed slaves, such is my irrevocable will. Therefore I have signed the present act and written with my hand of my own accord, in the presence of the end that the present act may have it's full and entire effect, at Natchitoches the said day and year as above, the twenty-eight of May, one thousand eight hundred two.

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Surgeons Report on The Death of Pavie’s Runaway Slave

Courtesy of The Northwestern University Library Archives

Translation by J. Sills

 Natchitoches Courthouse, Miscellaneous Book #2, Page Unknown

 

 

I, the undersigned Claude Mercier, surgeon in this port, by virtue of the order of Monsieur DeMezieres written above, attest to having proceeded to the place of the Srs. Pavie, mechants in this post, to make a call on a negro belonging to the said Sieurs. After having visited and examined him for what could be the cause of his death, I found a cotton de matris in his mouth that I presume him to swallow his tongue, which I declared to have suffocated him. I certify in my soul and conscience, in witness whereof I have signed. At Natchitoches, theday, year above mentioned.

                                                                                                            Mercier

             We, the undersigned, certify having been present at the visit that Monsieur Mercier, surgeon, made to the negro of M. Pavie named Pierre, written above. We attest additionally, in our soul and conscience, having seen him previously as he was expiring. In witness whereof we have signed at Natchitoches, the above mentioned day and year.

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Coincoin Purchases the Freedom of Her Daughter Marie Louise

Courtesy of Northwestern University Library Archives

  

Natchitoches Courthouse

Book of Conveyance #26, Doc. #2596

Translated by J. Sills, December 1973

  

                Today, the twenty-ninth day of the month of January of the year one thousand, seven hundred ninety-five, before me Don Louis Charles DeBlanc, Captain of the Infantry of the Armies of the King, Civil and Military Commandant of the Post of Natchitoches and dependency, performing the duties of Notary and Public Writer in the absence of one at this post: was present Marie Thereze Coincoin, a free Negress, residing at this Post, who declares and acknowledges having, by these presents, of her pure and entire will, without any coercion, but of her very own accord, given and granted liberty to the woman named Marie Louise, her slave and her daughter whom she purchased from the Sr. Pierre Dolet, by a sale signed with the Clerk of Court, to the end that from this day on and in the future, she may Peacefully enjoy the aforesaid liberty, with all the privileges accorded to freed persons, without experiencing the least impediment on her part, nor on that of her heirs or assigns.

 

Thus being her will, (she) wishes and intends it be accomplished, and to that end declares it firm, stable, and forever irrevocable, and in the contrary case, she gives power to the Law of the S.N. to take knowledge of her affairs and to force her to the execution of these presents, as having the force of a legal judgment, and renounces once and for all, the slavery of the said Marie Louise, her slave and her daughter, who thanks her mother for it, and promises to behave as an honest woman and under obedience to our laws; for thus it was done and passed at the said place of Natchitoches, the same day and year as in the heading, in the said presence of the Sieurs Francois Rouquier and Paul Marcollay, witnesses, and I , the above mentioned Commandant, who have signed with the said Marie Thereze Coincoin, who, not knowing how to write, has made her ordinary mark of a cross, whereof I bear witness,

Rouquier, Louis De Blanc,

Ordinary mark of

Marie Thereze Coinquin

Paul MercollayWitness

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Pierre Metoyer Land Purchase

Courtesy of Northwestern University Archives

Translated by Eric Talley (Wayne State University) for Herbert Metoyer 1996

 

Natchitoches Archives

Book of Conveyance #10, Doc. #1176

 

  

            Today, the forth of June, one thousand seven hundred seventy-six, before me, Jean Louis Seizaire Borme, captain of the militia, interim commandant in the absence of Monsieur de Meziere, commandant of the post of Natchitoches, there appeared Pierre Dartigaux, a resident of the said post, who declared, in the presence of witnesses, having sold, quit, and relinquished, from this day on and forever, with the consent of his wife, Marie Monique Duthil Dartigaux, a plot of land situated at the Cote de Tullin, bordering on one side the widow Hubert and on the other the Sieur Prudhomme and fronting on the river and the public road, and on the other side a piece of land facing the Sieur Prudhomme and on the other the widow Rambin and the Sieur Pain, and the back on my aforementioned Sieur Brome, the whole surrounded as it is, with all the building that are on it, to the Sieur Glode (Claude) Pierre Thomas Metoyer, a resident of the said post, who has declared having seen and visited it, therefore he is satisfied with it, and accepting the said land and house for the price and sum of two hundred piastres cash by his promissory notes which he has delivered to the said vendor, guaranteeing it against all mortages, and which he will send for by the first courier at the earliest opportunity.

 

Metoyer

Dartigaux

Le Che. De Villier

Witness

L. Borme

 

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Estate Holdings Of Monsieur de St. Denis (June 12, 1744)

Courtesy Northwestern University Library Archives

  

Translation of Document #151 Natchitoches Courthouse Archives The original document is kept in a box in the office of the Clerk of court. This translation was made by J. Sills, September 22,1973.

  

            The twelfth day of June of the year one thousand seven hundred forty four, carrying out the order that we received from monsieur duterpuits, Captain Commander of the post of Natchitoches, we, Charle de Taillefert, lieutenant of the Company of my aforesaid Sieur Duterpuits, together with monsieur Ciprien de Juzeaux, cadet, and monsieur Louis de Court, also a cadet of the same company, and the clerk in ordinary of our post, had been advised at six o'clock in the morning that monsieur de St. Denis, Commandant of the said post of Natchitoches had died at ten o'clock in the evening of the eleventh of June. We proceeded to the house of the said deceased, where we affixed the seal to a cabinet filled with several pieces of personal property, and to a chest, without knowing the contents. (We) left in the hands of the said dame de St. Denis five or six chest in which were the linen, clothing, and shirts of her children and herself, a dozen shirts belonging to my said deceased Sieur, four hundred fifty pots of oil, twelve negroes as many male as female, pieces of indgo, twelve little negroes male and female, three adult Indian women, one adult male Indian, five little Indians, as many male as female, a hundred cattle, as many large as small. (We) left for the use of the said lady and her children two dozen earthenware plates, seven earthenware salad dishes, twelve silver forks and spoons, two silver goblets, a kind of silver pitcher, nine decorated platters, three iron cooking pots, a cauldron, two dozen napkins, six tablecloths, five mattresses, a feather bed, three beds, two of printed calico and one white, three fine coverlets, Following the customary manner, in the presence of the said lady and her children, we left the said seal in the keeping of Sieur Henry Triche, resident of the post of Natchitoches.

            Done at Natchitoches the day, month, and year as above. And additionally we acknowledge having seen about fifty horses.

 

                                    De Taillefert, oldest son

Have signed

Mark of Henry Triche                           Juzaude

                                                            Le Court de prelle

                                                            Done before me

                                                            Besson serving as Clerk

 

 

On the back of the document there appears the following notation in a large handwriting:

Gave copy of the said sealed (items) to send to monsieur count de Vuadraille.

Gave copy to the Pieur Henry Triche guardian Le compte de Vaudrail was the governor of the Province until about 1752.

 

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Death of Etienne Pavie’s Slave / Witness was Metoyer

Courtesy of Northwestern University Archives

Translated by Eric Talley  (Wayne State University)

 

Natchitoches Courthouse Archives

Book of Conveyances #4, Doc. #713

  

            Today, the twenty-fourth day of the month of September of the year one thousand seven hundred seventy-one, there appeared before us, Athanaze de Mezieres, Captain of the Infantry, Lieutenant Governor of the Post of Natchitoches and its dependencies, the Sieur Etieen Pavie, merchant, who made to us his declaration as follows: That is, that a negro belonging to him named Pierre, accustomed to running away, as is Public knowledge, did so presently. Having had him caught, he had punished him as usual, and in order to secure him firmly, had put him in irons.

In the night between the twenty-third and the twenty-forth, the Sieur Metoyer, who lodges with him, the declarant, had called the said negro. It was then near daylight. Seeing that he did not respond to him, he awakened the declarant and his brother, who were together, to see what the negro was doing. And having found him expiring, they had the Sieur Pichard and Srs. Mercier and Brudhomme, surgeons, notified, who, having visited him, asked the declarant of what had the negro died. He replied to them that he knew nothing. They had examined him again and found a cotton de matris (?) in his mouth, which caused him to swallow his tongue. The reading of his declaration was made to him, who said that it contains the truth, and who signed with us in the presence of the of the Sieurs Jean Bte, Roujot and Maurice Demouy, witnesses, who have signed. At Natchitoches, the day and year as above.

 

                                    Roujot               Pavie                Maurice Demouy(?)

 

            In view of the above mentioned declaration, (we) order the Sieur Mercier, surgeon, to proceed to the home of the Sr. Pavie, where having visited the said negro in the presence of the two witnesses, to make his report of it in writing for the continuation of this document, the above mentioned witnesses, Metoyer and Pichard, likewise agreeing with it

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Ownership of Coin Coin Transferred From St. Denis’ Wife To St. Denis’ Son

Courtesy of Northwestern University Archives

 

Natchitoches Archives

Translation by J. Sills, September 1973, from original in Clerk's Office

 

 

            Today, the twenty-fifth of the month of April, one thousand seven hundred and fifty-eight, the partition was made of the slaves of the deceased madame de St. Denis among the heirs of the said lady. Who, under monsieur de Blanc, Commandant of this Post, to whom has fallen as his share the slaves named Gregoire, Bonnavanture, and Marie Jeanne; to monsieur dela Chaise has fallen those named Mathianne, Andre, Michael, Hyacinte; to monsieur de St. Denis those named Coin Coin, and Jean Baptiste; to monsieur the Chevalier de St. Denis those named Guerin, mama La Bouillie, and Quioquira; to monsieur Don Manuel has fallen those named Isabelle, Banbara, Jacob and the little orphan negro baby (girl) eight days old; (were) all divided.

Done in the presence of the undersigned witnesses the day and year as above. Witnesses: monsieur Decour, Morgin, both officers of the troops, and the Sieur Dominique Montiche, officer of the Militia, and Sieur Triche and Sieur Jobar and Sieur Piissot, inhabitants of this post.

 

De Blanc                                                                                              St. Denis

Manuel de Soto                                                                                     The Chev. De St. Denis

Mongin, witness                                                                                    Demeziere

Le court, witness                                                                                   (mark of)

Dominique Montiche                                                                              Sieur Triche

(officer of the militia)

                                                (mark of)

                                                   Jobar                                                 Poissot(witness)

 

On the back of the document: The sharing out of the negroes among the heirs of the deceased madame de St. Denis. 25 April, 1758

 

I also found in the Archives another copy of this same act, on same day, April 25, 1758, entitled #205 with almost identical wording, but with a few changes in the spelling of some of the names.

                                                                                                                        J. Sills

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Sale of land by  Coin Coin to Son, Toussaint Metoyer

Courtesy of Northwestern University Archives

Translated by Eric Talley (Wayne State University) for Herbert Metoyer 1996

 

Natchitoches Archives Doc. #4365

  

            Let it be known to all whom it may concern that I, Marie Therese Coin Coin, a free negress, living in the parish of Natchitoches, State of Louisiana, in the presence of the undersigned witnesses, declared by these present to have sold, assigned, quit, relinquished and transferred henceforth and forever, with assurance of protection from all debts and mortgages what so ever, to the name named Toussaint Metoyer, a free mulatto, also residing in the said parish, accepting for himself and his heirs having part in it, to wit, a property situated and located on the Cote Joyeuse, consisting of (having the capacity of) five arpents fronting on the right bank of the river called the Bourguignon River, a dependecy of the above mentioned parish, bounded above by (the property of ) M. Jean Baptiste Prudhomme, Jr., and below by that of M. Dominique Rachal.

Additionally, four arpents opposite on the left bank of the said river, bordered similarly with the depth that it contains, which land the said buyer has said that he knows well and with which he is well satisfied, the present sale is made and accepted between us, the parties to the above mentioned clauses and conditions. Moreover, for the price and sum of six hundred twenty-five piastes gourde that I, the said seller, acknowledge to have received in cash from the said buyer. In my capacity, I with from all property rights over the said land in the above mentioned sale in favor of the buyer, who has taken possession of and diverted it for himself to enjoy, do, and dispose of, at his pleasure.

For thus is our will and judgment with our consent. We have declared that we have know how to sign only by our ordinary mark of a cross, which we have done in the presence of the undersigned witnesses. Natchitoches, this fourteenth day of September one thousand eight hundred fourteen.

 

Pierre Charteau

Witness(?)

 

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Will of Juchereau de St. Denis

Courtesy of Northwestern University Archives

 

 

Translation of Document # 132

Natchitoches Courthouse Archives

Translated by J. Sills September 27, 1973.

The original document is kept in a box in the office of the Clerk of Court.

 

            Before me, Jean Baptiste Bisson, serving as notary at the post of Natchitoches, Province of Louisiana, Diocese of Quebec, was present Monsiuer Louis de Jucheraeu de St. Denis, Knight of the Military Order of St. Louis, Commander of Red River and the post of Natchitoches, being ill in body yet sound of understanding, as it is known to me and to witnesses who have witnessed the present the present testament, who (the testator) knowing that the hour of death is uncertain and not wishing to be forestalled (by it) without disposing of the property which it has pleased God to grant him, declared to us that he wished to make his tesatament, and without suggestion from any person, but of his own will , has dictated and named the following articles: As a good Christian he recommends his soul, when it shall be separated from his body, to God the Father Almighty, to Jesus Christ, our Savior and to the Holy Spirit, one god in three Persons, to the glorious Virgin Mary, to Saint Louis his patron, and to all the saints whom he prays to be his intercessors with God for the forgiveness of his sins, and as for his body, he desires that it be buried in the church of this parish. He directs that, before all, his debts shall be paid by his executor and that all the wrong that he has done to his neighbor shall be redressed.

 

            By the memoranda (I. O. U. s) that M. de la Freniere has said that he was from me, there will be remitted to him fifteen hundred livres. Seven hundred livres to Madame d' Iberville, which will be remitted to M. Denoyan.

 

            Eight hundred livres that I still owe to the king for advances that he made to me in New Orleans. Nine thousand livres to the company.

 

            In order to execute the content of the present testament, the testator has named Madame Manuelle Zanchez Navarre, his wife, to whom he has given power to accomplish this present testament according to the form and terms, leaving in her hands all the person property, papers, and real estate, and other items which belongs to him, to confirm said testament that he wishes to be his last will . Nevertheless, the said testator that the debts and donations having been paid, that the custom will be followed for the partition of the remaining property, that is to say, that he gives and bequeaths to Dame Manuelle Zanchez Navarre, his wife, half of the personal property and real estate. The other half will be divided among his children, Don Louis de St. Denis, Pierre Antoine, and Demoiselles Marie Petronille, Marie Delore an Marie des Neiges, revoking all other testament, in this manner dictated and named to me, I have read and re-read clearly and intelligibly to the said testator who had declared that he so wanted it and understood it, in the presence of Messire Athanaze de Meziere, Cadet of the garrison of the said post, of the Reverent Father Dagobert, missionary and priest of the parish of Natchitoches, who have, with the said testator and me, signed the said testament on the twenty-sixth of the month of March, 1744, in the house of the said Sieur, the testator.

 

_______

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Document Concerning Coincoin’s Annuity From Thomas Pierre Metoyer

Courtesy of Northwestern University Library Archives

Natchitoches Courthouse Archives Book of Conveyances. Translation and transcription made by J. Sills in October, 1973, adhering as closely as possible to original spelling and word order.

  

Today, the twenty eight day of the month of May, one thousands eight hundred two, I, Marie Therese called Coincoin, a free negress, under my ordinary mark of a cross, declare in the presence of the of the Bte. Ailhaud Ste. Anne and Jean Bte. Buard, required witnesses, that the Sieur Pre. Metoyer, having by an act passed with the clerk of this post on the eighth day of October of the year one thousand seven hundred eighty_ eight, by which it is recorded that the said ___ Metoyer instituted for me a lifetime annuity of one hundred twenty piastres.

 

Dispositions, wishing that they may have the same power as though the present act were signed before a notary. Done between us, in good faith, in the presence of the above named, who have signed, as have I, Marie Therese, who has made a cross, which is my ordinary mark. At Natchitoches, the said day and year as above, the twenty-eighth of May, one thousand eight hundred two.

                                                                                                                                (signed)

                                                                                                                    Ordinary mark of

                                                                                                                Marie Therese Coincoin

 

Bte. Buard

Witness

Ailhaud St. Anne

Witness

 



 

Note by J. Sills

All these French entries appear to be copies of the originals, all in one handwriting, including the signatures, made by clerk, I should think. The style reminds me strongly of Metoyer, (see his will) but the handwriting is not his.

 

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Emancipation of Augustin Metoyer

Courtesy of Northwestern University Library Archives

Natchitoches Courthouse Archives Book of Conveyances. Translation and transcription made by J. Sills in October, 1973, adhering as closely as possible to original spelling and word order.

  

Translation of document #2409 of the Book of Conveyances #22, Natchitoches Courthouse Archives.

 

                At the Post of Natchitoches on the first of August in the year one thousand seven hundred ninety two, before me, Louis Charles DeBlanc, Lieutenant of the Armies, Captain of the Calvary of the Militia, Civil and Military Commandant of the said Post and Dependency, serving as Notary and Public Secretary in default (or absence) of one in this said place, there appeared M. Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer, Syndic of this Post, who, by these presents, of his pure and sole will, having in view the rights that the law accords him and in the best form that it may have in Law, and by virtue of the right which he reserved to himself in his contract of marriage with Demoiselle Therese Buard, the Widow Pavie, he declares and acknowledges that being satisfied with the services and fidelity of his mulatto slave named Nicolas Augustin, about twenty five years of age, that it is his intention that he ( the latter) should enjoy, from this day on and forever, the privilege of a freed man, granting him for that purpose, without any restriction whatsoever, the most complete and entire liberty, to the end that he may aspire to it without ever being troubled, either by himself (metoyer) nor his heirs having caused in it. For thus is his will; and he promises to hold as firm, stable, and irrevocable the content of the present act, and in the contrary case, he gives power to the law of the Natchitoches, the same day and year as in the heading, in the presence of the Sieurs Paul Marcollay and Andre Rambin, witnesses present here, who have signed with the said Sieur Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer and I, the above mentioned Commandant, whereof I bear witness.

 

Andre Rambin                                                                                                      Pierre Metoyer

Louis DeBlanc                                                                                                      Paul Marcolay

 

 

Syndic is one who is elected to take care of the affairs of a group of which he is a member. I believe the initial S.N. may refer to "syndicate".

 

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Emancipation of Benjamin Metoyer

Courtesy Northwestern University Library Archives

  

This translation was made by J. Sills, December, 1973.

 

 Natchitoches Courthouse

Miscellaneous Book #2

Page 206

                                                                                Written in English

Notation in left margin:

Pierre Metoyer

Emancipation

Francois Benj. Metoyer (son)

 

April seventh, 1812

 

                Before me John C. Carr Judge of the parish of Natchitoches and Notary exofficio this day appeared Pierre Metoyer of the parish aforesaid who declares in presence of Andrew Rambin pere and Francois Rouquier Jeune that he has and by these presents do emancipate his son Francois Benjamin Metoyer of about nineteen years of age. In testimony where of the said Pierre Metoyer and the witnesses aforesaid have hereunto set their hands this seventh day of April A.D. 1812

 

(signed) Metoyer

Andre Rambin Rouquier.

John C. Carr JPN

 

*This document appears near the top of the same page on which is recorded in French, all dated the twenty-eighth of May, 1802, the transactions concerning the redemption of the lifetime annuity by Marie Therese Coin Coin, and the three acts of manumassion for Pierre, Louis and Marie Susanne. Apparently the French documents had been written as private contracts at that earlier date, and then held until 1812. It seems to me, at this point, that Metoyer must have felt that death might be imminent in 1801, when he wrote his will, following it with the legal acts which would tie up the lost loose ends he mentioned in his will. But he didn't die at that time, as the above entry proves. Perhaps his emancipation of his youngest son indicates that he might again be preparing for death.

 

 

J. Sills

 

Photostats compared with originals in Courthouse, transcribed and translated in December, 1973

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Emancipation of Marie Susanne Metoyer

Courtesy of The Northwestern University Library Archives

Translation by J. Sills

  

Natchitoches Courthouse, Miscellaneous Book #2, Page #210

 

                Today, the twenty-eighth of the month of May, one thousand eight hundred two, I, Pierre Metoyer, a resident of this post of Natchitoches, by virtue of my contract of marriage with Therese Buard, presently my wife, signed with the Clerk of this post, under the date of the tenth of October, of the year one thousand seven hundred eighty-eight, by which it is recorded that I reserved to myself the right and the power to give liberty, when it would seem good to me, without my wife being able to oppose it in any manner whatever, to six of my slaves, mulattoes or mulatresses, named in the said contact, which are independent of our community property; in consequence of that faculty, the women named Marie Suzanne, a mulatress, my slave, daughter of Marie Therese called Coincoin, a free negress, having always served me with zeal, fidelity, and exactitude, having conducted herself to my satisfaction, having by her good services and her good care several times saved my life in various grave maladies, as well as that of my wife and all my children, having moreover nourished with her milk our son Benjamin, held in her arms, raised, and cared for my other children in their infancy and even until this day, and several other important cares that she has rendered us.

 

In gratitude for all her good services I declared by the present act, in the present act, in the presence of the Pieurs Jean Baptiste Ailhaud Ste. Anne, and Jean Baptiste Baurd, witnesses required and undersigned, that from the moment when it will please God to take me from this world, that the said Marie Suzanne will be free, neither myself, the donor, nor any one of my heirs or assigns being able to claim anything whatever of the proceeds of her industry and economy that she has, of any kind, and that she will be able to acquiring at all times authorized her, and do authorize her by this present act, to own in her own right, to enjoy and to put to profit the fruits of her economy in her spare time, or her successors, until at my death, when she will be completely free, as well as all the children, to whom I likewise give liberty at the same time I give it to her, with the conditions that they will all work fir their said mother until they are of legal age, or find someone to marry, and that to her liking. (or with her approval?)

 

                Such is my will, irrevocable, whereof I have signed the present act of my own volition, in the presence of the witnesses named herein above and who have likewise signed with me, to the end that the present act may have its full and entire effect. Duplicate made with my own hand at Natchitoches, the said day and year as above, the twenty-eighth of May, one thousand eight hundred two.

 

________

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Metoyer Purchases His Two Slave Children, Dominique & Sister From St. Denis’ Daughter

Courtesy of Northwestern University Library Archives

Natchitoches Courthouse Archives Book of Conveyances. Translation and transcription made by J. Sills in October, 1973, adhering as closely as possible to original spelling and word order.

 

Natchitoches Courthouse Archives. Book of Conveyance #15, Doc. #1473. Translation by J. Sills, Dec. 15, 1973.

 

 

            Today, the seventh day of the month of April, one thousand seven hundred eighty, before me, Jean Louis Borme, Captain of the Militia, Commandant at the Post of Natchitoches, and in the presence of the witnesses here and after named, performing the duties of a Notary and Public Writer for lack of one in this place, there appeared, in person, Dame Marie de Saint Denis Desoto, a settler residing in this said place, who has voluntarily recognized and acknowledged having this day sold and delivered, from this day on and forever, to the Sr. Pierre Metoyer, also a settler residing in this place at the same time, and accepting for himself, his heirs and assigns, two little slaves, Dominique, six years old, and a little mulatress his sister, about four years old that the said lady guarantees against any claims, debts, and mortgages what so ever, and recognizes having had and received from the said Sr., the buyer, in cash, the sum of four hundred piastres for the price of the above mentioned two little slaves. It was thus done and passed at Natchitoches, the day and year as above, in the presence of Messieurs Miguel Melcho? And Louis DeBlanc, witnesses, who have signed with the above mentioned parties and with me, the said Commandant, where of I bear witness.

 

Metoyer

Miguel Menchaca?

Louis De Blanc witness

Borme

Marie de St. Denis

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St. Denis Documents Relative To The Natchez War

 

Courtesy of Northwestern University Library Archives

Translated by Eric Talley (Wayne State University) for Herbert Metoyer 1996

  

Note: Following the Natchez massacre of the French at Fort Rosalie, the Natchez were attacked by the French in retaliation. They escaped. The French assumed they had went to live with the Chickasaw (in Tennessee). In reality, they hid out in the hills near Natchitoches. On the brink of starvation, they finally came out of hiding and attacked the fort at Natchitoches. St. Denis fought off the attack, then sent for the assistance of some of his Indian friends. These documents concern this incident and the war that followed prior the receipt of additional troops from New Orleans. Once these troops arrived, St. Denis and the French exterminated the remaining Natchez warriors in the Black Hills and at Lake Sang pour Sang. These letters were probably written in reports to the Governor of Louisiana.

 (Herbert Metoyer, research historian).

 

Document 1, Page 1

 Monsieur de St. Denise, Ordered by Natchitochen (?) on September 30, 1731

  

            It's been a very long time since we've been, so to speak, without heat. It's been more than three years that there hasn't been a stake standing up, when the massacre of the French by the Natchy happened, at no fault of mine since I had sufficiently presented this information to the Council who was governing that country. They're not able to accuse me of negligence, it's been (so many/several) years since I warned the commanders and General Directors of the disaster that was caused today by the Natchy. So much that I am able to say with truth that we have not been able to recover until now.

            You can trust and believe (Madame/Sir) that with the bit of ability that I have, I must understand the pros and cons of that which must occur, since it's been thirty years of my unhappiness that I have been in this country; and if I was able to explain it by letter like I could face to face, I would inform you of many strategies for the conversation of this Colony. I learned that everyone was assured in France of the absolute defeat of the Natchy. I don't know who could have said such a thing. This caused us a considerable delay, which we did not need. (I only know those who were in the country who were not suppose to know any different.

  

Document 2, Page 1

 

            I quickly sent one of my men to inform you of the flight of the Natchy who have come here, as well as of the misery that we have had, and to report about the uncivilized nations who came to assist us with a total of 239 men, not counting the nation of "Natchians”(Natchitoches Indians) that I have under my leadership men women and children. Since the fifth of this past month, in which the Natchy attacked our village, I have been obliged to have oxen and cows killed in order to feed all the men here and show a complete expression of thanks to the "Cadodaqians" who have just arrived with a total at one hundred men. They arrived just a little late since the messenger that sent to their house was late getting them; nevertheless, once they had the news and left their village, they only took six days to get here.

 

I affirm to you “Monsieur” that we have been in a terrible predicament trying to find commodities, particularly to give to the Nations in order to arm them, having only come here mostly with arrows. It is very unfortunate that, having been in similar situations, we did not have all that which is necessary in the guardhouse. And I don’t know when it came to that, or all times, we were left stripped of all necessities. I got a grip and took myself to civilization. It was a well earned trip seeing that the country lost so much, by its negligence, from paying the price of war. So much that the Natchy made it. I came to test the troublesome experience or similar surmises. It was necessary for me to empty the storehouse and, beyond that, seize it on all sides when I then realized that if my camp had been stocked with everything, perhaps the expense would not have been so large and the detest of the Natchy would have been successful.

However, only being able to put twenty two Frenchmen on foot, with sixteen Spaniards who came to our assistance to go pursue the Natchy, I had no other choice but to satisfy those who came to help us. On the whole, the rest of the French that I left at the camp were all sick or wounded.

 

In order to give you a detailed description of our expedition. I will tell you that from the fifth to the fourteenth of the month in waiting for assistance, I hindered them from advancing further by use at to little “Skirmishes"(?) that we gave them night and day. However, we were not able to hinder them from growing stronger (because) they had the…

 

Document 2. Page 2

 

…foresight to have running water by digging an entrenchment from the other side of the river from where we pursued them. We had to close the trench and surround the tern in order to keep the water from them. They held out for just about six days until they were asked to come to some agreement. I knew then from their own admission that they lied about the lost of twenty five people once we had last seen them. Among which, them were, according to their state of affairs, seven large warriors, of which one member of that cursed nation was re-elected as Chief of "Flour?" (Agriculture), four women and thirteen or fourteen young men  totaling the twenty five people. While they were asked to come to an agreement. I proposed to them my conditions. Chiefly, that of surrendering the weapons, which they pretended to accept but did not actually accept it. All that was able to be done then, was compel them to pack their bags and demolish their camp for the sake of that which I was seeing the saver bring home all the wounded and dead ones that had, knowing all the pains of the world, having them committed, not feeling a little uncomfortable.

 

I had just made a trip to my home, ready to turn in for the evening, when a storm hit as I was turning in from a good day. I went back to a letter that one of the officers, carrier of gifts, wrote, and he informed me that they had hoisted a tent upon arrival. I found that the savages who supposed to be guarding the water in our trench had abandoned their posts. If I was only able to have it guarded by someone other than them, that would have happened if I had had sufficient troupes.

 

Our last approach consisted of a transportation of firearm from our camp. It is that which we agreed to and the compromise. Seeing that we were approaching them slowly with ______________ (?) that I had given to them the evening prior, in which we lost a French soldier and & Spanish one. We also had two savages beaten to death and several others wounded. They held us in suspense three or four days without wanting to surrender. Having allowed myself to put them in disorder. I gave up combat. We took twenty eight slaves, killed thirty people and left several beaten to death. They would rather I threw myself in the river and drowned …

  

Document 2. Page 3

 …in their presence than lose their hair after seeing that the total number they lost is above seventy four people, not counting those killed.

             The countrymen led the slaves that they had to their land. The Natchy assured me that the rest of their countrymen were wandering in three teams down the Black Sea. It is necessary that Mr. Perrier take his side as I take mine _____________________(?). This winter, you should be able to say to him that he can be leave when he pleases. They are in disorder worse than ever. They are without corn in their river and have very little ammunition according to what I’ve learned from the slaves that I interrogated several times. They have just brought me two "Heads of Hair" of men of those who escaped. I hope for several more of them versus less. I will not cease at all to get the upper hand. There are actually approximately forty men who are pursuing them. Our savages report that they don't know where they came from. During the time of their disorder, the runaways threw away their guns and disguised themselves in order to get away.

            The Natchitoches expected to catch them round about here. However, much beyond that which is needed in the camp, you should be able to send me one hundred and fifty guns with ammunition. I will look for the rest of them near the Black Sea to completely exterminate them. The team will not break from their position. That being the case, I sent over the memories/letters of those who supplied some, I hope, Sir, that you will have the decency provide total satisfaction so that in similar situations, we will be able to ask for it find it easily.

             The Natchy had taken with them six Negroes, three of which came to give them selves up to us saying that they did not want any other masters than the “company.” Therefore, Sir, I believe that you will not find it bad that I kept them for myself. The three others, I gave them to the habitants until I have the opportunity to send them home. One claims to belong to the name "Champineul" another to the name “Quidort" who I learned had been killed in the massacre of the French by the Natchy. Thus, if they are dead, then there is no point to encumber and they should pay the “company”. I sent a few of the savage slaves to the Spanish in order to remove them from here and from the French colony.

 

Document #2, Page 4

             As for me, I ask for nothing for the damage that had been made to my lot. Although I am able to assure you, Sir, that I would not leave for a thousand crowns, yet would it be necessary that I should become good and thin, I ask only to be reimbursed for the firearms that I supplied and the men that were killed on behalf of the King and the "company".  I beg of you, Sir, although I do not have the right to be known of you so well that you would want to pay attention to me and all that which I have the honor to represent to you perhaps before it should be little, I will have the satisfaction of seeing you and informing you of several things of consequence concerning our country here. I would not forget to tell you, Sir, that it would be necessary to have in this camp three or four canoes for the King in order to carry back and forth the remnants of war as well as carry the belongs that are necessary for the storehouse. We have never taken that precaution, although I have well written for it. The war has made it known to us that it is useful.

  

Document #3, Page 1

Note: This document contains St. Denis’ recommendations about how to secure the French territory in event of a war with The English. (Herbert Metoyer, Research Historian)

 

November 30, (1731)?

             That which he would agree to do in order to put the country at rest and past the insults of all the savage nations who are around us, not only our neighbors but also those of the English party who would be able to charm (our people) and cause trouble, is that we go to war (against) the English one day with the least amount of troops that they know of, as well as us in this province.

             As for the totals of troops in all the camps: five hundred men in New Orleans; four hundred in Mobile, as reported by the "Choctaws" who are the most popular group around us two hundred and fifty men and also three hundred at the "Alibamans" (Alabama) (?) camps located above the English territory.

 In "Tonicas" it would be necessary, at least from a camp of fifty men, to have a bonded warehouse big enough for the "Red Sea" than for the Natchy. If we want to establish it, it will take at least three hundred more men, as reported by the Chief of the "Chicahas", than those of their neighboring English friends. Our "Choctaw" people are going there soon with ease. That is where I will have need for one hundred and fifty men, at least that's what I put in my report to the countries who are in the surrounding are that total more than twenty, aside from the Spanish frontier, banished from seven places.

             I will not talk about the "Yazoos"(?) where it would be necessary__________________(?) because of the English countries who came in full force to these troubled lands to do to our savages that which they did other times. In my opinion based, I would find two hundred men to put there;_________(?) in "Ouabache" which has always been neglected; and above which, in my opinion based on my knowledge of them, we would first have to establish, by agreement, that there is a leader of the English by which they would be able to get from the Louisiana province, rather than from any other place, and seduce our nations…,

  

Document 3, Page 2

 …although in peace. They would have to make several attempts; it would be necessary in that camp.

             I would also dare say that the number of men that would be necessary to put there is four hundred men rather than three hundred. For the "Illinoisians", I will not speak on them because I learned that it was Canada that was to supply their troops. It would also be very necessary to have here three hundred Canadians to distribute in all the camps.

             For some years, the ____(?) and the travelers in canoe, those who arrived from France because I am able to assure that they came from the poor areas of France, it would be best to tell them that which I have just said here, before the usual drilling of France.

             I will not speak at all about the establishment of tribes. I will only say that it would be necessary to have honest men in tribes and not at all like those the "company" tried to have. Almost the majority of men were useless vagabonds.

             One is able to say that that it is an expense for the "Majesty" who would not only leave/stop from moving up a little higher for the payment of troops to be there each year, but I will say that the expenses that one incurs in gifts to be there. Besides, they put our colony in safety. We would no longer be obliged to give to them a quarter of the one-eighth of gifts that we give to them. ?? As well as to not at all suffer when one would have to force them by hand  not one worker in their homeland, nor any business in order to make them regroup to carry their commodities to sell in the neighborhoods of France. All that will keep them poor. They will not be able to attempt anything against us. Of the big gifts that were given to them, and the instructions that the workers presented to them on their own, one group has a small barrel of corn more than the other. The others were to have poultry.

  

Document 3, Page 3

             It is necessary to remark that in all the camps there, is necessary to put a wise and prudent officer, much more for the French than the savages incredible points above the "advertisement" of some party/group that reaches the Natchy. The Natchy only came because of a "blunder" that one had put there that had been informed several days before and did not want to believe any of it. If the colony does not fortify, more for the troops than for the fortifications that one must have in the camps, I would count it a loss. Plus, if all those who sent "letters" to France and had spoken as frankly and sincerely as I speak, the colony would be more advanced. It is moving backwards, now more than ever. I don't doubt that someone will contest this statement. There are those who do not know the history of this country like me.

 

            I would not forget to give advice that of the three hundred men that one must give to the Natchy, it would be good to form a "company" of "Cavallerie" there.

 

Document 4 Page 1

Pg. 66/C13A-13

Note: This document provides some additional information about the Natchez war. No idea who wrote this letter and to whom. (Herbert Metoyer, research historian)

 

            _______ (?) by the small camp that one will not be able to capture without a cannon. We doubled the grenades, which will still be more effective than the cannon, according to the attempts that I made against the Natchy. However, we have some small cast iron mortars to hold the small tombstones of thirty ________ (?). There are six cannons to the east of_______(?) that the company will have accepted. There are eighteen months for that country. I would have to ask them " I don't know why the ______(?) did not pay them (to support them ?)

             On October 21 of this year, I learned from a letter from Sr. St. Denis, who led the "Natchitoches", that the Natchy had come to ________(?) the twelve that had been discovered. The "Natchitoches" had handed them over in combat; however, that was only approximately forty warriors. They had abandoned their village after having lost four_____ of their men. He believed that their enemies totaled two hundred which seemed difficult for me (?) to believe that he had neither the "Chicas" ______(?)

As soon as I learned that news, Sr. de Loubior had asked me to ____(?). I left with sixty men; but, being in the Black Sea/Black River, we ran into the ship of the "Natchitoches" which gave me the news of the defeat of the Natchy by Sr. de St. Denis and his camp. The "savages" with an "Qassinais" party, pointed out to me that he and his country took and/or killed eighty-two persons of the enemies that had forced their way into the entrenchment that he had made in the "Natchitoches" village. The number of deaths were the results of the famous Chief of "Flour" (Agriculture) that he had sent a party that I had sent had helped (?) them in the land of _____ (?) where they were without gunpowder and firearms; however, the cold caused (?) the unwilliness of the small countries to hinder them from going to find the enemy. With the…

 

Document 4, Page 2

 ….exception of the "Tonnicas", we did not have a complete, small country above the river that was able to be of help to us beyond the fact that they are small in size.

  

Document 5, page 1

 This document provides a general description of the territory occupied by the Spanish

 

October 1, 1753

             The country of the New Phillipines, or Texas, is one of the most spacious, but one of the most uninhabited areas that Spain possesses in the New World. They adhere to the people because of our proximity and it had been very easy to leave an interval of at least one hundred and fifty leagues (one "league" is four kilometers, or two point five miles) from the first camp to the second one in order to face the most difficult journey through it.

             This country contains the Addilles fort, which the governor, with the title General, commanded the captains of the bay of St. Esprit of St. Xavier of the northern river, the ones of Santa Rosa and Saint Antoine, the governors of "Coaguila", and the new kingdom of Pensacola. That country depends on the spirits of the episcopate of "Goadalascava".

             The Spanish of the New Phillipines never wanted to agree to the treaty that had been so often proposed to them by my governors of that country, from Louisiana, from those mutually rendered as the deserters of their camp, from the "Adailles", or ours of the "Natchitoches". We seized in that camp a good amount of varying merchandise (or manpower) where those of the "Adailles" found themselves reduced to the last dearth of lives to involve in that situation with a promise to assist them soon and always in an instant. Similar ___(?) our attempts have always been unprecedented(?) and we have seen this persistent neighbor, in spite of hunger and misery, resolve themselves to going out and finding grain in three hundred places, rather than drawing it the same day from our land, while "falling" from agreement from a cartel that the governor of Adailles knows exists between Pensacola and New Orleans.

 

Document 5, Page 2

             It is indisputable that the Spanish, saddened by or imposition over the Red River and the Natchitoches, see us with very jealous eyes residing on the lands that they know to be fully covered with the people of Mexico. They speculate, without a doubt, that they were expecting something different between the two kingdoms.

             Santa Rosa is one little fort situated above the left side of the North River nearly twenty leagues inland. There are some very wealthy mines similar to Boca de Leon, not too far from the same place. Monterray is the capital of the New Kingdom of Leon. It was almost entirely ruined by a flood that hit in 1750. Escandon, Governor of Tampico, finished weakening it and all the camps that were supported in 1751 by the embankment of men that were there to populate the land and sustain the established missions. That same year, it was extended from the Gulf through the Bay of St. Esprit just up it's government.

  

Document 6, Page 1

 Pg. 10, 11/10: To the "Caouitas" at the home of the "Talapousses"

 

I do not know the author of this document or its recipient. It is valuable, however, in understanding how the Europeans competed to win favor with the Indians in order to manipulate them. (Herbert Metoyer, research historian)

              The "Choctaws" did not want to welcome/receive them. I sent a Jewish Priest from here to Caouita in order to find out what was happening at their house and to see if we would be able to establish a camp in that country. Allow me, Sir, to say to your highness that we did not explain very well the fashion in which we presented our gifts to the savages. They don't have anything that even approaches a contribution. The custom was in all the countries to never "give a pledge" empty-handed, it's their ceremonial. They never came to tell me, or with a particular request from the camp, that they were only carrying some animal skins (leather?) or some pots of sweet oil, or other similar items (lit. trans., "rubbish"), strongly charging that they are poor and that they do not have as good a pledge as us. We had been obliged to increase the gifts because there were a lot of merches (ceremonies) since I've been here; and all those expenses totaled from ten to twelve thousand pounds, or more in cash, which is nothing compared to the merches that we had made for the savages.

             When they came to see us, we were without merchandise, we sent them the gifts, but they did not feel very happy and sharply felt our impoliteness. If they run into the English at this time, they will not miss the chance to make them understand the pain that they have to remain attached to us. And that is only because, themselves, the English had a prior to the attachment to the savages, we should treat them favorably. And while we had them work for our service, it seems to me that there is nothing more just.

It is only jealousy that has always been between the "officers of the pen" (administrative officers) (?) and the officers of the sword who had written to the "company"____ (?) from one part than from the other above the gifts to the savages who never make anything other than what we give to them. For the difference in cost/price between the English merchandise and…

  

Document 6, Page 2

 …ours.  I only know this by the officers who belongs to the "Alibamonts". We sell established in the other countries with Mr. Diron, who has had the exclusive agreement for two years. It would be better that that agreement be free. However, we do not have residents in Mobile in a position to purchase a piece of merchandise. It would be unwise to give it to them on credit. They would carry away the merchandise and pass it around at the home of the English or the home of the Spanish, as we have already had an example of it being done.

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Thomas Pierre Metoyer’s Purchase of His Slave Children (Augustin, Marie Suszanne, Louis & Pierre) From St. Denis’ Daughter

Courtesy of Northwestern University Library Archives

 

 

Translation of Doc. #1161 Natchitoches Courthouse Archives Book of Conveyances #10, dated 1776. Translation and transcription made by J. Sills in October, 1973, adhering as closely as possible to original spelling and word order.

 

                At the post of Saint Jean Baptiste des Natchoches today the thirty first day of the month of May of the year one thousands seven hundred seventy six before me Athanase de Mezieres Lieutenant Governor of this said post in the presence of the men named Nicolas Fouvrier (Fournier?) and Francois Doucet, he undersigned witnesses present with me, there appeared in person Madame Marie de Saint Denys, wife of Don Manuel de Soto, absent, who acknowlegdes and declares that she has sold, assigned, quit, transferred and relinquished from this day on and forever, to the Sieur Pierre Metoyer, presently a resident of this said place, and accepting for him to enjoy, himself and his heirs concerned in it, and promises him guarantee from all troubles and claims whatsoever, four head of young mulatto slaves, the latter named Marie Susanne, Nicole Augustin, Louis and Pierre: for the price and sum of two thousand livres in silver, and a little negro of ten or twelve years, which two thousand livres the said Dame Marie de Saint Denys acknowledges having received in good specie, and as for the little negro that he was to furnish, the above mentioned lady says that the above mentioned Sieur, has paid her in various supplies that he has made to her, as well as in animals and ready money the sum of thirteen hundred livres with which she is content and satisfied and discharges the above mentioned Sieur, the buyer toward and against all, by means of which agreement and the Certificate of the recorder of Mortgages that the above mentioned lady, the vendor, will have presented in the shortest possible term, by which the above mentioned four mulatto slaves will be certified free and clear of all charges and mortgages, in order that the said certificate be annexed to the present act of sale to validate it.

 

The above mentioned parties will be free and quit each toward the other. Thus it was agreed between the parties, in witness of which have signed with me, the above mentioned Lieutenant Governor, and the two above mentioned witnesses, whereof I bear witness.

  

De Meziere Nicoles fournier

 

Marie de Saint Denis

Fr Doucet

 

______

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St. Denis’ Estate Sealed following His Death

Courtesy of The Northwestern University Library Archives

 

Natchitoches Archives Doc. #219

Translation by J. Sills from original in Clerks office

  

            Today, the eighteenth of the month of April in the year one thousand seven hundred fifty-eight, I, Francois Langlois, serving as Clerk commisioned by monsieur DeBlanc, Commandment of this Post, proceeded to the house of the deceased Emanuel de Sanche Jucherau de St. Denis, widow of the said Sieur, (who had) died Sunday the sixteenth of the month of April, in order to affix the seals, in the presence of the heirs, consisting of Sieur Don Louis De Juchereau de St. Denis and Chevalier Don Pedre de St. Denis and dame Don Manuel de Soto, and of Sieur Louis Borme, Ensign of the militia of this post, and of Pierre Saurelle called "Marly", resident and blacksmith, as witnesses. Placed the seal on an amoire of walnutwood with its lock and key, on a chest hasp and padlock; on a chest of cypress wood fitted with a hasp and its padlock; on another chest of cypress wood fitted with a hasp and its padlock; on a case of cypress wood fitted with its hasp and padlock; on a little chest covered with Marrocan leather and fitted with a lock ; on a pantry with a door fitted with its lock and key. (We) affixed the seal on all the armoires (and ) chests that were presented to us, and (it was) declared to us by the undersigned that there are no other things. In faith of which we have closed the said record. The day and year as above. And have signed:

Borme, witness                                                                         St. Denis

Pierre Saurell                                                                            The Chv. De St. Denis

Reviewed, DeBlanc                                                                   Maria Neiges DeSoto

                                                                                                Longlois

                                                                                                Clerk

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A Story About Slavery

Washington Post June 8, 2002; Page A20

 

 I read Ken Ringle's article about Marie Therese Coincoin with great interest. Coincoin's story was etched into my psyche in 1988, when the magazine American Visions, for which I was editorial assistant and photo researcher, published an article about her and the Melrose Plantation. Mr. Ringle wrote that any black Creole sons were educated in France and that family members "sought solace and marriage partners among their counterparts."

This is partially true. The sons of wealthy white planters and black free women were sent to France to be educated. Many daughters, on the other hand, were entered into a system called placage, a form of concumbinage. They could not marry a white man, so when they came of age, "mulatto," "quadroon" and "octoroon" young women were presented to mostly married white planters, usually at a fancy-dress ball. Generations of such placage "households" have resulted in a population of many white Americans who have black as well as French or Spanish ancestry.

VICTORIA L. PRICE Silver Spring

 

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