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History of New Madrid
Goodspeed's History of

SouthEast Missouri-1887
MO-AHGP & MOGenWeb Project
Section 1:1786-1798 Page-2

Transcribed by Tara R Barrett, 1999
Section 1:1786-1798 Page-2

    This letter produced upon Gov. Miro the effect desired by Wilkinson. On the 20th of May 1789, Miro wrote the Spain concerning the impolicy of the conditions of the concession to Morgan, and the extent of it. He denominated it an Imperium in Imperio and protested against it. He also wrote to Morgan, stating how he had been deceived in regard to the conditions and extent of the concession, and declared that it was entirely inadmissable. He also infinitely regretted that Morgan had, without authority, laid out a town, and spoken of it as "our city." He further informed him that a fort would be constructed there, and a detachment of soldiers placed in it, to receive favorably all his emigrants. Morgan replied the next day, tendering an apology for his course, but his loss of influence with the Government cost him his prestige among the colonists, who began to murmur against his authority. Finally they sent an agent, one John Ward, to present a complaint to Gov. Miro. Morgan, thus stripped of his concession and influence, soon after returned to the United States. Several of the colonists also returned to their former homes.

    Of the emigrants who came out with Col. Morgan, the greater number were from Maryland and Pennsylvania. The names of but few could be ascertained. There were David Gray, Alexander Sampson, Joseph Story, Richard Jones Waters, John Hemphill, Elisha Winsor, Andrew Wilson, Samuel Dorsey, Benjamin Harrison, Jacob Meyers, Benjamin Meyers, William Chambers, Elisha Jackson, Ephraim Conner, John Hart, James Dunn, Lawrence Harrison, William Harrison, John Gregg, Nicholas Gerry, James Gerry, John Morris, John Becket, John Summers, Louis and Joseph Vandenbenden, Joseph McCourtney, John Pickett and David Shelby.

    Of the earliest French settlers the Lesieurs, Francois and Joseph, were not only the first, but also among the most influential, and their descendants are now numbered by the hundreds. They were sons of Charles Lesieur, who came from South France early in the last century and located at Three Rivers, Canada. About 1785 they came to St. Louis and found employment with Gabriel Cerre, a fur trader, who sent them out to establish a trading post, as before related. Joseph had married before leaving Canada, and became the father of two sons, both of whom died young. He himself died in April, 1796. Francois married Cecile Guilbeaut on May 13, 1791; she was a native of Vincennes, and a daughter of Charles Gailbeaut and Cecile Thiriat. In 1794 they removed to Little Prairie, where they resided until the earthquakes of 1811-1812, when they returned to what is now New Madrid County, and located at the old Point Pleasant, about a mile above the present village of that name. There Francois Lesieur died in 1826, after having been three times married. By his first marriage he had seven children, viz: Francois, Jr., who married a Miss Le Grand and reared a large family: Collestique, who became the wife of Noah Gambol; Margurite, who married Hypolite Thiriat (now Teror); Godfrey, who, in 1818, married Mary E. Loignon, and reared a family of eleven children; Matilda, who became Mrs. W.B. Nicholas; Christine, who married George G Alford, and an infant. His second wife was a Miss Bono, who bore him one son, Napoleon. In 1820 he married the widow of Charles Loignon, of Little Prairie. Raphael Lesieur, a nephew of Francois and Joseph Lesieur, came to New Madrid in 1798, and lived to be seventy-two years old. He married Frances Guilbeault, and had a large family.

    The majority of the French settlers were entirely uneducated, could neither read nor write, and possessed but little property. Among this class were Joseph Hunot, and his sons Gabriel and Joseph, and Joseph and Etienne St. Marie, all from Vincennes. By far the larger number of the French pioneers were orginally from Canada, but had resided at some of the neighboring posts-Vincennes, Kaskaskia and Ste. Genevieve. A few, however, were natives of France, and these were usually the best educated. To this number belonged Pierre Antoine Laforge, who came to New Madrid in 1794. He was a member of an aristocratic family, and had been educated for the priesthood, but having fallen in love with his cousin, Margaret Gabrielle Colombe Champagne, had married her. He lived in Paris until driven out by the Revolution, when, taking his wife and family, with the exception of the youngest child, he sought refuge in America.

    He located at Gallipolis, Ohio, where his family remained for several years. In 1794 he came to New Madrid, where he was appointed interpreter and public writer, and was held in high esteem by the authories of Upper Louisianna. He was recommended to Capt. Stoddard by De Lassus, in 1803, as "a very zealous officer, performing the duties of adjutant of militia. He is also a justice of the peace and notary public. He performs these various offices with correctness and precision. I can do no less than reccomend him as a man very active, earnest and useful for the public service; but he does not write English."

Submitted by Tara R Barrett Poster-#-12-

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