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Metoyer, Marie Therese
Marie-Therese Metoyer was one of the most successful entrepreneurs in colonial America. As a planter and landowner, she founded a prosperous community of free blacks and Creoles (American-born people, often of mixed race) in the Louisiana Province. Historian François Mignon wrote that she "was endowed with unusual energy and intelligence."
She was born in Natchitoches in the French colony of Louisiana in 1742 and baptized Marie-Therese, but was called Coincoin (Ko Kwe in the Glidzi dialect), a name traditionally given to the second-born daughter in a family born to the Ewe people of Togo in western Africa, her parents' homeland. Because Louisiana was governed by French law, slaves were allowed to legally marry, as her parents, François and Françoise, did.
Her family was owned by a French military officer, Louis Juchereau de Saint-Denis. After his death, Coincoin was given first to his widow, then his son. She was then sent to live with Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer, a merchant living in the Red River Valley. The two apparently fell in love and Coincoin gave birth to 10 of his children. In the French colony, mixed-race relationships were not uncommon, and most French colonists did not share the prejudice toward Africans that prevailed among other white European settlers during that era. Metoyer purchased Coincoin from her mistress and granted her freedom when she was pregnant with their fifth child, so that the remaining children were born free......
Source: Facts On File
Berlin, Ira. Slaves Without Masters: A Free Negro in the Antebellum South . New York: Pantheon, 1974.
Melrose Plantation Association. "Melrose Plantation–Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches." Available online. URL: http://www.natchitoches.net/melrose/melrose.htm. Downloaded on July 23, 2000.
Mills, Gary B. The Forgotten People . Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1974.
Nardini, Louis R., Sr. "Legends About Marie Therese Disputed," Natchitoches Times , October 2, 1972, p. 8-A.