|About FUSELIER/JEANSONNE/LEJEUNE/COURVILLE/TOUCHET FAMILIES
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Introduction of Fuseliers to Louisiana
The progenitor of the Fuselier family of Louisiana is Gabriel Fuselier de la
Claire, the Commandant of the Opelousas Poste and the founder of St.
Martinville (Attakapas Poste). He was born in Lyons, France on 27 August 1722
to Pierre Fuselier de la Claire and Ludivine Chaufouraux.
Captain Pierre Fuselier de la Claire of the Lyons Militia, a wealthy Lyons
merchant, was also a judge, director of a hospital, and sheriff. On 20 January
1723 Pierre had married Dame Ludivine Chaufouaux of St. Quentin in Picardy,
France. The eldest son inherited the family fortune, including the estate in
Vaise called ?Le Grande Claire?, which had been landscaped by the designer of
the gardens of Versailles; the second son became a Jesuit priest; the two
daughters married well; and the youngest son, Gabriel, became a soldier like
Gabriel Fuselier de la Claire arrived in New Orleans in 1752 and was
domiciled at 1555 Dorgenois Street in the Quarter. Under the protection of the
Court of Versailles he served as Director of Commerce in Louisiana for French
merchants. On 2 March 1764 he married Jeanne the daughter of Jacques Roman and
Marie Josephe D?aigle. They had two children: Ludivine and Agricole who later
married Christine, the daughter of Jean Berard and Anne Broussard of Acadia.
In1760 Gabriel purchased land bounded by Bayou Vermilion on the west and
Bayou Teche on the east from the Attakapas Indian Chief Kinemo. When Louisiana
was transferred to Spanish rule, Gabriel was chosen Commandant or Territorial
governor of the Attakapas Poste (St. Martinville) and in 1770 he officially
took command at Poste des Opelousas where he exercised control since 1767.
In 1770 the widower Gabriel signed a marriage contract with Anne Marguerite
Harang, but the ceremony never took place. On 30 April 1771 Gabriel married
seventeen year old Helene Elizabeth Soileau, daughter of the royal storekeeper
at Natchez, Saint Noel Soileau, and Marie Josephe Richaume. The marriage
contract drawn up at the time revealed Fuselier was a wealthy man. He owned a
plantation of eighty four square arpents and twenty four slaves, augmented by
the sale of a house and an inheritance from France. Eleven children were born
of their nineteen year marriage; Helen (b. 1772 at Pointe Coupee); Gabriel (b.
1774) m. Bazile Ternant; Josephine (b. 1777) m. Henri Stagg of New York;
Etienne (b. 1779) m. Lucille Deshotel; Euphemine (b. 1780) m. Phillippe
Tibberu; Amelia m. Hillaine Grandenigo; Louis (b. 1785) m. Felicite
Jeansonne; Honore m. Eloise Bordelon; Eugenie (b. 1787 at Kaskaskia,
Illinois) m. Francois Dubisson, and as a widow, Louis Soileau; Brigida; and
Charles (b. 1789 in Opelousas) m. Cedillas Fontenot, and as a widower Marianne
Gabriel and Agricole served in the American Revolutionary War, and under the
Leadership of Louisiana Spanish Governor Galvez, defeated the English across
the Gulf Coast. Gabriel, after a lifetime of service to his adopted country
and in the year of his youngest son?s birth died on 12 October 1789 in
Bordeaux, France while on a return visit. Helene died in Opelousas in 1816.