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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LA FAMILLE Chapter 1 Coming to America


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St Louis Levee
courtesy free clip art
LA FAMILLE

In the mid 1700s two brothers were contesting for the leadership of the family.  By rights Andre should be the leader of the clan but he had been sickly during the early part of his life.

The father’s rejection of Andre due to his condition caused him to gravitate toward Alard to be the leader of the family.  

Andre had met with the approval of the numerous siblings but in his mid teens Alard blossomed into a strong personality of his own.  He became strong and was a fighter without fear.

Everyone knew that this situation would eventually split the clan into two vying groups upon the demise of the father.

To further add pressure on the two young men they both wanted to marry the same girl.  Eventually Alard won out and Andre moved to one of the small castles belonging to the family.

The marriage of Alard was not the greatest issue for his wife died in child birth a year later but the support of the father for Alard was something Andre couldn’t overcome.

Both men took wives; for Alard it was the second one and their families grew very large due to both having several mistresses.

At the same time there were battles fought among the groups whose loyalties were to one or the other of the brothers.  Because of so many of the family members dying in combat the families began to spread throughout Europe but maintained their identities and loyalties to as far as the twentieth cousins.

Even at that level there were duels fought oft times over some perceived wrong doing, usually over money or women.  

Finally in order to save the “La Famille” they at the end of the century began to cross the Atlantic to the new world in what was to become Louisiana and settled upriver to the St. Louis area.

It was impossible to maintain the same old world culture with the exception of family loyalty and that was the saving grace for the “La Famille.”

One of the reasons for settling in St. Louis was it was primarily a French settlement being first settled by a Frenchman Pierre Laclede Liguest.

He wrote these words; PIERRE LACLEDE 1764,  "I HAVE FOUND A SITUATION WHERE I AM GOING TO FORM A SETTLEMENT WHICH MIGHT BECOME, HEREAFTER, ONE OF THE FINEST CITIES IN AMERICA --SO MANY ADVANTAGES ARE EMBRACED IN ITS SITE, BY ITS LOCALITY AND CENTRAL POSITION, FOR FORMING SETTLEMENTS . "

The city was named after; Louis IX commonly known as Saint Louis, King of France.

He is the only canonized king of France; consequently, there are many places named after him, most notably St. Louis, Missouri.

The offspring of Andre were the first to make the journey across the big sea and first settled in New Orleans and then some migrated to St. Louis which was still in its infancy.

As they became rooted in the area most thought they were Gypsies due to their trading skills.  They had a way of making deals with people that the people didn’t want to make, and it left them wondering why they did it.

The children of Andre consisted of three boys and two girls with his legitimate wife and several more with his mistresses.  His wife left off bearing after the last child which was a boy.  

There wasn’t much difference in the ages due to the fact she had one child each year for the first five years of their coming together.

It was somewhere in the 1790s when they arrived in New Orleans where they spent a year buying and selling with some of them buying homes and settling there.  

The eldest boy, Jean in his mid teens journeyed up the river beyond where St. Louis had begun.  

Due to a couple of skirmishes with the Indians he returned to St. Louis and found settlers were beginning to inhabit on the west bank of the river.

He remained during the winter and discovered several families who were not fit for this rugged existence.

They were willing to sell, and Jean purchased five plots of choice land from them as they headed down stream to one of the more established cities where the living was easier.

To be Continued   

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