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La mere de meres: acte en deux

The subject of this entry is the "grandfille" of Jeanneton, a young free mulatto commonly known as Eulalie Simon, but her name in full is Eulalie Simon Laoour dit Larouille (Madame Papillon). Eulalie was born early February 1782, the second child of a "mulatre libre" and a "mulatresse esclave". Although her father was free, Eulalie inherited her status through her mother, who at the time was the slave of the parish priest, the Rev. Louis Grumeau. Similar to the treatment received by her older sibling, Eulalie was promptly baptized and freed by the priest. Her mother would gain her "liberite" a year later in 1783. The family then moved to the Grand Prairie region. Here Eulalie and her two brothers: Louis and the baby Charles grew up from children into adults.
During this time Eulalie would have been in frequent contact her relatives in the area. On her paternal side her family ties extended to the Piqueri and Boilleau families, but Eulalie was closer to her mother and so her maternal kinsfolk. On this branch of the family, Eulalie was bloodkin to the Donatto, a wealthy and affluent mulatto family on the Bayou Teche.

Groing up as a young girl, Eulalie was surrounded by slavery from the tales of her grandmother to the slaves that worked on her parents farm. So I can reason that she had no reservations about being a slave mistress when the time arrived for her to run her household.
So who was Eulalie going to marry? She could marry one the older Lemelle boys or even be the older bride of her cousin Lucien Martin either marriage would have represented a secure future. But the life of an 18th c. girl was not decided by fancies or dreams, Eulalie's fate was no dfferent than any another girl who possessed her qualities of youth, money, and influence. And so her parents contracted a marrige for Eulalie to a man twice her age. The religious ceremony was celebrated on 19th November 1799.
The marriage brought financial security but apparently little else more. For as uaual the groom won all the bridal gifts. He had the young fertile bride with her well-to-do parents and even wealthier in-laws.
Eulalie had to be content with the pleasures of being a mother and mistress to her own household. She moved to her husband farm at Pines Prairie. Here she would give birth quickly to two children: Marianne Versinthe in 1801 and Alexandre in 1803. No ohter children were born to the young mother and the couple would remain together for 25 more years.
Maybe this represented some sort of rebellion on Eulalie's part or it was do to the fact that Miguel Papillon was an indian trader frequently absent from home.
Whatever views that differed between the spouses we can be sure that they did not agree on slavery. Eulalie was in favor of owning slaves while her husband was opposed to the idea, even though he had profitted and invested in slsve transactions. Eulalie lived under her spouse's wishes until about 1820. The census for the year shows the couple in two separate households. By 1820, Eulalie had arranged both marriages of her children. Marianne was espoused to Denis Guillory, a nephew of Martin Donato Bello. and her son Alexandre was engaged to an orphaned spaniard Brigitte Perez, an in-law of Eulalie. Her daughter Marianne may have gained the marriage Eulalie might have felt she was cheated of long years ago. Also the death of her father occurred in 1819 leaving Eulalie and her one surviving sibling heirs along with their mother to the Larouille estate.Eulalie would live the rest of her life on her father's farm surrounded by the slaves denied to her by Papillon. Eulalie and her husband would both be deceased by the census 1830.
Eulalie is the grandmother of my ancestors: Marie Denise Guillory, Josephine Guillory, and Felonise Papillon. Three bloodines descend from her to me. She is truly " une mere de meres".


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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