The Rocheteau [Roshto] Family in Louisiana

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 Research problems - Language differences and illegible records

The territories comprising the present state of Louisiana were inhabited or controlled at different times during the past four centuries by Native Americans, Spanish, French, and Americans. Therefore, it is not surprising that individuals recorded in history will be known by different spellings of the same name, or even by different names. Documents that exist are more often than not in poor condition and even relatively modern microfiches produced of United States censuses and other documents are often illegible. Persons not familiar with the history of the area have visited cemeteries, churches and courthouses and then entered their best guess as to the spelling of a name into the record. Thus "Favreau" may be found as "Farmer" and "Rocheteau" may be found as "Rasteau", "Rochetean", "Roucheteau", "Rouseteau", "Rosto", or "Rostow", etc. Add to this the fact that whenever someone could not spell his or her own name, the clerk or census worker would often put his or her best approximation of how the name should be spelled. No doubt frustration over this problem led to the adoption of the phonetically easier "Roshto".

 18th Century Voyages

Earliest record of a Rocheteau in the New World.

The area that is now Louisiana was visited by René Aymé Roucheteau who terminated his military service there with the Company of the West in 23 July, 1753 (see General Roll of Louisiana Troops, Glenn Conrad).

18th Century Settlements in Louisiana: Facts and Legends

The large family that is now known by the surname Roshto can be definitively traced back to one René Rocheteau.

In 1817, a René Rocheteau, of yet unproved origin, was in Louisiana, married Marie Carmelite Beaudouin in the town of Natchitoches, and settled there to farm and to raise a large family. René and Carmelita had at least eight children. Though the church register in Natchitoches where their marriage is recorded was damaged by fire deleting details of René’s origins; later records exist including their children’s births and baptisms records and US government census records which allow one to piece together certain facts.

Though some have in the past stated that they believe René Rocheteau was born about 1790 in Lyons, France, there is no documentary evidence that I know of that supports this claim. It is my belief, his forebears probably came, like René Aymé Rocheteau who visited Louisiana seventy years earlier, from the old French province of Saintonge on ships that departed from La Rochelle. There is reason to suspect that he may have been born or at least raised in Haiti. Though records still exist that document Carmelita becoming the widow of "Remy Rosto" sometimes after 1834, her husband’s age was not stated; therefore (as far as I know) his birth year is unknown.

Consider reading the information regarding the Rocheteau's in Haiti [St. Domingue] which I believe is relevant and important.

Marie Carmelite Beaudouin's lineage can be documented much further than her husband's. Primarily of French descent with ancestors coming from France and from Canada via Arkansas, she can on her mother's side also claim a Native American great-grandmother. The verifiable story concerning her great grandmother's heritage may account for a family tradition of an ancestor who was an "Indian princess".

Her ancestor, René Beaudouin of Quebec (born 1645) married Marie Raclos (born 1656) and moved to Gentilly, Canada where their son, René, Jr. was born 7 August, 1684.

René Beaudouin Jr. married Jacqueline Poisson (born 20 April, 1690) at Gentilly 28 April 1710. Their son, François Pierre Beaudouin was born circa 1715 in Gentilly. René Jr., it seems, died about the year 1761.

François Pierre Beaudouin traveled southwards from Canada towards the mouth of the Mississippi where along the way he met and married Marianne (Cecille) Bontemps (aka Bonton) of the Arkansas Territory. Marianne was the daughter of Pierre Cicille Bonton and Françoise Botson Bonton. When in 1776 her husband François Beaudouin died, Marianne remarried, this time to Pierre Cazeau of Natchitoches in 1786 (see NATCHITOCHES Abstracts of the Catholic Church Registers of the French and Spanish Post of St. Jean Baptiste des Natchitoches Louisiana: 1729-1803, by Mills, # 1478)

Marianne and François Pierre Beaudouin married and made their home at Poste du Rapides. Among their many children was Jean Nicolas Beaudouin who was born at Rapides in the year 1771.

Jean Nicolas Beaudouin married Marie DesNeiges Malbert - (the following from item 78 of Winston DeVille's Marriage Contracts Natchitoches 1739-1803): Book XXV, page 2553 - September 9, 1794 Nicolas Baudoin - 23 years old; native of Rapides and baptized at Natchitoches; son of François Baudoin and Marianne Bontemps and Marie Des Neiges - native of Natchitoches; daughter of Jean Baptiste Malbert and Jeanne Verger. Witnesses for the grooom: Marianne Bontemps, his mother; Pierre Baudoin, his oldest brother. Witnesses for bride: Jeanne Verger, her mother; Jacques Fort, her beau-frère; Jean Baptiste Lattier, her cousin.

Marie DesNeiges Malbert's parent's marriage record in 1753 reads as follows from Mills, Item 728, page 89:

JEAN BAPTISTE MALBERT dit SANS FACON AND JEANNE VERGER - July 18 1753, after three bans, marriage of Jean Baptiste Malbert dit "Sans Facon", soldier, native of Bouge in France, diocese of Vezon, legitimate son of Jean Baptiste Malbert and of Françoise Dormoy, natives of the same parish…and…Jeanne Verger, native of this parish, legitimate daughter of deceased (Joseph) Verger [note: Joseph Verger died 20 April 1753, three months earlier, see Mills, item 766]native of Paris, parish of St. Benoist, and of Angelique Dumond. Witnesses: Gaspar Debanne, Coutet, Antoine Despres, Trichely, du Fre___. Bride also signed.

The births and baptisms of their children were recorded by the priest in Natchitoches. One such record included: - Marie Carmelita Beaudouin, born 23 December, 1796 and baptized 11 June 1797 the legitimate daughter of Jean Nicolas Beaudouin and Maried DeNeige Malbert. Godparents: Joseph Rabalai and Marie Poissot. Grandparents: Pierre Beaudouin and Marie Bontems; Jean Baptiste Malbert and Jeanne Verger. (Mills, #2834)

The Indian Princess: Marie Carmelite's Great Grandmother "Angelique"

The French explorers and settlers knew this remarkable woman as "Angelique". We do not know her original name, although she may have started life as the daughter of a chief of the Hasinai, [possibly "Bernardino", see My Natchitoches, Nardini)], a tribe of the Caddo Confederation living on the Trinity River in Texas. Baptized "Angelica" and educated by Spanish monks at a mission (Hidalgo?) in present day Texas, she met the French when Sieur Louis Juchereau de St. Denis and his men ventured into Spanish territory in 1714. The French had come in order to establish trade between their Company of West and the Spanish missions which were too distant from Mexico City to easily obtain supply goods. This was in response to a written request from Reverend Father Francisco Hidalgo to La Moth De Cadillac, Governor of Louisiana. Though initially detained as a threat by the Spanish, St. Denis married Manuela Sanchez Y Ramone, daughter of Don Diego Ramone, and eventually returned to establish the French outpost of St. Jean Baptiste des Natchitoches (Natchitoches, Louisiana) at the Natchitoches Indian village, a location he had earlier selected as suitable for a trading outpost. In 1714, the Hasinai tribes traded much needed horses to the French and led them, instead of the Hidalgo mission, to "Presidio San Juan Bautista on the south bank of the Rio Grande River" [Nardini, 30]. Fluent in Spanish, Angelique accompanied them as both guide and translator between the Hasinai chief, Bernardino, other Indians, and St. Denis. Later, she became the wife of Charles Dumont, originally of Paris, who served in St. Denis's company. Her death is registered 19 March 1758 (Mills, #).

Entry #816 ANGELIQUE*

March 19, 1758, burial "of the corpse of an Indian, the grandmother of Madame St. Prix."

* Entry 346 identifies Madame St. Prix as Marie Triche, daughter of a German, Henry Trichel, and his wife Marie Duont. Civil records of the parish identify Marie Dumont as a native of Natchitoches, and a sister of Angelique Dumont (Mme. Joseph Verger). Entry 736 identifies the mother of Angelique Dumont as Angelique, an Indian native of Natchitoches. Apparently it was Angelique whose burial entry is recorded above, since Madame St. Prix's paternal grandmother was not Indian.

Like Pocahontas before her and Sacajawea after, she would have been an invaluable asset to the new European settlers, as she not only spoke the local Native American dialects, but also Spanish and then French. One can only guess at the scope and importance of her contributions to the successful foundation of a permanent French settlement at Natchitoches

The Louisiana Rocheteaus (Roshto’s) can trace their descent to Angelique, thusly:

Charles Dumont and Angelique’s children included a daughter Angelique Dumont born 1713.

Angelique Dumont married Joseph Verger and their children included a daughter, Jeanne.

Jeanne Verger married Jean Baptiste Malbert, and their children included a daughter, Marie DesNeiges.

Marie DesNeiges Malbert married Jean Nicholas Beaudouin, and their children included a daughter, Marie Carmelite.



created 2/21/2001 - Robert J Rocheteau
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