1729: Daughter Anna Margarethe Zweig married Pierre Bridel, a soldier, and a native of Bretagne. According to the marriage entry the bride was bom in Bollweiler, Alsace.

29. Magdalena Fromberger, 50 years old. Catholic; widow of George Meyer from Ingitippil (?), Suevia, Germany. "Her son, Nik. Mayer, is crippled but industrious in the cooper trade. He also makes galoches which are a great help when shoes are scarce. An orphan girl, 20 years old. One and a half arpents cleared. Three years on the place. A pig.

1731: Nik. Meyer. His wife and a child. One engage. Two negroes; two cows.

30. Margarethe Reynard (Reinhard?), from Bauerbach, Baden. Catholic; 46 years old. Separated from Johann Leuck (?), who lives on the Mississippi. Daughter from first marriage, aged seven years. Seven verges cleared. Three years on the place.

31. Catherine Hencke, of Horenburg, Brandenburg, widow of Christian Grabert, a Catholic, who died in Biloxi, aged 50 years. A daughter, 14 years old. Both sick. She needs some assistance and is very willing to work. Two arpents cleared.

32. Christian Grabert, Grabert, of Brandenburg. Catholic; 23 years old. His wife. An orphan child, 13 years old. Two arpents cleared. Three years on the place. One pig.

1726: Christian Grabert, his wife, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and sister. Six arpents cleared.

1731: Husband, wife, three children. Two cows. Descendants of the Grabert family still live in Ascension parish, La.

33. Andreas Necker, of Dettenhausen, Wurtemberg. Lutheran; 36 years old. Miller. His wife. Two arpents cleared. One year on the place. Two pigs.

34. Jacob Oherle, of Zabem, Alsace. Catholic; 35 years old. Two arpents cleared. One year on the place.

The four arpents occupied by Necker and Oberle were situated between the two old villages and had served as a cemetery; but when the German people moved to the river front this cemetery was abandoned, whereupon Necker and Oberle took possession of it "a year ago". D'Arensbourg, however, whose land was contiguous to the cemetery, aTso claimed it on the ground that these four arpents had been cleared by the community.

("First") Old German Village.

One mile and a half from the Mississippi and adjoining the "second"


35. Andreas Schenck, from Saxony; Lutheran; 35 years old. Farmer, prevot of a village. His wife and a child of two years. Land at discretion. Always serves with the troops as a musician.

1727: Andreas Schenck, wife and two children.

36. Marcus Thiel, of Bergwies, Silesia. Lutheran; 43 years old. Shoemaker. His wife. Land at discretion. Always sick.

2,7. Moritz Kohler, of Berne, Switzerland. Calvinist; 64 years old. Butcher. Served for thirty years in France in Swiss regiments. His wife. Land at discretion. Wants to return to France.

1729: Kobler's widow, Emerentia Lottermann, of Berne, married in this year Jacob Weisskraemer, from Bavaria, whose wife as well as his parents, Abraham and Magdalena W., had died at Fort Balize at the mouth of the Mississippi. In 1745 Jacob Weisskraemer married in Pointe Coupee Margarethe Frangoice Sara, the widow of one Jolier.

38. Karl Friedrich D'Arensbourg, "captain reforme", aged 31 years. An orphan boy from 10 to 12 years old. A cow and a calf from the company. A bull belonging to him. Two pigs. Twelve arpents. Not much cleared from lack of force.

The census here informs us that the village just mentioned (the first old German village) had been founded by twenty-one German families, that some had died and others had moved to the river front, having been drowned out by the great hurricane three years previous. Schenck, Thiel and Kobler seem to have come over from the second village. This is the reason why these three had "land at their discretion," there being, as the census remarks, at least 100 arpents of beautifully cleared land in the neighborhood of this village, cleared, no doubt, by the twenty-one German families, the founders of the first village. But now, the census continues, these three men also want to leave and move to the other village (the second one), nearer to those abandoned lands, which they would now like to take up. This, the census man thinks, would be right as far as those lands are concerned which were abandoned more than a year ago, because the parties who left had in the meantime been able to clear enough new land to support their families and to continue farming. The fourteen families remaining in the second village, nearer the river, were all doing well, except the widows, and did not think of moving.

Having completed the two villages in the rear, the compiler of the census now evidently begins again at the river front, going down.

39. Andreas Traeger (now Tregre), of Donauwoerth, Bavaria. Catholic; 37 years old; hunter. His wife with a child at her breast. Three arpents cleared. Two years on the place. "A good worker. Well lodged. His yard, 90 x 90, staked off with palisades. Well cleared. Birds have caused a great deal of damage." One cow from the company. One pig.

1726: Four arpents cleared.

1731: Husband, wife, three children. Two negroes; three

cows. Andreas Traeger was the progenitor of all the Tregre

families in Louisiana.

40. Jacob Lueck, of Weissenburg. Forty-five years old. Separated from his wife, who lives in the village (See No. 30). "Left his place to go to Natchez, but is back now. Lazy, and a very bad man."

41. Andreas Hofmann, from the marquisate of Ansbach, Bavaria. Catholic; 27 years old. His wife. A daughter aged seven years. One and a half arpents cleared. A pig.

1726: Four arpents cleared.

1731: Husband, wife and four children.

42. Mathias Friedrich, of Weilersheim, Alsace. (There were two

Friedrich families in the colony then.) (See No. 2.) Catholic; 29 years old. His wife with a child at the breast. An orphan girl, aged 15 years. One and a half arpents cleared. "Good worker." A cow from the company. A calf and three pigs.

1726: Husband, wife, and three children. Six arpents cleared.

1731: Four cows.

43. Bernhard Reusch, from the Palatinate. Catholic; 52 years of age. Tailor. His wife. A son of fifteen and a daughter of eleven years. One and a half arpents cleared. Two years on the place. Water caused much damage. Two pigs.

1726: Four arpents cleared.

44. Paul Klomp (Klump?), of Bauerbach, near Karlsruhe, Baden. Catholic; 30 years old. His wife. A son three and a half years old. An orphan boy of 12 years. One and a half arpents cleared. Three years on the place. Ground overflowed. Has been sick.

1724: Four arpents cleared.

45. The Chapel with house and kitchen. Garden. Cemetery of about one and a half arpents. It was at the completion of this new cemetery that the cemetery between the two old villages was abandoned.

46. Adam Schmitz, a widower of Isnen, Suevia, Germany. Lutheran ; 44 years old. Shoemaker. A daughter of nine years. Two years on the place. Eight verges cleared. "Works at his trade, making galoshes."

47. Johann Rodler, of Rastadt, Baden. Catholic; 35 years old. Locksmith. Works at his trade. His wife. Two years on the place. Eight verges cleared. Deaf.

1726: Four arpents cleared.

48. Anton Distelzweig, of Selz, Alsace. Catholic; 29 years old. His wife. One child, one and a half years old. "Good worker." Three arpents or 32 verges cleared.

49. William Pictot, 50 years old, from Bretagne.

50. Friedrich Merkel, from Wurtemberg. Catholic; 30 years old. His wife Marianne Kohleisen. Sixteen verges cleared. Two years on the place. "Good worker." Two pigs.

1726: Four arpents cleared. In the same year Friedrich Merkel married Anna Barbara Friedrich, daughter of Conrad F. and Ursula Frey. (See No. 2). Merkel's name occurs for the last time in the census of 1727. Anna Barbara Friedrich, his widow, then married Nik. Wichner. (See No. 2).

51. Peter Muench, of Oberheim, in the Palatinate. Catholic; 40 years old. His wife. A son, one year old. Two arpents cleared. Two years on the place. Works at his trade.

1726: Four arpents cleared.

52. Andreas Struempfl, of Ottersheim, near Fort Kehl, Baden. Catholic; 23 years old. His wife. Two daughters. Two arpents cleared. Two years on the place. A cow and a calf; two pigs.

1728: Anna Barbara Struempfl baptized.

Another daughter by the name of Agnes married, about

1748, Johannes Ettler, of Colmar, Alsace. 1731: Three children. Two cows.

53. Johann Adam Riehl, of Hatzweiler, Basle, Switzerland. Catholic; 45 years old. Carpenter. His wife. Daughter of five months. One and a half arpents cleared. Two years on the place.

54. Jacques Poche, 45 years old, native of Omer, in Artois.

55. Joseph Wagensbach (now Waguespack), of Schwobsheim, Upper Alsace. CathoHc; 23 years old. His wife. One and a half arpents cleared. Two years on the place.

1726: One child. Six arpents cleared. 1731: Three children. Two negroes; two cows. Joseph Wagensbach was the progenitor of all the Waguespack families in Louisiana.

56. Sibylla Heil, widow of Wiedel, 37 years old, of Elchingen, Suevia, Germany. Catholic. Two years on the place. One and a half arpents cleared. "A good worker."

57. Johann Adam Edelmeier, of Reiheim, Palatinate. Calvinist; 50 years old. Cooper. Two boys, 10 and 14 years of age. A daughter, Maria Barbara, married Lionnois, a sailor from Lyons. Three arpents cleared. Two pigs. "A very good worker, who deserves attention."

1726: Six arpents cleared.

1728: Marie Christine Edelmeier baptized.

1731: Five children. One negro; two cows.

58. Philipp Zahn, of Grosshoeflein, Hungary. Catholic; 25 years of age. His wife. Three arpents cleared. Two years on the place. A pig.

po The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana

1726: One child. Four arpents cleared.

1727: As widower of Margarethe Wiethen (ine) Philipp Zahn married in this year Marie Schlotterbecker of Wurtemberg, widow of Jacob Stalle and sister of the wife of Thomas Lesch.

The census at this time mentions the land forming the passage of three arpents' width, leading from the river front to the concession of M. de Meure. According to a map of 1731, this place was about two miles above Hahnville.

59. Johann Jacob Foltz (now "Folse"), of Ramstein, Palatinate. Catholic; 26 years old. Shoemaker. His wife. A child of one year. Four arpents cleared. Two years on the place. One pig. This year made only seven barrels of rice on account of inundation. Was sick the whole summer.

1731: Two children. Two cows.

60. Bernhard Anton, of Schweigen, in Wurtemberg. Lutheran; 30 years old. His wife. A boy, 10 years old. About four arpents cleared. Two pigs. Two years on the place. Made this year 20 barrels of rice, and would have also made 60 barrels of com, if there had been no inundation. "Good worker."

1731: Three children. One engage. Six cows.

After enumerating these families, the census of 1724 continues:

"All these German families enumerated in the present census raise large quantities of beans and mallows, and do much gardening, which adds to their provisions and enables them to fatten their animals, of which they raise many. They also work to build levees in front of their places.

"If all these small farmers were in the neighborhood of New Orleans they could raise vegetables and poultry. They could make their living well and add to the ornament of the town, as their small frontage on the river brings their houses with the gardens behind them so close together that they look like villages. But this agreeable condition unfortunately does not exist in New Orleans, owing to- the greed for land of those who demanded large concessions, not with the intention of cultivating them, but only of reselling them.

"If these German families, the survivors of a great number who have been here, are not assisted by negroes, they will gradually perish; for what can a man and his wife accomplish on a piece of land, when, instead of resting themselves and taking their meals after their hard work, they must go to the pounding trough (pilon) to prepare their food, a very toilsome work, the consequences of which are dangerous for men and women. Many receive injuries,

and many women get seriously hurt. When one of the two falls sick, it is absolutely necessary that the other should do all the work alone, and thus both perish, examples of which are not rare.

"The ground is so hard in the lower part of the colony that one must always have the hoe ready, and the weeds come out so strong and so quickly, that it seems after a short while as if no work had been done at all. The land is covered with dead trees and stumps, and these people have no draught animals (as this census shows there was not a single horse on the German Coast, and of the 56 families only six had cows), they cannot use the plow, but must always work with the pickaxe and the hoe.

"This together with the hard work on the pilon, causes these poor people to perish, who are good workers and willing, and who do not desire anything more than to remain in a country where they are free from burdensome taxation and from the rule of the master of their land—a lot quite different from that of the peasants in Germany.

"They would consider themselves very happy to get one or two negroes, according to the land they have, and we would soon find them to be good overseers. The only thing to be done would be to visit them once or twice a year, to see what use they are making of them, and to take the negroes away from the lazy ones and give them to the industrious. But this would hardly be necessary, as these people are by nature industrious and more contented than the French.

"They could also feed their negroes very well on account of the great quantities of vegetables they raise. They could also sell a great deal to the large planters, and these, assured of a regular supply, could give more attention to the raising of indigo, the cutting of timber, and to other things suitable for exportation to France and Cape Frances (San Domingo). I am persuaded that a great timber trade could be established with the West Indian Islands, where timber is getting scarcer and is dear."

Left Bank of the Mississippi River. Continuation of the Census of 1724.

The land immediately above New Orleans and on the same side of the Mississippi, beginning beyond the moat of the upper town limit (now foot of Bienville street), and extending up to the center of the great bend of the river at Southport, beyond Carrollton, belonged to M. Bienville—in all, 213^^ arpents river front.

This is, no doubt, the land which the census enumerator, a French official, quoted above, had in view when he said, "If

these German farmers were in the neighborhood of New Orleans * * * ." And when he speaks of "the greed of those who demanded large concessions," he evidently referred also to Governor Bienville.

The lower portion of Bienville's land—from Bienville street to somewhere about Felicity road, 58^ arpents' front—Bienville reserved for his own habitation. Of this tract he sold a part to the Jesuit fathers. From Felicity road up to Southport he placed, as has been stated, twelve German and a few French families, most of whom received their titles on and after the first of January, 1723. But by the time the census of 1724 was taken, a number of these had left. The fact that the Germans had already once before lost their all by a great hurricane and inundation, and the failure of Bienville to build a levee, although he had guaranteed one to them in their titles, and the consequent inundations they were subjected to even in the first year, together with the exacting conditions of rental to be fulfilled—all these were causes to compel these people to sell out their contracts as quickly as they could. Some had already left during the first year, and Jacob Huber, the last German to remain on Bienville's land, stayed only from 1723 to 1727.

Partly from census reports, and partly from chains of titles of Bienville's hands, the author has been able to ascertain the names of most of the German storm victims who settled on Bienville's lands:

Peter Bayer, from Wankenloch, near Durlach, Baden, who had taken six arpents of Bienville's land above New Orleans.

Caspar Hegli, a Swiss, from near Lucerne. "Six arpents. Catholic; 35 years old. His wife. A daughter. Two orphan boys. A cow, a heifer, a young bull, and three pigs. Two years on the place. Used two and a half barrels of seed rice and did not make more than three barrels on account of inundation. Has a very fine garden enclosed by palisades. He has made a good levee and is a good worker. He deserves a negro." (Census of 1724.)

Jacob Huber, with six arpents. "Native of Suevia, Germany. Catholic; 45 years old. His wife, son of 16 years. One engage. One cow, one heifer, a pig. Made no crop on account of inundation. Good worker." (Census of 17^4.)

Jacob Huber's son Christoph married Marie Josephine St. Ives. Descendants write the name now "Oubre", "Ouvre", "Hoover".

'Andreas Krestmann, or Christmann, from Augsburg, with his two sons, 10 and 12 years old. Six arpents. "Wheelwright. His wife. Two orphan girls, eight and fifteen years old. Two years on the place. A cow, a heifer, a calf and three pigs. He is industrious and is at work fencing in his cleared land. He made a good levee and paid in advance the workmen who made it for him at a cost of 100 pistoles. Deserves a negro."

These four men occupied a portion of Bienville's land from the present First street of New Orleans to Napoleon avenue. Further up, beginning about the upper line of Audubon Park, were:

Simon Kuhn, of Weissenburg, Ansbach, Bavaria. "His wife, daughter, son-in-law, Daniel Hopf, 20 years of age of Cassen, diocese of Spire. Orphan boy, 12 years old. Cow, calf, three pigs. One year on the land. Had to change his engagements twice, having been forced to give up his cabin on account of water. Good worker." (Census of 1724.) An elder daughter of Simon Kuhn, Anna Kuhn, was the widow of Johann Adam Zweig (Labranche), who had died in Biloxi. She had a daughter of the age of 12 years. The orphan boy, 12 years old, was, no doubt a relative, and very likely that Jean Labranche who, in 1737, married Susanna Marchand and became the progenitor of all the Labranche families in Louisiana. Daniel Hopf (French spelling "Yopf" and "Poff") married, in 1727, Anna Maria Werich, of Lampaitz, German Lorraine. A daughter of this second marriage, Renee "Poff", married, 1752, in Pointe Coupee, Pierre Baron.

Thomas Lesch (now "Leche" and "Laiche"), with three arpents. "His wife. One engage." (Census of 1726.) Thomas Lesch married, in 1725, in the cathedral of New Orleans, Anna Scho-derbecker of Wurtemberg. Only daughters were born from this marriage:

Margarethe Lesch married one Peter Engel, a carpenter, whose name occurs also in the spelling "Aingle", "Ingle", "Hingle", and "Engle". There were three sons, Simon, Sylvestre and Santjago Hingle, who married into the Bura family in Plaquemines parish (Bu-ra's Settlement). The "Hingle" family is quite numerous there. Regina Lesch, another daughter of Thomas Lesch, married one Christian Philippson.

Joseph Strantz, with three arpents.

One Mueller, with six arpents.

Johann Weber, the progenitor of the "Webre" famiHes in Louisiana, with six arpents near the upper limits of BienvilJe's lands, now Carrollton. He was born near Fort Kehl, Baden, and was then 24 years old. (Census of 1724.) His wife was Marie Stadler, who came to Louisiana with her parents, Ulrich and Maria Stadler, on one of the four pest ships. "Mother-in-law, an orphan girl, aged 16 years. Cow, heifer, bull, four pigs. One year on the place."

The conditions under which these lands were given to the German storm victims by Bienville, were: From six to eight livres annual ground rent for each arpent and, every year, two capons and two days' work "in the form of corvee" for each arpent. Jacob Huber paid eight livres ground rent. Bienville subjected even the Jesuit fathers, who, on the first of May, 1728, bought five arpents from him, to conditions similar to these, including even that of corvee. This is true, also, of the Canadians who held lands from him on the Algiers side of the river.

The people of Bienville's lands must also repay the advances made to them by Bienville. These consisted usually of provisions for one year, a cow in calf, two hogs, four chickens with a cock, and the necessary utensils and agricultural implements. Utensils, provisions and implements must be paid for at the end of the first two years. The cow must be returned within three years, and of all the cattle raised in excess of the first twelve head Bienville was to receive one half. For the two hogs furnished he demanded a fat hog every second year, and for the four chickens and the cock six fat hens or capons were demanded every year.

In the census of 1726 these Germans were called "Vas-seaux allemands." Indeed, they were "vassals." (See Volume "Concessions.")

In the Chapitoulas district above Carrollton began the great concessions of Deubreuil, Chauvin de Lery, Chauvin de Beaulieu, Chauvin de la Freniere, St. Rayne, all large concerns worked by negro labor.

Continuing our trip up the river, on the left side, we find

in 1724 the habitations and concessions of Dartigniere & Benac, Henry Pellerin, Cousin, Vaquir, Dire (Dire leaved in Cannes Brulees), d'Artagnan, Chautreau de Beaumont, Pujeau & Ka-vasse, Meran & Ferandou, Bouette, Chaval, Chesneau, Dauny, and Pierre Brou.

The habitations of Chesneau and Dauny were later, after 1727, acquired by Caspas Dubs (Toups) and Ambros Heidel (Haydel), who, in 1724, were yet neighbors on the other side of the river on the German Coast.

Continuing our trip up the river, we find in 1724 the habitations of Pommier, Picollier, Sainton, Dizier, Dejean, and Pel-loin. Then we meet again Germans:

Peter Schmidt, from the Palatinate. Catholic; 34 years old. His wife, his brother-in-law, aged 17 years. Three arpents cleared, which he had bought for 400 livres.

Bartholomaeus Yens (?), of Cologne. Catholic; 25 years old. A brewer. His wife, with a child at the breast. Three arpents cleared.

Then we pass the habitations of St. Pierre, St. Julien, Go-bert, Reux, Caution, Guichard, Piquery, Petit de Livilliers, Du-cros, Lantheaume. Then comes:

Joseph Ritter, of Durlach, Baden, 52 years old, a carpenter. His wife, a son of 20 years, two orphan girls of 14 and 19 years. About three years on the place. Three pigs. Works at his trade. "Is a good worker and deserves some negroes."

Then we come to the Baillifs, Claude Baillif from Picardy, and

Joseph Bailliff, of Dieux, in German Lorraine, aged 22 years. His wife. Eight arpents cleared, which he had bought for 250 livres. His widow married later Michael Zehringer, of whom we shall hear soon.

Nik. Schmitz, of Frankfurt. Catholic; 40 years of age. His wife. A daughter of 18 and one of six years. Eight arpents, which he had bought for 800 livres. "Made a good levee and is a good worker."

Peter Bayer. Catholic; 23 years old. His wife. Two arpents of land, which he had bought for 210 livres, having given up the land which he had from Governor Bienville. He brought all his things with him. Had not made more than two barrels of

rice and a quantity of girammons, which was all that was left to him after paying M. Bienville. "Is a very good worker and satisfied with his small piece of land for his fortune."

Johann Fuchs, of the canton of Berne, Switzerland. Catholic; 38 years old. His wife, with a daughter at her breast. Four arpents, for which he had paid 250 livres. About one year on the place. "On account of sickness and misery he made no crop."

Lorenz Ritter, Jr., aged 20 years. Begins to establish himself on eight arpents.

From there up the left bank to where the census enumerator of 1724 stopped, there lived only Frenchmen and Canadians.

As the census of 1724, the first one to give the names of the German habitants, covers only the territory above New Orleans, and does not contain the names of the orphans staying with the German families, nor of the numerous engages, many German people consequently remained unaccounted for. If the registers of the chapel on the German Coast, of which the census of 1724 speaks, and which had a resident priest as early as 1729, had not been lost, and if the records of the St. Louis Cathedral, in New Orleans, had not been to a great extent destroyed in the great fire of March 21st, 1788, many of these names could be recovered. As matters stand, only the cathedral records from 1720 to 1732 are available, which together with scattered court records and other ofificial papers will be used here.

Additional German Names of the Period, Not in the


There were:

Michael Zehringer, the progenitor of all the "Zeringue" families in Louisiana. He signed his name in German script "Michael Zehringer." He was from Franconia, Bavaria. His name appears first on the passenger list of the ship "Le Droma-daire" in 1720, together with sixty workmen under the command of de la Tour, the chief engineer of the colony. In 1721 Zehringer heads the list of "ouvriers" of the king as master carpenter. In 1722 we find Michael Zehringer in Biloxi, where in

tearing down a house he found, according to a proces verbal still existing, a number of articles which had been taken away from the old fort and hidden there. In the same year his wife, Ursula Spaet, died, and, six weeks later, his daughter Salome, aged 18 years.

In the next year he married Barbara Haertel, the widow first of Magnus Albert (who came over with her in one of the pest ships) and then of Joseph Bailliff. By her Zehringer had four sons: Michael, Pierre Laurent, Joseph, and Jean Louis.

The census of 1731 mentions Michael Zehringer as living below Chapitoulas, somewhere in the Sixth District of New Orleans. His family then consisted of his wife and three children. He had one engage, twelve negroes, four negresses and twenty-seven cows. He died in 1738, and one of the witnesses in his succession was Louis Wiltz.

JoHANN LuDwiG WiLTZ, the progenitor of the New Orleans branch of the Wiltz family, is not mentioned in the census. Johann Ludwig Wiltz, of Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany, was born in 1711. (He wrote his name "Wilsz" as does the family in Eisenach to the present day.) In a later official document referring to the disposition of some land belonging to him, it is stated that his father-in-law, Wm. Siriac, was living on it. Siriac (see census of 1724, No. 5) had but one daughter, who, at the taking of the census of 1731 no longer lived with her parents. So the marriage of Louis Wiltz may have occurred in 1731, when Wiltz was twenty years of age. At the taking of the census of 1724, he was only thirteen years old, and he was therefore almost certainly one of the orphans whose names are not mentioned in the census of 1724.

JoHANN Katzenberger, who, in 1722, while yet an engage, married Christine "de Viceloque" (from Wiesloch, near Heidelberg, Germany), lived in the village of Gentilly, one and a half miles from New Orleans. He was from Heidelberg. In Gentilly he had an engage and eight arpents of land. The name of the family has been changed into "Gasbergue."

Simon Berlinger, of Blaubayern in Wurtemberg, was Katzenberger's neighbor in Gentilly. He had a wife and a son.

and owned eight arpents of land. His first wife was Cath. Rode, the widow of Jacob Herkomm, who had died "aux AUe-mands." In 1725 Beriinger married EHse Flick of Biel, Baden, whose first husband, Joseph Ziegler, had died in L'Orient. Beriinger later moved up to the German Coast.

JoHANN Weiss with his httle son lived on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. There were then only five families with fourteen persons living on the lake shore. One of them was called "Lacombe," and it may be that "Bayou Lacombe," between Bonfuca and Mandeville, was named after that family. Descendants of this Joh. Weiss live in Pointe Coupee.

- Weisskraemer. Down near the mouth of the Mississippi, at a point called "Fort Balize," was the family of Weisskraemer, from Bavaria.

WiCHNER. Then there were the progenitors of all the "Vicner," "Vicnair," and "Vickner" families. Nik. "Wichner" came in 1720 with his wife, Therese, and a child of one year on board the ship "L'Elephant," and was destined for the concession of Le Blanc, on the Yazoo River. His wife died some years afterward, and then he married Barbara Friedrich, the widow of Friedrich Merkel (see census of 1724, Nos. 2 and 50). The little child the Wichners brought from Germany seems to have survived, for the records of Pointe Coupee inform us that in 1777

"Gratien Vicner (Gratian probably stands for "Christian"), the son of Nik. Vicner and Theresa . . . ' married Marie Louise Cortez", and, in the same year, a child was born to them— Marie Louise.

Sons of Nik. Wichner and Barbara Friedrich married there, too, about this time:

1772: Antoine Vicner, son of Nik. Vicner and Barbara Friedrich, married Perinne Cuvellier, daughter of Pierre C. and Marie Arrayo", and

1777: "David Vicner, son of Nik. V. and Barb. Friedrich, married Marie Margarethe Cuvellier, a sister of Perinne". She died 1781 in St. John the Baptist.

On board the same vessel by which Nik. Wichner and his family came to Louisiana there was one

Francois Wichner, his wife Charlotte and two children.

two and four years old. Charlotte Wichner died in New Orleans in 1727, and her husband died in Pointe Coupee in 1728 as "habitant and entrepreneur."

Yet the name of this family does not appear in any census enumeration until 1731, when "Nik. Wichner, his wife and a child" are entered as habitants of Cannes Brdlees.

RiCHNER (Rixner). From a petitioij addressed by the tutor of the children of de la Chaise to the Superior Council in 1730, we learn that one Rixner, a German, (signatures of the family prove that the original name was "Richner") had been manager of a plantation below New Orleans for three years. His time would expire in June, 1730, and a family meeting should have been called at that time to arrange for a continuance of the improvements on said plantation. In the census enumerations Johann Georg Richner appears for the first time in 1731. He lived then opposite New Orleans, two lieues above the town. There was then also a "Rixner fils," who was not yet married and who owned three negroes and three cows. Richner's daughter Margarethe married, in 1728, Jacob Kindler, a Swiss, and died the same year. Richner's wife was a sister of Ambros Heidel's mother. Johann Georg Richner came to Louisiana on board "La Saone," one of the four pest ships, in 1721. His name is not contained in the census of 1724.

ScHAF (Chauffe). Then there was the family of Schaf, of Weissenburg. Jacob Schaf and his wife Marianne sailed with five children for Louisiana on the pest ship "La Garonne" on the 24th of January, 1721. From church records it appears that the wife of Ambros Heidel (Haydel), Anna Margarethe, was a daughter of Schaf. Ambros Heidel had also a brother-in-law with him. Another daughter of Schaf married one Clai-reaux, and later, as her second husband, Franz Anton Steiger, from the diocese of Constance, Baden, while Anton Schaf, the eldest son, became the son-in-law of Andreas Schenck in 1737 (see census of 1724, No. 35). Yet no census mentions the Schaf family.

ScHECKSCHNEiDER. On the same ship and on the same day sailed from L'Orient the Scheckschneider family, Hans Rein-hard Scheckschneider, his wife and two children. One son, Jacob,

lOO The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana

was landed in Brest and died there. Nothing more is heard of the parents, and only after 1730 their second son, Albert "Seg-shneider," the progenitor of the numerous Scheckschneider families appears as a habitant. He, too, must have been one of the many nameless orphans whom the census of 1724 mentions in connection with the German families.

ZwEiG (Labranche). On the 24th of January, 1721, there sailed on the pest ship "Les Deux Freres" from L'Orient a second Zweig family, Jean Zweig, with his wife and two children, who came from the neighborhood of Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany. The parents probably died before the census of 1724 was taken; their daughter was married as early as 1724 to Joseph Verret, but nothing is heard of the second child of the Zweig family, a little son,^* until he, in 1737, bought land at what is now called "Waggaman," on the right bank of the Mississippi, opposite the habitation of his brother-in-law, Verret, who lived in "La Providence," on the left bank. There young Zweig married Susanna Marchand, of St. Marcellin, Grenoble, France, but then an orphan in the Ursuline Convent in New Orleans. The marriage contract which the author found in official acts in the custody of the "Louisiana Historical Society" was signed on the 6th of November, 1737. In this marriage contract the officiating French notary changed the name "Zweig" into "Labranche." The name Zweig being difficult to pronounce and still more difficult to write, as it contains sounds for which the French language has no signs, and young Zweig not being able to sign his name (so the contract states), it was but natural for the French notary to inquire into the meaning of the word "Zweig." Hearing that it meant in French "la branche," he put "Labranche" down as the family name of the bridegroom, and this has remained the family name ever since. The Labranche family has preserved to the present day the tradition of its German descent and of the original name "Zweig."

Having also found the joint last will and testament of Jean Zweig and Susanna Marchand made on the 21st of October, 1780, as well as the papers of the Labranche-Marchand succes-

" See Census of 1724: " Simon Kuhn" on Bienville's lands.

The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana loi

sion, settled in 1785, the writer is able to give the correct list of the children of Jean Zweig and Susanna Marchand. As to the later descendants thanks are due to Chas. Theodore Soniat Du-fossat, Esq., one of the many distinguished descendants of the Labranche family, whose mother, Marie Amenaide Labranche, was a granddaughter of Michael Labranche, the eldest son of Jean Zweig.

Children of Jean Zweig (Labranche) and Susanna Marchand.

1. Michel Labranche, who married Louise Fortier and left seven children. He died in 1787. Female descendants married into the Le Blanc, Porthier, Sarpy, Fortier, Soniat Dufossat, Au-gustin, Beugnot, Wogan, Dupre, Villere, Larendon, de la Barre, Godberry, Second, Brown, Lesseps, Oxnard, Sanchez, Chastant, and Martin families.

2. Alexander Labranche, one of the signers of the constitution of 1812, married a Miss Piseros and left five children. His son, Octave, became Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives.

His son Alcee was also Speaker of the House of Representatives, Member of Congress, and United States Ambassador to the Republic of Texas.

Female descendants of Alexander Labranche married into the Tricou, de la Barre, Soniat, Dufossat, Chalard, Dupuy, Meteye, Dauphine, Michel, Sarpy, Heidel (Haydel), Fortier {a grandson of Edmund Fortier and Felicite Labranche, is Professor Alcee Fortier of the Tulane University of Louisiana), Ganucheau, Aime, Piseros, Villere, Augustin, Schreiber, Toby, Frederic, Brou, Le Blanc, Grevenberg, Berault, Lal-land, Blois, Wood, Jumonville, Bouligny, Albert Baldwin, and Dr. Smythe families.

3. Jean Labranche died single.

4. Susanna Labranche married Joseph Wiltz in 1759, and died in 1777. She had two children; Joseph Louis Laurent Wiltz, with whom the New Orleans branch of the Wiltz family became extinct in the male line in 1815; and Hortense Wiltz, who married, in 1789, Juan Leonardo Arnould. Their son, Julien Ar-nould, married (1829) Manuela Amasilie Daunoy; their daughter, Jeanne Aimee Arnould, married Frangois Trepagnier, and their second daughter, Louise Mathilde, married Jean de Dieu Garcia.

5. Genevieve Labranche married Alexander Baure.

Additional German Names of the Period Not in the

Census. There were:

NiKOLAus^ Christian and Conrad Kugel, three brothers, whose parents died in L'Orient;

Louis Leonhard, who married, in 1728, the daughter of Stephan Kistenmacher;

Paul Anton Mueller, of Halle, who married, in 1728, Frangoise Bourdon;

Johann Kretzen, whose wife was Elise Kerner;

Bernhard Rauch, who died in New Orleans, in 1728, aged fifty years;

LoRENz Rauch ;

Johann Keck, of Bamberg, who died in New Orleans in 1725, aged sixty years;

Johann Wechers, of Strassburg, whose parents died in Cannes Briilees, and who was the husband of Magdalena Acker-mann;

Rudolph Martin, whose wife was Marg. Besel, of Neu-stadt;

Jacob Stahl;

Johann Georg Staehle ;

Joseph Ricker ;

LoRENZ GoETZ, of DickHngen, diocese of Spite;

Johann Stricker;

Nikolaus Hubert ;

Andreas Tet, of Differdangen, Luxembourg, diocese of Treve (Trier). This family still exists on Bayou Lafourche.

Joseph Ritter;

Tinker, of Frankfurt;

Daniel Raffland, of Berne, Switzerland;

Nikolaus Weiss, of Wolkringen, Berne;

Johannes Ettler, of Colmar, Alsace;

Johann Adam Schmidt ;

Johann Adam Kindeler, or Kindler, a Swiss;

Anton Ringeisen;

Adam Trischl, the progenitor of all the "Triche" families;

Anton Lesch, the progenitor of all the "Leche" and

"Laiche" families and probably a younger brother of Thomas Lesch.

Daniel Mietsch, of Wuerzburg; -

Georg Anton Memminger;

Balthasar Clausen;

Jacob Eckel, of Weilburg;

JoHANN Nerle ;

Georg Rapp ;

JoHANN Bapt. Manz, the progenitor of the "Montz" families.

All these names the author found in church records. Moreover, the census of 1724 does not contain the names of those still on Law's second plantation below English Turn. These names alone prove that the German population of Louisiana during that period was much larger than the census of 1724 would make it appear.

A Census Without a Date.

There is a census of inhabitants and their lands which is not dated. Several reasons invite the belief that this census was taken after 1732. As it gives the latest grouping, it may follow here. It will be noticed that all the Germans had left Bienville's lands, and had gone up to the German Coast on both sides of the Mississippi. In some instances the sons of the original habitants appear as landowners.

Left Bank. Beginning at "La Providence" (opposite "Waggaman").

.Joseph Verret, husband of M. Marg. Zweig (Labranche) ;

. Johann Weber;

.Louis Dubs (Toups) ;

.Caspar Dubs (Toups) ;

. Ambros Heidel (Haydel) ; .. Pierre Brou; , . Louis Champagne; , .Jacques Antoine Le Borne.

These people being neighbors, and their children growing up together, sons of Dubs (Toups), Brou, Champagne, and Le

104 ^^^ Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana

Borne married Heidel girls, daughters of Ambros Heidel (Hay-del).

4 arpents Nikolaus Wichner (Vicner, Vicnaire, Vickner) ;

8 " Daniel Hopf (Poff). Having married a second

time, Hopf separated from his father-in-law Simon Kuhn, who crossed the river.

.. Joseph Andrae;

.. The Presbytery;

..Andreas Traeger (Tregre);

. . D'Arensbourg;

. . Nikolaus Meyer;

. . Jacob Ritter;

.. Adam Mattern;

. . Leonhard Magdolfif;

. . Balthasar Marx;

..Andreas Schantz (Chance);

. . Wilhelm Siriac;

. .Albert Scheckschneider;

. . Bernhard Wick;

. . Conrad Friedrich;

. . Johann Rommel;

. . Rudolph Gillen, a Swiss, and the successor of

Johann Weber on Bienville's lands; . .Johann Callander; . .Johann Georg Bock; . . Michael Vogel; .. Martin Lambert.

Reinforcements for the Germans.

The Germans on the German Coast of Louisiana received reinforcements at different times.

In the first place the Swiss Soldiers, the majority of whom were Germans, and of whom there were always at least four companies in Louisiana during the French domination (until 1768) naturally drifted to the German Coast, and settled there at the expiration of their time of service. As stated before, the Compagnie des Indes aided them to establish themselves.

In 1754 a considerable number of people came from Lorraine, so official acts inform us, and "were settled on the German Coast." No list of names, however, is available. Governor Ker-lerec wrote under date of July 4th, 1754 ("Notes and Documents," page 409):

"I have received the families from Lorraine by the 'Concord'. They are established 'aux Allemands' and work well. Many like

these would be necessary for the advancement of the colony—families accustomed to working the soil^whose energies would redouble in a country where the revenues would belong to them without the burden of taxation."

In August, 1774, a large number of German families came from Frederic county, Maryland, which county had been a center of German immigration for many years. They travelled to Hagerstown, Maryland, thence through the wilderness to Fort Pitt (now Pittsburg), whence they came in boats down the Ohio and Mississippi to Manchac.

The Manchac of the Eighteenth Century was not the same locality which most of us know as the little railroad station "Manchac" on the Illinois Central Railway, 38 miles north of New Orleans. Old "Manchac" was a post on the Mississippi River, fourteen miles by river below Baton Rouge and on the same side of the Mississippi. There "Bayou Manchac," at one time called "Ascantia," and also "Iberville River," branched ofif from the Mississippi, and, connecting with the Amite River, Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain, formed an inland waterway from the Mississippi River to the Mississippi Sound.

It was because of this inland passage from the Mississippi to the lakes, to the gulf, and to Mobile, that Manchac was once spoken of as the proper site for the future capital of Louisiana; and when, in 1718, the present site of New Orleans was selected for that purpose, it was done principally for the reason that New Orleans, through the Bayou St. John, also has water communication with the Lake Pontchartrain and Mobile, and is much nearer to the gulf than Manchac.

Bayou Manchac was at the time of the arrival of these Germans from Maryland the boundary line between Spanish America and the English territory. It was an important waterway and trading route (especially for illicit trade with the English), and remained so until 1814, when the American General Jackson (Battle of New Orleans, January 8th, 1815) fearing that the English, by a flank movement through Lake Pontchartrain and Bayou Manchac, might enter the Mississippi and gain his rear, had the bayou filled in. "Post Manchac" was on the upper side or English bank of the bayou, while on the lower side there was a

"Spanish Fort" to defend the entrance into the Mississippi and the passage out of it. The recollection that the filling in of this bayou was a war measure still lingers with the native (Creole) population of the locality, but only dimly, for when the author asked one of those living near it when and why the bayou had been filled in, the man answered in all honesty that it was done during the "Confederate War" (1861 to 1865).

The exact locality of this historic spot where the filling in occurred can be easily found now. It is at the railroad station "Rhoades" of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railway, eighty miles north of New Orleans and ten miles (railroad distance) below Baton Rouge. There is "Rhoades' Country Store" on the left or river side of the track, where, just at the station, a little ravine is seen which the railroad crosses. On the right side of the track the ravine is larger, and a little bridge leads over it. This ravine is old "Bayou Manchac." Trees have now grown up from the earth used in filling the bayou, so that the direction of the old waterway can be followed for some distance. Such historic spots as this ought to be marked by tablets to keep alive important traditions.

The Germans from Maryland.

About this neighborhood the German families from Maryland settled. Judge Carrigan says in De Bow's "Review" (New Series, IV., 255 and 616) : that they first took land below Hack-ett's Point, on the opposite side of the river, but that after several successive inundations they were compelled, in 1784, to abandon their improvements and seek refuge on the highlands (called, after them, "Dutch Highlands") :

"where their descendants yet remain, ranking among the most industrious, wealthy, and enterprising citizens of the parish."

There were many intermarriages between the Germans from Maryland and their descendants, and names of them were found by the writer in the church records of St. Gabriel, St. John the Baptist, St. James, Baton Rouge, and Plaquemine. Of these but two families will be mentioned, the two largest ones: "Klein-peter" and "Ory."

io8 The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana



"Naturales de Alemania". The entry of the marriage of his daughter Eva, in 1777, informs us that the bride was born in Strass-burg, Alsace, and so we may assume that the Kleinpeter family came originally from that city. The family tradition says that Kleinpeter came with six grown children to Louisiana. All were found. Gertrude Kleinpeter died in 1806, aged seventy years, and was buried in the church yard of St. Gabriel.

Children of Johann Georg Kleinpeter and his Wife Gertrude.'^

1. Johann Baptist Kleinpeter. His wife was Catherine Sharp from Maryland.

A. Joseph Kleinpeter married in 1822 Caroline Theresa


a. Mathilde married in 1843 Thos. Cropper;

Edwin Cropper married in 1869 Felicie Dupuy;

b. Josephine married in 1849 Alverini Marion-


c. Euphemie Henriette married in 1853 Amilcar


d. Paul Gervais married in 1863 Pamela Isabella

Kleinpeter, daughter of Chas. K. and Lucinde Cropper;

B. Isabella Kleinpeter married in 1800 Henry Thomas,

son of Henry Th. and Barbara Ory, all from Maryland.

2. Joseph Kleinpeter. He married (1796) Magdalena Sharp, daughter of Paul Sh. and Cath. Ory, all from Maryland.

A. Marie Rosie Kleinpeter married in 1834 Jean Michel


B. Elisabeth Floresca Kleinpeter, baptized in 1807.

3. Georg Kleinpeter. He was the husband of Marg. Judith (not legible).

A. Franz (Frangois) married 1823 Adelaide Traeger


a. A. Cornelia married in 1855 William Stokes;

b. Francis Amelia married 1856 Thomas Byrne.

B. Julia married 1825 Jean Traeger (Tregre), son of Jean

T. and Eva Ory.

" The numbers, letters and distance from the margin indicate the different generations.

C. Jean married 1825 Marie Rose Bouillon.

a. Elvira married 1851 John Huguet;

b. Carolina married 1859 Sam. McConnell;

c. Josiah married 1865 Elene Elder.

4. Catharine Kleinpeter. She came with her husband, Emmerich Adam, from Maryland.

A. Cath. Adam, baptized 1775, married 1795 Jacob Muel-

ler, from Maryland;

B. Eve Adam, bapt. 1777, married 1796 Johann Thomas,

son of Henry Th. and Barbara Ory, from Maryland; a. Georg Thomas, bapt. 1808.

C. Marie Adam married 1805 Georg Kraus, another Mary-

lander's son;

D. Mathias Adam, bapt. 1782;

E. Michael Adam, bapt. 1788.

5. Barbara Kleinpeter. She was the wife of Jacob Schlatter, from Maryland.

A. Cath. Schlatter, baptized 1777;

B. Michael Schlatter married 1814 Marie Jeanne Dar-

denne, and, in 1820, Marie Pamela Hawkins.

a. Ernestine Schlatter married 1830 James Robert-


b. Michael Schlatter married 1843 Lodiska De-


6. Eva Kleinpeter, the "native of Strassburg", married 1777 Johann Rein ("Reine") "of America", which here stands for Maryland. Rein signed his name in German script, as did the Kleinpeters and the Ory family.

The name Kleinpeter appears in the records sometimes in the spelling "Cloinpetre" and "Clampetre." De Bow's "Review" says (Vol. XL, 616) that Johann Georg Kleinpeter was the first to grow successfully sugar cane on the highlands. In 1790 he erected the first cotton gin, and his son, Johann Baptist Kleinpeter, in 1832, erected the first steam sugar mill.

The Ory Family. Another large German family from Maryland was that of NiKOLAus Ory, whose wife was Anna Strassbach. She died in 1789, aged 72 years. All their children were born in Frederic county, Maryland. One of their sons, serving as a witness to a marriage in St. John the Baptist parish, signed his name in German script "Mattheis Ory, Zeig" (Zeuge=witness).

no The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana

Children of Nikolaus Oey and Anna Strassbach.

1. Mathias Ory (died 1820, aged 70 years). He married two months after the arrival of the Marylanders in Louisiana, on the nth of October, 1774, Agnes Weber (she died 1841), daughter of Jean Weber and Weber and Cath. Traeger (Tre-gre), and left eleven children:

A. Antoine Ory;

B. Pierre Ory;

C. Jean Louis Ory;

D. Jean Eugene Ory;

E. Elie Ory;

F. Francois Ory;

G. Jean Baptiste Ory; H. Joseph Ory;

I. Marie Rose Ory, who married 1798 Georg Kamper

(Cambre) ; K. Magdalena Ory, who married 1819 Pierre Himmel

(Hymel); L. Cath. Ory, who married 1813 Jean Bapt. Baudry.

2. Johann Ory, married 1781 Eva Hofmann, daughter of Jacob H. and Sophie Jacob. By this his first wife he had eight children:

A. Cath. Ory marry 1811 Francois Tircuit;

B. Magdalena Ory married 1818 Denis Remondet;

C. Louis Ory married 1814 Marie Picou;

D. Marie Ory married 1814 Pierre Richard;

E. Nik. Ory married 1821 A. Delphine Bourg;

a. Adele Ory married 1844 Pierre Savoy;

b. Eugenie Ory married 1844 Paul Mateme;

F. Marianne Ory, baptized 1788;

G. Pierre Ory, baptized 1788;

H. Jean Baptist Ory married 1808 Magdalena Weber.

In 1797 the same Johann Ory married Barbe Tircuit, from Canada, by whom he had five children more: I. Juan Alexis Ory, born 1800; K. Fehcie Ory, born 1802;

L. Emerente Ory, born 1805, married 1827 Eugene Mat-tern; M. Francois Ory, born 1812, married 1827 M. Celestine

Leche, daughter of Jean L. and Scholastica Keller; N. Barbara Ory, born 1797, married 1815 Jean Louis Deslattes.

3. Louis Ory. He married in 1791 Margarethe Wichner (Vicner), daughter of Adam W. and Anna Maria Traeger (Tregre). He died in 1800.

A. Nikolaus Ory married in 1817 Ursula Charleville;

B. Michael Ory, baptized in 1797;

C. Louis Ory married 1816 Genevieve Schaf (Chauffe) ;

D. Jean Baptiste Ory, baptized 1793;

E. Marguerite Ory who married Geo. Traeger (Tregre).

4. Barbara Ory, the wife of Henry Thomas, from Maryland.

A. Henry Thomas, baptized 1774, married 1800 Isabella Kleinpeter, daughter of Johann K. and Cath. Sharp.

5. Magdalena Ory, the wife of Philipp Jacob Engelhardt, from Maryland. This name appears in official documents in the spelling "Hingle Hart" and "Inglehart".

6. Christine Ory, the wife of Nikolaus Mannhofer, from Maryland.

A. Marie Mannhofer married in 1778 Lorenz Fellmann, son of Jos. F. and Anna Wiedemann. The Fellmann family still exists on Bayou Lafourche, but the name is now changed into "Falteman", though the progenitor of the family signed his name "Lorenz Fellmann".

7. Christian Michel Ory. Nothing is known of him but his name. His daughter Elise married 1788 one Juan Georg.

8. Catharine Ory, the wife of Paul Sharp, from Maryland.

A. Magdalena Sharp married in 1796 Joseph Kleinpeter,

son of Johann Georg Kleinpeter and his wife Gertrude.

B. Catharine Sharp married in 1781 Juan Petit Pier.

The Creoles of German Descent.

The descendants of the founders of the German Coast and the descendants of all other Germans who came to Louisiana before the year 1803 are the "Creoles of German Descent."

Opinions as to the meaning of the word "Creole"^® differ in Louisiana. All seem to agree that the first Louisiana Creole was born in Mobile in 1704—the child of a French father, nationality of the mother unknown. According to the census of November, 1707, the whole white population of Louisiana at that time consisted exclusively of people from France and French Canadians.

In 1719 the Germans began to arrive in Louisiana, and in-

^ "The word Creole is supposed to be a negro corruption of the Spanish criadillo, diminutive of criado, a servant, follower, client; literally one bred, brought up." (_Century Dictionary.) In the Spanish West Indies the Europeans (Spaniards) ranked first, those born in the colony second.

ternational marriages resulted. Now what was the status of the children born in Louisiana of German parents and of those children born from international marriages ?

Captain Bossu, a French officer, who, about 1750, lived in Louisiana for several years, gives the following definition:

"We call Creoles the children born from a French father and a French or European mother."

Bossu thus insists upon the French nationality of the father, but the mother may be either of French or of other European nationality, including the German. This distinction excluded the children born in Louisiana of German parents and those children of international marriages where the father was not a Frenchman.

But international marriages and the marriages of international children back into pure French families soon became so numerous that the French nationality of the father, demanded by Bossu, could no longer be insisted upon, and hence the children of the Germans had to be admitted into full membership among the Creoles.

Incontestible testimony for this interpretation is furnished by the Chevalier Guy Soniat Dufossat, a French nobleman, a marine officer, who came to Louisiana in 1751 and became the founder of the Soniat Dufossat family in Louisiana. His testimony, being that of a man who resided permanently in Louisiana, is undoubtedly more reliable than that of Bossu, who was but a transient observer.

Chevalier Soniat Dufossat says in his "Synopsis of the History of Louisiana," page 29:

"Creoles are defined to be the children of Europeans born in the colony."

This includes the children born of German parents in Louisiana.

In 1765 and 1766 the Acadians came into the colony. They were descendants of Frenchmen who had emigrated to Canada. As Canada was a French colony, the Acadians were Creoles long before the first Louisiana Creole was born in Mobile. Being

very ignorant and simple, however, although good people, the Acadians were not called Creoles in Louisiana, and not considered their equals by the Louisiana Creoles; for the Louisiana Creoles, at least in part, were descendants of officials of the king and of the Compagnie des Indes, and of officers, some of whom (Were members of noble families, whose family records date back ito the time of the crusades. In their circles, as elegant education and as fine manners were to be found as in Paris.

Although the Acadians furnished Louisiana a number of excellent men, such as Governor Mouton, Chief Justice Poche, and others, and although there are family connections between them and the other Creoles, still the majority of the Acadians form a more or less separate caste, and are called to the present day "Cajuns."

In 1769 the Spaniards came. Between them and the Louisiana Creoles there was in the beginning the bitterest hatred. Later, however, came an era of reconciliation, during which the Spaniards, especially a considerable number of Spanish officers, married into Creole families. This disarmed the hatred, and the descendants of the Spaniards are now also considered Creoles.

With the year 1803, however, with the sale of Louisiana to the United States, the admission of new elements of the population into the Creole class ceased. Louisiana was now no longer a colony, and the large immigration setting in at that time from the United States into Louisiana did not come from Europe. The descendants of the Americans are therefore not called Creoles.

Yet the Americans continued to use the word "Creole" for commercial purposes, and to apply it to everything coming from Louisiana, negroes, animals, and goods of all kinds. "Creole negroes" are negroes born in Louisiana; and we hear likewise of "Creole chickens," "Creole eggs," "Creole ponies," "Creole cows," "Creole butter," and so forth. As a trade mark "Creole" signifies the home-raised or home-made, the better and fresher goods in contrast to those imported from the West, from the North, or from Europe.

After what has been said, we may now proceed to define the word "Creole:"

114 The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana

Creoles are the descendants of the white people who emigrated from Europe to Louisiana during the colonial period, i. e., before i8oj; and are properly only those born within the limits of the original territory of Louisiana.

Great stress is to be laid on the word "white," as there are many persons, especially in other parts of the United States, who, from lack of better information, suspect the Louisiana Creoles of having in their veins a tincture of African or of Indian blood, possibly both, along with the Caucasion. Such a suspicion may be justified as regards the Spanish Creoles of the West Indies, Central America, Mexico, and South America, for the Spanish colonists there did not always preserve the purity of their race.

But Louisiana was a French colony, where, as early as 1724, the celebrated "Black Code" was promulgated, which regulated the relations between the whites and the blacks, forbade marriages between them, and imposed heavy fines for violations. Even sexual intercourse outside of marriage was forbidden; and when a negress, a slave, had a child by her white master, the master had to pay a fine of 300 livres, and the negress with her child became the property of the hospital of New Orleans. In addition to the legal punishment, such connections were always followed by social ostracism and the refusal of the family to recognize the issue of such marriages and illicit relations; and to the present day every Creole family will absolutely refuse to receive any person on terms of equality whose family at any time, no matter how remote, was tainted by the blood of the black race. It is true, that there are many colored people in Louisiana who bear names of Creole families, but this can, in many instances, be explained by the fact that slaves voluntarily freed by their owners, often adopted the family names of their former masters.

The definition of the word "Creole" given above is further supported by what Gayarre says:

"Creoles we call the children of European parents in Spanish or French colonies."

That some of the Creoles of the present generation are not satisfied with the author's definition was shown in 1886, when

an attempt was made to found a "Creole Association" in New Orleans, upon which occasion it became necessary to define the word "Creole."

Henry Rightor in his "Standard History of New Orleans," page 195, says that he found in the papers of this association, which has since been dissolved, two definitions which undoubtedly represent the views of the founders of the "Creole Association." The first one is:

"The Louisiana Creole is one who is a descendant of the original settlers in Louisiana under the French and Spanish governments, or, generally, one born in Louisiana of European parents, and whose mother-tongue is French."

As this definition, however, would have excluded the descendants of the Spanish colonists, who preserved their mother-tongue, a second attempt at a definition seems to have been made:

"A native descendant of European parents speaking French or Spanish."

It is, therefore, intended now to make the preservation of the mother-tongue the test, and the vice-president of the "Creole Association" made this clear when he, in the absence of the president, Chief Justice Poche, said in his inauguration speech:

"Let no man, repudiating the tongue in which his first prayers were lisped, join us."

If this view, to determine one's descent by the adherence to the mother-tongue, were correct, nothing could be said against calling now, as some partisans really do, all Creoles "French Creoles," for all Creoles speak French now. But then the question would necessarily occur:

What, then, if the descendants of the present Creoles in fifty, or one hundred years from now should no longer speak French, but English? Will there then be no more Creoles?

It stands to reason that one's mother-tongue cannot decide the question of one's descent. The mother-tongue never decides in matters of descent. In a succession case no judge would ever think of basing his decision upon the mother-tongue of the claim-

ants, and of the many millions of people who immigrated from Europe to the United States no descendant ever forfeited his right of inheritance on account of his having adopted English in place of the mother-tongue of his family.

In matters of descent not the language but the blood is the vital matter, and the blood alone. We must therefore classify the Louisiana Creoles according to the blood of their progenitors, and say:

There are

Creoles of French descent,

Creoles of German descent,

Creoles of Spanish descent, and still others, for instance Creoles of Irish descent (the Mc-Carty family) and Creoles of Scotch descent (the Pollock family).

What is the Probable Number of the Creoles of German

Descent ?

This question may be answered in the words of the promise, given to Abraham: they are as numerous "as the sands on the sea shore."

The church registers of St. John the Baptist prove that the German pioneers were blessed with enormously large families. It seems that heaven wanted to compensate them in this manner for the many dear ones they had lost in the ports of France, on the high seas, in Biloxi, and during the first period of their settling in Louisiana. I found fourteen of them, sixteen, eighteen, and once even twenty-two children in a family.?

Yet, in spite of this great number of children there was no difficulty in providing for the numerous daughters. There was a great scarcity of women in Louisiana in early times. Indeed, as we have seen, prostitutes were gathered in Paris and sent to Louisiana to provide wives for the colonists. Few of these lewd women ever had any children, and their families became extinct in the second and third generation. See census of 1721 where it is stated that fourteen soldiers were married but that there was not a single child in these fourteen families.

According to this census—when the Germans on the German Coast and those on the Arkansas River were not enumerated— there were only thirty women with 21 children for every hundred white men in the district of New Orleans. No wonder that the young Frenchmen, especially those of the better class, chose wives from among the German maidens, who were not only morally and physically sound and strong, but had also been reared by their German mothers to be good house-wives.

Of the Heidel (Haydel) family, whose descendants are so numerous that one of them told the writer: "My family alone can populate a whole parish (county) in Louisiana," female descendants of the first five generations married into seventy-four different French families, and it very seldom happened that there was but one marriage between two families. Remember that in these statistics are still wanting the entries of the many registers that were burned at the "Red Church" and those of the volumes burned with the cathedral of New Orleans in 1788.

Yes, even into the most exclusive circles, into the families of the officials and of the richest merchants the German girls married, they became the wives of French and Spanish officers of ancient nobility in whose descendants German blood still flows.

Only one example: female descendants of Karl Friedrich D'Arensbourg married into the families of de la Chaise, de la Tour, de la Grue, de Villere, de L'Home, de Vaugine, d'Olhond, Laland d'Apremont, de Bosclair, de Livaudais, de Blanc, de la Barre, de Lery, de la Vergne, de Buys, Forstall, Trudeau, Ferret, St. Martin, Montegut, Lanaux, Beauregard, Bouligny, Suze-neau, le Breton, Tricou, Duverje, Urquhart, de Reggio, Rath-bone, Durel, Luminals, Bermudez.

When General O'Reilly, in the year 1769, forced the Spanish yoke upon Louisiana, he selected six of the most prominent citizens, whom he had shot in order to intimidate the hostile population. Of these six "martyrs of Louisiana," were not fewer than three who had wives from German families:

Joseph Milhet, the richest merchant of the colony, had as his wife Margarethe Wiltz, whose father was from Eisenach, in Thuringia, while her mother was born in Frankenthal, Saxony;

Marquis, the commander-in-chief of the insurgents, was married to a daughter of an Alsatian officer, Gregor Volant, from Landsee, near Strassburg, and

Joseph de Villere, under whose command the Germans of the German Coast had marched against the Spanish in 1768, had a grandchild of Karl Friedrich D'Arensbourg as his wife.

The German Language Among the Creoles of Louisiana.

As a rule, the German girls took German husbands, and whole families married into one another. To give but one example, it may be mentioned here that out of the ten children of one Jacob Troxler not fewer than eight married into the Heidel (Haydel) family. In such families the German language survived longest, and old Creoles of German descent have told me that their grandparents still understood and were able to speak the German language, although they were not able to read and write it, as there were never any German teachers on the German coast. I myself found among the old records a building contract of 1763 written in German, in which one Andreas Bluemler, a carpenter, obligated himself to build "for 2000 livres and a cow, a heifer and a black calf," a house for Simon Traeger (Tregre). A law-suit followed and so this building contract, together with the court records of the case were preserved to the present day.

In consequence, however, of the many family ties between the Germans and the French, and in consequence of the custom of the Creoles to marry into related families, French gradually became the family language even in those German families which had preserved the German language during three generations.

Some few German words, however, can occasionally be heard even yet in the Creole families of German descent, especially words relating to favorite dishes, "which our grandmother was still able to cook, but which are no longer known in our families."

German names of persons, too, have been preserved, although in such a mutilated form that they can hardly be recognized. Thus the tradition in the Heidel (Haydel) family is that

the first Heidel born in Louisiana was called "Anscopp," with the French nasal pronunciation of the first syllable. I could not get the original German for "Anscopp" until I compiled the genealogy of the family when I found that the first Heidel born in Louisiana was christened "Jean Jacques." Now I knew that they called him in the family "Hans Jacob," and that by throwing out the initial "h" and contracting "Hans Jacob" the name was changed into "Anscopp." In a similar manner "Hans Peter" was changed into "Ampete" and "Hans Adam" in to "Ansdam."

The German language disappeared quickest in families where a German had married a French girl. There no German was spoken at all, and even the Christian names customary in German families disappeared even as early as in the second generation, as now also the French wife and her relatives had to be considered in the giving of names to the children. Instead of Hans Peter, Hans Jacob, Michl, Andre, and Matthis, the boys of the German farmers were now called: Sylvain, Honore, Achille, Anatole, Valcourt, Lezin, Ursin, Marcel, Symphorion, Homer, Ovide, Onesiphore, and Onesime; and instead of the good old German names Anna Marie, Marianne, Barbara, Katharine, Veronika, and Ursula, the German girls were called: Hor-tense, Corinne, Elodie, Euphemie, Felicite, Melicerte, Desire, Pelagic, Constance, Pamela; and after the French revolution each family had her "Marie Antoinette."

The Fate of the German Family Names Among the


The changes which the German family names underwent among the Creoles are most regrettable. Without exception, all names of the first German colonists of Louisiana were changed, and most of the Creoles of German descent at the present time no longer know how the names of their German ancestors looked. Sometimes they were changed beyond recognition, and only by tracing some thirty families with all their branches through all the church records still available; by going through eighty boxes of official documents in the keeping of the "Louisiana Historical Society;" by ransacking the archives of the city of New Orleans

and of a number of country parishes, and by compiling the genealogies of these families has the author been able to recognize the German people of the different generations, to ascertain their original names, and to connect the old German settlers with the generation of the Creoles of German descent now living.

Various circumstances contributed to the changing of these names. The principal one was, no doubt, the fact that some of the old German colonists were not able to write their names. Their youth had fallen into the period of the first fifty years after the "Thirty Years' War" and into the last years of the war when the armies of Louis XIV of France devastated the Palatinate. In consequence of the general destruction and the widespread misery of that period, schools could hardly exist in their homes. It was therefore not the fault of these people if they could not read and write their names. Moreover, as the parents could not tell their children in Louisiana how to write their names, these children had to accept what French and Spanish teachers and priests told them, and what they found in ofificial documents. But French and Spanish officials and priests heard • the German names through French and Spanish ears, and wrote them down as they thought these sounds should be written in French or Spanish. Moreover, Spanish and French officials and priests at that early time were not great experts in the grammar of their own language.

Finally, the early German colonists did not pronounce their own names correctly, but according to their home dialect.

To prove the last assertion three German names shall be considered: "Schaf," "Schoen," "Mans." In South Germany, where most of these people came from, "a" is pronounced broad, and almost approaches the "o." The South German peasant does not say "meine Schafe," but "mei' Schof." No wonder that the French officials spelled the name "Schaf" "Chauflfe." In this form the name still exists in Louisiana.

"Schoen" was evidently pronounced like German "Schehn," for which reason.the French spelled it "Chesne," "Chaigne," and "Chin."

And the name "Manz" for the same reason was changed into "Montz."

Many changes in the spelling of the German names follow

the general "Law of the mutation of Consonants," called Grimm's

Law, which may be roughly stated thus: "Consonants uttered by

the same organ of speech are frequently interchanged."

Lip sounds: h, p, v, f, ph, (English) gh (as in the word


Tongue sounds: d, t, s, z, sch, (French) ch, che, c, and x; Throat sounds: g, k, ch, hard c, qu, (French) gu, (Spanish)

j and X.

Original German form of name:

Weber changed into Veber, Vebre, Vever, Bevre,

Febre, Webere, Febore, Vabure, Weibre, Weyber, Febore and now "Webre".

Kremser Chremser.

Kamper Kammer, Campert, Camper, Campfer, Cam-bra (Spanish) and now "Cambre".

Krebs Creps.

Kindler Kindeler, Quindler, Quinler.

Kemer Cairne, Kerne, Querne, Kerna, Camel, Quer-


Kindermann Quinderman, Quindreman.

Clemens Clement.

Buerckel Pircle, Percle, Bercle, Birquelle, Pircli,

Lerkle and Percler.

One Marianne Buerckel married one "Don Santiago Villenol". As the bridegroom's own signature proves, the man's name was not "Santiago Villenol" but "Jacob Wilhelm Nolte".

Buchwalter Bucvalter, Bouchevaldre, Boucvaltre.

Willig. Willique, Villique, Vilic, Villig, Billic, Velyk.

Katzenberger Katcebergue, Kastzeberg, Cazverg, Casverg,

Casberg, Cazimbert, Kalsberke, Casver-gue, Castleberg, Katsberk, Cazenbergue and now "Casbergue".

Wichner Wichnaire, Vicner, Vicnaire, Vickner, Vig-

nel, Vichneair, Vighner, Vequenel, Vicg-ner, Vigner, Vuquiner, Bicner, Vixner, Wiener, Wickner.

In an entry in the marriage register of 1791, which four members of this family signed, the name Wichner is spelled differently five times, as the officiating priest, too, had his own way of spelling it.

122 The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana

Wagensbach Vagensbach, Wagenspack, Wagenpack, Vag-

lespaque, Vaverspaqhez, Waiwaipack, Wabespack, Bangepach, Varesbach, Vac-bach, Wabespack, Woiguespack, Woi-wioguespack, Vacheba, Vacquensbac, Weghisbogh and now "Waguespack".

Trischl Tris, Trisch and now "Triche".

Traeger Draeger, Tregle, Graeber, Trecle, Traigle,

Treigle, Treguer, Draigue, Dreiker, Draeguer, and now "Tregre".

Ettler Etlair, Edeler, Edler, Ideler, Heidler, Idelet,


Johannes Ettler used to add to his signature "from Colmar". From this came "dit Colmar", "alias Colmar", and when his daughter Agnes Ettler died, she was entered into the death register of St. John the Baptist "Ines Colmar".

Foltz Foltse, Faulse, Foist, Folet, Folch, Folsh,

Poltz, Fols and now "Folse".

Manz Mans,. Mons, Monces, Months, Munts and

now "Montz".

Wilsz Wils, Vils, Willst, Vills, Vylzt, Vylts, Wuells,

Bilce, Veilts. The Wilsz family in Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany, writes the name with "sz", and so did Ludwig Wilsz, the progenitor of the New Orleans branch of the family, but his brother in Mobile adopted "tz" as did all descendants of both branches, including Governor Wiltz of Louisiana.

Lesch Leche, Laiche, Lesc, Leichet, Lecheux and

now "Leche" and "Laiche".

Zehringer Seringuer, Sering, Seringue, Zerinck, Zer-

incque, Ceringue and now "Zeringue".

Huber Houbre, Houber, Houver, Ubre, Ouuere,

Ouvre, Houvre, Hoover, Vbre and Vbaire. In "Vbre" and "Vbaire" the "V" stands for "U".

Initial "h" is prounounced neither in French nor in Spanish. For this reason initial "h" in German names was usually dropped, and where an attempt was made to represent it, the French often used "k," while the Spaniards represented it by "x" or "j," and occasionally by "qu."

Heidel changed into. .Aydel, Jaidel, Keidel. Appears also as He-

delle, Idel, Etdell and is now "Haydel". Richner Rixner, Risner, Resquiner, Ristener.

Himmel Immel, Ymelle, Ximel, Quimel and now


Wichner Vixner.

Heifer Elfer, Elf re, Elfert.

Hufnagel Oufnague, Houfnack.

Hauser Hoser, Oser.

When a German name began with a vowel they often prefixed an "h":

Engel Engle, Aingle, Ingle, Yngle, Hingel, Hincle,

Hengel, Heigne and now "Hingle".

Engelhardt Hingle Hart, Hanglehart, Inglehart.

Edelmeier Heldemaire, Aidelmer, Eldemere, Delmaire,

Le Maire.

In Spanish the letter "1" occurs sometimes when we expect

an "r," for instance "Catalina" for "Catherina." So the Spanish

use "1" also in family names instead of "r":

Quernel instead of Kerner,

Beltram for Bertram,

Viquinel and Vignel for Vicner (Wichner),

Tregle for Traeger (Tregre).

By replacing German "sch" by "ch," as was the custom

during the French period, the German names assumed an entirely

foreign appearance, as no German word ever begins with "ch" :

Schantz Chance and Chans;

Strantz Schrantz, Chrence;

Schwab Chave and Chuabe, Chuave;

Schaf Chauff, Cuave, Cheauf, Chef, Chofe, Choff,

Chaaf, Soff, Shoff, Skoff, Shaw, Chaaf

and now • "Chauflfe"; Schaefer Chefer, Cheffre, Chevre, Chepher, Cheper,


Schmidt Chemitt and Chmid ;

Schuetz Chutz.

The German "o" became "au" and "eau":

Vogel Fogle, Feaugle, Voguel, and Fauquel.

Hofmann Ofman, Aufman, and Eaufman.

Also the inclination of the French to put the stress upon

the last syllable appears in German names:

Himmel Ymelle;

Heidel : Aydelle, Hedelle, Haydelle, Etdelle.

Rommel Rommelle. Appears also in the forms Romm-

le, Romle, Rome, Romo (Spanish),

Romme, Rom.

124 ^^^ Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana

Other Interesting Changes.

Troxler changed into.. Stroxler, Stroscler, Drozeler, Troesscler,

Troxlaire, Drotseler, Trocsler, Trucks-ler, Trouchsler, Troustre, Troseler, Trocler, Trossclaire, Troseler, Trocher, Drotzeler, Droezler, Troxclair, Tros-lisser.

Kuhn Coun, Cohn, Koun.

Mayer Mayre, Mailer, Mahir, Mahier, Maieux,

Meyier, Mayeux.

Dubs Tus, Toupt3, Toubse, Toupse, Tups, now


Ory Orji, Oray, Orij, Haury, Aury.

Keller Queller, Caler, Keler, Quellar. One "Don

Juan Pedro Cuellar" signed his name in German script "Hansbeter Keller".

Held Haid, Helder, Helette, Hail, Helle, Helte.

Steilleder Stelider, Steilledre, Stillaitre, Stillaite, Stilet,

Estilet, Steili, Steli now "Estilet".

Steiger Stayer, Stabler, Sther, Stayre, Steili, Stayer,

Steygre, Estaidre.

Jansen Yentzen, Hentzen, Kensin.

Kleinpeter Cloinpetre, Clampetre.

Ketterer Quaitret.

Hans Erich Roder.. .Anseriquer Auder.

Weisskraemer Visecrenne.

Struempfl Strimber, Estrenfoul.

Hansjoerg Hensiery.

Graef (in) Crevine.

Kissinger Guzinguer, Quisingre.

Urban Ohnesorg Hour Pamonscaurse.

Dorothea Baer (in) .. .Torotay Perrinne.

Miltenberger Mil de Bergue.

Christmann Crestman, Yresman, Krestman.

Wenger Vinguer.

Bendernagel Bintnagle.

Wehrle. Verlet, Verlay.

Schoderbecker Chelaudtre, Chloterberk.

Renner Rinher.

Also Christian names as well as the names of places (see Ettler, from Colmar) and nicknames became family names.

The daughter of one Jacob Heifer was entered into the marriage register as "Mademoiselle Yocle," because her father was called familiarly "Jockel," which is a nickname for Jacob.

The family of Thomas Lesch was for some time lost to me until I recovered it under the name of "Daumas"="Thomas."

Remarkable was the fate of the name "Hofmann." The forms Ofman, Aufman, Eaufman, Haufman, Ophman, Oghman, Ocman, Hochman, Haukman, Hacmin, Aupemane, Augman, Olphman, and Ocmane were not the only changes that occurred. The family came from Baden and thus "de Bade" was often added to the name. In course of time the people forgot the meaning of "de Bade," and a new name was formed, "Badeau," with a feminine form, "Badeauine."

The eldest daughter of one Hofmann married a man by the name of "Achtziger." This name seems to have given a great deal of trouble. I found "Hacksiger," "Chactziger," "Oxtiger," "Ox-tixer," "Axtigre," "Harzstingre," "Astringer," "Haxsitper," and "Horticair," but early the French officials (like in the case "Zweig-Labranche") translated the name Achtziger into French "Ouatre-yingt," to which they were in the habit of adding the original name as best they knew how. Now, as the eldest daughter of this Hofmann was called "Madame Quatrevingt," they seem to have called her younger sister in a joking way "Mademoiselle Quar-ante," for when she married she appears in the church register as "Mademoiselle Quarantine," alias "Hocman."

Finally, another name shall be mentioned here, which is now pronounced "Sheckshnyder." The legend is that six brothers by the name of "Schneider" came across the sea, and each one of them was called "one of the six Schneiders," hence the name "Sheckshnyder;" but this legend is, like many another legend, false. The first priest of St. John the Baptist, the German Capuchin father Bernhard von Limbach (1772), who wrote even the most difficult German names phonetically correct, entered the name as "Scheckschneider," which is an old German name. The progenitor of this family, Hans Reinhard Scheckschneider, is mentioned on the passenger list of one of the four pest ships which sailed from L'Orient on the twenty-fourth of January, 1721. There were no "six Schneider" on board, only he, his wife and two sons, one of whom died in Brest. Yet he was already called "Chezneider," even on board ship. From this came later the following forms, which were all taken from official documents:

Sexchneyder, Sexnaidre, Snydre, Sixtailleur, Seckshneyder, Secxnauder, Sheknaidre, Seinadre, Seicnaydre, Schnaidre, Seic-shnaydre, Seishaudre, Schgnaidre, Seinaydre, Scheixneydre, Sixney, Sexnall, Chesnaitre, Caxnayges, Cheixnaydre, Chex-naydre, Ceixnaidre, Chixnaytre, Segsneidre, Cheesnyder, Celf-ceneidre, Hexnaider. At present almost every branch of this very numerous family writes the name differently.

German Names in the Spanish Marriage Register of St. John

the Baptist.



S ^-

mm ^-^^^^'^^^'iliiiil^^ „ ^ _





Free translation: On the 21st of February 1785 Anton Weber, legitimate son of John Weber and Cath. Traeger (Tregre), married Cath. Scheckschneider, legitimate daughter of John Adam Scheckschneider and Agnes Mayer. Witnesses: Domingo Guide, Mathias Ory and Fred. Bertram.

Frater Francesco, Notario.


The Creoles of German descent constitute even now a large, if not the largest, part of the white population of the German Coast, the parishes of St. Charles and St. John the Baptist, of Louisiana. But they spread at an early time, also, over neighboring districts, where their many children took up new lands for cultivation.

They went up to St. James parish, where some connected themselves with the Acadian families by marriages. They also went to the parishes of Assumption, Ascension, and Iberville, still further up the Mississippi. They went to where Donald-sonville now stands. On that place was the village of the Chet-imachas Indians; and Bayou Lafourche, which there branches off from the Mississippi and extends for a distance of no miles to the Gulf of Mexico, was then called "Fourche des Cheti-machas."

Down this bayou the descendants of the early Germans pressed and throughout the whole length of Bayou Lafourche I found many German names in the church registers of Donald-sonville, Paincourtville, Plattenville, Napoleonville, Labadieville, Thibodeaux, Houma and Lockport. Also the word "Teche" (Bayou Teche) is supposed to be derived from "Deutsch."

In the course of time, however, great changes have occurred among the descendants of the early Germans, though not so much in their physical appearance. There are still among them many of the ancient stalwart German type, who betray the French blood received in the course of time only by their more lively disposition; their are still blue eyes and blond hair among them, although in some families both types, the German and the Latin, seem to be equally represented; there is still the same very

large number of children to be found in their families; the Creole of German descent is still the most robust of the Creoles, and one very well known family still produces the same giants as in the days when their German great-grandfathers used to drive oflf the Acadians, when they came down from St. James to disturb the Saturday dances on the German Coast.

The changes spoken of refer chiefly to their economical condition. Through the Civil War many of these families lost not only their slaves, but also their plantations, the source of their once very considerable wealth. They have, therefore, shared the lot of the other Creoles. But, thanks to their inherited energy, they wrung an existence from the adverse conditions, and now that a new era of prosperity has dawned upon Louisiana, their prospects, too, have become brighter—many of them are now to be found in the professions, in commercial and industrial pursuits, and in official positions all over the State, in which they have invariably gained for themselves an enviable reputation, and often great distinction; others made use of their knowledge of planting by accepting after the war positions of managers of large estates, later renting and finally buying some of the many vacant plantations, and still others succeeded in preserving and increasing the ante bellum wealth of their families. The great majority of the Creoles of German descent may be said to be again on the road to prosperity.

But their golden age is passed, and will never return in the form in which they once enjoyed it. This they know, and for this reason their mind, especially that of the older generation, reverts with tender regret to the past. They also still remember their German descent, and when they now look sadly upon the land which their ancestors had conquered from the wilderness and the Mississippi, and which also once belonged to them, but which is now tilled by others, they still say with pride:

"We are the descendants of those Germans who


May they ever remember their German ancestors and emulate their example!

The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana 129 Official Acknowledgment


Worth and Value of the German Pioneers of Louisiana.

Laussat^ colonial prefect of Louisiana and commissioner of the French government in 1803, wrote the following letter:

New Orleans, Messidor 6th. Eleventh Year.^'o

The Colonial Prefect of Louisiana to Citizen Chaptal,

Minister of the Interior.

Citizen Minister:

I received the letter of the 4th of Floreal of this year by which your Excellency deigned to consult me on the project of embarking German laborers for Louisiana.

This is a project which should be made a regular system by the French government for several years if it wants to derive profit from this country and to preserve it.

Its present condition and its wretched (miserable) population demand this imperatively. This class of peasants, and especially of that nationality, is just the class we need and the only one which always achieved perfect success in these parts.

What is called here the "German Coast" is the most industrious (la plus industrieuse), the most populous (la plus peuplee), the most at ease (la plus aisee), the most upright (la plus honnete), the most respected (la plus estimee) part of the inhabitants of this colony.

I regard it as essential that the French government should make it a rule to send every year from one thousand to twelve hundred families of the frontier departments of Switzerland, the Rhine and Holland; the emigrants of our southern provinces are not worth anything (n'y valent rien).


(Svenements de 1803, page 315. New Transcripts of the Louisiana Historical Society.)

°'» The month of Messidor was the harvest month. It began on the 19th of June and ended on the i8th of July. The eleventh year was the year 1803.


The German Waldeck Regiment


The Sixtieth or "Royal American Regiment on Foot"

in the War of 1779 to 1781.

Although not bearing on the history of the settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana, a short account is added here of the part which the German Waldeck regiment and the 60th or Royal American regiment took in the Anglo-Spanish War of 1779-1781. This war belongs to the colonial history of Louisiana; and as this work deals with the Germans of that period, the German soldier who fought on Louisiana soil in colonial times and there, no doubt, also met the German pioneer, may justly claim some space in this book.

During the War of Independence England secured from some of the smaller principalities of Germany auxiliary troops which fought on the English side. There was no political alliance between these principalities and England, it was traffic in human flesh, pure and simple. England rented these troops to fight for her, paid a good rental for them, and a fixed price for every soldier killed or wounded. To the honor of the great majority of the German monarchs be it said that they strongly disapproved of this traffic, and that the King of Prussia openly favored the American cause and forbade the English auxiliary troops to march through his kingdom.

There were 29,166 German soldiers in the English army:

Hesse-Cassel furn

Brunswick '

Hanau '

Ansbach Bayreuth Waldeck Anhalt-Zerbst

shed 16,992 men of whom she lost 6,500;

5,723 " " " " " 3-015; 2,422 " " " " " 981;

1,644 " " " " " 461; 1,225 " " " " " 720; 1,160 " " " " " 176;

29,166 11,853


The very great loss in men was due in part to the fact that a great number of these German soldiers, on coming into contact with the Germans living in America, who were loyal Americans, and of whom many thousands fought in the revolutionary army under Washington, were persuaded to abandon the English cause and settled in this country.

In May, 1779, hostilities broke out between Spain and England; and the boundary line between the English and the Spanish possessions in America—^the Mississippi River, Bayou Man-chac, the Amite River, and Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain— became a scene of war, and some of the principal actors were German troops.

The English held Fort Panmure, where Natchez now stands; a post on Thompson's Creek, near the present Port Hudson; Fort New Richmond, now Baton Rouge; Fort Bute, on the Mississippi, at the entrance into Bayou Manchac; a post on the Amite River, presumably "French Settlement," below the confluence of Bayou Manchac and Amite River and Big Colyell Creek and Amite River; Mobile, and Pensacola. In order to strengthen these positions the English sent some of their auxiliary troops, the German Waldeck regiment, from New York by way of Jamaica to Pensacola, where they landed on the twenty-ninth of January, 1779.

Here the Waldeckers met a company of German recruits belonging to the i6th regiment, eight companies of the "Royal American Regiment on Foot," also known as the 60th English regiment, and some royalists from Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The 60th regiment was raised by order of the Parliament in 1755- "The men were chiefly Germans and Swiss who had settled in America. They were all zealous Protestants and, in general, strong, hardy men, accustomed to the American climate and, from their religion, language and race particularly proper to oppose the French."^® As they could not speak English, however, it became necessary to grant commissions to a number of foreign Protestants who had served abroad as officers or engineers and

'•J. G. Rosengarten: The German Soldier in the Wars of the United States; Philadelphia, 1890, pages 15 to 24.

spoke the German language. On the fifteenth of June, 1756, forty German officers came to America to serve in this regiment. The Rev. Michael Schlatter, the head of the Reformed German Church in America, was the chaplain of this regiment from 1756 to 1782. While in Pensacola, the 60th regiment still consisted "mainly of Germans."

The English forces on the Mississippi being only 500 men, under Lieutenant Colonel Dickson, who urgently called for reinforcements, part of the 60th regiment and the grenadier company of the Waldeckers left Pensacola for the Mississippi on the nineteenth of June, 1779. On the second of August Major von Horn, with his company of Waldeckers and fifteen men of the company of Colonel Hanxleden, followed, and on the thirtieth of the same month another company of Waldeckers, that of Captain Alberti. They went by way of Lake Pontchartrain, Amite River and Bayou Manchac.

The Spanish in New Orleans succeeded in capturing some of the English transports on Lake Pontchartrain, among which was the vessel which carried the company of Captain Alberti, who, with his officers, three sergeants, one drummer and forty-nine privates, was taken prisoner and brought to New Orleans, where he died of fever on the twenty-first of July, one day after Lieutenant von Goren had died of the same disease.

On the twenty-second of August, 1779, the Spanish Governor Galvez left New Orleans with a force of 1430 men and a small gun fleet to attack the English posts on the Mississippi. On his approach, the main force of the English withdrew towards Baton Rouge, leaving in Fort Bute Captain von Haake with a detachment of twenty Waldeckers. A recent history of Louisiana says that Galvez took this post by "assault," and even gives the name of the first Creole to enter the fort. There cannot have been much fighting at Fort Bute. From the fact that only eight prisoners were taken by Galvez, and the further fact that Captain von Haake later fought in Baton Rouge, it seems probable that this officer, on hearing of the large force marching against him, withdrew from Fort Bute, leaving a few men behind to make a show of resistance and hereby detain Galvez for a few days on

his march to Baton Rouge. In this they seem to have succeeded, as Galvez waited five days before ordering the "assault."

Then he pressed on to Baton Rouge, which he also intended to take by assault; but after losing 500 men in the first, and 140 in a subsequent assault in which he was even compelled to withdraw his batteries, he concluded to invest the post. Lieutenant Colonel Dickson was not prepared to resist a regular siege, and as many of his men were sick, an honorable surrender was arranged. The English left Baton Rouge with all the honors of war, drums beating and banners flying. The prisoners wer-e to be taken first to New Orleans and thence transported to New York, and were not to fight again within eighteen months. Every officer retained his sword and every man his private property.

Of the Waldeckers two captains, three lieutenants, three surgeons, eight sergeants, six drummers, three servants, and 176 privates surrendered in Baton Rouge. Ensign Nolting and one private fell. Lieutenant Leonhardi, who had distinguished himself during the two assaults of the Spaniards, died of his wounds on the Mississippi while being conveyed-to New Orleans. One surgeon, two non-commissioned officers and nineteen privates died of their wounds; and one officer and six privates were slightly wounded. Of the other troops fighting on the side of the English, 216 surrendered.

From letters written by German officers, then prisoners of war in New Orleans, and from published diaries, we learn that many of the Waldeckers died in this city, and that many were "still sick." Lieutenant Strubberg, in a letter to a brother officer in Pensacola, speaks very highly of Governor Galvez, who often invited the German officers to dinner, and even allowed them to visit their comrades in Pensacola. "The people of New Orleans, too," he says, "were very friendly and kind."

Meanwhile, Governor Galvez went with a large fleet and a landing army to Mobile, which was ill prepared to resist an attack, and which surrendered after a breach had been made in the walls of the fort, on the fourteenth of March, 1780, before the men of the 60th regiment and the rest of the Waldeckers sent from Pensacola for the relief of that town could reach there. The

relief column consisted of 522 men. It returned to Pensacola on the nineteenth of March.

This expedition from Pensacola to Mobile—72 miles in incessant rain and over soft soil, "not a human dwelling, and at night surrounded by wild beasts"—is described by the Waldeckers as one of their greatest hardships. They also complained of the poor fare in Pensacola.

Chaplain Steuernagel writes: "In the morning we drink a glass of water and eat a piece of bread; at noon we have nothing to drink but water, and our supper consists of a pipe of tobacco and a glass of water." A ham was sold for seven dollars, a pound of tobacco cost four dollars, a pound of coffee one dollar and a "Mass" (about one liter) of whiskey cost eight "Gulden schweres Geld."

On the third of January, 1781, the English commander of Pensacola, Major General Campbell, ordered Colonel von Hanx-leden, of the Waldeckers, to proceed with one hundred men of the 60th regiment, eleven mounted Provincials, 300 Indians, and 60 men of his own regiment, to the "French village on the Mississippi" to drive the Spaniards out of their intrenchments. On this occasion the Waldeck troops consisted of Captain von Baum-bach. Lieutenants von Wilmowski and Stirling, ensign Ursal, six non-commissioned officers, two buglers, and forty-seven privates. Colonel von Hanxleden arrived in front of the enemy on the seventh of January, and attempted to take the Spanish works by assault. The Spaniards resisted stubbornly, and although the Germans repeatedly attacked with their bayonets, their courage was in vain, as their force was too small and as the Indians could not support them effectively. Colonel von Hanxleden died a hero's death leading his men, Lieutenant Stirling and the English Lieutenant Gordon fell. Captain von Baumbach and an officer of the provincials were wounded, and so were many others. The Spaniards, too, lost heavily, and one of their magazines was set on fire. The body of Colonel von Hanxleden was hastily buried under a large tree, and the Spaniards are said to have honored the dead hero by putting a fence around his grave.

The location of this battlefield is in doubt. The designation

136 The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana

"French village on the Mississippi" cannot be correct, for it would have taken Colonel von Hanxleden a great deal more than four days to reach the Mississippi from Pensacola, and his brave soldiers could not have returned to Pensacola on the ninth of January, two days after the fight. It must have been some French village between Pensacola and Mobile, and Mr. Hamilton, the author of "Colonial Mobile," a native Mobilian and a most painstaking and reliable authority, says: "This was on the coast below where the Apalache or Tensaw River empties into Mobile Bay."

After the fall of Mobile, Galvez went to Havana to secure reinforcements, and when these had arrived he appeared before Pensacola on the ninth of March, 1781, and two days later began the bombardment. Th|is was continued, with some interruptions, for two months, when one of the powder magazines in the fort exploded, causing such devastation that the Spaniards were able to enter the fort in such numbers that further resistance was impossible. Then Pensacola surrendered on the ninth of May upon the same conditions as Baton Rouge had done. The prisoners were sent to New York. In Pensacola 800 men fought against 14,000, and Governor Galvez is said to have been greatly mortified when he heard that so small a number had resisted him for such a length of time. (See Die deutschen Huelfstruppen im Nordamerik, Befreiungskrieg," by Max von Eelking, Hannover, 1883.)

In Pensacola the German troops, to their great surprise, found a countryman among the Indian chiefs. His name was "Brandenstein," and he had deserted as a soldier from Waldeck. After a very eventful career, he had become a fullfledged Indian, and even a chief. He served as an interpreter between the Germans and his tribe.

Americana Germanica


Literary, Linguistic and Otiier Cultural Relations of Germany and America


University of Pennsylvania


H. C. G. Brandt Julius Goebel

W. H. Carpenter J. T. Hatfield

W. H. Carruth W. T. Hew^ett

Hermann Collitz A. R. Hohlfeld

Starr W. Cutting Hugo K. Schilling

Daniel K. Dodge H. Schmidt-Wartenberg

a. B. Faust Hermann Schoenfeld

KuNo Francke Calvin Thomas

Adolph Gerber H. S. White Henry Wood



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