|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 his father.
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 Rougeau.
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.
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