AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Re: Du Pont Augustus I.
In Response To: Du Pont Augustus I. ()
The focus of my father's family research is Pensacola. Like your ancestor, my gg grandfather is also listed on the Pensacola Beach Historical Society's page. Joseph (Jose) Wyer was the Escambia County Commissioner during Reconstruction. I posted the page and information on the Afrigeneas Forum a few months ago.
There is a wealth of information on the web about the history of West Florida and also the institutions that may help you in your search. I checked my archives and have not found Dupont in any of my documents as a Creole. But take heart, I am sure that if you reach out to some of these institutions you will find many people eager and willing to help you.
I read your comments about your outreach to other Duponts with dismay. Again take heart, I am sure that there are other people certainly willing to share information with you. Always remember that a dedicated family historian will be curious about the information that you can provide about family history.
I also read your posting on the Ancestry.com message boards about the Duponts and Pensacola and kept in mind some of the observations that you made below.
Pensacola and the Floridas were unique in the overall history of the South. The most significant influence was Spain. During the first and second Spanish interlude, most people black and white, were All multi-lingual. Spanish was the dominant language, along with French, English and perhaps the various languages and dialects of Native Americans. Under Spanish rule until 1821, slaves of all colors could gain their freedom much easier than the English influenced states to the north. Please visit the Afrigeneas Slavery Forum for a further explanation by David Paterson.
I doubt that it was the Quakers who influenced your ancestor's education or his bi-lingualism. Again the influence of Spain its Catholicism even after its handover to the US in 1821 may have played a part. Catholic schools educated Blacks throughout the history of the colonial south and through the antebellum era. I didn't find the name of Dupont as members of St. Joseph's Catholic Creole Church nor as a member of the Creole Benevolent Society. Perhaps your ancestor may have been bi-lingual because he was a sailor or a drayman that's mentioned in the census. The Caribbean was the "super highway" to the multi-lingual islands and countries to the south.
Indeed slaves were imported to Pensacola, but it was lumber, tanned hides, cotton from the north that was exported to the Americas and the Caribbean. However, the marine industry was its most important focus. New Orleans and Charleston were strategic points of entry for slaves.
Charlyne Hunter-Gault's research on Pensacola's Creoles is only one many sources of information. I'm sure that she found that information in the archives at various institutions that I suggested that you contact.
One of the challenges in your search on the net is that your ancestor's name is a twin to the industrialist and financier Dupont. On the net you will find hundreds of listings of Dupont connected to the stock exchange here in London and the Bourse in Paris. In addition in France Dupont is synonymous with our American Smith.
I'm so pleased that you posted on Afrigeneas. You've found a talented community of historians and family genealogists of all colors who will welcome you and help you in your search. The most important lesson that I've learned from the Afrigeneas community is to assume nothing and research everything. By studying the history of the West Florida, Alabama and Louisiana regions, I've uncovered invaluable information about the Wyer family of Pensacola.
Good luck in your research.
K Wyer Lane