The Creoles of German Descent—Definition of the Word "Creole" iii

What is the Probable Number of the Creoles of German Descent ii6

The German Language Among the Creoles of Louisiana ii8

The Fate of the German Family Names Among the Creoles 119

German Names in the Spanish Marriage Register of St. John the Baptist.. 126

Conclusion 127

Official Acknowledgment of the Worth and Value of the German Pioneers

of Louisiana—Laussat's Letter 129

Appendix—The German Waldeck Regiment and the Sixtieth or "Royal





The Discovery of the Mississippi.

The first German upon the lower Mississippi was one of the last companions of the French explorer, La Salle. As the founding of the first settlement of Germans on the lower Mississippi also took place at a very early period in the history of Louisiana, we will first cast a glance into the history of the discovery of the Mississippi and the taking possession of the northern gulf coast by the French.

With the second voyage of Columbus (1493) ^.nd the discovery of Cuba, Hayti, Porto Rico, Dominica, Jamaica, and Guadeloupe, Spain had become the mistress of the Gulf of Mexico. Twenty years later Ponce de Leon came to Florida, and in 1519 Cortez began the conquest of the Aztec empire of Mexico. In the same year another Spaniard, by the name of Pifieda, sailed from Jamaica to circumnavigate Florida, which at that time was still thought to be an island; and as he always sailed along the northern gulf coast, he finally reached Mexico. For a long time it was believed that Piiieda on this voyage had discovered the Mississippi and called it "Rio del Espiritu Santo"; but Hamilton, in his "Colonial Mobile," maintains that the river discovered by Pineda was not the Mississippi, but the Mobile River, and that Pifieda passed the mouth of the Mississippi with-

out noticing it, it being hidden by sand banks, drift wood, and bushes.

In 1528 an expedition to Florida led by Panfilo de Nar-vaez failed, but, in April, 1536, four of its members, among whom was Gabeza de Vaca, reached Mexico by land after many years of wandering. These men must have crossed the Mississippi on their way to Mexico, and from their voyage and that of Pineda date the claims of Spain for the ownership of the whole northern gulf coast from Florida to Mexico.

Induced by de Vaca's glowing descriptions of the country, De Soto, in 1539, began his adventurous expedition from Florida into the interior. About the 30th degree of latitude, he discovered the Mississippi (April, 1541) and found his grave in it; whereupon Moscoso, with the remnants of the expedition, floated down the Mississippi and reached the Spanish possessions on the gulf coast. This discovery was without any practical results, however, as no second attempt to reach the mouth of the Mississippi was made for the next 140 years.

Meanwhile the French had set foot on Canada (Port Royal, later called Annapolis, 1605; Quebec, 1608) and discovered the upper Mississippi. Many years, however, passed before La Salle, coming from Canada, followed the great river southward in its whole length, reached its mouth, and there, on the 9th of April, jQt "Louisiana," in honor of the king of France, Louis XIV. Then \1682, took possession of the Mississippi valley for France, calling he returned by the same way to Canada, and thence went to France to report on his discoveries and submit his plan to establish communication between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico by means of the Mississippi, and to secure the Indian trade of these vast regions by a chain of forts.

La Salle's propositions found favor with the king of France, and on the 24th of July, 1684, he sailed from La Rochelle for the Gulf of Mexico, intending thence to enter the Mississippi and to found on its banks a French establishment. He brought with him a flotilla of four vessels (Le Joli, L'Aimable, La Belle and a small ketch) under the direct command of Beaujeu. On this

voyage a stop was made in the port of Petit Gouave in San Domingo, where La Salle was quite sick. San Domingo was then and had been for many years the headquarters of the buccaneers, whose calling was at that time considered a quite legitimate business, the riches of the Spanish silver ships and the many obstructions to commerce in Central and South America having, so to speak, provoked the other nations to smuggling and piracy. Merchants and many other highly respectable people of Europe furnished and sent out privateers, and rejoiced at their golden harvests. French, English and Dutch adventurers soon congregated in San Domingo, and these were joined by many Germans who had grown up in the wild times of the Thirty Years' War, and could not find their way back to peaceful occupations. In this company La Salle's men gave themselves up to riotous living, in consequence of which many fell victims to disease, and La Salle was compelled to enlist new men.

The First German on the Lower Mississippi.

Among the new men engaged in San Domingo by La Salle was a German, a buccaneer, an artillerist, who was known only by the name of "Hans;" i. e., Johannes, John. The French wrote his name "Hiens," but Hennepin, a Dutch contemporary, calls him "Hans," and all agree that he was a German.

The record of La Salle's attempt to find the mouth of the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico reveals a series of quarrels between the commanders, of misfortunes, errors and malice.

One of the four ships of his flotilla laden with thirty tons of ammunition and utensils and tools for his new colony, was captured by the Spaniards near San Domingo, because Beaujeu refused to follow the course recommended by La Salle.

The mouth of the Mississippi was not found by this expedition, principally because La Salle, on coming down from Canada and discovering it, in 1682, had committed the almost incon-

ceivable mistake of ascertaining only the latitude of the mouth of the river, but not its longitude.

The expedition landed in Matagorda Bay, in Texas (February, 1685), where the frigate L'Aimable, on attempting to enter a river, was stranded. Joutel, an eyewitness, says:

"Circumstances reported by the ship's crew and those who saw the management were infallible tokens and proofs that the mischief had been done designedly, which was one of the blackest and most detestable actions man could be guilty of." (Joutel's Journal, Stiles, page 83.)

Then Beaujeu abandoned La Salle, left with La Joli for France, and took the crew of L'Aimable with him, thus violating his agreement with La Salle, and leaving the latter behind with the La Belle with eight cannon and not a single cannon ball. Finally, La Belle ran aground and was also lost.

La Salle then built a fort in Texas (Fort St. Louis) for the protection of his people, and from there made several attempts to find the "fatal river," as he called the Mississippi.

On one of these expeditions, which brought them up to the Coenis Indians, Hans, the German buccaneer, almost lost his life. They were crossing a river, when Hans, "a German from Wittenburg" (so Father Anastasius, a priest accompanying the expedition, calls him) got stuck so fast in the mud "that he could scarcely get out." La Salle named the river "Hans River," and in the accompanying map, printed in 1720, the name may be found inscribed in the French spelling "Riviere Hiens."

On the 7th of January, 1687, the last expedition from the Texas fort was begun. This was to be a desperate attempt to march with a picked crew of seventeen men from Texas overland to Canada to get succor, and on the way there to find the "fatal river." Among the selected seventeen was Hans, the German buccaneer, a proof that La Salle thought well of him. Twenty persons, among whom were seven women, were left behind in the Texas fort, where they eventually perished.

For several months this brave little band of seventeen men, marching again toward the territory of the Coenis Indians, cut

their way through the wilderness, until they came to the southern branch of the Trinity River, where, owing to the tyranny of their leader, a conspiracy was formed among a portion of the men, and on the i8th of March, 1687, La Salle was killed by Duhaut, a Frenchman, who wanted to succeed him in the command of the expedition.

In this plan Duhaut, of whom all seem to have been afraid, was openly defied by Hans, the German buccaneer, and Father Anastasius, an eye witness, reports as follows:

"Those who most regretted the murder of their commander and leader had sided with Hiens, who, seizing his opportunity, two days after sought to punish crime by crime. In our presence he shot the murderer of La Salle through the heart with a pistol. He died on the spot, unshriven, unable even to utter the names of Jesus and Mary. Hiens also wished to kill L'Archeveque and thus completely avenge the death of La Salle, but Joutel conciliated him."

When the little band approached the French post on the Arkansas River, where, Hans thought, punishment was awaiting him for the murder of Duhaut, the German buccaneer resolved to join the Coenis Indians, whom he had helped to fight a hostile tribe; but, before leaving his companions, he demanded from them a Latin certificate to the effect that he was innocent of La Salle's death. This he received.

Only a few of La Salle's last companions reached Canada. Two of them, Father Anastasius and Joutel, published accounts of La Salle's last voyage, which have been followed in this narrative.

The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana

Map of Louisiana. By J. Fried. Gleditschen's Son, Leipsic, 1720.


The First French Settlement on the Gulf Coast.

Ten years passed before steps were again taken to found a French settlement on the northern gulf coast. In 1698, Iberville, a Canadian, sailed with four ships from the French port of Brest for the Gulf of Mexico. He found that in the meantime the Spaniards had taken possession of Pensaoola Bay, for

which reason he sailed further west, discovered Mobile Bay on the last of January, 1699, and, leaving his big ships in the harbor of Ship Island, went with two barges in search of the mouth of the Mississippi, which he entered on the second day of March. After ascending the river as far as the village of the Oumas, opposite the mouth of Red River, he sent his barges back to the mouth of the Mississippi, while he with two canoes entered Bayou Manchac, discovered Lakes Maurepas and Pont-chartrain, and reached Ship Island by this route in advance of his barges.

Despairing of getting his big ships over the bar of the Mississippi, he resolved to make a settlement on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico; and on the 8th of April, 1699, active work was begun at the present site of the town of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, on "Fort Maurepas," the first French establishment in Louisiana.

The main settlement, however, was "Fort Louis de la Louisiane," founded in 1702, "sixteen leagues from Massacre (Dauphine) Island, at the second bluff" on the Mobile River.

"Sixteen leagues from Massacre Island at the second bluff is at Twenty-seven Mile Bluff. Near there Creoles still fondly point out the site of 'Vieux Fort,' and there French maps, as early as 1744, place a 'vieux fort, detruit.' A well under a hickory tree still marks the spot, and bullets, canister, crockery, large-headed spike, and a brass ornament were picked up by the present writer near the river edge of the level bluff as late as the summer of 1897. There, then, on a wooded spot, twenty feet above the river, hardly deserving the name of bluff, save above ordinary high water, was Fort de la Louisiane, commanding the wide, turbid river. It was not one of the many Forts St. Louis. Like Louisiana, it was named from Louis XIV., rather than for the sainted Louis IX." (Hamilton, "Colonial Mobile," page 38.)

In 1709 a great rise in the river occurred, which overflowed both the fort and the little town that had sprung up around it. A change of base was then decided upon, and "Fort de la Louisiane" was built on the site of the present city of Mobile. In 1710 the old fort was abandoned.

The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana

Here, at the old and at the new Fort de la Louisiane, or rather on Dauphine Island, at the entrance of the harbor of Mobile, where the large vessels from Europe discharged their passengers and cargoes, around the Bay of Biloxi and on Ship Island (Isle aux Vaisseaux) in the Gulf of Mexico, the life of the colony of Louisiana centered for the next twenty years. Here the principal events took place, and here also landed the first Germans.

On the accompanying map "Vieux Biloxi" means the old "Fort Maurepas," now Ocean Springs. Opposite is "Le Biloxi," the present Biloxi, Mississippi, or "New Biloxi," at first also called "Fort Louis."



3 3

IfiM ^ll





A Grave Error.

In the beginning of the colony the French committed the grave error of not giving any attention to agriculture. Two years after the founding of Mobile, in 1704, the civilian part of the population of Louisiana consisted of only twenty-three families, with ten children, who lived along the shore in huts with palmetto or straw roofs, fishing and hunting. It is true that they also had little gardens around their huts, but for provisions they relied on the vessels from France. They pretended that nothing could be grown on the sandy soil of the

gulf coast, and they complained not only of the soil, but of the water also. Says Dupratz (1,268) :

"The soil and the water of Mobile are not only barren as regards the propagation of plants and fishes; the nature of the water and of the soil contributes also to the prevention of the increase of the animals; even the women have experienced this. I have it from Madam Hubert, the wife of the 'Commissionaire Ordonnateur,' that at the time when the French were at that post there were seven or eight sterile women who all became mothers from the time when they established themselves with their husbands on the banks of the Mississippi, whence the capital had been transferred."

The water and the soil of the gulf coast have not changed, and there is no complaint as to the birth rate now; considerable truck farming is done in the neighborhood of Mobile and on the back bay of Biloxi, and the Indians in the territory complained of always raised corn, beans, -and many other things.

The truth is that the first colonists did not want to work, and the governors of that period complained bitterly of that fact. The people expected to find gold, silver, and pearls as the Spaniards had done in Mexico.^ They also traded with Canadian "coureurs de bois," hunters who came down the Mississippi, killing buffaloes, and selling hides and beaver skins. The French also expected to do a great deal of business with the Spaniards in Mexico.

Since the expected mineral treasures of the gulf coast, however, have not been discovered even to-day—since the Spaniards, who claimd the whole northern gulf coast for themselves, were unwilling to trade with the French—since the trade with the Indians and with the Canadian hunters was too insignificant,— since France, whose treasury had been emptied by Louis XIV, could not do much for the colony—and, to make the worst come to the worst, since yellow fever was introduced from San Domingo in 1701 ^ and again in 1704,^ the little colony of

*The name "Pearl River", which now forms the boundary line between the States of Louisiana and Mississippi, is attributed to the fact that some inferior pearls were said to have been found in that river.

* Sauvole, the first governor, died of fever in that year.

'The Chevalier Tonti died in Mobile of yellow fever in 1704.

Louisiana was for many years in a precarious condition and at times on the very verge of ruin.

Thus the colony continued until, in 1712, Crozat, a French merchant, took in hand its management as a commercial venture. He received the trade monopoly for fifteen years, but after the first five years he found himself compelled to ask the regent of France to rescind his contract, which request was granted.

The "Western Company" and the "Compagnie des Indes'" —

John Law.

Then came, in 1717, the "Western Company," called after 1719, "La Compagnie des Indes," the leading spirit of which was the notorious Scotch financier, John Law. This company received the trade monopoly for twenty-five years. It was granted the right to issue an unlimited number of shares of stock, and the privilege not only of giving away land on conditions, but also of selling it outright. For these and other considerations the company obligated itself to bring into the colony during the life of its franchise at least 6000 white people and 3000 negroes.

The shares of the company were "guaranteed" by its assets. These were: first, the supposedly inexhaustible mineral treasures of Louisiana; secondly, the fabulous wealth of its soil, which was at that time not known at all, as "nothing could be grown on the sandy soil of the gulf coast," the only part then inhabited; and, thirdly, the immense revenues to be derived from the trade monopoly. In order to develop all these sources of wealth to their fullest capacity, agriculture was now also to be introduced on a grand scale. For this purpose large tracts of land, concessions, were now given to such rich men in France as would obligate themselves to bring the necessary number of people from Europe to till the soil.

One of the largest concessioners was John Law, the president of the company, who caused two concessions to be given to himself. The larger one was on the lower Arkansas River,

on which he obligated himself to settle many people, for whose protection against the Indians he promised to keep a company of dragoons. His second concession was seven lieues below New Orleans, on the Mississippi River, below English Turn, and adjoining one of the concessions to the minister of war, Le Blanc, whose principal possessions were on the Yazoo River.

As a shrewd business man, which he no doubt was, John Law knew that, to make his venture a success, he needed not only capital but also people able and willing to toil for him; and, as he knew from the reports of the former governors how little adapted to agriculture the former French colonists had proven themselves, he resolved to engage for his own concessions Germans from the country on both sides of the river Rhine, and from Switzerland.

A great agitation was now begun, partly to induce rich people to take shares in the general enterprise and buy land for their own account, and partly to entice poor people to become engages (hired field hands for the company or for the different concessioners). After a while, land was also to be given to the poor engages to enable them also to get rich.

A German Description of Louisiana in the Year 1720.

About this time, pamphlets in several languages were printed, containing extracts from letters of people who had already settled in Louisiana, and giving glowing descriptions of the country. Such a pamphlet, in German, which, perhaps, came to Louisiana with one of the German pioneer families, was found, by the author some twenty-five years ago in a little book shop in Exchange Alley, New Orleans, and at his suggestion it was bought for the Fisk Library, where it can be seen. It was printed by J. Friedrich Gleditschen's seel. Sohn, Leipsic, 1720, and bears the title:


£)e^ an bm grojlett ^^uflfc


In 9]orb*3(merica gelegcnen Jenfic^en ianftetf


McttcU'Aufgcrld^rerc 8ran^6jifc^c groffc

Solonien ju fcf)icfen ansefangen; einigeOtejleponcn uber Me ttjeit^^jjinauc^'

fc^en^c Def^eins9c^ac^te^; Sompagnic,


tc0 baruBcr enff^anbcrtert

crDffttct wer^en. 2(ttbet'e 2liufla^c,

Mt neuen25et)Iagert unt) SitimcrcftUigm


I 7 2 G,

After stating that "through the adventurer 'Christophum Columbum' many of those Europeans had been led to leave 'Europam' for 'Americam,' especially for those then still undiscovered countries," the author describes the boundaries of Louisiana as follows:

''The boundaries of Louisiana are towards east Florida and Carolina, towards north Virginia and Canada. The northern Hm-its are entirely unknown. In 1700, a Canadian, M. le Sieur, ascended the Mississippi over 700 miles. But there is still another district known of over 100 miles, for which reason it is almost to be supposed that this country extends to the 'Polum Arcticum.'"

The soil, the author says, is "extremely pleasant." Four crops a year can be raised. The abundance of the country cannot be easily imagined. There is also game, which every person is permitted to kill: leopards, bears, buffaloes, deer, whole swarms of Indian hens, snipe, turtle-doves, partridges, wood-pigeons, quail, beavers, martens, wild cats, parrots, buzzards, and ducks. Deer is the most useful game, and the French carry on a great "negotium" in doeskins, which they purchase from the savages. Ten to twelve leaden bullets are given in exchange for such a skin.

The principal things, however, are the mines:

"The land is filled with gold, silver, copper, and lead mines. If one wishes to hunt for mines, he need only go into the country of the Natchitoches. There we will surely 'draw pieces of silver mines out of the earth.' After these mines we will hunt for herbs and plants for the apothecaries. The savages will make them known to us. Soon we shall find healing remedies for the most dangerous wounds, yes, also, so they say, infallible ones for the fruits of love."

Of the spring floods in "Februario and Martio" the author says that they are sometimes so high that the water rises over 100 feet, so that the tops of the pine trees on the seashore can no longer be seen.

About New Orleans a man writes to his wife in Europe:

"I betook myself to where they are beginning now to build the capital, New Orleans. Its circumference will be one mile. The houses are poor and low, as at home with us in the country. They are covered with large pieces of bark and strong reeds. Everybody dresses as he pleases, but all very poorly. One's outfit consists of a suit of clothes, bed, table, and trunks. Tapestry and fine beds are entirely unknown. The people sleep the whole night in the open air. I am as safe in the most distant part of the town as in a citadel. Although I live among savages and Frenchmen, I am in no danger. People trust one another so much that they leave gates and doors open."

The productiveness of the investment in land, and the value of the shares are thus made clear to the people:

"If one gets 300 acres of land for 100 Reichstalers, then three acres cost one Taler; but, if the benefit to be derived and other 'prerogatives' of such lands are considered then an acre of this land, even if not cultivated, is worth about 100 Talers. From this basis it follows that 300 acres, which, as stated already, cost 100 Talers when purchased, are really worth 30,000 Talers. For this reason one can easily understand why these shares may yet rise very high."

No wonder that the agitation on both banks of the river Rhine, from Switzerland to Holland, bore fruit, and that thousands of people got themselves ready to emigrate to Louisiana.

Ten Thousand Germans on the Way to Louisiana.

German historians state that, as a result of this agitation, 10,000 Germans emigrated to Louisiana. This seems a rather large number of people to be enticed by the promoter's promises to leave their fatherland and emigrate to a distant country; but we must consider the pitiable condition under which these people lived at home. No part of Germany had suffered more through the terrible "Thirty Years' War" (1618-1648), than the country on the Rhine, and especially the Palatinate; and after the Thirty Years' War came the terrible period of Louis XIV., during which large portions of Alsace and Lorraine, with the city of Strass-burg, were forcibly and against the protestations of the people taken away from the German empire, and the Palatinate particularly was devastated in the most terrible manner. Never before nor afterwards were such barbarous deeds perpetrated as by Turenne, Melac, and other French generals in the Palatinate; and whether French troops invaded Germany or Germans marched against the French, it was always the Palatinate and the other countries on both banks of the Rhine that suffered most through war and its fearful consequences; pestilence, famine, and often also religious persecution,—for the ruler of a country then often prescribed which religion his subjects must follow.

These people on the Rhine had at last lost courage, and, as

in 1709/10, at the time of the great famine, 15,000 inhabitants of the Palatinate had Hstened to the EngHsh agents and had gone down the Rhine to England to seek passage for the English colonies in America, so they were again only too eager to listen to the Louisiana promoter, promising them peace, political and religious freedom, and wealth in the new world. So they went forth, not only from the Palatinate, but also from Alsace, Lorraine, Baden, Wiirtemberg, the electorates of Mayence and Treves (Mainz and Trier), and even from Switzerland, some of whose sons were already serving in the Swiss regiments of Halwyl and Karer, sent by France to Louisiana.

The statement that 10,000 Germans left their homes for Louisiana is also supported by unimpeachable French testimony. The Jesuit Charlevoix, who came from Canada to Louisiana in December, 1721, and passed "the mournful wrecks" of the settlement on John Law's grant on the Arkansas River, mentions in his letter "these 9,000 Germans, who were raised in the Palatinate."

How Many of These 10,000 Germans Reached Louisiana?

Only a small portion of these 10,000 Germans ever reached the shores of Louisiana. We read that the roads leading to the French ports of embarkation were covered with Germans, but that many broke down on their journey from hardships and privations. In the French ports, moreover, where no preparations had been made for the care of so many strangers, and where, while waiting for the departure of the vessels, the emigrants lay crowded together for months, and were insufficiently fed, epidemic diseases broke out among them and carried off many. Indeed, the church registers of Louisiana contain proofs of this fact. In the old marriage records, which always give the names of the parents of the contracting parties, the writer has often found the remark that the parents of the bride or of the bridegroom had died in the French ports of L'Orient, La Rochelle, or Brest. Others tired of waiting in port, and, perhaps,

becoming discouraged, gave up the plan of emigrating to Louisiana, looked for work in France, and remained there.

Then came the great loss of human life on the voyage across the sea. Such a voyage often lasted several months, long stops often being made in San Domingo, where the people were exposed to infection from tropical diseases. When even strong and healthy people succumbed to diseases brought on by the privations and hardships of such a voyage, by the miserable fare, by the lack of drinking water and disinfectants, and by the terrible odors in the ship's hold,—how must these emigrants have fared, weakened as they were from their journey through France and from sickness in the French ports? At one time only forty Germans landed in Louisiana of 200 who had gone on board. Martin speaks of 200 Germans who landed out of 1200.

Sickness and starvation, however, were not the only dangers of the emigrant of those days. At that time the buccaneers, who had been driven from Yucatan by the Spaniards in 1717, were yet in the Gulf of Mexico, and pursued European vessels because these, in addition to emigrants, usually carried large quantities of provisions, arms, ammunition, and money; and many a vessel that plied between France and Louisiana was never heard of again. In 1721 a French ship with "300 very sick Germans" on board was captured by buccaneers near the Bay of Samana in San Domingo.

After considering all this we are ready to approach the question of how many Germans really left France for Louisiana. Chevalier Guy Soniat DufTosat, a French naval officer who settled in Louisiana about 1751, in his "Synopsis of the History of Louisiana" (page 15) says, that 6000 Germans left Europe for Louisiana. This statement, if not correct, comes evidently so near to the truth that we may accept it.

To ^his it may be added that according to my own searching inquiries, and after the examination of all the well-known authorities, as well as of copies of many official documents until recently unavailable, I have come to the conclusion that of those 6000 Germans who left Europe for Louisiana, only about one-third—

2000—actually reached the shores of the colony. By this I do not mean to say that 2000 Germans settled in Louisiana, but only that 2000 reached the shores and were disembarked in Biloxi and upon Dauphine Island, in the harbor of Mobile. How many of them perished in those two places will be told in another part of this work.

French Colonists.

Besides John Law, who enlisted Germans, the Western Company and the other concessioners also carried on an agitation for the enlistment of engages. How this was done, and what results were obtained with the French colonists, is described by the Jesuit Charlevoix, an eye witness, who came to Louisiana in 1721 to report on the condition of the colony. He says:

"The people who are sent there are miserable wretches driven from France for real or supposed crimes, or bad conduct, or persons who have enlisted in the troops or enrolled as emigrants, in order to avoid the pursuit of their creditors. Both classes regard the country as a place of exile. Everything disheartens them; nothing interests them in the progress of a colony of which they are only members in spite of themselves." (Marbois, page 115.)

The Chevalier Champigny in his Memoire (La Haye, 1776) expresses himself stronger:

"They gathered up the poor, mendicants and prostitutes, and embarked them by force on the transports. On arriving in Louisiana they were married and had lands assigned to them to cultivate, but the idle life of three-fourths of these folks rendered them unfit for farming. You cannot find twenty of these vagabond families in Louisiana now. Most of them died in misery or returned to France, bringing back such ideas which their ill success had inspired. The most frightful accounts of the country of the Mississippi soon began to spread among the public, at a time when German colonists were planting new and most successful establishments on the banks of the Mississippi, within five or seven leagues from New Orleans. This tract, still occupied by their descendants, is the best cultivated and most thickly settled part of the colony, and I regard the Germans and the Canadians as the founders of all our establishments in Louisiana."

Franz, in his "Kolonisation des Mississippitales" (Leipzig, 1906), writes:

"The company even kept a whole regiment of archers (band-ouillers de Mississippi) which cleaned Paris of its rabble and adventurers, and received for this a fixed salary and 100 livres a head, and even honest people were not safe from them. Five thousand people are said to have disappeared from Paris in April, 1721, alone." (Page 124.)

And again:

"Prisoners were set free in Paris in September, 1719, and later, under the condition that they would marry prostitutes and go with them to Louisiana. The newly married couples were chained together and thus dragged to the port of embarkation." (Page 121.)

The complaints of the concessioners and of the company itself concerning this class of French immigrants and engages were soon so frequent and so pressing, that the French government, in May, 1720, prohibited such deportations. This, however, did not prevent the shipping of a third lot of lewd women in 1721, the first and the second having been sent in 1719 and 1720.

Arrival of the First Immigration en Masse.

The first immigration en masse took place in the year 1718. There landed then in Louisiana, which at that time had only 700 inhabitants, on one day 800 persons, so that the population on that one day was more than doubled.

How many Germans were among these I cannot say; but, as several concessions are mentioned to which some of these immigrants were sent, and as the church registers of Louisiana mention names of Germans who served on these concessions, we may assume that there were some Germans among them.

In the spring and summer of 1719 immigration to Louisiana was suspended on account of the war which had broken out between France and Spain. The Louisiana troops took Pensacola from Spain, lost it again, and retook it. In front of Dauphine Island, in the harbor of Mobile, where there were some concessioners with their engages, a Spanish flotilla appeared, shutting off the island for ten days. The crew of a

Spanish gunboat plundered the property of the concessioners lying on the shore, but were repulsed in a second attempt by the French solders, some Indians, and the people engaged by the concessioners.

In the fall of 1719 the French ship "Les Deux Freres" came to Ship Island with "a great number of Germans." The ship was laden with all sorts of merchandise and effects "which belonged to them." These people could not have been intended for John Law; for, judging from what they brought along with them, they must have been people of some means, who intended to become independent settlers.

A Misstatement.

This report is taken from "Relation Penicaut." Penicaut was a French carpenter who lived for twenty-two years (1699 to October, 1721) in the colony, and his "Relation" is an important source for the history of Louisiana. Mr. French, whose "Historical Collection of Louisiana" is well known, translated it and published it in the first volume of his "Louisiana and Florida." In this translation (N. Y., 1889, I., 151) we read concerning the German immigrants of the ship "Les Deux Freres," mentioned before, the following:

"This was the first installment of twelve thousand Germans purchased by the Western Company from one of the princes of Germany to colonize Louisiana."

This is not true. For in the first place, the original text of "Relation Penicaut" which Margry printed in his volume V. does not contain a single word about an installment nor about a German prince who had sold his subjects to the Western Company; and secondly, people who come "with all sorts of merchandise and effects, which belong to them," are not people who have been sold.

In November, 1719, when the headquarters of the company were no longer on Dauphine Island, in the harbor of Mobile,* but had been again transferred to Fort Maurepas (Ocean

*A sand bar formed by a storm in 1717 having ruined the entrance to that harbor.

Springs), a part of this fort was burned,^ whereupon the woods on the other side of the Biloxi Bay were cut down, and Dumont reports that "a company of stout German soldiers" were busy at that work. Whence these German soldiers came we are informed by the "Memoire pour Duverge" (Margry V., 6i6), where it is stated that a company of 210 Swiss "soldats ouv-riers" had been sent to the colony. They cleared the land at the site of the present Biloxi, built a fort, houses, and barracks for officers and soldiers, magazines, and "even a cistern." This place was called "New Biloxi," and thither the Compagnie des Indes, on the 20th of December, 1720, decided to transfer its headquarters. Governor Bienville also took up his residence there on the 9th of September, 1721, but transferred it to New Orleans in the month of August, 1722.

From this time until the beginning of the Spanish period, in 1768, the Swiss formed an integral part of the French troops in Louisiana. There were always at least four companies of fifty men each in the colony. They regularly received new additions, and, at the expiration of their time of service, they usually took up a trade, or settled on some land contiguous to the German coast. It was even a rule to give annually land, provisions, and rations to two men from each Swiss company to facilitate their settling.

According to the church records of Louisiana (marriage and death registers), the great majority of these Swiss soldiers were Germans from all parts of the fatherland under Swiss or Alsatian officers. Of the latter, Philip Grondel, of Zabern, became celebrated as the greatest fighter and most feared duellist of the whole colony. He was made chevalier of the military order of St. Louis, and commander of the Halwyl regiment of Swiss soldiers.

As to the general reputation these Swiss-German soldiers established for themselves in Louisiana, it is interesting to read


"Governor Kerlerec even begged that Swiss troops be sent to him in place of the French, not only on account of their superior

' A drunken sergeant dropping his lighted pipe had set fire to it.

discipline and fighting qualities, but because the colonists had as great a dread of the violence, cruelty, and debauchery of the troops ordinarily sent out from France as they had of the savages." (Albert Phelps' "Louisiana," page 95.)

In the beginning of the year 1720, says Penicaut, seven ships came with more than 4000 persons, "French as w^ell as Germans and Jews." They were the ships "La Gironde," "L'Elephant," "La Loire," "La Seine," "Le Dromadaire," "La Traversier," and "La Venus." As "Le Dromadaire" brought the whole outfit for John Law's concession, the staff of Mr. Elias,^ the Jewish business manager of Law, may have been on board this vessel. For the same reason we may assume that the German people on board, or at least a large part of them, were so-called "Law People."

On the i6th of September, 1720, the ship "Le Profond" brought more than 240 Germans "for the concession of Mr. Law," '^ and on the 9th of November, 1720, the ship "La Marie" brought Mr. Levens, the second director of Law's concessions, and Mr. Maynard, "conducteur d'ouvriers."

The Germans who came on the seven ships mentioned by Penicaut and those who arrived on board the "Le Profond" seem to have been the only ones of the thousands recruited for Law in Germany who actually reached the Arkansas River, traveling from Biloxi by way of the inland route—Lake Borgne, Lake Pontchartrain, Lake Maurepas, Amite River, Bayou Manchac and the Mississippi River.

How THE Immigrants Were Received and Provided for. A Terrible State of Affairs.

A rapid increase of the population, especially a doubling of it on one day, would at all times, even in a well regulated community, be a source of embarrassment; and it would need the most careful preparations and the purchasing and storing of a great quantity of provisions in order to solve the problem of subsistence in a satisfactory manner.

*Terrage calls him "Elias Stultheus". *La Harpe.

On Daiipliine Island and on Biloxi Bay, nevertheless, where the officials of the Compagnie des Indes ruled, nothing was done for the reception of so many newcomers. Everybody seems to have lived there like unto the lilies of the field: "They toiled not, neither did they spin." Nobody sowed, nobody harvested, and all waited for the provision ships from France and from San Domingo, which often enough did not arrive when needed most, so that the soldiers had to be sent out to the Indians in the woods to make a living there as best they could by fishing and hunting. Penicaut says that the Indians, especially the Indian maidens, enjoyed these visits of the soldiers as much as the French did. This statement seems to be confirmed by the baptismal records of Mobile, where the writer found entries saying that Indian women "in the pains of childbirth" gave the names of the officers and soldiers whom they claimed as the fathers of their children. There are prominent names among these fathers.

Thus the poor immigrants were put on land where there was always more or less of famine, sometimes even of starvation, and where the provisions which the concessioners had brought with them to feed their own engages were taken away from the ships by force to feed the soldiers, and the immigrants were told to subsist on what they might be able to catch on the beach, standing for the most part of the day in the salt water up to the waist—crabs, oysters, and the like—and on the corn which the Biloxi, the Pascagoula, the Chacta, and the Mobile Indians might let them have.

Governor Bienville repeatedly demanded that these immigrants should not be landed on the gulf coast at all, but should be taken up the Mississippi River to the place where he intended to esablish his headquarters and build the city of New Orleans; because thence they could easily reach the concessions, a majority of which were on the banks of the Mississippi. But the question whether large vessels could enter and ascend the great river—the French directors pretended not to know this yet, although the colony had been in existence for about twenty years—and the little and the big quarrels between the directors

and the governor, whom they would never admit to be right, did not permit this rational solution of the difficulty.

Furthermore, as a very large number of smaller boats, by which the immigrants might easily have been taken to the concessions by the inland route through Lake Pontchartrain, had been allowed to go to wreck on the sands of Biloxi, the newcomers, especially those who arrived in 1721, had to stay for many months in Biloxi and on Dauphine Island, where they starved in masses or died of epidemic diseases.

It may be taken for granted that at these two places more than one thousand Germans died.

"Many died," says Dumond, "because in their hunger they ate plants which they did not know and which instead of giving them strength and nourishment, gave them death, and most of those who were found dead among the piles of oyster shells were Germans."

In the spring of 1721 such a fearful epidemic raged in Biloxi among the immigrants that the priests at that place, having so many other functions to perform, were no longer able to keep the death register. (See "Etat Civil" for 1727, where a Capuchin priest records the death of a victim of the epidemic of 1721, in Biloxi, on the strength of testimony of witnesses, no other way of certifying to the death being possible.)

Thus, for many months, the effects of the concessioners and of the immigrants were exposed to the elements on the sand of the beach. Even the equipment for Law's concession, which had arrived in the beginning of 1720, a cargo valued at a million of livres, lay in the open air in Biloxi for fifteen months, before the ship "Le Dromadaire," in May, 1721, at the order of the governor, but against the protests of some of the directors of the company, sailed with it for the mouth of the Mississippi.

This ship, with its load, drew thirteen feet of water and, as the "Neptune," also drawing thirteen feet, had crossed the bar of the Mississippi and sailed up to the site of New Orleans as early as 1718, and as an English vessel carrying 16 guns had passed up to English Turn in September, 1699, there was no reason whatsoever for detaining "Le Dromadaire" for fifteen

months. A proper use of the "Neptune" alone, which had been stationed permanently in the colony since 1718, would have relieved the congestion in Biloxi and saved thousands of human lives which were sacrificed by the criminal neglect of the officials of the Compagnie des Indes.

As "Le Dromadaire" carried the oufit for the Law concession and for the plantation of St. Catharine, this ship may also have had some passengers on board, German engages, so-called Law people; but perhaps not very many, as Bienville, in sending her to the Mississippi against the protests of some of the directors of the company, took a great responsibility upon himself, and could not afford to load her too heavily, lest there should be trouble in getting her over the bar of the river. The larger number of the German Law people, those who had arrived during the year 1720, had, no doubt, been sent to the Arkansas River by the inland route to clear the land and provide shelter for the great number of Germans who were expected to arrive in the spring of 1721.

No wonder that under such conditions as obtained in Biloxi a very low state of law and order reigned there, and that complete anarchy could be prevented only by drastic measures. A company of Swiss soldiers in the absence of their commander forced the captain of a ship to turn his vessel and to take them to Havana; and another company marched off to join the English in Carolina. The Swiss in Fort Toulouse, above Mobile, also rose and killed their captain; but these mutineers were captured and punished in Indian fashion by crushing their heads; one Swiss was packed into a barrel which was then sawed in two, and a German who had helped himself to something to eat in the warehouse in Biloxi was condemned by the Superior Council to be pulled five times through the water under the keel of a vessel.

But punishment which was meted out so severely to the small pilferer did not reach the guilty ones in high positions. Though the Germans on the other side of the bay died by the hundreds from starvation, Hubert, the commissioner general,

who, as an investigation proved, had not kept any books during the whole tenure of his office, did not even know that there was a shipload of provisions in the hull of a vessel stranded near Ocean Springs and left there for eleven months. Yet Hubert was not punished.

Even this description, perhaps, does not give the whole truth, as contemporary writers did not dare to say what they knew. Dupratz says (I. 166) :

"So delicate a matter is it to give utterance to the truth that the pen often falls from the hands of those who are most disposed to be accurate."

Germans in Pascagoula.

In January, 1721, 300 engages came to the concession of Madame Chaumont in Pascagoula. There were no Germans among them, as the census of 1725 shows, but Pensacola must be mentioned here, as there was a German colony at that place very early, arising, perhaps, on the ruins of this concession or of some other enterprise. The date of the founding of that German settlement is not known; but, in 1772, the English captain Ross found there, on the farm of "Krebs," cotton growing and a roller cotton gin, the invention of Krebs, and, perhaps, the first successful cotton gin in America.^

In the same year (1772) we hear of a great storm which raged most furiously "on the farm of Krebs and among the Germans of Pascagoula."

His last will and testament, written in New Orleans in the Spanish language in 1776, gives his full name as "Hugo Ernestus Krebs." He was from Neumagen on the Moselle, Germany, and left fourteen grown children, whose descendants still own the old Krebs farm, which the author visited in August, 1906. It is situated on a slight elevation on the border of "Krebs' Lake," near the mouth of the Pascagoula River, and a mile and a half north of the railroad station of Scranton (now incorporated with East Pascagoula), Mississippi.

• Cotton was planted in Louisiana much earlier. Charlevoix saw some in a garden in Natchez in 1721; and Dupratz constructed a machine for extracting the seed; but his machine was a failure.

The Creoles there call the Krebs home "the old fort," and the three front rooms forming the center of the house, the rest consisting of more recent additions, were evidently built with a view of affording protection against the Indians. The walls of this part of the house are eighteen inches thick, the masonry consists of a very hard concrete of lime, unbroken large oyster shells, and clay. The post and sills are of heavy cypress, which, after serving at least 175 years, do not show any signs of decay. The floor is made of concrete similar to that of the walls, but a wooden floor has been laid upon it, taking away about eighteen inches from the original height of the rooms. All the wood work was hewn with the broad axe.

In front of the house lies an old mill stone which once upon a time served to crush the corn.

Near the house is the "Krebs Cemetery," with the tombs of the members of the Krebs family, of whom a great number are buried there. The accompanying pictures were taken on the spot.

According to the family traditions the old fort was built by "Commodore de la Pointe," who is said to have been a brother of Madame Chaumont. Hamilton, in his "Colonial Mobile," page 140, says that Joseph Simon de la Pointe received, on the I2th of November, 1715, from Governor Cadillac, a land concession on Dauphine Island for the purpose of enabling him to raise cattle. As Dauphine Island was practically abandoned, after the great storm of 1717, de la Pointe probably also gave up his concession, and a map, drawn about 1732 ("Colonial Mobile," page 86) shows "Habitation du Sieur Lapointe" ^) on the very spot where the Krebs homestead now stands, near the mouth of the Pascagoula River.

La Pointe's daughter, Marie Simon de la Pointe, became the first wife of Hugo Ernestus Krebs. Thus the old fort came into possession of the Krebs family, where it still remains, the present owner and occupant being Mrs. J. T. Johnson, nee Cecile Krebs, an amiable and highly intelligent lady to whom

* Every concessioner was given the title of "Sieur






the author's thanks are due. She is the great grand-daughter of Joseph Simon Krebs, the eldest son of Hugo Ernestus Krebs and Marie Simon de la Pointe.

Francesco Krebs, the second son of Hugo Ernestus Krebs and Marie Simon de la Pointe, received Round Island in the Bay of Pascagoula, containing about no acres of land, as a grant from the Spanish government, on the 13th of December, 1783, after having occupied it for many years. The family of his wife had received permission to settle there from the French governor Bienville, who left Louisiana in May, 1743.

Pest Ships.

On the 3d of February, 1721, the ship "La Mutine" arrived at Ship Island with 147 Swiss "Ouvriers" of the Compagnie des Indes, under the command of Sieur de Merveilleux and his brother. French speaks of 347 Swiss.

Shortly before, on the 24th of January, 1721, four ships had sailed from the French port of L'Orient for Louisiana with 875 Germans and 66 Swiss emigrants. The names of these ships were "Les Deux Freres," "La Garonne," "La Saonne," and "La Charante." Of these four ships the official passenger lists, signed by the authorities of L'Orient, have been preserved, and a copy of the same came into the possession of the "Louisiana Historical Society" in December, 1904. From these it appears that these emigrants, who had, perhaps, traveled in troops from their homes in Germany and Switzerland to the port of embarkation, were divided on board according to the parishes whence they had come. Each parish had a "prevot" or "maire," whilst the leader of the Swiss bears the title of "brigadier." We find the parishes of

Hoffen (there is one Hofen in Alsace, one in Hesse-Nassan, three in Wurtemberg, also five "Hoefen" in Germany) ;

Freiburg (Baden) ;

Augsburg (Bavaria) ;

Friedrichsort (near Kiel, Holstein) ;

Freudenfeld (some small place in Germany not contained even in Neumann's "Orts-und Verkehrs-Lexicon," which gives the names of all places of 300 inhabitants and upwards) ;

Neukirchen (many places of that name in Germany, but this seems to have been Neukirchen, electorate of Mayence) ;

Sinzheim (one Sinzheim and one Sinsheim, both in Baden) ;

Freudenburg (Treves [Trier], Rhenish Prussia);

Brettheim (Wurtemberg) ;

Wertheim (on the Tauber, Germany) ;

Sinken (one Singen near Durlach, another near Constance, both in Baden, Germany) ;

Ingelheim (near Mayence, Prussia) ;

Hochburg (Baden).

It w^ould seem strange that, in spite of the great number of people whom these four vessels had on board for Louisiana, not one of our Louisiana historians should mention by name the arrival in the colony of more than one of these ships. There is a horrible cause for this: but few of these Q41 emigrants survived the horrors of the sea voyage and landed on the coast of Louisiana!

The one ship mentioned as having arrived is "Les Deux Freres," v^hich La Harpe reports as having reached Louisiana on the I St of March, 1721, with only 40 Germans for John Law out of 200 who had gone on board in France. The official passenger list before me mentions 147 Germans and 66 Swiss, or 213 persons on board. Therefore i/j lives out of 21^ were lost on this ship alone on the sea!

And the other three vessels? Martin says that in March, 1721, only 200 Germans arrived in Louisiana out of 1200 embarked in France. Martin, no doubt, refers to the 875 Germans and 66 Swiss on board the four ships just mentioned, with, perhaps, one or two additional ships.

"La Garonne" was the ship with the 300 "very sick" Germans which was taken by the pirates near San Domingo.

What suffering must have been endured on board these pest ships, what despair! Fearful sickness must have raged with indescribable fury.

The history of European emigration to America does not record another death rate approaching this. The one coming nearest to it is that of the "Emanuel," "Juffer Johanna," and "Johanna Maria," three Dutch vessels which sailed from Helder,

the deep water harbor of Amsterdam, in 1817, with 1150 Germans destined for New Orleans. They arrived at the mouth of the Mississippi, after a voyage of five months, with only 597 passengers living, the other 503 having died on the sea from starvation and sickness, many also in their fever and utter despair having jumped overboard.^*^

There is a document attached to the passenger lists of the four pest ships from L'Orient, giving the names of sixteen Germans who were put ashore by the ship "La Garonne" in the port of Brest, France, a few days after her departure from L'Orient, and left at Brest at the expense of the company "chez le Sieur Morel as sick until their recovery or death." All sixteen died between the loth and the 27th of February, 1721, proving the deadly character of their malady. This disease having broken out immediately after the departure of "La Garonne" from L'Orient, and evidently on all four vessels, we may assume that the passengers were already infected while still in port, and it must have broken out a second time on board "La Garonne" after her departure from Brest. The heartless treatment given the emigrants of that time, the lack of wholesome food, drinking water, medicines and disinfectants accounts for the rest.

Among the sixteen victims "chez le Sieur Morel" in Brest are found members of two families well known and very numerous in Louisiana at present:

Jacob Scheckschneider (Cheznaidre) whose parents, Hans Rein-hard and Cath. Scheckschneider, were on board La Garonne with two children; ^^

Hans Peter Schaf, whose parents, Hans Peter and Marie Lis-beth Schaf, were on board the same vessel with two children. The whole family seems to have perished, but there was a second family of that same name on board which will be mentioned presently.

Of other passengers of La Garonne on this terrible voyage should be mentioned:

" See the author's Das Redemptions system im Staafe Louisiana, p. 14. "The surviving child, Albert Scheckschneider, became the progenitor of the Scheckschneider family in Louisiana.

Ernst Katzenherger and wife, founders of the Casbergue fam-

Adam Trischl, wife and three children, founders of the Triche

family; Andreas Traeger, wife and child, founders of the Tregre fam-

ily; Jean Martin Traeger and wife, who seem to have perished; Joseph Keller, wife and two children, founders of the Keller

family; Jacob Schaf, his wife and six children (probably related to the

Schaf family mentioned above), the founders of the Chauffe


On the passenger list of the other three pest ships are found:

Heidel (Haydel) Ship La Charante. Widow Jean Adam Heidel and two children. They were two sons, the elder of whom, "Ambros Heidel," married a daughter of Jacob Schaf (Chauffe) and became the progenitor of all the "Haydel" families in Louisiana. His younger brother is not mentioned after 1727.

Zweig (Labranche) Ship Les Deux Freres. Two families: i) Jean Adam Zweig, wife and daughter; 2) Jean Zweig, wife and two children, a son and a daughter. The daughter married Jos. Verret, to whom she bore seven sons, and later she married Alexandre Baure. The son married Suzanna Marchand and became the progenitor of all the Labranche families. "Labranche" is a translation of the German "Zweig" and appears in the marriage record of the son of Jean Zweig.

Rommel (Rome) Ship Les Deux Freres. Jean Rommel, wife and two children,

Hofmann (Ocman) Ship Les Deux Freres. Jean Hofmann, wife and child. Ship La Saone. Michael Hofmann, wife and two children from Augsburg, Bavaria.

Schantz (Chance) Ship Les Deux Freres. Andreas Schantz and wife.

These vessels having arrived in Biloxi during March, 1721, the 200 survivors of the 1200 Germans no doubt were in Biloxi in the following month, when the greatest of all epidemics raged there, and, after their escape from the dangers of the sea voyage, they again furnished material for disease. Jean Adam Zweig is especially mentioned in the census of 1724 as having died in Biloxi.

Towards the end of May, 1721, the "St. Andre," which

sailed April 13th, 1721, from L'Orient with 161 Germans, arrived in Louisiana. Among them are named Jean George Huber (Oubre, Ouvre), wife and child. A few days later, the "La Durance," which sailed April 23d, from L'Orient with 109 Germans, reached Louisiana. On the passenger list of this ship appears "Caspar Dubs, wife and two children." Caspar Dubs was the progenitor of all the "Toups" families in Louisiana. He was from the neighborhood of Ziirich, Switzerland, where the "Dubs" family still has many branches in the Affoltern district.

Finally there came, according to la Harpe, on the 4th of June, 1721, the "Portefaix" from France with 330 immigrants, mostly Germans, and originally intended for John Law's concessions. They were under the command of Karl Friedrich D'Arensbourg, a former Swedish officer, then in the service of the Compagnie des Indes. La Harpe says that thirty more Swedish officers came with him.

Charlotte Von Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel.

A very romantic legend has come down to us from that time. It is said that with the German immigrants of the four pest ships who arrived in Louisiana in March, 1721, there came also Charlotte Christine Sophie, a German princess of the house of Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel, who had been the wife of the Czarevitch Alexis, the oldest son of Czar Peter the Great of Russia. She is said to have suffered so much from the brutality and infidelity of her husband that, in 1715, four years after her marriage, she simulated death, and while an official burial was arranged for her, she escaped from Russia, and later came to Louisiana, where she married the Chevalier d'Aubant, a French officer, whom she had met in Europe.

Gayarre (Vol. I, page 263) made a very pretty story of this legend, and added a touching introductory chapter. According to him the Chevalier d'Aubaut, a young Frenchman, was attached to the court of Braunschweig as an officer in the duke's household.

"He had gazed so on the star of beauty, Charlotte, the paragon of virtue and of talent in her ambrosial purity of heaven, that he had become mad—mad with love!

Now the princess is on her way to St. Petersburg and her bridegroom is with her, and fast travelers are these horses of the Ukraine, the wild Mazeppa horses that are speeding away with her.

In her escort is a young Cossack officer riding closely to the carriage door, with watchful care and whenever the horses of the vehicle which carried Alexis and his bride threatened to become unruly, his hand was always first to interfere and to check them; and all other services which chance threw in his way, he would render with meek and unobtrusive eagerness; but silent he was as the tomb.

Once on such an occasion, no doubt as an honorable reward for his submissive behavior and faithful attendance, the princess beckoned to him to lend her the help of his arm to come down the steps of her carriage. Slight was the touch of the tiny hand; light was the weight of that sylphlike form: and yet the rough Cossack trembled like an aspen leaf, and staggered under the convulsive effort which shook his bold frame."

It was d'Aubant, of course, the Chevalier of the Braunschweig court, her lover in disguise.

"On the day of their arrival in St. Petersburg he received a sealed letter with two papers. One was a letter; it read thus: 'D'Aubant.

'Your disguise was not one for me. . It could not deceive my heart. Now that I am the wife of another, know for the first time my long kept secret—I love you. Such a confession is a declaration that we must never meet again. The mercy of God be on us both.'

The other paper was a passport signed by the Emperor himself, and giving to the Chevalier d'Aubant permission to leave the empire at his convenience.

In 1718 he arrived in Louisiana with the grade of captain in the colonial troops. Shortly after he was stationed at New Orleans, where he shunned the contact of his brother officers and lived in the utmost solitude.

On the bank of the Bayou St. John, on the land known in our day as the Allard plantation, there was a small village of friendly Indians, and beginning where the bridge now spans the bayou, a winding path connected it with New Orleans. There the chevalier lived, and his dwelling contained a full length portrait of a female surpassingly beautiful, in the contemplation of which he would frequently remain absorbed, as in a trance, and on a table lay a crown, resting not on a cushion, as usual, but on a heart, which it crushed with its weight, and at which the lady from out of the

picture gazed with intense melancholy. Every one felt that it was sacred ground out there on the Bayou St. John.

It was on a vernal evening, in March, 1721, the last rays of the sun were lingering in the west, and d'Aubant was sitting in front of the portrait, his eyes rooted to the ground—when suddenly he looked up—gracious heaven! it was no longer an inanimate representation of fictitious life which he saw—it was flesh and blood—the dead was alive again and confronting him with a smile so sweet and sad—with eyes moist with rapturous tears—and with such an expression of concentrated love as can only be borrowed from the abode of bliss above.

Next day they were married, and in commemoration of this event they planted those two oaks, which, looking like twins, and interlocking their leafy arms, are, to this day, to be seen standing side by side on the bank of the Bayou St. John, and bathing their feet in the stream, a little to the right of the bridge as you pass in front of Allard's plantation."

Such is Gayarre's account. It is a pity to destroy such a pretty legend, but the historian is not the man of sentiment— he seeks truth.

Let us examine this story critically, first acquainting ourselves with conditions in Russia, whence it emanated.

Alexis, the husband of the German princess, was at the head of the old Russian party which violently opposed the reforms introduced by the Czar Peter the Great, the father of Alexis. A conspiracy was formed by this party to frustrate the reforms, and the Czar, fearing for the success of his plans, forced Alexis, the heir apparent, to resign his claims to the Russian succession and to promise to become a monk. When Peter the Great was on his second tour through Western Europe, however, Alexis, with the aid of his party, escaped and fled to Austria. Very unwisely he allowed himself to be persuaded by Privy Counsellor Tolstoi to return from Vienna to Russia, whereupon those who had aided him suffered severe punishment, and Alexis himself was condemned to death. It is true, the sentence was commuted by the Czar, but Alexis died, in 1718, from mental anguish, it was said, but according to others he was beheaded in the prison. To meet the accusations of unjust treatment of his son, the Czar published the records of the court proceedings, proving the conspiracy.

There can be no doubt that the enemies of the Czar, especially the very strong and influential old Russian party, did everything in their power to make the treatment Alexis had received at the hands of his father appear as one of the blackest crimes, and that the Czar's party retaliated by blackening the character of the Czarevitch as much as lay in their power.

At that time, and for the purpose of defaming the character of the dead prince, the story that the German princess, his wife, had simulated death to escape from the martyrdom of a supposedly wretched married life, must have been invented by the partisans of the Czar. Why should she have gone to Louisiana, and nowhere else? Because everybody went to Louisiana at that time. It was the year 1718. That was the very time when John Law and the Western Company were spreading their Louisiana pamphlets broadcast over Europe; it was the time when thousands of the countrymen of the dead princess were preparing themselves to emigrate to the paradise on the Mississippi; it was the time when the name of Louisiana was in the mouth of every one. Moreover, Louisiana was at a safe distance—far enough away to discourage any attempt to disprove the story.

The tale, too, was repeated with such persistency that many European authors printed it, that thousands believed it, and that even official inquiries seem to have been instituted.

As to the princess' alleged Louisiana husband, the Chevalier d'Aubant, who was said to have married her in New Orleans in March, 1721, the present writer desires to say that he has carefully and repeatedly examined the marriage records of New Orleans, Mobile and Biloxi from 1720 to 1730 without meeting with such a name, or any name similar to it. Moreover, Mr. Hamilton, of Mobile, the author of ''Colonial Mobile," ^^ who examined the Mobile records completely and with infinite care, found only a French officer "d'Aubert" (not d'Aubant), who, in 1759, thirty-eight years later, commanded at Fort Toulouse; but this d'Aubert was married to one Louise Marg. Bernoudy, a daughter of a numerous and well-authenticated French pioneer family of Mobile.

" See pages 89 and 164 of that work.

The story of the romantic Louisiana marriage is therefore without foundation, and so the legend is a myth, although Allard's plantation, near New Orleans, is pointed out to us as the dwelling place of the lovers, and the two "leaflocked oak trees right by the bridge still bear witness to their happiness,"

Pickett, in his "History of Alabama," claims the couple as residents of Mobile. Zschokke, the German novelist, makes them residents of "Christinental on the Red River," and others place them in the Illinois district; i. e., the country north of the Yazoo River.

Martin says the King of Prussia called Charlotte's alleged lover "Maldeck." How the King of Prussia was hauled into the story can easily be explained. Louisiana was a French province, and (as will be shown in the chapter "Koly") the Prussian ambassador at the court of France was either for his own account, or as a representative of his king, financially interested in the St. Catherine enterprise in Louisiana; and he was therefore believed to be in a better position and nearer to the channels of information to make inquiries about affairs and people in Louisiana than any other German official in Paris. If, therefore, the family of Braunschweig-Wolfenbuettel desired to investigate the rumors current at that time, they had no better means of doing so than to request the King of Prussia to instruct his ambassador in Paris to make researches. The Prussian ambassador possibly reported that there was a man in Louisiana, by the name of "Maldeck" who claimed his wife to be the princess.

As to the name of "Maldeck," the writer will say that he found that name, or, rather, a name so similar to it that it may have stood for the same. In the passenger lists received by the "Louisiana Historical Society" from Paris in 1904 (see page 106), a laborer named "Guillaume Madeck" is mentioned, a passenger on the ship "Le Profond," who, from the 8th of May, 1720, to the 9th of June, 1720, the day of the departure of the vessel for Louisiana, had received thirty-three rations. A man of such humble station, however, would certainly not have suited a princess for a husband, and so, if the story was ever circulated in Louisiana, either Wilhelm Maldeck, or his Louisiana wife, claiming to be a princess, must have imposed upon the people.

John Law^ a Bankrupt and a Fugitive.^^

With the ship 'Tortefaix," so La Harpe informs us, the news of the failure of John Law and his flight from Paris reached the colony of Louisiana.^^ The news of Law's flight seems to have paralyzed the Compagnie des Indes, for it took them many months to decide what should be done with Law's concessions on the Arkansas River and below English Turn. The German engages on the Arkansas River, who probably arrived there about the end of 1720, or in the spring of 1721, had not yet been able to make a crop, as the preparatory work of clearing the ground and providing shelter for themselves had occupied most of their time, and much sickness also prevailing among them, they were unable to begin farming operations on a larger scale before August, 1721.

These Germans therefore needed assistance until they could help themselves, for not another livre was to be expected from the bankrupt John Law; and the concession must be given up unless the company or some one else should step in to provide for those people.

It seems incomprehensible that the directors of the company in Louisiana, under these circumstances, should have waited from the 4th of June to beyond the middle of November of the same year to decide to take Law's concessions over; and even after they had decided to manage the concessions in the future for their own account, the resolution was not carried out, as Law's agent on the Arkansas, Levens, refused to transfer the

" Law left Paris on the lOth of December, 1720, for one of his estates six miles distant. There Madame Brie lent him her coach, and the Regent furnished the relays and four of his men for an escort. Thus Law travelled towards the Belgian frontier. Returning her coach, Law sent the lady a letter containing a ring valued at 100,000 livres. (Schuetz, Leben und Char-akter der Elisabeth Charlotte, Herzogin von Orleans, Leipzig, 1820.)

"This statement of La Harpe cannot be accepted as correct. Law left France about the middle of December and the news of his flight spread rapidly. The ship La Mutine arrived in Louisiana on the 3d of February; the four pest ships which sailed from L'Orient on the 24th of January— six weeks after Law's flight—arrived in March; the ship St. Andre, which sailed April 13th, came towards the end of May, and a few days later came La Durance, which sailed April 23d, and still no news of the disaster? The ship Portefaix with D'Arensbourg on board, which arrived on the 4th of June, may have brought some instructions concerning the steps to be taken in the matter, but the first news must have reached the colony much earlier.

business to the company or to continue it in the company's name. Furthermore, as this man, in spite of his refusal to carry out orders, was left undisturbed in his position,^^ it happened that the German engages in the meantime received help neither from one side nor from the other to bridge them over to the harvesting time of their first crop, but were forced to ask help of their only friends, the Arkansas and the Sothui Indians. Finally, when help from this last source failed, and small-pox broke out among the Indians and the Germans, they were forced to give up all and abandon the concession.

The Germans Leave Law^s Concessions en Masse^ Appear IN New Orleans^ and Demand Passage for Europe. According to tradition, the Germans on the Arkansas resolved ^^ to abandon Law's concession and to go down the Mississippi to New Orleans. Only forty-seven persons remained behind, whom La Harpe met there on the 20th of March, 1722, when he installed Dudemaine Dufresne, but when La Harpe returned from his other mission, viz., the search for the imaginary "Smaragd Rock" in Arkansas, these too had departed.

The arrival of the flotilla of the Germans from the Arkansas River must have been a great surprise for the people of New Orleans. This city was at that time in its very infancy, and seems to have looked more like a mining camp than a town. The engineer Pauget, who went there in March, 1721, to lay out the streets, found in the bush only a small number of huts covered with palmetto leaves or cypress bark; and the Jesuit Charlevoix wrote from New Orleans on the loth of January, 1722, i. e., immediately before the arrival of the Germans from the Arkansas, that New Orleans was a wild, lonely place of about a hundred huts, and almost completely covered by trees and bushes. He found two or three houses, it is true, but such as would not have been a credit to any French village, a large wooden warehouse, and a miserable store, one-half of which had been lent to the Lord for religious services; but, he said, the

" He was replaced only in March, 1722, by Dudemaine Dufresne. " It seems to have been at the end of January or in February, 1722.

people want the Lord to move out again and to accept shelter in a tent. Indeed, New Orleans contained at the taking of the census of November 24th, 1721, excluding soldiers and sailors, only 169 white persons, and the Germans who came down from the Arkansas must have outnumbered them considerably.

The surprise created by their arrival must have been a very unpleasant one for the officials of the Compagnie des Indes. Indeed, the Germans did not come to thank them for favors, and is it to be imagined that some very plain words were spoken by the Germans to the officials of the company; in fact, it is said that Governor Bienville interceded, and when they demanded passage back to Europe, tried his best to induce them to remain.

The results of the conferences were: first, that the Germans from the Arkansas were now given rich alluvial lands on the right bank of the Mississippi River about twenty-five miles above New Orleans, on what is now known as "the German Coast," comprising the parishes of St, Charles and St. John the Baptist, where, in 1721, two German villages, of which we shall hear more, already existed; secondly, that the agent on the Arkansas, Levens, was deposed; and, thirdly, that provisions were sent to the Germans who still remained there.

The Family of D'Arensbourg.

The family of Charles Fred. D'Arensbourg is very important in the history of the German Coast, and as doubts existed until now as to its real descent, it will be treated here at some length.

The former Swedish officer who had charge of the German immigrants of the ship "Portefaix" and who became the commander of the German Coast, signed his name:



and the tradition among his descendants is that he was a nobleman.

Examining his signature, we notice at the end of the first letter a decided downward stroke, making it appear as if this downward stroke was intended to serve as an apostrophe, and that the man really intended to write "D'arensbourg", a form of name which would support the tradition of noble lineage.

The names of the older nobility being usually names of places, we shall now consider the only two places by the name of "Arensburg", which exist in Europe: one in the principality of Schaumburg-Lippe, Germany, and the other on the island of Oesel in the Bay of Riga, province of Livonia, Russia. As the principality of Schaumburg-Lippe is in Germany, and as the Russian province of Livonia was founded by Germans at Riga, in 1200, and belonged to the territory of the "Grerman Knights" for centuries, and as the nobility of Livonia and the other Baltic provinces have kept their German blood pure to the present day, a noble family of that name would in either case be of the German nobility, and the original form of the name would be "von Arensburg".

As our Louisiana D'Arensbourg was a former Swedish officer, and as the town of Arensburg on the island of Oesel in the Bay of Riga, together with the whole province of Livonia, belonged to Sweden up to the year 1721, the year of Chas. Fred. D'Arensbourg's emigration to Louisiana, and as thirty other Swedish officers are said to have come with him to Louisiana in 1721, it might be assumed that our Louisiana D'Arensbourg belonged to the Riga branch of the German noble family "von Arensburg", and that, at the cession of Livonia to Russia, in 1721, our D'Arensbourg, together with thirty compatriots, who all had fought on the Swedish side against Russia, preferred exile to Russification, and emigrated to Louisiana in the year 1721.

Wishing to obtain more definite, and, if possible, official information as to the descent of this D'Arensbourg, the present writer addressed the Imperial German Consul in Riga, and this gentleman, "Herr Generalconsul Dr. Ohneseit", kindly submitted the questions to the chancellory of the "Livlaendische Ritterschaft, Ritterhaus, Riga", where the resident "Landrat" ordered re-

searches with the result that the name of "von Arensburg" could be found neither in the church records of Livonia nor in the records of the "Livlaendische Hofgericht", to whose jurisdiction the island of Oesel belonged during the Swedish dominion and even later. Both the archivist and the notary of the "Livlaen-dische Ritterschaft" write furthermore that no family by the name of "von Arensburg" can be found in the literature relating to the Swedish, the Baltic, the Finnish or the German nobility. This settles the question of noble lineage.

"Herr von Bruningh," the archivist of the "Ritterschaft," however, agrees with the author, that "D'Arensbourg" points to the island of Oesel as the home of the man. It was also suggested that the man may have added "d'Arensbourg" to his family name (which must have been "Karl Friedrich") in order to indicate his birth place, or place of last residence or garrison, or in order to distinguish his family (there being many Fried-richs) from other branches of the same name, "which was not seldom done." Indeed, there were even several Friedrich families in Louisiana, and the census of 1724 mentions two of them, Nos. 2 and 42 in that census. In this case the change of name must have taken place before the departure from France, since the commission held by the Swedish officer was issued in the name of "Charles Fred. D'Arensbourg."

The following is offered as a possible solution: The former Swedish officer "Karl Friedrich," a German and a native or former resident of Arensburg on the island of Oesel, having determined to emigrate to Louisiana rather than become a Russian subject, applied to the Compagnie des Indes for a position in the colony, and in his petition, written in French, signed his name "Charles Friedrich," and added to it "d'Arensbourg" to indicate his birthplace, or place of last residence or garrison. The French officials, mistaking "d'Arensbourg" for his family name, issued his commission to "Charles Frederic d'Arensbourg;" and it being thus entered on the books of the company, and the man being known and addressed officially in that way, he was forced to adopt this as his family name.

The wife of D'Arensbourg, too, is said to have been a

Swedish lady, and her name, according to our historians, was "Catherine Mextrine." This is surely an error, for the author finds that D'Arensbourg was a single man when he came to Louisiana, in 1721. At least the census of 1724 mentions him as a bachelor, aged thirty-one, though the census of 1726 reports him as having a wife and one child. D'Arensbourg was, therefore, married in Louisiana, and we shall prove that his wife's name was neither "Catherine" nor "Mextrine," and that she was not from Sweden, but from "Schwaben" (Wiirtem-berg).

The last three letters "ine" of the name "Mextrine" alone betray her as a German woman. It is the suffix "in," which was formerly added to the family names of married ladies in Germany. We had a German poetess by the name of "Kar-schin," the wife of a tailor named "Karsch;" the wife of a Mr. Meyer used to be called "Frau Meyerin," and I still remember that old people used to call my good mother "Frau Deilerin."

The French officials in Louisiana used to add an "e" to the "in" in order to retain the German pronunciation of the suffix. Thus the church records of Louisiana have:

Folsine, i. e., the wife of Foltz, Lauferine, i. e., the wife of Laufer, and Chafferine, i. e., the wife of Schaefer.

The "x" in Mextrine is a makeshift for the German hissing sound of "z" or "tz," for which there is no special sign in French, "z" in French sounding always like a soft "s."

In proof of all this a facsimile of the signature of "Catherine Mextrine" is given here, which the author found in the marriage contract entered into between her granddaughter, Marie de la Chaise, and Frangois Chauvin de Lery on the 23d of July, 1763:


It will be noticed that she signed her name without the final French "e," just as a German woman of that time would have written the feminine form of the name "Metzer."

Her family name, then, was "Metzer," and according to family tradition she was from Wurtemberg. The present writer is incHned to think that she was the daughter of one Jonas "Mes-quer" (French spelHng), who, according to the passenger lists, sailed with his wife and five children on the 13th of April, 1721, on board the ship "St. Andre" from L'Orient for Louisiana.

In the marriage contract of her eldest son, who married Frangoise de la Vergne on the i8th of June, 1766, the mother of the bridegroom is called by the French notary "Marguerite Mettcherine." Here we also have her Christian name which corresponds with the initial of her own signature. It is not "Catherine" but "Marguerite," a favorite German name for women.

Karl Friedrich D'Arensburg served for more than forty years as commander and judge of the German Coast of Louisiana, sharing alike the joys and hardships of his people, and on one occasion, at least, taking an important part in political matters.

It is the proper place here to mention the part he, then a man of seventy-six years of age, played in the rebellion against the Spanish in 1768.

Ulloa, the Spanish governor, who had come to Louisiana in March, 1766, to take possession of the colony in the name of the King of Spain, to whom France had ceded Louisiana in 1763, had found the population very hostile; and, as he had only ninety soldiers with him, he did not formally take possession of Louisiana, but requested the French commander to hold over and act under Spanish authority until more Spanish troops should arrive. This interim lasted until the 28th of October, 1768, when the people rose and Ulloa was forced to retire to Havana.

During this year Ulloa had taken from the Germans of the German Coast provisions to the value of 1500 piastres to feed the Acadians, who had but recently come into the colony, and were not able yet to sustain themselves. ^"^

"On the 28th of February, 1765, 230 persons, natives of Acadia (Nova Scotia) arrived in Louisiana. They came from San Domingo, where they had found the climate too hot, and were in great misery. Their whole for-

Hearing of the ferment all over the colony, and fearing that the Germans might make the nonpayment of their claims a pretext to join the conspirators, Ulloa, on the 25th of October, 1768, sent a man by the name of Maxant with 1500 piastres to the German Coast to settle the indebtedness of the Spanish government.

In a letter dated Havana, December 4th, 1768, one day after his arrival from New Orleans ("Notes and Documents," page 892) Ulloa says:

"In the early morning after Maxant's departure Lafreniere and Marquis sent Villere and Andre Verret in pursuit of Maxant to prevent the remitting of the money to the Germans, fearing that if he should satisfy them they might no longer have any motive to join the cause of the conspirators.

"Maxant arrived at the habitation of D'Arensbourg for whom I had given him a letter and when he delivered it to him he found him to be so different a man from what he expected him to be—in spite of his great age determined to defend liberty and neither wanting to be a subject of the king (of Spain), nor the country to belong to the king.

"Maxant was arrested by Verret on the place of Cantrelle, the father-in-law of another Verret and Commander of the Acadians, where he was much maltreated. Verret declared later that he received the order to arrest Maxant from Villere, Lafreniere and Marquis,"

Ulloa in this letter expresses the belief that D'Arensbourg had been influenced by his relatives, Villere, the commander of the German militia, and de Lery, the commander of the militia in Chapitoulas. It is true that Villere was married to Louise de la Chaise, and Frangois Chauvin de Lery to Marie de la Chaise, both granddaughters of D'Arensbourg, that de Lery was a first cousin to Chauvin Lafreniere, the attorney general of the col-tune consisted of only 47,000 livres in Canadian paper, which the people of Louisiana refused to accept. Focault demanded permission from Paris to reimburse them, gave them 14,000 livres worth of merchandise and provisions, and sent them to Opelousas and the country of the Attakapas.

On the 4th of May, 1765, 80 persons from Acadia arrived and went to Opelousas.

On the Sth of May, 1765, 48 Acadian families arrived and were sent to Opelousas.

On the i6th of November, 1766, 216 Acadians arrived from Halifax. They were sent to "Cahabanoce," the present parish of St. James. These were the ones who received the provisions which the Spanish government took from the Germans on the German Coast.

ony and orator of the rebellion, whose daughter was the wife of Noyan, the leader of the Acadians.

But it needed no persuasion to make D'Arensbourg take the stand which he took, for Ulloa himself had furnished more than sufficient grounds to make him do so:

Ulloa had forbidden the flourishing trade with the English neighbors (September 6th, 1766) ;

He had closed the mouths of the Mississippi, except one where the passage for vessels was most difficult and dangerous;

He had refused to pay the costs of administration since the transfer of Louisiana to Spain (1763), and wanted to be responsible only for the obligations incurred since his arrival (March, 1766), thereby repudiating the salaries of officials, officers, and soldiers for three years;

He had imposed crushing burdens on export and import—vessels from Louisiana must offer their cargoes for sale first in Spain, and only when there were no purchasers in Spain were they allowed to go to the ports of other countries, whence they had to return to Spain in ballast, for only there could they load for Louisiana;

And, finally, by ordinance published May 3d, 1768, he prohibited commerce with France and the French West Indies.

This last ordinance was the most terrible blow of all for the colony. The flourishing lumber trade with San Domingo and Martinique was ruined thereby, and, with the ports of France closed, and only those of Spain open, the Louisiana products were at once thrown into direct and absolutely ruinous competition with those of Spanish America; for Guatemala furnished better indigo, the Isle of Pines more tar and resin, and Havana better tobacco than Louisiana.

All this tended to depress prices for the Louisiana products. Furthermore, would the colonists find a market for their goods in Spain as they had in France? Louisiana peltries received in trade from the Indians, the chief staple of the Indian trade, had less value in Spain, because they were used less there than in France; and the industries of Spain, much inferior to those of France, could not furnish the colonists with the class of goods which they needed to compete with the English traders in the Indian trade. Add to this the uncertainty as to the fate of the French paper circulating in Louisiana, and it will be easily understood that values of all kinds depreciated fully fifty per cent.

In addition to these hardships it must not be forgotten that, if this ordinance had been put in force, every man, woman, and child in the colony would have been compelled to give up their beloved Bordeaux wine and drink the "vin abominable de Cata-logne."

All these reasons combined were surely enough to determine D'Arensbourg, who before the publication of the ordinance prohibiting trade with France seems to have acquiesced in the Spanish dominion, to take the stand he took. Indeed he did not need the persuasion of his relatives. No other stand was possible.

It was on the German Coast that the Revolution of 1768 began. D'Arensbourg, the patriarch of the Germans, defied the messenger of the Spanish governor; and it was surely D'Arensbourg's word and D'Arensbourg's influence that enabled Villere to march two days later with 400 Germans upon New Orleans where the Germans took the Chapitoulas Gate on the morning of October 28th. The Acadians under Noyan, the militia of Chapitoulas under de Lery and the people of the town followed; and on the morning of the 29th they marched upon the public square (Jackson Square) before the building of the Superior Council to support the demand of Lafreniere to give Ulloa three days' time to leave Louisiana. The resolution was carried, and the people greeted the news with shouts of: "Vive le roi"! "Vive Louis le bien aime!" "Vive le vin de Bordeaux!" "A bas le poison de Catalogue!"^* Ulloa left on the ist of November on a French vessel for Havana.

The success of the revolution was due chiefly to Lafreniere, the Canadian orator, to Marquis, a Swiss and the commander of the revolutionary forces, who wanted to found a republic after the pattern of Switzerland, and to D'Arensbourg and the German and the Canadian militia.

A few Spanish officers having remained when Ulloa sailed, and Ulloa's frigate having been left behind "for repairs," the colonists frequently gave vent to their hostility to the Spanish;

'Franz in his "Kolonisation des Mississippitales" (Leipzig, 1906).

and in December a petition to the Superior Council was circulated demanding the removal of both the Spanish officers and the ship. A resolution to that effect was adopted by the Council, but it was never put into effect.

Meanwhile the news expected from France, where a commission of prominent Louisianians had petitioned the king to take possession of the colony again, did not arrive, and the hopes of the leaders of the rebellion against Spanish rule began to waver. They did not wish now to risk an attack on the Spanish frigate, and when the Germans of the German Coast threatened to march again to New Orleans to drive out the Spaniards, Lafreniere himself became alarmed and persuaded them to desist.

On the 24th of July, 1769, the news reached the city that the Spanish general O'Reilly had arrived at the mouth of the Mississippi with large forces to take possession of Louisiana. Again Marquis called the people to the public square, and implored them to defend their liberties; and again the Germans from the German Coast entered the city to oppose O'Reilly's entrance. But most of the others had already resolved to surrender, and so the Germans too had to give up their design.

Six of the leaders of the revolution were condemned to death, among them Villere, Lafreniere, Marquis, and Noyan. Tradition informs us that O'Reilly intended also to have D'Arens-bourg included, but that the latter was saved through the intercession of Forstall, under whose uncle O'Reilly is said to have served in the Hibernian regiment in Spain.

D'Arensbourg was made a chevalier of the French military order of St. Louis on the 31st of August, 1765, and died on November i8th, 1777. His wife died December 13th, 1776. They left numerous descendants.

The German Coast.

The district to which Law's Germans from the Arkansas River were sent after their descent to New Orleans begins about twenty-five miles (by river) above New Orleans, and extends about forty miles up the Mississippi on both banks.

The land is perfectly level; at the banks of the river, how-

€ver, it is a little, almost imperceptibly, higher, because of the deposit the Mississippi had left there at every overflow. At a distance from one to three miles from the river it becomes lower, and gradually turns into cypress swamps, so that on each side of the Mississippi only a strip from two to three miles in width is capable of being cultivated. For this reason land there is estimated only according to the arpent river front, to each arpent front belonging forty arpents in depth. This is what is called in deeds "the usual depth." An arpent is about 182 feet.

Large dikes, called "levees," now restrain the Mississippi from spreading over the lands in time of high water; but as the sediment deposited continually raises the river bed, the levees, too, must be made higher and higher. They are now from twenty to thirty feet high, the celebrated Morganza levee measuring even thirty-five feet. On this account, only the roofs of two-story houses can be seen from the middle of the river.

The crown of the levee, where a delightful breeze is found even during the hottest part of the day, is from six to ten feet wide, affording, besides a beautiful view of the Mississippi and the vast area of level land back to the cypress swamps, a very pleasant promenade where the people love to gather.

Along the inland base of the levee runs the only wagon road up the coast,^® and still farther inland, between majestic shade trees or groves, stand the palatial mansions of the planters with their numerous outhouses. Some distance in the rear are the sugar houses with their big chimneys; and from these a wide street, lined with a double row of little white cabins with two or four rooms each, leads to the fields. In the days of slavery this was the negro quarters, but now the free laborers and field hands, mostly Italians, live there.

The fields, whose furrows run invariably at right angles with the river, extend as far as the eye can see, to the cypress forests in the swamps. Every fifty or sixty feet a narrow but deep and well kept ditch runs in the same direction; little railroads lead from the fields, whence they carry the sugar cane to the sugar houses, and in the month of November, when the grinding


" The banks of the Mississippi River are called "coast." Hence the "German Coast."

season begins, these fields, with the waving sugar cane, afford' a beautiful sight. Four important railroads, running parallel to the Mississippi, intersect the rear of the plantations, the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley and the Louisiana Railway and Navigation Co.'s line on one side of the Mississippi, and the Southern and the Texas Pacific on the other. Between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the people plant mostly sugar cane, but also some rice and corn. Beyond Baton Rouge, cotton takes the place of the sugar cane.

In some places wide strips of torn up land, with hollows and trenches scooped out, and with little hills of deposit extend from the river to the swamp. These are places where the Mississippi has broken through the levee, its mighty waters rushing with a roar heard for miles down upon the land twenty or thirty feet below, wrecking houses, uprooting trees, carrying off fences, and inundating and devastating hundreds of miles of the richest lands.

Little crawfishes from the river sometimes crawl up to the base of the levee and work their way through the earth masses. The water follows them, and all of a sudden a little spring bubbles up on the inland slope of the levee. If this is not discovered at once by the guards watching at high water time day and night, it widens rapidly until the earth from the top tumbles down, and a "crevasse" results. However small this opening may be in the beginning, it will, through the crumbling away of both ends, soon extend hundreds of feet, and so great is the force of the current that even large Mississippi steamers have been carried through such breaks.

Woe to the planter who does not, at the first warning, flee with his people and his stock to some safe place on the crown of the levee where rescue steamers can reach them.

Sometimes also defective rice flumes, laid through the levee to obtain water for the rice fields, have caused crevasses.

On the left bank of the German Coast, between Montz and La Place, two stations of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railway, such a strip of torn up land may be seen. Here was "Bonnet Carre Crevasse (April nth, 1874) which was 1370 feet wide, from twenty-five to fifty-two feet deep and which

remained open for eight years. Further up the river, and on the same side, near Oneida (Welham station of the same railroad) was "Nita Crevasse," which occurred on the 13th of March, 1890, and was 3000 feet wide. Both these crevasses did immense damage even to the German farmers near Frenier, more than ten miles distant from the break, where the crevasse water entered Lake Pontchartrain and washed so much land into the lake that houses which stood 150 feet from the shore had to be moved back.

This is the German Coast of to-day. At the time of the settling of the German pioneers, in 1721, it was quite different. There were no levees then, and the whole country was a howling wilderness.

This district was called "La Cote des Allemands," but usually only "Aux Allemands." During the Spanish period (after 1768) it was called "El Puerto des Alemanes," and when the district was divided there were a "Primera Costa de los Ale-manes" and a "Segunda Costa." Since 1802 the lower part has been called "St. Charles Parish," and the upper "St. John the Baptist Parish."


The First Villages on the German Coast.

The weight of authority and tradition among our Creole population of German descent up to the present time has favored the legend that Karl Friedrich D'Arensbourg, who came to Louis-ana on the ship "Portefaix" on the fourth of June, 1721, was the leader of the Germans already on the Arkansas River, and that he came down from there with Law's Germans to the German Coast.

Careful researches and the finding of new material until recently unavailable have convinced the writer that this legend can no longer be entertained. D'Arensbourg never was on the Arkansas River, and the Germans from there were not the first Germans on the German Coast. There had been established two German villages on the German Coast prior to the arrival there of the people from the Arkansas River.

Here are the facts:

The census of 1724, a most important document, a copy of which was received by the "Louisiana Historical Society" from Paris, in December, 1904, mentions two old German villages, ten lieues (about thirty miles) above New Orleans on the right bank. "Le premier ancien village allemand" was one and a half miles inland from the Mississippi, the second three quarters of a mile, and between the two lay a tract of four arpents of land, which had been cleared by the community to serve as a cemetery. When the census of 1724 was taken the people of the second village (the one nearer to the Mississippi) had all been three years on their lands. This throws the founding of the second village into the year 1721.

The first German village ("le premier ancien village allemand") i. e., the one remoter from the Mississippi, was founded,, so the census says, by twenty-one German families, but the time of the founding is not given. These twenty-one families must have come before the others, otherwise their village would not have been called "le premier ancien village allemand."

As Penicaut informed us that in 1719 the ship "Les Deux Freres" brought a number of German people, "with all sorts of merchandise and effects which belonged to them," and as

these evidently were people of some means, who wanted to become independent settlers, we may assume that they were the founders of "le premier ancien village allemand," one and a half miles inland from the Mississippi River. The census of 1724 informs us that the people of the first village, when they left their homes in consequence of the inundation of 1721, abandoned 100 arpents of "beautifully cleared lands." As it took time to clear these lands it is easy to see, that the first village must have been settled much earlier than the second.

In September, 1721, so the census of 1724 continues, the people of the two old villages were drowned out by the storm water of the "great hurricane," and the waters of the lake. This storm^® lasted five days. The wind blew first from the southeast, then from the south, and, finally, from the southwest. There being large bodies of water in the rear of the German Coast, "Lac des Allemands" on the north, "Lake Salvador" on the south, and the "Bayou des Allemands" connecting the two, it must have been the waters of these which were hurled against the two German villages.

Over 8000 quarts of rice, ready for the harvest, were lost in this storm. In New Orleans most of the houses were blown down; in Biloxi the magazines were wrecked "to the great satisfaction of the keepers, this accident relieving them from the obligation of rendering their accounts." In Ocean Springs "one had the great sorrow to lose a great quantity of artillery, of lead, and provisions, which had been a long time on board a freight ship stranded near Old Biloxi, and which for more than a year they had neglected to put ashore." It will be remembered that during the summer of 1721, while these provisions were lying in the stranded vessel at Ocean Springs, the Germans on

"The year of the great storm is stated differently by Louisiana writers. The reason for this is the fact that several of the older authorities relied upon began to write their works many years after these occurrences, and, so it seems, partly from memory; and therefore confused dates in the retrospect. But the official census of 1724, having been taken but three years after the great storm, on the spot, and while everything was yet fresh in the minds of the people may be relied upon as absolutely correct. That part of the census reporting the great storm is dated September 12th, 1724, and says, on page 86: "lis furent noyes il y a trois ans lors de I'ouragon par la pluye et par les eaux du lac que le vent jetta sur leur terrain quoy qu'ik en eloignez de deux a trois lieues."

the other side of the bay were allowed to starve by the hundreds.

According to the census of 1724, some of the inundated families of the two old German villages on the German Coast died, others moved to the river front, where the land was higher, and only three: Diehl, Schenck and Kobler, were found in "le premier ancien village allemand" by the census enumerator of 1724.

The second village, the one nearer to the Mississippi, was also partly abandoned, and the people from there also moved to the river bank; but fourteen households, including those of four widows, remained behind. On the river bank a new establishment was founded.

All this happened in the year 1721, when the Germans of Law were yet on the Arkansas River. It has, therefore, been proved that there were two German villages on the German Coast before the Arkansas people came down the Mississippi.

Karl Friedrich D'Arensbourg and the Founders of the Second German Village on the German Coast.

Having ascertained now beyond a doubt that there were two German villages on the German Coast of Louisiana before the ai rival of the people from the Arkansas River, and having ventured a suggestion as to the people who were the founders of the first village, we shall now attempt to answer the question: "Whence came the Germans who founded the second village?"

As has already been stated, the "Portefaix" arrived in Louisiana on the 4th of June, 1721, with 330 passengers, mostly Germans under the leadership of Karl Friedrich D'Arensbourg. Why this time a special leader for engages if these were intended for John Law's concessions? Every concessioner managed his engages through his own officers, and D'Arensbourg was not in the employ of Law, for his commission, issued January 9th, 1721, was not a commission by John Law, but by the Compagnie des Indes. Unusual conditions must have obtained to cause the company to send a special officer with these German emigrants.

La Harpe informs us that the same ship brought the news

of John Law's bankruptcy and flight from Paris. That Law was bankrupt and a fugitive at that time is a fact. He had fled from Paris to Brussels on the loth of December, 1720. It is certain, therefore, that the Compagnie des Indes in Paris knew, in December, 1720, if not before, that there was no further need of sending people for Law's enterprises in Louisiana, as Law could^ not hold his concessions any longer, and could not support the people working for him in Louisiana until they could make their first crop to support themselves. The company, furthermore, knew that the sending of any more engages for the Law enterprises would only increase its embarrassment and still more complicate matters on the Arkansas River.

What disposition, then, was the company to make of the many hundred Germans whom the agents of Law had engaged in Germany before the bankruptcy of their master, and who were now in the French ports clamoring for passage for Louisiana? There were only two ways out of the dilemma. Having these people on its hands and ready to sail when the catastrophe occurred, the company might decide to have them distributed among the other concessioners in Louisiana; but this would not have necessitated the sending along with them of a special officer, for the company's officials in Louisiana could have attended to the distribution. The company, secondly, might decide to keep the people together after their arrival in Louisiana, to organize them into a body, and to establish a new community with them. If this was the intention, then it was but natural to select as their leader and head an officer of their own nationality, a man speaking the German language. D'Arensbourg filled this condition, and, moreover, he was supposed to be a German nobleman, to whose authority the Germans would willingly submit.

At this point the date of D'Arensbourg's appointment assumes special importance. His commission was issued in Paris on the 9th of January, 1721, i. e., shortly after the flight of John Law, and at the very time when the need of such a man was urgent. The writer is, therefore, of the opinion that the company, after the flight of Law, decided to send no more

Germans to the Law concessions in Louisiana, but to organize under the leadership of D'Arensbourg the Grermans still in the ports of France, and to begin a new settlement with them somewhere in Louisiana.

Of the German engages in the ports of France at this critical juncture, 875 Germans and 66 Swiss left France on the 24th of January, 1721, on the four pest ships spoken of on a previous page. Two hundred of them arrived in Biloxi during March, where their number was again greatly reduced by the terrible epidemic then prevailing.

Why D'Arensbourg was not sent with the first ships sailing after his appointment may be due to the fact that a stay of several months of these people in Biloxi was expected, and that D'Arensbourg's presence was not needed, as the company had its headquarters in Biloxi, and its officials there could take care of the Germans on their arrival in Louisiana. So D'Arensbourg brought up the rear, and came with the last troop on board "Portefaix," reaching Biloxi on the 4th of June and meeting there the sad relics of the pest, ships and the few survivors of the epidemic, a number of them widows and orphans.

There is no doubt that a number of the passengers of the "Portefaix," too, succumbed to the epidemic which was still raging in Biloxi when that ship arrived, and that D'Arensbourg then, merging the survivors of the different troops into one body, departed with them for the banks of the Mississippi. Where he went to form a settlement the writer has been able to ascertain partly from the passenger lists and partly from the census of 1724.

Six out of the fourteen German families still found in 1724 in the partly abandoned second old German village, three quarters of a mile from the Mississippi, were survivors of the pest ships D'Arensbourg had met in Biloxi; and Schenck, Diehl, and Kobler, the three families which had moved from the second, partly abandoned, to the first, totally abandoned, village, had also been passengers on the pest ships. If the passenger list of the "Portefaix" were available, it would perhaps show that the re-

mainder of the fourteen households of the second village consisted of passengers of the "Portefaix." Finally, D'Arensbourg's own land, twelve arpents, was between the two old German villages and adjoining the cemetery, which was midway between the villages.

All the people of the second village having been three years on their lands in 1724, (see census of that year) there can be no doubt that D'Arensbourg and his people settled on this place in 1721, and instead of going up to the Arkansas River founded the "second old German village."

When the first village and part of the second village were abandoned after the hurricane of September, 1721, and a new establishment was founded on the river bank, D'Arensbourg remained on his land between the two old villages; and when, after the completion of the new cemetery and the chapel on the river bank, Oberle and Hecker, two Germans from the second village, took possession of the old cemetery, D'Arensbourg, as judge and commander, claimed this land adjoining his own for himself on the ground that it had been cleared by the old community for a cemetery and was, therefore, public land.

According to a map oi the year 1731 (Crown Maps) this chapel stood on the river bank, on the place now known by the name of "Le Sassier," or "Trinity Plantation;" and about one mile below the chapel, but on the opposite bank of the Mississippi, was a small military post with one gun mounted "en barbette."

The old villages, including D'Arensbourg's own land, had been called "Karlstein," no doubt in honor of the first judge and commander of the German Coast, Karl Friedrich D'Arensbourg, but the new establishment on the river front was given another name. There, in the new village on the river bank, the Germans from the Arkansas River, coming down the Mississippi on their way to New Orleans, must have met their countrymen; and this meeting must have been a great incentive for the Arkansas people to accept Bienville's offer of lands above and below the river front village of their countrymen on the German Coast.

This also explains why we hear from now on of three German villages on the river front, the village of the D'Arensbourg people in the center, and two villages of the Arkansas people, one above and the other below the first: "Hoffen," "Mariental," and "Augsburg." The name Karlstein was retained for the little settlement in the rear, and Karlstein being the name of the residence of the commander and judge of the German Coast, it gradually superseded all the other names. The little map on page 49 bears the inscription: "Les Allemands ou Carlstain."

Hardships and Difficulties Encountered by the German


No pen can describe, nor human fancy imagine the hardships which the German pioneers of Louisiana suffered even after they had survived the perils of the sea, and epidemics and starvation on the sands of Biloxi. No wonder that so many perished. Had they been of a less hardy race, not one of these families would have survived.

It should be remembered that the land assigned to them was virgin forest in the heavy alluvial bottoms of the Mississippi, with their tremendous germinating powers awakened by a semi-tropical sun. Giant oaks with wide-spreading arms and gray mossy beards stood there as if from eternity, and defied the axe of man. Between them arose towering pines with thick undergrowth, bushes and shrubs and an impenetrable twist of running, spinning, and climbing vines, under whose protection lurked a hell of hostile animals and savage men. Leopards, bears, panthers, wild cats, snakes, and alligators, and their terrible allies, a scorching sun, the miasma rising from the disturbed virgin soil, and the floods of a mighty river,—all these combined to destroy the work of man and man himself. There were no levees then, no protecting dams, and only too often when the spring floods came, caused by the simultaneous melting of the snow in the vast region of the upper course of the Mississippi and its tributaries, the colonists were driven to climb upon the roofs of their houses, and up into the trees, and hundreds of miles of fertile lands were inundated.


Mississippi Levee in Front of St. John the Baptist Church "aux Allemands."

The following petition, perhaps one of many similar ones in that year, the author found among official acts:

"a messieurs du conseil superieur de la nouvelle regie.

Le nomme Jean Jacob Foltz habitant allemand, prend la liberte de vous representer tres humblement, que I'annee passee il auroit este innondee sur son habitation par le Mississippi, de sorte qu'apres avoir travaillee pandant tout I'annee il na pen recoultire que sept bary de Ris, et se trouvent aujourdhuy dans la dernier necessitet aveque une femme et un enfant, c'est pour ce done il requet

Ce considere messieurs il vous plaise de luy accorder quelque quart de Ris pour pouvoir subsister aveque sa famille jusque' a sa recolte, les quelles il s'oblige de rendre a la dite recolte. C'est la Grace qu'ill espere de vos bontets ordinaires, il priras Dieu pour votre Sante et prosperitet, a la Nouvelle Orleans, 12 May, 1725.

(Signed) Jacob Foltz.

The petitioner informs the Superior Council that his place had been inundated by the Mississippi in the preceding year, and

to such an extent that, after a whole year's work, he had been able to harvest only seven barrels of rice, and that he finds himself now with his family, consisting of his wife and a child, in the direst need. For this reason he petitions the Council to advance him some rice so that he may be able to sustain his family until next harvest, when he promises to pay back the rice advanced to him. According to a note on the margin of the document, the prayer was granted on the same day. The census of 1724 confirms the statement that Foltz had made only seven barrels of rice that year, and adds that he was sick the whole summer.

When the arduous work of clearing the land was done, the tilling of the soil began. With plow? Oh no! The company des Indes did not furnish plows. But why do we speak of plows ? There were no horses nor oxen to draw them. The census of 1731 shows that, ten years after the arrival of the Germans, there was not yet a single horse on the whole German Coast; and the census of 1724 proves that, out of fifty-six German families enumerated, only seven had been given a cow each.

It is true there were 262 horses in 1731 outside of New Orleans, and the Tunica Indians also had thirty; but the 262 horses had been given by the company only to large planters, and the Indians had obtained theirs from the Spaniards. There were no horses for the German small farmers. All that was done for them up to the year 1731 was to sell to them occasionally a negro, for whom they had to grant the company a mortgage on all their movable and immovable property.

No draught animals, no plows, no cows, no wagons to haul the products—everything had to be carried home as best one could. Perhaps the Compagnie des Indes gave the colonists some wheel barrows, but there is not to be found any mention even of them. The only agricultural implements furnished were pickaxe, hoe, and spade. Imagine people working with these in the hot sun, on the hard ground and with bodies racked with malarial fever!

And when the day's work in the field was done, there was no evening rest inviting them home; for now began the heavy

work on the "pilon," the hand mill, or pounding trough, to crush the corn and rice for their scanty meals. No meat! Where should it be obtained? The killing of cows was a crime at that time (and there were so few to kill!) and the people working during the day in the fields to utter exhaustion could not go hunting for game, and had not the means to keep an Indian hunter as most of the large concessioners did.

Rice, corn, and beans.

Corn, beans, and rice,

Beans, rice, and corn constituted their daily fare, and Mississippi water their drink. No chickens, not an tgg\ The company did not furnish chickens. A pig or two, that was all! Chickens were furnished only by Governor Bienville, and only to those on Bienville's own land immediately above the city of New Orleans, to raise poultry for the city and to pay part of their ground rent to Monsieur Bienville in capons.

One can not blame the French engages for running away from such a miserable existence. There is in Louisiana a popular saying, which is occasionally heard from Creoles when they speak of work uncommonly hard:

"It takes German people to do that."

Such is the reputation these German pioneers made for themselves in Louisiana! Yes, it took German people! They stood their work manfully, and most of them lay down and died long before their time!

Troubles With the Indians.

The Indians, too, were a source of constant worry, especially so about the year 1729, when the great massacre of the French, and also of some Germans, occurred in Natchez. Posts of observation were then established along the German Coast on high trees on the river bank, and when the men went out in the fields, women- with flint-lock firearms went up into the tops of the trees to keep a sharp lookout, and to warn the men by shots when Indians sneaked out of the swamps and approached the habitations.

In the war following the Natchez massacre, the people of the German Coast seem to have taken a very active and a very creditable part. Charlevoix (IV., 269) says:

"The habitants commanded by Messrs. D'Arensbourg and de Laye (the director of the Meure concession, the river front of which was occupied by Germans) did also very well. They were also inclined to do with good will all the work that they were ordered to do."

Even as late as 1747 and 1748 Indian raids and depredations are reported. Most of these attacks were made upon the villages on the left bank, by Indians who were incited, armed, and often led by English traders. It was for this reason that the small military post on the German Coast, a wooden enclosure with one gun "en barbette," was built on the left side of the river.

In consequence of such instigation by the English, on the 8th of April, 1747, a band of Chacta Indians under their chief Bonfouca made a raid on the left bank of the Mississippi. On this occasion one German was killed, his wife wounded, and their daughter, together with three negroes and two negritoes, carried off as prisoners. The German girl was sold by the Indians to English traders, who took her to Carolina, "where the English governor was very active in stirring up other Indian nations to invade the Colony of Louisiana."

Then many Germans, fearing that the whole Chacta nation was on the war path, fled to New Orleans, and in order to induce them to return to their homes, soldiers had to be sent with them for their protection. When these, later, were withdrawn, the Germans crossed over to the right bank of the Mississippi where their principal establishments were, and "abandoned their houses and their well cultivated fields to the enemy and to the discretion of their animals." Thus governor Vaudreuil wrote on November 9th, 1748.

Another raid took place on November 9th, 1748. Indians appeared on the left bank "aux Allemands," on the habitation of one "Chuave" (Schwab) who had recently died. They found two Frenchmen there, Boucherau and Rousseau, and two ne-

groes. All these were killed with the exception of a negro, who, having received only flesh wounds, jumped into the Mississippi to swim to the other side, assistance reaching him from the other bank when he was in the middle of the stream. Meanwhile the Indians, finding no further resistance, began to plunder. In their savaging they also seriously wounded a French dancing master by the name of Baby, who, on one of his regular tours of instruction, came riding along on a mule, which was too miserable to save his master by running away from the savages.^^

The wounded negro, according to negro fashion, gave a very exaggerated account as to the number of Indians from which he had escaped, and so the German militia of the right bank was called out by D'Arensbourg; but there being no means of transportation to get the men across the Mississippi in sufficient numbers to cope with the enemies, reported to be so numerous, and the people fearing that, in the absence of the militia, the savages might cross the Mississippi and begin a massacre among the unprotected women and children on the right side of the river, the militia was kept back and divided into three troops to protect the upper, middle, and lower right coast. At the same time a messenger was sent down to New Orleans for troops to go up on the left bank and engage the Indians while the militia should prevent the savages from crossing over.

Instead of going to the aid of the Germans, however, Governor Vaudreuil went next day with twenty-two men to Bayou St. John, in the rear of New Orleans, to reinforce the soldiers already there and enable them to cut off the retreat of the Indians, in which purpose he succeeded to the extent of killing two savages. Governor Vaudreuil should not have been surprised, as he seems to have been, at D'Arensbourg's not crossing the Mississippi with his militia, for he, as governor, must have known that there were no transportation facilities, which it was his duty as governor to provide, especially after the raid of 1747 and previous ones, which always occurred on the left bank of the river.

In the nineteenth century, the relations between the Ger-

^ "Baby taught the ladies the minuet and the stately bows with which they were to salute the governor and his wife." Fortier, I, 131.

mans and the Indians became very friendly. As late as 1845, thousands of Indians, following the migrating game, used to come from Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas to Louisiana, to spend the winter in the south. They were given quarters in the outhouses of the farmers, and spent their time in hunting and making baskets. Like the migrating swallows, these Indians for generations visited at the same farms and became well acquainted with the white families, and much attached to them. On their arrival, the red men kissed the white children, and on returning from their hunting trips, they never failed to give them choice pieces of their booty. Their departure for the north was always a source of deep regret to the white boys, some of whom used to accompany the Indians on their hunting trips, and learned much about hunting from them.^^

Better Times.

In spite of all the hardships which the pioneers had to endure and the difficulties to be encountered, German energy, industry, and perseverance conquered all; and although hundreds perished, the survivors wrested from the soil not only a bare living, but in course of time a high degree of prosperity also. Early travellers, who came down the Mississippi, describe the neat appearance of their little white houses, which stood in endless numbers on both banks of the Mississippi; and they also tell how these thrifty Germans used to row down to New Orleans in their boats with an abundance of their produce: vegetables, corn, rice, and later also indigo, to sell their goods on Sunday mornings in front of the cathedral; and how, at times, when non-producing New Orleans in vain waited for the provision ships from France or San Domingo, these German peasants more than once saved the city from heavy famine. Thus, in 1768, the provisions they furnished saved the Acadians.

Churches of the Germans.

In the Catholic church in New Orleans, on the site of the present St. Louis Cathedral, the first church in this part of the

** Communicated by Felix Leche, Esq., a Creole of German descent.

colony of Louisiana, the Germans of the German Coast first attended divine service; here they also had their children christened, here their weddings were celebrated. The cathedral records from 1720 to 1730 contain many German names.^^

But in 1724, so the census of that year informs us, the Germans had already a chapel of their own on the German Coast, which then may have stood already for one or two years, as the river settlement was made in the late fall of 1721. This chapel was built on the right bank of the Mississippi, on the place now called "Le Sassier" (Trinity Plantation), below Bonnet Carre Bend in St. Charles parish. ^^ It is interesting to note this fact and to remember that this chapel was built about the same time when the Jesuit Charlevoix reported (1722) that the people of New Orleans had "lent the Lord half of a miserable store for divine service and that they want the Lord to move out again and accept shelter in a tent." Visiting priests from New Orleans held divine service on the German Coast until a resident priest was appointed. In the colonial budget for 1729 (earlier budgets are not available) provision was made for such a one. He was Pater Philip, a Capuchin.

According to a map of the year 1731 (Crown Maps), the German settlement of that time began on the upper side of Bonnet Carre Bend, about four miles below Edgard, in St. John the Baptist parish, and extended from there down the Mississippi. But the map fails to show the German settlement on the other side of the river, where the census of 1724 places a number of Germans.

The first chapel, according to tradition, was replaced in 1740 by the first "Red Church" on the other side of the river, twenty-five miles above New Orleans.

The first Red Church was burned in 1806, and in the same year replaced by the second, the present Red Church. An irreparable loss was sustained here when, in 1877, a demented negro set fire to the priest's house, and all records of the church were burned. The rectory of the Red Church was not rebuilt. A

^ See the author's Geschichte der deutschen Kirchengemeinden im Staate Louisiana, pages 11 to 17.

^* Louisiana is the only state in the Union in which the word "parish" is used to designate a "county."

The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana

new parish was erected on the other side of the river, the Holy Rosary Church, where the parish priest of Red Church now resides.


Church of St. Charles Borromaeus. "Red Church."

The name "Red Church" is due to the traditional coat of red paint which both of these churches had and which made them a landmark for the boats on the Mississippi River. Nearby is the oldest existing cemetery of the Germans, with many beautiful tombs. One of them, that of the Rixner (originally "Rich-ner") family, is said to have cost ten thousand dollars. The tradition of the Rixner family about this tomb is that Geo. Rixner, who in 1839 married Amelie Ferret, had, in order to please his wife, to whom he was greatly devoted, laid aside ten thousand dollars to build a fine residence on his plantation. Before this could be done, the good wife died, and the sorrowing husband built his wife a magnificent tomb with this money. George Rixner never married again. His only child Amelie married an Italian, Count de Sarsana. She died in Marsala, Italy, and left a son, Ignatio.

The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana


In 1771, the Germans of the upper German Coast built the church of St. John the Baptist, in Edgard, upon the right side of the river, a few miles from the place where the first chapel had been. Fortunately, the records of this church have been preserved, and are in good condition. To that church the author paid more than thirty visits, and there he gathered rich material for his work.


Church of St. John the Baptist. i

The corner stone of the present church of St. John the Baptist was laid on the 4th of June, 1820, and it was consecrated on the 17th of March, 1822. It took the place of the first St. John the Baptist Church, erected about 1771. The records of the church begin in the year 1772 with the entry of the marriage of Anton Manz (now "Montz"), of the diocese of Strassburg, the son of Jos. M. and Anna Maria Laufer, who married Sibylla Bischof, daughter of Joseph Bischof and Anna Maria Raeser, of St. John. The Raeser family came to Louisiana in 1721.

On account of the dampness of the ground, the dead are

buried here in tombs above ground, and some very fine tombs belonging to the old colonial German families may be seen in this cemetery. About 1864, the portion of this parish on the opposite bank of the Mississippi was organized as the independent parish of St. Peter. The station "Reserve" of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railway, thirty-five miles above New Orleans, is about half a mile from this church.

When, in 1769, the first church and cemetery of St. John were planned, there was some trouble to find the necessary ground for them. The Spanish General O'Reilly, hearing that some old bachelor had more land, twelve arpents, than he could attend to ordered him to furnish the necessary ground for both church and cemetery. To compensate him for his loss, the community was commanded to clear for him the same number of arpents on the remaining land of the man, and to give him the same number of new pickets as he had lost with the church land. This order was signed on the 21st of February, 1770. The original is still to be seen in the court house at Edgard.

Situation: The church of St. John the Baptist is immediately behind the levee, St. John the Baptist parish, Louisiana, two miles from St. John station of the Texas & Pacific Railway, thirty-five miles by rail above New Orleans. The post office on the place is called "Edgard."

The first parish priest (1772) was Pater Bernhard von Limbach, a German Capuchin, who later was transferred to St. Louis, Missouri.

The Census of 1721.

The Louisiana Historical Society received from Paris, in December, 1904, a copy of the census taken by M. Diron, Inspector General of the French troops in Louisiana and signed by him, Bienville, Le Blond de la Tour, Duvergier, and de Cormes, on the 24th of November, 1721.

If this were a complete census of Louisiana, we would have an accurate description of the state of affairs on John Law's concession on the Arkansas River at the time when the German Law people were there; and also an accurate account of the two old German villages on the German Coast, which were flooded

by the great hurricane of 1721. Unfortunately, however, it covers only New Orleans and vicinity, from below English Turn to Cannes Brulees.^^

As a matter of general interest, it may be stated from this census that the white population of New Orleans in 1721 consisted of :

y2 civilians, of whom 40 were married and had 29 children, 44 soldiers, " " 14 " " " " no

II officers, " " 2 " " " " one child each,

22 ship captains and

sailors, 9 " " " " 7 children,

28 European laborers {engages) The names of the ^n^ra^^^ are

never given, neither is it stated whether or not they were married. The church records show that some of them were married. There were also: 177 negro slaves, 21 Indian slaves, 36 cows, and 9 horses.

Only nine horses in the whole town! Not even the governor of the colony of Louisiana could boast of a horse, and the cannon and the ammunition for the troops must have been drawn either by the soldiers themselves, or by negroes or cows, for the nine horses were private property. Trudeau had four of them, and Pierre and Mathurin Dreux owned the other five.

Furthermore, in eleven years, from 1721 to 1732, the number of horses increased only from nine to fourteen! Dr. Manade, of Chartres street, had two horses in 1732; the butcher Caron, of Chartres street, owned one; the blacksmith Botson, the interpreter Duparc, and the concessioner Bruslees, all of St. Anne street, had one each; Dr. Alexander, of the hospital, owned one; clerk of the court Rossard, of Toulouse street, had three; and M. Mar-baud, of Bourbon street, had four.

Judging from the family names the whole population of New Orleans was French in 1721, but there lived also one Ger-

^ Cannes Brulees was on the left bank of the Mississippi, six lieues or eighteen miles (by river) above New Orleans and immediately below the German Coast.

man family in New Orleans: "Johann Gustav Freitag, wife and child".

The town limits of New Orleans were then the river front, Dauphine, Ursuline and Bienville streets. At a later time "Chapi-toulas Gate" was built at the upper end of the town, out of which ran the only road leading along the river up the coast, the "Chapi-toulas Road".

All the land from the upper side of Bienville street up to the present "Southport", above Carrollton (Nine Mile Point), and from the Mississippi back to the present Claiborne avenue—213 1/2 arpents river front—belonged to Governor Bienville, who, after selecting the site for the future city of New Orleans in 1718, hastened to lay hold of as much as possible of the best land, adjacent to the coming city, and caused ^^ the Superior Council of Louisiana to grant him this land immediately above New Orleans, as a concession, and to give him also a second concession of 112 arpents front on the other side of the Mississippi, beginning below the point of Algiers, "Pointe Saint Antoine", near the present Vallette street, and extending down the Mississippi.

After these two grants had been made by the Superior Council of Louisiana, on the 27th of March, 1719,^^ and while the matter was still pending before the directors of the Com-pagnie des Lides in Paris for their approval, a royal edict was issued on the 7th of November, 1719,^^ forbidding governors, lieutenant-governors, and intendants (Hubert, the intendant, had a fine concession in Natchez and another opposite New Orleans) to own plantations. They were allowed to have "vegetable gardens" only.

Notwithstanding this royal edict, Bienville, who had already received Horn Island in socage tenure,^^ had these two immense new grants approved by the directors in Paris on February 6th, J ►,20.30

" That Bienville himself demanded these grants from the company is shown by the wording of the official documents. "Sur la demande de Monsieur de Bienville," and again: "le terrain que vous avez choisy." Pages 12 and 20, Concessions, New Transcripts of the La. Hist. Soc.

" Volume Concessions, page 18.

" Fortier's History of Louisiana, I, 83.

** Grace King's Bienville, page 238.

" Volume Concessions, page 18.

In order to obey the letter, if not the spirit, of the royal edict, Bienville now designated 53 1/2 out of 213 1/2 arpents immediately above New Orleans as his habitation, "the vegetable garden", which extended from Bienville street to near our Felicity Road, and from the Mississippi to our Claiborne avenue— a pretty good sized "vegetable garden"—comprising more than the whole first district of the present city of New Orleans.

Not satisfied with this, Bienville made a second "vegetable garden" by taking forty-nine arpents front by a depth of eighty arpents of his grant on the other side of the river and designating this also as his habitation.^^

And as he was not allowed to work the remainder of his two big grants as plantations, he conceived the plan of introducing into Louisiana a system of feudal tenure, selling these lands to people for very burdensome annual ground rent in money and products, and also in manual labor.

Some of Bienville's first victims were twelve German families, storm victims, whom he placed on his lands above "the vegetable garden" above New Orleans, about January ist, 1723, but who soon tired of enjoying the benevolent arrangements of "The Father of the Colony", and left for other parts of Louisiana.^^

On Bienville's land between Bienville street and Southport only one family lived in 1721. This was M. de Baume, attorney general of the colony at the time when the two grants were made to Bienville. He had six arpents front beyond the upper limit of "the vegetable garden", where he resided with his wife and two children. He had three engages, nine negro slaves, five cows, and two horses.

In 1722 Bienville came to New Orleans and established himself on his land where he occupied the square bounded by Bienville, Iberville, Decatur and Chartres streets.^^ The square behind, bounded by Bienville, Iberville, Chartres and Royal streets, he sold, together with other lands, in 1726, to the Jesuit

"Volume Concessions, page 448. The people settled by Bienville on his Algiers' grant were all Canadians. Among them were three by the name of "Langlois."

^They went up to the German Coast.

"In a map of 1728 (see U. S. Census of 1880) this square is marked: "Terre concedee a Mr. de Bienville," and the square behind as: "Terrain aux Jesuites."

fathers, who, on the first of May, 1728, purchased another five arpents from him and gradually acquired the whole territory up to Felicity Road. The original Jesuits' plantation therefore began on Bienville street and not on Common street, as the legend says. Common street may have been the lower boundary at a later time, when it became necessary to use the ground from Bienville street to Canal street for the purpose of fortifying the town. This was after 1729, after the great massacre in Fort Rosalie.

Where Southport now stands, in the center of the great bend of the Mississippi above Carrollton, began "le village des Chapi-toulas". Hence "Chapitoulas Gate" in New Orleans, "Chapitou-las Road" and our present "Tchoupitoulas street".

In Chapitoulas were the great plantations of Deubreuol, Chauvin de Lery, Chauvin la Freniere, and Chauvin Beaulieu, all Canadians. There was also, away from the river front, and two miles below Cannes Briilees (Kenner), the so-called "Koly" concession. According to the census of 1721, there were on this place sixty-two white men, twelve white women with five children, forty-four negro slaves, two Indian slaves, five head of cattle, and four horses. The census says that on this place six hundred quarts of rice were made from fourteen quarts of seed rice.

There was a second so-called "Koly" plantation in Louisiana in 1721, called St. Catharine plantation, originally Hubert's concession, on which were, in 1723, forty-three white men, six white women with two children, forty-five negro slaves, two Indian slaves, fifty-two head of cattle, and two horses. These were, evidently, part of the same people who were moved to St. Catherine when the first "Koly" plantation was abandoned.

The "Koly" estate also owned a large house in New Orleans, on Chartres street, in which six Ursuline nuns lived with six boarding scholars and twenty-eight orphan girls. This house was later bought for a hospital, a sailor named Jean Louis having left a legacy of 10,000 livres for that purpose. This was the beginning of the "Charity Hospital" of Ncav Orleans.


All Louisiana historians merely refer to Koly as a Swiss. This is all they say about him. But in a volume of the New

Transcripts of the Louisiana Historical Society the author found information which throws more light upon him.

This volume contains a large number of official documents relating to the "Concession St. Catherine"; and in these papers, which do not state that Koly was a Swiss, "Jean Daniel Koly" is called "Councilor of the Financial Council of His Highness the Elector of Bavaria" (Elector Max Emanuel, who ruled from 1679 to 1726).

It appears from these documents that in 1718 an association was formed in Paris, of which Koly and the banker Deucher of Paris seem to have been the leading spirits. Among its members were several French officials of high rank, and also "Jean Le Chambrier escuyer Envoye de Sa Majeste le Roy de Prusse a la Cour de France." The association had a capital of 400,000 livres, and, on the nth of December, 1719, received from the Compagnie des Indes a land concession in Louisiana of four leagues square, the location of which was to be decided by the association.

On the 29th of December, 1719, Koly and Deucher, in the name of their associates, entered into a contract with Faucon Dumanoir, engaging him for a term of eight years as the director general of the association, with instructions to proceed with the necessary number of officials and engages to Louisiana and there to select and manage the lands of the association. The principal plantation was to be called "St. Catherine," smaller posts to be named by the director general.

Dumanoir embarked on the 28th of May, 1720, on board the ship St. Andre at L'Orient, and arrived in Biloxi on the 24th of the following August with eleven officers, 186 workmen, twenty-three women, and six children. According to the names on the passenger list, only a few Germans seem to have been among them: Jean Bierzel and Jean Mayeur. Among the French workmen of this concession was Frangois Forestier of St. Malo, a locksmith (serrurier) who later became "armurier," i. e., keeper of the armory of the king. Frangois Forestier was the progenitor of the "Fortier" family in Louisiana.