AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum
Charlot Roi, of the Ouachita Poste of NE LA
CHARLOT ROI, EARLY AFRICAN AMERICAN OF THE OUACHITA POSTE OF NE LOUISIANA
It seems that most people do not know or remember that the Ouachita/Morehouse, Louisiana area did not start off as the sedentary, slow paced, spice-free extension of the old southern territories it became. Instead it's beginnings were steeped in drama and color; and the area's population, though small, was teeming with African Americans, West Indians black and white, Native Americans, Spanish soldiers, displaced French petty diplomats, and desperate eastern colonists in search of land or running from the law. It was a safe haven for men who lived outside of the norm; men who'd deserted wives and families in the east could hide out for years without being found; men who had been charged with committing criminal or societal wrongs could easily roost on the Ouachita for a few years, re-invent their images and emerge as fresh and reputable as a sinner after baptism. Men with a bit of Afro or Native American ancestry, or Afro or Native women and children could live openly on the Ouachita for a period of years, push on to other places, or if influential enough, remain in the area and become a part of the white community. It was into this rough and tumble, black bear infested environment that Charlot Roi was born in the early 1780's to a black mother who has yet to be identified and Auguste Roi, a first generation Franco American who came into the area with Don Juan Filhiol. Charlot's birth and presence on the Ouachita has been overlooked by most historians; Dr. E. Russ Williams is one of the few researchers to have recognized and acknowledged him. It is Zadoc Harmon, a free black trader and accused horse thief that lived along the Ouachita for a brief period who is recognized as the most significant African American from the late 1700's through statehood. Zadoc was undeniably a colorful force during his tenure in the Ouachita Valley; however his impact on the community was far less than that of Charlot's, the native born African American who lived in the area his entire life. Charlot lived a productive life on the Ouchita and worked with Abraham Morehouse and others to improve the living conditions of the incoming settlers from the early 1800's through to his death after 1852.