Jean Baptiste Choisser

of Kaskaskia and Gallatin County (1784-1860)

by Aubrey Starke


The records of baptism, marriage and burial of John Choisser's Canadian ancestors are, however, except as genealogy unimportant, and may be reviewed hastily.

In 1662, in Montreal, were married Nicholas Brazeau and Perette (or Petronille) Billard 3. Both Brazeau, described as maîtrecharron (a wheelwright), and Perette Billard, born in 1635, may have been newcomers to Canada. Of their children, Charles, baptized in 1662, Nicholas, baptized in 1663, and Marie, baptized in 1683 (sic.) are named. Mme. Brazeau was buried at Montreal, from l'hôtel-dieu, August 20, 1705.

Charles Brazeau, son of Nicholas and Perette Billard Brazeau 4, was married October 5, 1693, in Montreal, to Genevieve Quenneville 5. His wife's parents were Jean Quenneville (baptized in 1651) and Denise Marie, his wife (baptized in 1654, and buried August 31, 1720). Of their marriage, which was solemnized at Montreal on February 12, 1674, four children were born. Genevieve Quenneville was baptized June 8, 1676, at Lachine 6, and was buried July 16, 1726. Her husband Charles Brazeau, fourteen years her senior, outlived her by fourteen years, and died at the age of eighty-eight 7. He was buried April 25, 1750, from the church of Ste. Genevieve, at Montreal. By his first marriage he had at least seven children: Gabriel, Marie-Catherine, baptized in 1695, Paul, baptized in 1697, Francois, baptized in 1701, Charlotte, baptized in 1712, Marie Gabrielle, baptized in 1716, and Pierre-Antoine, baptized in 1717.

Charlotte Brazeau, daughter of Charles and Genevieve Quenneville Brazeau, was baptized April 7, 1712 8. She was married June 30, 1732, in Montreal, to Antoine Beurnonville 9, described in one record as "bourgeois sergeant of troops". His parents, Edme Beurnonville and Marie Vistar, his wife, were natives of St. Pierre, Auxerre, France.

Antoine Beurnonville (baptized in 1703) enjoyed but a brief married life with Charlotte Brazeau. The story of their marriage is told in the dates of birth of their children. In 1733 was born a daughter, Marie Louise; in 1734, another daughter, Catherine; in 1734, a third daughter, Françoise Amable 10. Almost ten months to the day after the birth of the third daughter, Mme. Beurnonville was buried, - on November 18, 1735, age twenty-three.

With Françoise Amable Bournonville, the third daughter of Antoine and Charlotte Brazeau Beurnonville, baptized January 16, 1735, the history of Canada and of the Illinois Country become joined in the history of the Choisser family of Saline County. Hers is the name recorded in the records of the Old Cathedral of St. Louis, as that of the mother of Jean Baptiste Choisser, first of his name in what was then part of Upper Louisiana, but is now Illinois. Orphaned at the age of ten months, she was not without family, for her father made a second marriage and there were half brothers and sisters 11. She was nineteen when she was married, on April 22, 1754, at the Church of Notre Dame de Montreal, to Jean Choisser, who, baptized in 1721, was some fourteen years her senior. Born in France, he was the son of Mathurin Choisser and Nicole Hébert, his wife, of Forges, in the Diocese of Verdun, France. His parents are said to have come to Montreal in 1750 12.

The names of the children of Jean and Françoise Amable Choisser are not to be found in the Abbé Tanguay's Dictionnaire, but they were copied for the present writer some years ago from the registers of the Church of Notre Dame de Montreal. There were five children: Jean Baptiste, baptized February 7, 1755; Marie Louise, baptized July 4, 1756, Jacques, baptized July 23, 1757, Jean, baptized February 17, 1760 (his name recorded Jean Choitser), and Genevieve Amable, baptized March 19, 1761 13. The similarity of the names of the first born and the last born sons causes confusion in the study of the part taken by the father of the American John Choisser in the events of French Kaskaskia.

    3.  Tanguay, II, 279, and II, 456.
    4.  Tanguay, II, 456.
    5.  Tanguay, II, 475.
    6.  Tanguay, II, 475.
    7.  He was married on Nov. 9, 1726, to Marie-Ann Marchand; and on August 22, 1735, at Boucherville, to Jeanne Menard.
    8.  Tanguay, II, 456. See also letter of Mrs. Mary Beasley Davies, described in this paper, notes 59 & 60. Mrs. Davies identifies the record as "File no. 4788, Bureau of Vital Statistics".
    9.  Tanguay, II, 270.
    10.  The reference to this item is in note #61.
    11.  Tanguay, II, 270.
    12.  See note #62. Acc. to Monsieur E. Z. Massicotte.
    13.  There is a record of a second marriage of Jean Choisser, April 28, 1767, to Therese Gaudry, widow of Pierre Dumont. She was a daughter of André Gaudry and Marie Ann Pelletier. Choisser is identified in the marriage contract as a native of Forges Evance, Verdun, France. The contract provides for the disposal of property in the event of the death of either contracting party, and names the dowry of each as 500 livres, and provides for the support and education of two minor children of Jean Choisser by his first marriage, who are not named. The contract was witnessed by Choisser's parents, Mathurin Choisser and Nicole Hébert. This information, from File No. 5199, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Montreal, was communicated by Mrs. Davies. See this paper, Notes 8, 59, and 60.

Table of Contents

Preface - An introduction by Bill Choisser
Introduction - Aubrey Starke's introduction to his work
Part I - A brief look backward
Part II - The ancestors in Montreal
Part III - The brothers Jean and Jean Baptiste Choisser
Part IV - Marianne La Buxiere and her ancestors
Part V - John Choisser and his family

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