Acadians in Louisiana
DE GOUTIN de Ville
[DAY-goo-tanh duh VILLE]
This family is truly the exception among Acadians who emigrated to Louisiana. Mathieu De Goutin, the family's progenitor in Acadia, was, in fact, no colonist at all. Born in France in c1663 to a family of the lesser nobility, he ingratiated himself to an influential marquis and came to Port-Royal in the late 1680s to serve as the King's lieutenant général civil et criminel, or "general representative for justice," replacing the aging Michel Boudrot in August 1788. He also served as écrivain, or colonial secretary, as conseiller, or counselor, and as trésorier, or paymaster, at Port-Royal.
In c1689, as Acadian Governor Louis-Alexandre de Friches de Menneval lamented, Mathieu married "foolishly to a peasant's daughter"--Jeanne Thibodeau, who was only 17 years old at the time of her marriage. Jeanne's father was Pierre Thibodeau, who had come to the colony in 1654 as a young lieutenant serving with Emmanuel Le Borgne de Bélisle and married a daughter of Jean Thériot in c1660. Jeanne, named after her mother, was Thibodeau's seventh child and sixth daughter, one of 16 children by his only wife! Menneval was no fan of the sturdy colonist. About the time of Jeanne Thibodeau's marriage to Mathieu De Goutin, the governor briefly imprisoned and fined her father for trading brandy to the Indians. In the late 1690s, under Menneval's successor, Joseph Robinau de Villebon, Pierre and his sons explored and founded the Acadian settlement of Chepoudy on the upper Baie Française, now the Bay of Fundy, so Thibodeau was no peasant.
Mathieu De Goutin's "foolish" marriage "to a peasant's daughter" produced 13 children, all but one of them born at Port-Royal. Two of their six sons married into the Aubert de La Chesnaye, Puypéroux de La Fosse, and Caron families; the other four sons survived childhood but did not marry. Five of their seven daughters married into the Hertel de Cournoyer, de Saint-Rémy, Duboisberthelot, Boucher, and Sabatier families.
Mathieu's kinship to Pierre Thibodeau had its consequences. It made him an enemy of the irascible Menneval, who wrote in 1689 that De Goutin was "an undeserving, worthless character, ... (who is) quite stubbornly convinced of his ability, ... (and) sure that the two offices he holds will give him a rank and authority here which are, if not above, at least equal to that of the governor." Mathieu shared an equal contempt for the governor and the colonial clergy whom the governor championed. The conflict between the two colonial officials led to Mathieu's recall, but luckily for him war intervened. In 1790, during King William's War, New Englanders under Sir William Phips of Boston captured Port-Royal. Phips took both the governor and the young judge as prisoners of war but soon released them. Menneval returned to France while Mathieu went first to Rivière St.-Jean and then to Canada before sailing to France to plead his case to the King. The effort paid off. In August 1792, the King granted Mathieu a signeury at Mouscoudabouet, today's Musquodoboit Harbor, an Acadian/Mi'kmaq settlement on the Atlantic side of the peninsula. In 1796, he received a second seigneury at Pointe-aux-Chênes, today's Oak Point, on Rivière St.-Jean. He and his family did not live on either seigneury but remained at the colonial capital. In August 1796, in one of the last campaigns of King William's War, Mathieu accompanied Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, the future founder of Louisiana, in an attack on English Fort William Henry at Pemiquid, today's Bristol, Maine. (It was Iberville's destruction of Fort William Henry that led to Colonel Benjamin Church's punitive attack on Chignecto, Acadia, later in the year.) Mathieu returned to France after his venture at Pemiquid and was back at Fort Nashwaak on Rivière St.-Jean, the colonial capital under Villebon, in 1697. Mathieu clashed with Villebon and his successors as well. Jacques-François de Memberton de Brouillon, governor at Port-Royal in the early 1700s, complained that De Goutin was "hardly in a position to make good judgments [as the colony's chief judge] ... because a third of the settlers are relatives of his wife." However, Mathieu got along well with Daniel d'Auger de Subercase, who succeeded to power in 1706 and proved to be Acadia's last French governor. Mathieu's oldest son, François-Marie, served as an army cadet at Port-Royal under Subercase, who was so impressed with the young man's performance during Queen Anne's War that he "considered recommending his promotion to second ensign."
The De Goutin family's fortunes took a turn for the worse in 1710. Queen Anne's War had been raging in North America for eight years when New Englanders captured Port-Royal one last time. After the surrender of the capital in October, Mathieu again returned to France, taking his wife and a dozen children with him; oldest son François-Marie, now 20, followed his family to France. Mathieu's thirteenth and final child, a daughter, was born at Nantes in c1711, but the family did not remain in the mother country very long. In January 1714, after the Peace of Utrecht awarded peninsula Acadia, including Port-Royal, to Britain but retained Île Royale and Île St.-Jean for France, the King appointed Mathieu as scrivener on Île Royale, but he did not hold this important position very long. Mathieu died on Île Royale that Christmas, in his early 50s. One of his biographers captures the complexity of the man and his contribution to Acadian history: "Traditionally, Mathieu de Goutin has been described, somewhat unfairly, as an 'unscrupulous mischief maker.' Though his arrogance and vanity are quite apparent, it would appear nevertheless that he was a capable official. Indeed, his superiors persisted in recognizing this for 22 years. Because one of the functions of effective civil officials was to serve as a restraint upon the otherwise near-absolute power of the governor, it is perhaps as much for this reason, as for his alliances among the inhabitants, that Mathieu de Goutin also enjoyed the confidence of the Acadian peasantry, who had acquired long before a natural distaste for the inflexibility of colonial administration."
In September 1715, Jeanne Thibodeau, now a widow with 11 minor children, requested "the election of a guardian for them." For a time, she and her children received rations from the King's stores. Most of her children remained on Île Royale. Oldest son Françoise-Marie, called sieur like his father, served as an officer in the regular colonial troops, as a colonial official on Île Royale and Île St.-Jean, married twice, and created a large family; he fathered 11 children, including seven sons, by two wives; all of his children were born at Louisbourg on Île Royale. Youngest son Joseph de Ville became an army officer, also was called sieur, and was the only other son to create a family of his own The four middle sons--Alexandre-Abraham, called Abraham, Mathieu, Jacques, and Antoine--survived childhood and were called sieur, but all died "without heirs, never having been married." Five of the seven De Goutin daughters married well, to army officers and colonial officials. Jeanne Thibodeau died at Louisbourg, Île Royale, in April 1741, in her early 70s. She never remarried. François-Marie died on Île St.-Jean in January 1752, in his early 60s. At least one of his sisters, Jeanne, was deported with her family from Île Royale to La Rochelle, France, in 1758 during Le Grand Dérangement.
Joseph De Goutin de Ville was, indeed, the first Acadian in Louisiana. But though he was born and raised in greater Acadia, and his mother's family was a large one there, giving him many cousins, he came to Louisiana not as a harried exile, like many of his cousins, but as a young army officer, still a bachelor, assigned to service in a French colony. He arrived in Louisiana, in fact, decades before his cousins' Grand Dérangement.
Descendants of Joseph DE GOUTIN De Ville (1705-late 1760s or 1770s)
Joseph de Ville, sixth and youngest son of Mathieu De Goutin, colonial official, and Jeanne Thibodeau, was born at Port-Royal in March 1705 during Queen Anne's War. Joseph was only the second of his parents' many sons to create a family of his own; all of his five brothers survived childhood, but only he and his oldest brother, François-Marie, took a wife. When Joseph was five years old, a British force captured Port-Royal, and his father took the family to France. When Joseph was nine, his father received an appointment as scrivener on the French-controlled island of Île Royale, and Joseph followed his family to Louisbourg, which the French transformed into a fortress. Joseph's father died in December 1714, soon after the family moved to Île Royale. Joseph came of age at Louisbourg, became an army officer, and served "five years in the Mousquetaires." He came to New Orleans in c1732 as a 27-year-old lieutenant and was promoted to captain in 1737. In 1740, Governor Bienville, who thought that Joseph was age 32, when he was 35, reported that De Velle, as he called him, "serves well," but was "a bit restless." Joseph married Marie-Jeanne, daughter of Jean Caron, at New Orleans in July 1747; she was a native of the city; Joseph was 42 years old at the time of the wedding and perhaps still in the service, and Marie-Jeanne was only 15. They raised a large family, including at least five sons and three daughters. Not surprisingly, most of the godfathers for Joseph's children were fellow officers, some of them chevaliers of the Order of St.-Louis. A daughter married into the Peyroux family. In June 1764, Joseph received a "complete" 50 x 50-arpent land grand on Bayou Teche, near where Bayou Fuselier flows into the upper Teche, but there is no evidence that he and his family lived there. (Interestingly, it was near Joseph de Ville's land grant that his kinsman, Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, settled his party of 200 exiles in the spring of 1765.) According to genealogist/historian Stephen A. White, Joseph de Ville was the "Denville" who harbored Acadian participants in the October 1768 revolt against Spanish Governor Ulloa at New Orleans. One source says that Joseph died between 1768 and 1778; if so, he would have been in his 60s or early 70s. In May 1786, his widow lay claim to 50 x 40 arpents of land along the east bank of the Teche granted by Spanish Governor Miró, the title for which was confirmed by Governor Carondelet in May 1794 and by Morales, a Spanish official, in April 1802 (this probably was her husband's original French grant of June 1764), but there is no evidence that she and his children moved there. She sold the land to fellow colonist Charles Jumonville de Viller in July 1802, who promptly sold it to Alexandre Delhomme of Attakapas.
Oldest son Jean-Baptiste-Joseph was born at New Orleans in June 1751. In March 1764, at age 12 1/2, he stood as godfather at New Orleans for 3 1/2-year-old Jean-Baptiste, son of Jean Poirier and Madeleine Richard, among the first Acadians to reach Louisiana. Did he marry?
Charles was born at New Orleans in October 1757.
Louis was born at New Orleans in January 1760.
Joseph, fils, born at New Orleans in June 1761, served as captain of the "fixed Louisiana regiment" and also of the militia. He used the surname De Ville De Goutin Bellechasse or Villechasse, served briefly was commandant of Spanish Fort San Fernando de las Barrancas at present-day Memphis, Tennessee, during the late Spanish period, and commanded the Louisiana militia in 1804-05, during the early American period. He married Marie Josèphe Adélaïde, called Adélaïde, daughter of Étienne Lalande d'Alcour, probably at New Orleans by the early 1800s. Their son Jacques Émile Adolphe was born at New Orleans in June 1808, and Jean Louis in August 1814. ...
Youngest son François-Marie was born at New Orleans in June 1765.
Daughter Marie Françoise, widow of Pierre Charles Peyroux, died at New Orleans in June 1821; she was 69 years old.
Daughter Marie-Grégoire, "unmarried," died at New Orleans in September 1824; the priest who recorded her burial said that Marie Grégoire had been born in May 1750, so she was 74 years old at the time of her death.
From the late 1680s to 1710, the De Goutins were a privileged family in Acadia. Mathieu, the family's progenitor, was second only to the governor in power and influence; at one time, he held four important positions--chief judge of civil and criminal matters, counselor, colonial secretary, and paymaster. He complained at one point that he had "no set time for drinking and eating, (for) I am more busy on feast days and Sundays than on working days, (because) the settlers use these days to conduct their business when they come to Mass." One of those settlers was Pierre Thibodeau. When De Goutin married one of Thibodeau's daughters, the young official established a lasting connection with a significant number of settlers, from Port-Royal all the way around to the upper Fundy settlements. One Acadian governor complained that it would be difficult for De Goutin to render an objective judgment in many civil and criminal cases "because a third of the settlers are related to his wife." De Goutin may have been, in fact, the only colonial official that the Acadians trusted to look after their best interests. His long career in Acadia ended with Britain's final seizure of Port-Royal in 1710. Although De Goutin was given an important position on Île Royale, now Cape Breton Island, when the French established a colony there in 1714, he died within a year of his appointment. His wife and children--they had 13 of them--remained on Île Royale. De Goutin's oldest son, François-Marie, also became a colonial official, on Île Royale and Île St.-Jean, today's Prince Edward Island, and was nearly as highly placed as his father had been at Port-Royal.
It was De Goutin's youngest son, Joseph de Ville, who was the first Acadian to emigrate to Louisiana. In c1732, Joseph came to Louisiana as a young lieutenant, having served five years in the Musketeers. He was promoted to captain in 1737, at age 32. In 1747, age 42, he married a local Creole girl who was only in her teens and remained in the colony. By the early 1750s, the retired officer was a captain in the colonial militia and "settled (in business)" at New Orleans. He fathered at least eight children, including five sons, all born at New Orleans. At least one of his sons, Joseph, fils, married and fathered sons of his own; as captain in the Spanish regiment and then as a militia officer, Joseph, fils, who used the surname De Ville De Goutin Bellechasse or Villechasse, served briefly as commandant of Spanish Fort San Fernando de las Barrancas at present-day Memphis, Tennessee, during the late Spanish period and as Louisiana militia commander during the early American period.
Joseph de Ville, père's kinship with many of his fellow Acadians may have been a factor in so many of them coming to Louisiana. Scholars note that Olivier Landry of Chignecto, whom the British had deported to Georgia, was a kinsman of the De Goutins (Olivier's paternal grandmother, Marie Thibodeau, was Joseph de Ville's mother's older sister). As the story goes, while Olivier and his family languished at Savannah at the end of the final war with Britain, they somehow communicated with their cousin in New Orleans, who informed them that the French authorities in Louisiana would welcome Acadians there. The Landrys and three other families--the Cormiers, Poiriers, and Richards, 21 in all--left Savannah for Louisiana via Mobile in December 1763 and reached New Orleans the following February--the first recorded Acadian families in Louisiana. Olivier and Joseph may have enjoyed a tearful reunion, and it would be no surprise if Joseph was kin to other members of the party as well (De Goutin's eldest son Jean-Baptiste De Ville, only 12 years old, served as godfather for 3-year-old Jean-Baptiste, one of Jean Poirier's sons, soon after the party reached New Orleans). Olivier, Jean, and their fellow exiles went on to Cabanocé, on the river above the city, and sent word out by the remarkable Acadian grapevine that the French authorities in Louisiana had indeed welcomed them to the colony. Exactly a year later, in February 1765, the first large contingent of Acadian exiles, 200 men, women, and children led by resistance fighter Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil (another kinsman of Joseph De Goutin de Ville; Broussard's wife, now deceased, was a niece of Joseph de Ville's mother), reached New Orleans from Halifax via Cap-Français, St.-Domingue, and settled on Bayou Teche, not far from a land grant held by Joseph de Ville. Hundreds more Acadians came from Halifax later that year, and more from Maryland in the next four years.
It is possible, then, that Joseph De Goutin de Ville, the first Acadian in Louisiana, played a significant role in his kinsmen's mass migration to the lower Mississippi valley. Joseph de Ville's contribution was so significant, in fact, that Acadian genealogist/historian Stephen A. White calls him "the Godfather of the New Acadia in Louisiana." White adds that during the October 1768 Creole-led rebellion against the unpopular Spanish Governor Antonio de Ulloa, the Acadians who participated in the uprising rallied at Joseph De Goutin's home in New Orleans, evidence that the "first Acadian" remained close to his fellow Acadiennes.
The family's name also is spelled Degoutin, Degoutins, Desgoutin, Deville, Deville Degouin, Deville Degoutain, Deville Degoutin, De Ville De Goutin, Deville Des Goutins, Deville Des Gouttain, De Ville De Goutin Bellechasse, Deville Degoutin Villechasse.
Sources: Conrad, Attakapas Domesday Book, 1:35, 47-48;
De Ville, Mississippi Valley Mélange, 2:14, source of quote & Joseph's military career; Faragher, A Great & Noble Scheme, 430; Eric R. Krause, DCB, "GOUTIN, François-Marie," 3:264-65, source of quote; Bernard Pothier, "GOUTIN, Mathieu de," DCB, 2: 257-58, source of quotes; McDermott, ed., The Spanish in the Mississippi Valley, 45 n.18; NOAR, vols. 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 16; White, DGFA-1, 756-59, 1508-09; White, DGFA-1 English, 155-56, source of quote; Stephen A. White, "The First Acadian in Louisiana: Joseph DE GOUTIN de Ville," in <acadian-cajun.com/degoutin.htm>; Stephen A. White, "Joseph de Goutin de Ville: The Godfather of the New Acadian in Louisiana," at <acadianmemorial.org>; <www.usskidd.com/heritage-nationalguard.html>.
(present-day parishes that existed during the War Between the States in parenthesis; hyperlinks on the abbreviations take you to brief histories of each settlement):
Lafourche (Lafourche, Terrebonne)
SB San Bernardo (St. Bernard)
Attakapas (St. Martin, St. Mary, Lafayette, Vermilion)
San Luìs de Natchez (Concordia)
St.-Gabriel d'Iberville (Iberville)
Bayou des Écores (East Baton Rouge, West Feliciana)
New Orleans (Orleans)
St.-Jacques de Cabanocé (St. James)
Baton Rouge (East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge)
Opelousas (St. Landry, Calcasieu)
For a chronology of Acadian Arrivals in Louisiana, 1764-early 1800s, see Appendix.
The hyperlink attached to an individual's name is connected to a list of Acadian immigrants for a particular settlement and provides a different perspective on the refugee's place in family and community.
|*Joseph DE GOUTIN de Ville 01||1740s||NO||born 19 Mar 1705, baptized next day, Port-Royal; son of Mathieu DE GOUTIN, colonial official, & Jeanne THIBODEAUX; moved to France 1710, age 5; on Île Royale 1714; became an army officer; served 5 years in the Musketeers; arrived LA c1732, age 27, a lieutenant; promoted captain in 1737; married, age 42, Marie-Jeanne, daughter of Jean CARON & Marie-Anne or Anne-Marie, called Anne, MONIQUE, 29 Jul 1747, New Orleans; served as captain of colonial militia|
01. Not in Wall of Names because of the circumstance of his arrival. White, DGFA-1, 757, calls him Joseph DE GOUTIN de Ville, & provides his biographical information, including details of his marriage not found in NOAR. Joseph's godparents were Sr. de Gannes "capne de la garrison" & Anne DE GOUTIN, his older sister, who was 11 years old in 1705.
Stephen A. White, "The First Acadian in Louisiana: Joseph DE GOUTIN de Ville," in <acadian-cajun.com/degoutin.htm>, says that "Joseph had connections with a regiment who[sic] was involved in both Ile Royale and in Louisiana. So he arranged for a position in New Orleans and moved there about 1746." This implies that he was captured at Louisbourg in 1745, was released by the British, & allowed to go on to LA.
De Ville, Mississippi Valley Mélange, 2:14, citing a report by LA Gov. Bienville, dated 1740, in the Archives Nationales de France, shows that Joseph came to LA much earlier. Gov. Bienville says of DE VELLE [DE GOUTIN]: "He served five years in the Mousquetaires and arrived in the colony in 1732 in the grade of Lieutenant; Captain in 1737. He serves well; a bit restless." So one wonders where White got his arrival date of 1746.
Marie-Jeanne CARON's birth/baptismal record can be found in NOAR, 1:41 (SLC, B1, 14), & says she was born 18 Nov 1731, probably in the city. Thus, she was only 15 years old when she married Joseph De Ville; he was 42 years old. Her parents' marriage record, dated 20 Mar 1721, "at Old Biloxi," is in NOAR, 1:41, 191 (SLC, M1, 15), & calls her mother Anne MONI. Her paternal grandparents were Louis [CARON] & Marguerite DUHAMEL, her maternal grandparents Simon [MONI] & Françoise PELLETIER. Her mother's surname also is given as MONIE. One wonders when her parents came to New Orleans from Biloxi & where White found her & Joseph's marriage record.
That Joseph served not only as an officer in the regular service but also as an officer of the LA colonial militia can be seen in the baptismal records of 4 of his children in NOAR, 2:93-94. He was, according to one of the records, a "militia captain." He also was "settled (in business)" at New Orleans by Nov 1750. See White, DGFA-1 English, 156, a listing of his parents' children, dated 19 Nov 1750, that calls him Sr. Joseph DE GOUTIN de Ville.
In "Joseph de Goutin de Ville: The Godfather of the New Acadian in Louisiana," at <acadianmemorial.org>, Stephen A. White says that Joseph DE GOUTIN received his land grant at Attakapas in 1764, that it was 50 x 50 arpents "at the northern edge of the Attakapas District at what is now Sec. 37, T8S/R5E on the East side of Bayou Teche right below its junction with Bayou Fuselier and across from the vast purchase Gabriel FUSELIER de la Claire made from the Indians in 1760." See also Conrad, Attakapas Domesday Book, 1:35. A detailed map in Conrad, 1:34, shows DE GOUTIN's land just south of the town of Arnaudville. The BROUSSARDs settled much farther down the Teche, at Fausse Pointe near present-day Loreauville, below the Poste des Attakapas.
[top of page DE GOUTIN]
Copyright (c) 2010-13 Steven A. Cormier