Wednesday, September 24, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Jean Michel Griffard - French and Indian Ancestor - From Ste. Genevieve, Missouri - Week 31

For my previous two posts, I discussed the Griffaw line of my family, my 3rd great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Griffaw, and her mother, Anne Grissom.  I briefly touched on the fact that I believe the Griffaw name was originally Griffar/Griffard.  It is thought that Jean Michel Griffard is the father of Mary Elizabeth Griffaw and first husband of Anne Grissom.  He is the topic of this weeks post.

As in my previous posts I mentioned the Ste. Genevieve's Project Pioneer.  They honored the Griffard Family in 2001 during their "Jour de Fete," and compiled a genealogical book which showed the family arriving in Ste. Genevieve around the late 1700s from Quebec, Canada.  In this book, it states that Jean Michel Griffard was the son of Jean Alexis Griffard and Marie Madeline (or Magdaleine) Tirard dit St. Jean, and was born September 29, 1780.  Information on Jean Alexis Griffard from the Pioneer book mentioned above says the following (found on page 5):
"Jean Alexis was the only resident of Ste. Genevieve on the militia roster of 1779 listed as a salt maker ("sellier") by profession.  He was French Canadian and came to Ste. Genevieve during the mid 1770's.  In 1777 he married Marie Magdaleine Tirard, daughter of the illegitimate me-tis woman Marie Joseph Deguire Tirard, and took up salt making.  Most likely Alexis left Ste. Genevieve to settle near the Saline.  This is where the salt springs were located.  In 1797 there were only nine salt makers listed on the New Bourbon census, eight were Anglo-Americans, the ninth was the aging but still productive Jean Alexis Griffard.  Since salt was used extensively to cure meat and animal hides for export to New Orleans.  I'm assuming that Jean Alexis and his family traveled back and forth from Ste. Genevieve and New Orleans.  Since Jean Alexis oldest son Alexis was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Elizabeth, another child of Jean Alexis, was born en route from New Orleans and Baptized the following year in Ste. Genevieve.  The spelling of the Griffard name was changed from Greffard to Griffard when Jean Alexis immigrated to Ste. Genevieve.  The spelling Greffard was kept by the Ancestors in Canada because there are Greffards all over Canada and the northern United States.  Jean could write his last name.  He wrote it as Griffar."
According to the book François Vallé and His World: Upper Louisiana Before Lewis and Clark, by Carl J. Ekberg, Jean Michel was baptised in October of 1780, and his godfather was said to be Jean Baptiste Deguire, "of the large and influential Deguire Family" (page 80-81).  The book states that the record shows Jean Baptist Deguire to be Jean Michel's grandfather, but it goes on to say that he is actually his great grandfather, the grandfather of Jean Michel's mother, Marie.  Jean Baptist Deguire was described in the Pioneer book as "a master tailor of Kaskaskia."

In 1810, there is a Michel Greffard listed on a memorial dated December 29, 1805, to the President by the citizens of the District of Ste. Genevieve "expressing their support and confidence in Govenor Wilkinson" (found on U.S. Census Reconstructed Records, 1660-1820).

There is an entry in the 1830 Federal Census for a Michel Grifford living in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.  The census picture is very hard to read, but there is something written above his name, however, I can't make it out and it wasn't transcribed on the listing on  In his household Ancestry has it transcribed as one male under the age of 5, one male age 20-29, 2 females age 5-10, and one female age 20-29.  If you look at the actual document, even though it's hard to read, it looks like the older male is actually 50-59 years old.  This would make sense, especially if this is the same Jean Michel Griffard in the Pioneer book, who was born September 29, 1780.

The children I have listed for Jean Michel were mentioned in my previous posts, but here is a picture showing the names that were given to me:

I haven't been able to find any additional information on Jean Michel Griffard.  However, the Pioneer book states that he died January 1, 1836, almost a year after his youngest child, Anne, was born.

An Interesting Side Note About Jean Michel Griffard's Maternal Grandmother:

Although this post is about Jean Michel, I would like to highlight an interesting story about his mother, or actually his mother's mother, and there family line, since I don't plan on doing individual posts for them.  The information on Marie and her family was taken from the book François Vallé and His World: Upper Louisiana Before Lewis and Clark, by Carl J. Ekberg as well.  Marie's mother, Marie Joseph Deguire, was the illegitimate daughter of Jean Baptiste Deguire and an Indian slave who was owned by Joseph Buchet, a Notary at Fort de Charters.  The book cites the following on page 81:
Very rarely in the society of colonial Ste. Genevieve did a man live to serve as godfather to his great-grandson.  When Deguire died less than a year later, Father Gibault noted in his burial record that Jean-Baptiste had “always lived a most Christian life.”  Indeed, either out of Christian charity or from a moral compass aligned by some other code of values (probably the former), he had acknowledged paternity of his illegitimate métisse daughter and conveyed to her his name.  When he died without legitimate issue, Marie-Joseph inherited Deguir’s entire estate as sole heiress.
In another book, Dictionary of Missouri Biography, edited by Lawrence O. Christensen, William E. Foley, and Gary Kremer, (page 237), It goes on to state that in "1747 Deguire paid Buchet one hundred livres "to redeem" two of his natural children borne by one of Buchet's slaves."  Marie Joseph Deguire went on to marry 3 times before she died in 1788.  Not only did Marie Joseph Deguire, an "illegitimate metisse daugher" inherit her father's entire estate, but she also inherited the estates of 2 of her husbands who preceded her in death.

I felt that was something that should be mentioned, and interesting information about the ancestors of Jean Michel Griffard.

If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information above, please leave a comment.  I'd be happy to share any additional information I have.  Thanks for reading!!

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