My Fifth Great-Grandmother
Daughter of André Templet and Marguerite Leblanc
Wife of Joachim-Jacques Blanchard
Mother of Jean Baptiste, Carlos Joaquin Juan, Augustin, Florentin, Ambrosio, Maria Abdella, Marie Emmee, and Adele
Most of Marie Magdelaine Templet’s early life was spent moving from one town to another. Though she was born in Saint-Servan, France, she also lived in Plouër, Saint-Malo, Châtellerault, and Nantes, all before she was seventeen. Then she boarded Le Bon Papa to immigrate to Louisiana with her family where she would remain the rest of her life.
Taking the Acadian Tour de France in 2019 offered by Les Voyages DiasporAcadie, I had the privilege of visiting many of the places Marie Magdelaine lived. The photos in this post are from that trip.
Eight years after her parents were deported from l’Acadie and arrived in France, Marie Magdelaine Templet was born and baptized 10 October 1766 to André Templet and Marguerite Leblanc. Her godparents were her uncle, Jean Jacque LeBlanc and her sister, Marguerite Templet. Her uncle signed his name as “jean jac leblanc” in the parish register.Department Archives of Ille-et-Vilaine, 10 NUM 35313 111 – SAINT-SERVAN – 1766 – 1766 – Baptêmes – … Continue reading
Could her uncle, Jean Jacques LeBlanc be the Acadian leader who championed the cause for Acadian families to stay together as one community instead of being dispersed throughout France and other French lands?
Between 1770 and 1772 the family lived in Plouër, about seventeen miles from the Atlantic Ocean along the River Rance. Her father worked in nearby Saint-Malo, as a laborer. Like Magdalena Henry Thibodeau, my sixth great-grandmother who lived in Saint-Malo at that same time, Marie Magdelaine’s mother sewed, spun, and cut cloth.Rieder, Milton P., The Acadians in France, 1762-1776: Rolls of the Acadians Living in France Distributed by Towns for the Years 1762 to 1776 (Metaire, Louisiana, 1967), … Continue reading
The French government tried several ventures to provide a livelihood for the Acadians. Though her father was a seaman, he followed many Acadians from Saint-Malo to Châtellerault to farm in 1773. After traveling about 200 miles from Saint-Malo, Châtellerault became the home of 150 Acadian families. Marie Magdelaine’s future husband’s Blanchard family was also there. The Acadians tried to farm, but the soil was very poor. The area had once been known as “the bad lands.”Oscar William Winzerling, Acadian Odyssey, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2015), p.75.
The Acadians soon realized that farming in Châtellerault was not possible and decided to go to Nantes while waiting for a decision by the French government to allow them to go to Louisiana. When Marie Magdelaine was 9 years old, her family of twelve was in the Fourth Convoy leaving Châtellerault for Nantes from March 6 to March 13, 1776.Albert J. Robichaux, The Acadian Exiles in Nantes, (Harvey, Louisiana: Robichaux, 1978), p. 154. The Blanchard family was also in this convoy. Did Marie Magdelaine play with her future husband, Joachim-Jacques Blanchard while traveling between Châtellerault and Nantes?
When visiting Châtellerault in May 2019 I saw the area along the River Vienne where the family probably departed for Nantes, now called Place de Grand Pre. Did they live near the River Vienne? Was their departure one of excitement? What possessions did nine-year old Marie Magdelaine bring with her? Was Châtellerault as charming then as it was when I visited?
On the other side of the Vienne is a portion of the Catholic pilgrimage route of the Saint-Jacque de Compostelle to the shrine of the Apostle Saint James in Spain. Did Marie Magdelaine’s family know they could cross the river and walk to l’église Saint-Jacques, the Church of Saint James? Maybe the family walked a portion of the pilgrimage route one Sunday morning for Catholic Mass and then had a picnic lunch along the Vienne.
Once they arrived in Nantes, they probably lived in the Saint-Jacques neighborhood at first and then moved to Chantenay. Marie Magdelaine’s brother, Hyacinthe died shortly after their arrival in 1776 and was buried near Saint-Jacques of Nantes. Her brother André-Joseph was baptized at Saint-Martin of Chantenay 10 April 1777 and brother Francois-Marie was baptized there 4 May 1780. How upsetting it must have been when Pierre-Dominque, her younger brother by two years, died at the age of twelve on 6 September 1780 and was buried in Chantenay.Albert J. Robichaux, The Acadian Exiles in Nantes, (Harvey, Louisiana: Robichaux, 1978), p. 154.
At the time, Chantenay was a poor shipyard neighborhood on the outskirts of Nantes. Her father probably found work as a seaman. Did Marie Magdelaine wander the nearby streets? What chores did she have? Was she in charge of babysitting her younger siblings?
While living in the Nantes area, the Acadians continued to lobby the French government to allow them to go to Louisiana where some of their kinsman were. The Acadians were not allowed to cross the Atlantic during the Revolutionary War in America because they were part of France’s plan to repopulate Canada if France should regain Canada after the war. When Acadian leaders learned Spain was interested in paying for their relocation to populate Louisiana, Marie Magdelaine’s family decided to take the chance. They had been in the Nantes area for ten years.
Joining thirty-six other families, Marie Magdelaine’s family departed France 10 May 1785 on the ship Le Bon Papa. Her father and older brothers were recorded as seamen. How did she spend her time on the ship? Did she take walks with others her age on the ship? Did she make friendships that would last the rest of her life? Could she have been dreaming of her future? They arrived in Louisiana 29 July 1785 after being at sea for eighty-one days. Marie Magdelaine was seventeen.Tim Hebert, “Passenger List for La Ville La Bon Papa,” Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History (https://www.acadian-cajun.com/ship1.htm : viewed 12 February 2022).
The Acadians were now Spanish subjects, and their names were recorded in Spanish for sacramental and legal records. After resting in New Orleans for about a month, Marie Magdelaine’s family went to Manchac along the Mississippi, south of Baton Rouge. Spain lived up to the promises they made to the Acadians. They gave them supplies and land so that they could farm successfully. What was Marie Magdelaine’s life like once she arrived in Louisiana? Did she complain about the mosquitos, heat, and the humidity? Or did she embrace the challenges of a new world? Her twelve-year-old-brother Oliver died a few months after their arrival.Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Diocese of Baton Rouge, 2009) 2:686.
André Templet, her father died and was buried 12 November 1787 at the age of 59, when Marie Magdelaine was 21.Diocese of Baton Rouge , 2:685. Her father’s services were at St. Gabriel Church which was established in 1773. Did her father contribute taxes to build the church? Did they attend this church regularly? “St. Gabriel Church is the oldest surviving church structure in the entire Mississippi River Valley.”Emilie G. Leumas and Renée B. Richard, Roots of Faith History of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, (Èditions du Signe, Strasbourg, France, 2009), p. 24.Did her father die in a smallpox epidemic? Was she, by chance, inoculated with the smallpox vaccine so that she would not succumb to the disease? The vaccine was available in Lafourche in 1787.Charles Gayarré, History of Louisiana: the Spanish Domination (New York: W.J. Widdleton, 1866), p. 190, digital image (https://archive.org/details/cihm_45094/page/n211, … Continue reading
Marie Magdelaine and Joachim-Jacques Blanchard married at Assumption Parish in Plattenville, Louisiana, 20 August 1793. She was twenty-six and he was twenty-four. Witnesses were Juan Carlos (Jean Charles) Broussard, her brother-in-law, and Claisto Landry.Diocese of Baton Rouge, 2:95 and 686. Marie Magdelaine and Joachim-Jacques were among the first to marry in the Assumption parish, which was established in 1793 by the Spanish. A small church was first erected under Father Bernardo de Deva.Emilie G. Leumas, Roots of Faith History, p. 26. Did he preside over the marriage?
Two years later, Marie Magdelaine and Joachim-Jacques were living in Valenzuela with one-year-old Juan Bautista (Jean Baptiste). Valenzuela was located on the left bank of Bayou Lafourche, eighty miles west of New Orleans in Ascension Parish. In 1797 they were recorded again in Valenzuela in Lafourche. Albert J. Robichaux, Colonial Settlers Along Bayou Lafourche (Cecilia, Louisiana: Hebert Publications, 1980) p. 56 and 86. In 1798 they were recorded in Lafourche, with sons Jean, two years old and Auguste, who was one year old. Joachim-Jacques had six arpents of land. Robichaux, Colonial Settlers Along Bayou Lafourche, p. 136. Did he receive a land grant from Spain? His brothers lived nearby.
When the United States purchased Louisiana, the inhabitants had to reclaim their land. Marie-Magdeleine’s husband claimed his “tract of land, situated on the right bank of the bayou LaFourche, in the county of LaFourche, containing five arpents and a half in front, and forty arpents in depth, and bounded on the upper side by land of Jean Doucron, and on the lower by land of Soulia Blanchard. This land was surveyed in the year 1790, in favor of the claimant, by order of Governor Miro; and it having been inhabited and cultivated ever since that time, until on and after the 20th December, 1803. Confirmed.”Walter Lowrie, Early Settlers of Louisiana as Taken From Land Claims in the Eastern District of the Orleans Territory (Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, … Continue reading What a relief it must have been to know that the land you had been working on for years still belonged to you even though governments had changed hands.
Between the years 1794 and 1810, Marie Magdelaine gave birth to at least eight children. Marie Magdelaine died before 1825 and maybe as early as 1810. When her daughter Marie Emmee Blanchard married Etienne Ordenot in 1825, Marie Magdelaine had already passed.Diocese of Baton Rouge, 4:58 and 4:431. She may have died during childbirth around the age of forty-four. In the 1810 U.S. census, there were three adults in the household of Joachim-Jacques Blanchard over forty.1810 U.S. census, Assumption Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, p.27, Joachim Blanchard household; National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm publication M252, … Continue reading More than likely, that was Joachim-Jacques and his parents, Bennoni Blanchard and Madeleine Forest. The deaths of Joachim-Jacques and his parents were recorded between 1814 and 1825 in sacramental records, but Marie Magdelaine’s death was not found.Diocese of Baton Rouge, 3:330, 4:59, 4:62
Next week Marguerite LeBlanc, Marie Magdelaine’s mother, will share her biography.
|↑1||Department Archives of Ille-et-Vilaine, 10 NUM 35313 111 – SAINT-SERVAN – 1766 – 1766 – Baptêmes – COMMUNE. http://archives-en-ligne.ille-et-vilaine.fr/thot_internet/FrmLotDocFrame.asp?idlot=186648&idfic=0474194&ref=0473445&appliCindoc=THOPWREG&resX=1280&resY=800&init=1&visionneuseHTML5=0.|
|↑2||Rieder, Milton P., The Acadians in France, 1762-1776: Rolls of the Acadians Living in France Distributed by Towns for the Years 1762 to 1776 (Metaire, Louisiana, 1967), p. 89; archive.org, (https://archive.org/details/acadiansinfrance0000ried/page/175/mode/2up?view=theater : viewed 19 February 2022).|
|↑3||Oscar William Winzerling, Acadian Odyssey, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2015), p.75.|
|↑4, ↑5||Albert J. Robichaux, The Acadian Exiles in Nantes, (Harvey, Louisiana: Robichaux, 1978), p. 154.|
|↑6||Tim Hebert, “Passenger List for La Ville La Bon Papa,” Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History (https://www.acadian-cajun.com/ship1.htm : viewed 12 February 2022).|
|↑7||Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Diocese of Baton Rouge, 2009) 2:686.|
|↑8||Diocese of Baton Rouge , 2:685.|
|↑9||Emilie G. Leumas and Renée B. Richard, Roots of Faith History of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, (Èditions du Signe, Strasbourg, France, 2009), p. 24.|
|↑10||Charles Gayarré, History of Louisiana: the Spanish Domination (New York: W.J. Widdleton, 1866), p. 190, digital image (https://archive.org/details/cihm_45094/page/n211, viewed 1/5/2020).|
|↑11||Diocese of Baton Rouge, 2:95 and 686.|
|↑12||Emilie G. Leumas, Roots of Faith History, p. 26.|
|↑13||Albert J. Robichaux, Colonial Settlers Along Bayou Lafourche (Cecilia, Louisiana: Hebert Publications, 1980) p. 56 and 86.|
|↑14||Robichaux, Colonial Settlers Along Bayou Lafourche, p. 136.|
|↑15||Walter Lowrie, Early Settlers of Louisiana as Taken From Land Claims in the Eastern District of the Orleans Territory (Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1986), p.337.|
|↑16||Diocese of Baton Rouge, 4:58 and 4:431.|
|↑17||1810 U.S. census, Assumption Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, p.27, Joachim Blanchard household; National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm publication M252, roll 30; ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/7734/images/4433273_00029?pId=1407064 : viewed 2 January 2021).|
|↑18||Diocese of Baton Rouge, 3:330, 4:59, 4:62|