A family member who did research on our family tree found that we are descendants of the DeVilles. My great-great-great grandfather is Alexandre De Franc DeVille, and my great-great-great grandmother is Augustine Gradeni, the nanny you mentioned in your message. One of their daughters, Eva Tousssaint, is my great-grandmother, her daughter Olevia Stevens is my grandmother, and her daughter Mary Jean Lubin is my mother.
According to the papers I was given, Augustine was either Choctaw or Cherokee Indian. I recall a portrait in our house of a bronze skinned woman with high cheekbones and straight, jet black hair, and I think it might be her. She was Alexandre’s third wife, after Azelie Chapman and Mirza Loufroy Ratel (or Emirza Leufroid Ratel - I can’t validate the spelling). Alexandre apparently had two children with the Ratel woman, Hortance (b. 7-26-1859, Opelousas, LA) and Edgard (b. 2-27-1858, Ville Platte, LA). I can't find anything to corrobate the Ratel relationship, however, so if you have any information, I'd appreciate it if you'd share it with me.
Alexandre and Augustine had nine children together, and according to the papers I was given, she was a midwife until 1925. It also says that she did not die in 1904 as at least one recorded report shows. She died around 1928 and is buried at Reed Cemetery in Mamou, Louisiana.
Some interesting items – Augustine supposedly had a son who is not a DeVille and whose nickname is “Youth.” I hadn’t heard about any hanging – you’ll have to enlighten me on that one. I had heard that Clementine was disowned by the DeVilles for marrying an African-American. I don’t know if that’s true, but the trail gets murky after Augustine. I found only a few references to Augustine, and they were posts by other searchers. Clementine is not mentioned anywhere. None of the listings of Alexandre and Augustine's children include her - in fact, the most complete listing I've found on their children, posted by Rose Wells in the Gradenigo Family Genealogy Forum, lists only four children, one of whom I don't have on my list!
Anyway, that’s my connection to the DeVille clan. I'm a novice at this, but it's fascinating research,and it looks like I’m in excellent company!
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