the Missing link to My
Native American Ancestry
the Missing link to My
Native American Ancestry
My ancestral research continues to take me along many interesting twists and turns. One in particular I now believe has connected me and my Louisiana ancestry to a Native American line.
It all came about while I was researching another one of my Louisiana Creole ancestral lines. Interestingly enough, this ancestral connection was two generations down from Agnes Mathieu and Mathieu Devaux dit Platillo. Given the document I have discovered, I can now claim descendency from Rouensa, Chief of the Illiniwek Indian tribe in the late 17th/early 18th century, via his daughter, Marie. Here is how this all came to be.
One of Agnes Mathieu’s and Mathieu Devaux dit Platilla’s grandsons, Francois Mathieu -- son of Louis Mathieu and Claire Eulalie Peytavin -- was married to Rosette Philomena D'aresnbourg. She was the daughter of Gilbert D'arensbourg and Celestine Bulter. Rosette Philomena D'arensbourg, my 2nd generation great-grandmother was my first link into the D'arensbourg family tree.
For several years I had experienced some challenges locating the parents of her father, my 3rd generation great-grandfather, Gilbert D’ARENSBOURG. He was my next major link into the D’ARENSBOURG family of the "Cote des Allemands" or German Coast and to the progenitor of this family, Karl Fredrick D'Arensboug, a Swedish officer who worked for the Company of the Indies and arrived in Louisiana in 1721. Karl D’ARENSBOURG was to play a vital role in the history of the German Coast as well as that of New Orleans. There exists a line of mixed-race Creoles of color among the D’ARENSBOURGS, from which my family descends. Many stories have developed over the years about how such came to be.
Some have said that the Creoles of color branch of the D’ARENSBOURGS most likely derived from former slaves, who after emancipation took on the D’ARENSBOURG surname as their own. This explanation could be quite believable and convenient, especially if the family’s official historian was attempting to explain away the miscegenation (race mixing) that occurred between several of the D’ARENSBOURG men and their former slaves. These men and their concubine often cohabitated and eventually D’ARENSBOURG produced mixed-race offspring, one of which was my 3rd generation great-grandfather, Gilbert D’ARENSBOURG. He was listed as a quadroon (meaning one parent was white and the other mulatto -- half black/half white), according to the Louisiana standard of racial classification.
What finally led me to the discovery of my Native American heritage -- and a completely different story of my ancestral connection to the D’ARENSBOURG surname -- was when I located a slave manumission document dated November 28, 1799. Listed on the two pages written in French were the names of a one-month-old boy named Gilbert, a nine-year-old girl named Manette, both listed as quadroons, and their mulatto mother named Felicite, who was listed as the concubine of Pierre Frederick D’ARENSBOURG, Jr., who had died just 13 days earlier.
Karl Frederick D'Arensbourg
As I further researched the background of Elizabeth Duclos DE SALLE, I discovered that she too was of mixed-race ancestry (French and Native American). In fact, she was the granddaughter of a full-blooded Indian named Marie “Aramepinchone” ROUENSA and a French military officer. ROUENSA, herself was the daughter of François-Xavier Rouensa, Chief of the Kaskaskian tribe.
Stories have been written which tell of Marie ROUENSA and her conversion to the Catholic faith, which set into motion a sequence of conversions among her native people. This turn of events laid the basis for the founding of the Franco-Indian settlement of Kaskaskia in 1703, a momentous event in early Illinois history. This was at least 15 years before my hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana was founded in 1718.
Many have read about the Native American woman, Sacajawea, who helped Lewis and Clark on their exploration of the Louisiana territory after 1803. I believe I have discovered my family's "Sacajawea" in finding Marie ROUENSA, my 7th generation great-grandmother 100 years earlier. Equally exciting, is the connection to the Swedish D’ARENSBOURG family of the "Cote des Allemands." Connecting these two lines of my heritage is truly amazing for me. As it turns out, Pierre Frederick D’ARENSBOURG, Jr. was the grandson of Karl Frederick D’ARENSBOURG. Seeing that Pierre had a quadroon son with the now freed woman, Felicite, that would make this one-month-old boy, Gilbert, the great grandson of Karl Frederick D’ARENSBOURG. Finally, I had discovered the link to my ancestral connection into the D’Arensbourgs of "Cote des Allemands." (see pedigree chart).
Michael Nolden Henderson
SWEDISH AND NATIVE AMERICAN ANCESTRAL
FRANCES ? (Albert Henderson)
NELLIE MATHIEU (Thomas ? )
CHARLES MATHIEU (Georgiana Legaux)
(Francois MATHIEU) /ROSALIE PHILOMENE D’ARENSBOURG
Louis Mathieu / Claire Eulalie Peytavin |
Mathieu DeVaux dit Platillo / Agnes Mathieu |
GILBERT D’ARENSBOURG /(Celestine Butler)
PIERRE Fredrick D’Arensbourg JR. FELICITE
(Mixed Race) (Mulatto/ Mixed Race)
PIERRE F. D’ARENSBOURG Sr. &; ELIZABETH DUCLOS DE SELLE
I I (Quadroon /Mixed Race)
KARL FREDRICK D’ARENSBOURG I
ALEXANDRE DUCLOS DESELLE/ ELIZABETH PHILLIPPE
(French) | (Mulatto/Mixed Race)
MICHEL PHILIPPE /Marie “Aramepinchone” ROUENSA
(French) I (Full Blood Native Indian)
FRANCOIS XAVIER “ MAMENTHOUENSA” ROUENSA
(Full Blood Native Indian)