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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: the mother of mothers
In Response To: the mother of mothers ()

Opelousas' third pastor, Father Louis Marie Grumeau, a French Dominican, arrived from Santo Domingo in 1779 to regain his health, and remained in Louisiana. He petitioned then Governor Galvez for naturalization as a Spanish subject and for permission to exercise his sacred duty. Galvez answered that as Grumeau was a "learned religious, a tireless worker in his zeal for souls," which he had manifested in the short time he had been in the colony, he approved the petition. (This is an excellent example of Spain's liberal policy in attracting new settlers.) The priest was immediately sent to Opelousas where he remained for four years, dying there in 1783. Grumeau is the first priest about whom facts are known in relation to his life at the post. According to his succession papers, he was thoroughly versed in business procedure and upon his death was owed substantial sums of money; he was also indebted to some of the inhabitants. He owned Negroes, but before his death gave at least one--the son of one of his female slaves--his freedom because "he was so pleased with (the mother's) faithful service." He left written instructions that upon his death another slave was to be freed, perhaps the boy's mother.

Occasionally, Grumeau traveled to New Orleans, and on one occasion preached a Lenten service there.

There are some indications of a feud between Grumeau and the commandant of the post, but by the last years of Grumeou's term of service all quarrels had been settled. In 1782, De Clouet, the commandant, wrote the governor that he had nothing to complain about regarding this priest.12

Upon the death of Grumeau in 1783, Opelousas was left without a pastor, but the post was under the general supervision of the pastor at Attakapas, Father Gefrotin. During this period without a resident spiritual leader the Opelousas Catholics could have complained as did their neighbors a decade later: "It can be said of the inhabitants of Attakapas as was said of the Israelites of old, captive in Babylon: '. . . the children ask for break, and no one breaketh it for them.' " In the absence of priests, marriages and baptisms could wait, but the dead had to be buried and probably more than once burials were performed without the benefit of the last sacraments.13

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Document Date: 10/25/1780
Document Number: 118
Depository: Louisiana State Archives, Baton Rouge
Location: St. Landry (Opelousas Post). [Calcasieu 1840, Cameron 1870, Acadia 1886, Evangeline 1908, Allen 1910, Jefferson Davis 1912, Beaureguard 1912]
Master: Cure (Parish Priest) Grumeau
Master's Gender: 2
Name: Marie
Gender: female
Race: mulatto
Age Category: adult
Birthplace: Louisiana Creole
Freed: by living master
Relationship of freer to the freed: probably father
The manumission did not involve cash payment.
Slave was freed.
This slave's white father was probably involved in the manumission process.
Reasons: for good services and fidelity
no prices at all
Family: La Rouille-f,Marie-m, Louis Nicolas-s
This slave's family relationships were indicated.
Comments: Louis Nicolas is natural son of La Rouille, a free man of color; see other records under these names.

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Document Date: 10/25/1780
Document Number: 118
Depository: Louisiana State Archives, Baton Rouge
Location: St. Landry (Opelousas Post). [Calcasieu 1840, Cameron 1870, Acadia 1886, Evangeline 1908, Allen 1910, Jefferson Davis 1912, Beaureguard 1912]
Master: Cure (Parish Priest) Grumeau
Master's Gender: 2
Name: Louis Nicolas
Gender: male
Race: missing
Age Category: infant
Birthplace: Louisiana Creole
Freed: by living master
The manumission did not involve cash payment.
Slave was freed.
no prices at all
Members of Group: Mother & son
Family: La Rouille-f,Marie-m, Louis Nicolas-s
This slave's family relationships were indicated.
Comments: Louis Nicolas is natural son of La Rouille, a free man of color. See other records under this name. Louis Nicolas was born in early Oct, 1780.
Slave's mother is listed in the document
Slave's Mother: Marie
Mother's Race: mulatto
Mother's Birthplace: Louisiana Creole


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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