10.29.11

Bodin: French and Louisiana Roots

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 1:07 pm by stacybodin

Our Bodin Legacy

The information below is a combination of Bodin historian Larry Bodin’s information from the Bodin of Les Familles Bodin website and research done by Stacy Bodin. Thanks to Larry’s extensive family research, we have been able to preserve a small part of our family legacy, which might have been lost forever.  Also a special thanks to Travis Callahan who maintains the Bodin Family site.

French immigrant Jean Louis Bodin was born on the island of Noirmoutier, France in 1761 to parents Pierre Bodin and Jeanne Massonet. His paternal grandparents were Pierre Bodin and Jeanne Guibeaux, and his maternal grandparents were Mathurine Massonet and Claire Isacard.

Jean Louis Bodin’s documented legacy takes our family story back to 1715, the year his grandfather Pierre Bodin was born in France. However the “Louisiana-Bodin” tie basically began with Jean Louis Bodin, who Larry stated on the Les Famillies Bodin’s site was a “seaman on the sailing vessel La Bon PaPa.” The La Bon PaPa was the first and smallest of the seven ships that sailed from France to the Louisiana Territories bringing the first French immigrants.

Jean Louis Bodin (1761-1806) and Marie Francois Josèphe Doiron (1768-1818)

Both Jean Louis Bodin and Marie Francois Josèphe Doiron have citations found on the Louviere Database and Families site.  Those citations state:

Jean Louis Bodin citation:  “Birth-28 December 1761-Jean Louis Bodin was born on 28 December 1761 at Moir Moutier, France; “On Monday, twenty-eight, Jean Louis born this day at noon. Son of Pierre BODIN farmer to l’Herbaudière and Jeanne Massenet , his wife, was baptized by us, Vicar undersigned: the godfather was Pierre Issabare (not sure), Germain cousin and godmother Marie BODIN, paternal aunt of the child.”

The Marie Francois Josèphe Doiron citation states “Francoise Doiron was born circa 1768 at St. Malo, France; see census data.”

Alexis Doiron (Gregorie Bodin’s Great, Great Grandfather)

With adversity plaguing the Doiron family for several decades, the strength of the family appeared to be their strong suit along the way. More than one generation crossed oceans in an attempt to find better lives for their families. Alexis Doiron’s granddaughter, Marie Francoise-Josèphe Doiron would play undeniable role in the Bodin family’s Louisiana legacy.

The story begins with the Alexis Doiron family in the 1600’s.

Alexis Doiron’s paternal grandfather Jean Doiron was born around 1649 in France and brought his family to settle in Canada around 1670.  Jean Doiron’s grandson Alexis Doiron was born in Pisiquid, Canada (modern Windsor, Nova Scotia) on June 29, 1723, to Louis Doiron and Marguerite Barrieau.

At the age of 20, Alexis married Marguerite Thibodeau on September 12, 1743 in Canada. Alexis’ young wife Marguerite dies sometime after giving birth to three children.

Canadian census of 1752 before he reaches his 30th birthday, Alexis Doriron is mentioned as a widower. “ALEXIS DOUARON, widower, ploughman, native of I’Acadie, aged 29 years, he has been in the country two years. He has three sons: Gregoire, aged 8 years, Joseph, aged 6 years, Theodore, aged 3 years. And the following live stock: two oxen, one horse and two pigs. The land on which he is settled is situated as in the preceding case [at the farther end of Grand Anse], It was given to him verbally by Monsieurde Bonnaventure. He has made no clearing.”

On July 20, 1753, he remarries 15-year-old Madeleine-Josephe Bourg. By this time, the tumultuous years of Acadian unrest in Canada is at hand bringing  with it,  major changes to Acadian communities. As with many others during this troublesome era, the Alexis Doiron family faced deportation to France in fall of 1758.

After expulsion in 1758, the family faced immense struggle while in France. The family lost two children and hard times consumed their lives. After many years in France, the entire family eventually returned to Canada, except for his eldest son (Alexis Gregorie Doiron’s) family. One source cited that “it appears the Alexis Doiron family left France and returned to Canada without permission, making it an illegal voyage at that time.”

In the magazine article “The Saga of Alexis Doiron” it states that little is known about how or when the family returned to Canada, but there is a document found indicating that the Doiron family was settled there on June 1, 1772 showing their return to Canada.

Canadian census of 1752 before he reaches his 30th birthday, Alexis Doriron is mentioned as a widower. “ALEXIS DOUARON, widower, ploughman, native of I’Acadie, aged 29 years, he has been in the country two years. He has three sons: Gregoire, aged 8 years, Joseph, aged 6 years, Theodore, aged 3 years. And the following live stock: two oxen, one horse and two pigs. The land on which he is settled is situated as in the preceding case [at the farther end of Grand Anse], It was given to him verbally by Monsieurde Bonnaventure. He has made no clearing.”

On July 20, 1753, he remarries 15-year-old Madeleine-Josephe Bourg. By this time, the tumultuous years of Acadian unrest in Canada is at hand bringing  with it,  major changes to Acadian communities. As with many others during this troublesome era, the Alexis Doiron family faced deportation to France in fall of 1758.

Father and Daughter Legacy – Alexis “Gregorie” Doiron- Marie Francois Josèphe Doiron

After expulsion in 1758, the family faced immense struggle while in France. The family lost two children and hard times consumed their lives. After many years in France, the entire family eventually returned to Canada, except for his eldest son (Alexis Gregorie Doiron’s) family. One source cited that “it appears the Alexis Doiron family left France and returned to Canada without permission, making it an illegal voyage at that time.”

 

In the magazine article “The Saga of Alexis Doiron” it states that little is known about how or when the family returned to Canada, but there is a document found indicating that the Doiron family was settled there on June 1, 1772 showing their return to Canada.

How did the Our Bodin family end up in Louisiana?

During 1785, seven ships set sail from France to New Orleans. According to the Acadian–Cajun Geneology site, the fifth ship named the  L’Amitie was led by Captain Joseph Beltremieux.  Their intense voyage began in France on August 20, 1785 and traveled for 80 days. The 400 ton ship arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 8, 1785 with 270 people (68 families) on board.

On the L’Amitié ship were two of Alexis Gregorie Doiron’s daughters, Doiron’s widow Helene (Aucoin) Dantin, her second husband Louis Dantin and his daughters. Those listed in the family on the L’Amitie ship were:  Louis DANTIN, house carpenter 38; Hélène AUCOIN, wife 37; Jeanne DANTIN, daughter 16; Marie DANTIN, daughter 12; Anne DANTIN, daughter 9; Julie DANTIN, daughter 7; Françoise DOIRON, Hélène’s daughter 17; Marie DOIRON, Hélène’s daughter 12.

Once in Louisiana, Marie Francoise-Josèphe Doiron married Jean-Louis Bodin, the son of French Creole Pierre Baudin (or Bodin) of Normandy, France on February 28, 1787 in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. The marriage of Jean Louis Bodin and Marie Francoise Doiron produced six children. Gregoire’ Bodin  1795–1865; Jean Charles Bodin; 1797–1822; Genevive Bodin  1800–1849; Simon Bodin  1800–1849; Clemencia Bodin;1804–unsure of death date and Marie Rose Bodin 1805–1875.  (continued on the next page).

Gregoire’ Bodin

Gregoire’ Bodin was born December 12, 1795, in Saint Gabriel, Louisiana to Jean Louis Bodin and Marie Francois Josèphe Doiron. Gregoire’ married Pelagie Rene LeBlanc, the daughter of Rene Leblanc and Marguerite Trahan on November 11, 1816.  Their children included: Joseph Bodin 1817–1839; Therence (Terrence) Bodin 1819 – 1880; Norbert Bodin 1821–1890; Emile Bodin  1823–1896; Caroline Bodin 1825 – 1876 Josephine Bodin 1827–1864; Aurelia Bodin 1829–1832; Dolze John Bodin 1832–1901; Melanie Bodin 1835–1869; and Pierre Ulix Bodin 1837–1910.

After the death of Pelagie LeBlanc Bodin in 1840, Gregoire’ remarried Natalie Bourg (Bourque) with Natalie giving birth to five additional Bodin children. Those born of the Bodin Bourg union included: Marie Asema Bodin Penn 1836–1911; Gregoire’ Bodin Jr. 1845–1852; Eugene Gabriel Bodin 1849–1929; Eleanor Felicite Bodin 1852 –1861 and an unnamed Bodin baby in 1852.

The Les Familles Bodin website also states that Gregoire’ “took over the duties of under tutor for the eight minor children of his deceased brother, Simon when he died at 48 years of age.”

 

Despite the fact that Gregoire’ Bodin could not read or write, he became a respected businessman in St. Mary Parish as a sugar cane plantation owner with 2000 acres of land. Gregoire Bodin’s plantation structure built in 1841 near Charenton still stands today. It was renamed Vacherie by later owners.

Due to lack of education and the ability to read or write, many family stories were chronicled verbally and passed on to the next generation. Some of those are mentioned below:

On the Bodin of Les Familles Bodin website, Bodin historian, Larry Bodin states: “Both Gregoire’ and his brother were men of large stature, and stories were told that when they were together they did not need a ladder.” Another comment about his large statue states that a “pair of Gregoire’s pants is still owned by a family member and the waist of those pants, when held up by an average sized man, reach the neck of the holder.”

Another unique tid bit of information states that his pants held a special meaning for the older descendants of Gregoire’ as the last tie to their ancestor.  One elderly family member told Larry Bodin that when the elder members of the family were near death they would call for someone to bring the pants to their bedside so that they “could see them one more time.”  Larry cited that “the family member recounting this story would cry each time he told it.”

A popular story passed down through the generations involves his death. Upon his death on the upper floor of his plantation home, Gregoire’ was too large to bring down the spiral staircase.  His servants had to cut a hole in the ceiling and lower his body to the bottom floor with ropes.  A note on the Les Famillies Bodin website says that “a recent renovation of the home covered the hole that was still visible up until that time.” 

As per the Bodin Famillies Website: Gregoire’ Bodin died in 1865 and is buried in a family tomb in Charenton. When Gregoire died he was buried in the family tomb. On August 26, 1992 Hurricane Andrew severely damaged the tomb when one of the large pieces of marble fell off and was broken. On October 25, 1993 Gregoire’s great great great grandson, Larry Bodin, undertook the task of restoring the tomb. The renovation began and lasted until April 8, 1994. The renovators stated that it would be too costly to build a tomb with marble today, and that the cost would run to more than $20,000. The cost of the renovation was over $4,000 and was paid with contributions from members of the Bodin Family. One final note states “Larry is probably one of the few people who has seen the remains of his  great great grandfather.” In Larry’s own words he stated he was ” a giant of a man, over seven feet”.

Citations:  “Saga of Alexis Doiron” magazine article (The Island Magazine, Number 39, Spring/Summer 1996) and the Bodin Les Famillies Website



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