Name: CelÚste (Slave of Pierre Richard)
With respect represents that your petitioners are the legal heirs and
representatives of the aforesaid PIERRE RICHARD and his wife
MARGUERITE DUGAT deceased as aforesaid, and that as such they are
entitled to the property belonging to their succession, and
particularly that in the said capacities they are the legal owners and
proprietors of a certain negro woman named CELESTE about twenty eight
years of age, and a slave for life, and her children JEAN LOUIS a negro
boy about twelve, CADET a negro boy about ten years of age, SOSTHENE a
negro boy about eight years of age, VALIERE a negro boy about six years
of age, CELESTINE a negro girl about three years.
Submitters note:This is a transcription of a few pages of a court case
of the Pierre Richard, Sr. and Marguerite Dugas family. It was a suit
brought by the Richard descendents against a slave woman named Celeste.
The Richard family was claiming she was a slave and that they were
therefore entitled to own her and her children.
The end result of this court case was in the favor of Celeste who had
claimed she was emancipated by Pierre Richard, Sr. prior to his death.
Celeste, the supposed slave, married a free man of color,Jean Baptiste
Malvaux, in 1812. Here is the marriage record from Father Hebert's SW
LA records. It is this record that helped Celeste win her case against
the Pierre Richard, Sr. descendants.
"Malvaux, Jean Baptiste negre libre (Catherine, originally libre)
m. 14 July 1812 Celeste, negresse libre (Opel. Ch.: Vol. 1, P. 292)"
to a free man of color, Jean Baptiste Malveaux.
I am not really sure why the Richard family lost the case. There were
people who testified that Celeste had never gone by the name
"Theotiste" the emancipated slave as she had claimed and that she had always been known as Celeste and had always been a slave. I think perhaps the judge did not like slavery and therefore ruled in her favor. There is a St. Landry Parish court document dated 1798 and written in French which is the emancipation record of a slave named Theotiste. Pierre Richard, Sr. emancipated her or him before he died.This was the basis for the defense of Celeste.