Archive for French in Puerto Rico

1 – French in Puerto Rico

originally posted 02/21/2001

(by Anne Marie Danet)

From material supplied by Eduardo Questell of Ponce, Puerto Rico, there were many more persons who left Saint Barthelemy to establish themselves in Puerto Rico.

It will be a surprise to many descendants of the French from Saint-Barthelemy, when we tell of the French immigrants who chose to settle in Puerto Rico rather than travel to other French islands.

One big attraction was the land grants to these settlers under the Cedula de Gracias of Spain.

There were several causes for this immigration to the Spanish island…  There was, first of all,  the French Revolution of 1789…  Royalists were at risk of losing their heads to Madame la Guillotine, even though Saint-Barthelemy was now under Swedish rule.  Then there was the Emancipation Proclamation of
Sweden and of France and there were many rich men on Saint-Barthelemy who possessed enslaved persons and who were not ready to grant freedom to their enslaved servants. The Spanish had not yet granted freedom to their servants.

Then there was the decline of the economy on Saint-Barthelemy because the Danish Island of St. Thomas, had been declared a free-port and merchant ships chose to trade there instead of on Saint-Barthelemy.

On Haiti, Touussaint L’Ouverture was leading the population in revolt against France, in demand for their freedom and independence.

In the United States, the French Territory of Louisiana was sold to the United States in 1803. This sales caused  many French citizens to decide to relocate to Spanish Puerto Rico.

On 10 August, 1815, the Spanish Crown enacted the Cedula de Gracias, which granted many rights and privileges to the immigrants who would cultivate the land and bring in machinery and slaves to cultivate sugar cane.  Although there were already French from Saint-Barthelemy on the island of Puerto Rico, many more now came to settle and take advantage of the land grant.

We must alert the reader and researcher that names were changed and mis-spelt because of the language.  The following is a list of some of the French from Saint-Barthelemy who relocated to Puerto Rico:

Bernier, Andre Resided in Puerto Rico since 1807.  Was naturalized in April, 1816 to  take advantage of the Cedula de Gracias
Bernier, Jean Pierre Resident of Puerto Rico from 1806 was naturalized in 1816 under the  Cedula de Gracias
Bernier, Maurice Resident in Puerto Rico since 1804 was naturalized in 1816 under the  Cedula de Gracias
Le Blanc, Victoria Single, 30 years of age, domestic servant. Resided in Guayanilla in 1872
Cerge, Louis Was establish in Puerto Rico under the Cedula de Gracias. He was the owner of a farm and brought with him, three slaves
England, Harold French subject, single, 16 years of age and a carpenter, He lived in  Fajardo in 1874.
Giraud, Martin Swedish subject.  69 years of age, a widower and farmer;  lived in  Salinas in 1875
Giraud, Matthiew Widower, farmer, 68 years of age.  Lived in Salinas in 1874
Giraud, Joseph Bachelor, 54 years of age.  He was a blacksmith. He resided in Ponce in 1872
Giraud, Anthoine Resided in Puerto Rico since 1811.   He was naturalized under the Cedula de Gracias
Laplace,  Jean Isidore Married, farmer and land-owner 93 years of age.  Resided in Juana Dias in 1872, along with his  family of four persons
Ledee, Pierre Resided in Puerto Rico since 1804.   Was naturalized under the Cedula  de Gracias
Martin, James Married, Bricklayer or mason.   63 years of age, lived in Fajardo since 1874
Nicot, Charles Steward, Butler or foreman.   Resided in Juana Dias in 1872.  He was 50 years of age
Roche (or Boche), Jean-Marie Established himself in Puerto Rico, in July 1817.  He brought with him four slaves and capitol of 2000 pesos

2 – French in Puerto Rico

originally posted 02/21/2001

(The names have been translated from the Spanish back to the original French.  All were registered in Spanish for convenience of the language)

…From the Register Of Baptisms, the parish of Guayama, we find the following baptisms.  All persons white unless noted otherwise…

Laurence, Legitimate son of Jose Vasquez and  Louise Serge.  4 July, 1819
Paul, Legitimate son of Pierre Ledee and Catherine-Louise Mayer.  15 January, 1820
Pierre, Legitimate son of Michel Ledee and Venancia  Roche.  16 January, 1820.  The godparents were Jean-Pierre Bernier and  Catherine Roche
Lucie,  Legitimate daughter of Pierre Curet ans Rose Maye or Mayer. 13 November, 1820.   Godparents were Pierre Ledee and Marie-Antoinette Giraud
Jean-Francois, Legitimate son of Jean-Marie Roche and Marie-Louise Aubin.  4 June, 1821.  Godparents were Benjamin Flori and  Marie Sophia Roche
Marie-Josephine,  Legitimate daughter of Jose Vasquez and  Louise Serge.  7 September, 1821
Maria del Pilar,  Legitimate daughter of Michel Ledee and Venancia Roche Ledee.  25 January, 1822
Jean-Pierre, Legitimate son of Sieur Pierre Greaux and Dona Maria Florencia de Rivera.  21 September, 1822
Pedro,  Natural son of Pierre Curet and Andrea  Rosada.   26 July, 1823
Luis Innocencio,  Natural son of Marie Aubin.    January, 1824
Joseph Delfin,  Legitimate son of Alexandre Ledee and Anne Giraud.  21 January, 1824.   Godparents were Joseph Ledee and  Petrona Mande
Marie-Roseaura,  Legitimate daughter of Jean-Marie Roche and Marie-Louise Aubin.  21 January, 1824.   Godparents were Don Luis Sanchez  and   Marie Aubin
Josephine, Legitimate daughter of Joseph Ledee and  Simonne Bernier.  18 March, 1824.  Godparents were Pierre Greaux and Catherine Mayer
Marcelino (Marcel),  Legitimate son of Dominique Benjamin  Chauset and Felicite Berry.  17 February, 1824.  Godparents were Marcel Berry..and ?
Angel, Legitimate son of Michel Ledee and  Venancia Roche.   7 May, 1824.   Godparents were Joseph Maurice Ledee Anne Giraud
Maria Petrona,  Legitimate daughter of Don  Sivestre Reno (?) and Elisabeth Bernier.   17 July, 1824
Jean-Louis,  Born 30 December 1825;   Legitimate son of Jean-Pierre Serge and Marie Antoinette Aubin.  Godparents were Georges Aubin, Maurice Bernier and Rose Bernier

3 – French in Puerto Rico

originally posted 02/21/2001

All the information on the list of Baptisms and of Marriages were contributed by Eduardo Questell of Ponce, Puerto Rico.  Eduardo is a descendant of natives of Saint-Barthelemy.

From the Register of Marriages in Guayama, Puerto Rico:

5 Feb. 1821 Pierre Ledee, legitimate son of Pierre Ledee and Suzanne Greaux to Marie-Antoinette Serge, legitimate daughter of Louis Serge and Louise Magras.-All natives of Saint-Barthelemy and settlers in this parish (Guayama) for 16 years, in the District of Guayabo(?) Dulce.
24 Nov. 1821 Sieur Pierre Greaux, 34 years of age, native of Saint-Barthelemy, and legitimate son of Joseph Greaux and Marie-Magdaleine Questel… to Dona Maria de Rivera, 17 years of age.
17 Jul. 1822 Sieur Silvestre Renaus, native of the town of Chatearous(?)  in the kingdom of France.  Legitimate son of Sieur Silvestre Renaus and  Dona..N… to Elisabeth Bernier, legitimate daughter of Pierre Bernier and Eleanore Peret(?)
20 Jan. 1823 Joseph Emmanuel Ledee, native of Saint-Barthelemy, legitimate son of Pierre-Paul Ledee and Catherine-Louise Marie Simonne Bernier, legitimate daughter of Jean-Pierre Ledee and  Leonore Peret(?)