Thanks for confirming your connection to Alexander De Fran Deville. Here is what I've managed to learn so far. My mother gave me some family group sheets that Nolton Goodly of Rialto, California maintained until his death. His grandmother, Clementine DeVille, was the daughter of Alexandre De Fran DeVille and Augustine Gradeni - another variation on the spelling. Clementine DeVille is my great-great grandmother, making Augustine my great-great-great grandmother.
According to a family group sheet Nolton recorded on September 2, 1994, Augustine Gradeni was Alexandre's third "wife" - no validation as to whether or not they actually married. One post I found online said he began his relationship with "his children's nanny, a Native American woman" after the death of his wife, Azelina Chapman. He lists Augustine's birth as "about 1845," since the 1870 Census apparently listed her as 25 years old. He had limited information of her background - no parents listed, for example. As you indicated, she is a full-blooded Choctaw Indian, although I wondered how she came to have the surname Gradeni/Gradenigo/Gradney. He states that "she did not die in 1904 as at least 1 recorded report shows. Augustine Gradeni was a midwife until at least 1925." It says she was the mother of 10 children, and that she died and was buried in Reed Cemetery, Mamou, LA in "1828" (I'm sure he meant "1928"). His notes state that "Information is that Augustine Gradeni had another son who is not a DeVille and whose nickname is "Youth."
Her children with Alexandre DeVille, according to his documentation, are:
- Emile DeVille (male), b. @ 1860, St. Landry Parish, LA
- Achille "Tom" DeVille (male), b. @ 1863, Opelousas, LA
- Artemon "Temon" DeVille (male), b. @ 1865, Opelousas, LA
- Mary DeVille (female), b. @ 1868, St. Landry Parish, LA
- Basilien "Gray" DeVille (male), b. 1869, St. Landry Parish, LA ("Fostreat" listed next to his name; no idea what it means)
- Augustine "Gess" DeVille (female), no birth date, St. Landry Parish, LA
- Clementine "Tine" DeVille (female), b. @ 1878, Mamou, LA
- Alexandre DeVille Jr. (male), b. 1877, Ville Platte, LA
- Joseph DeVille (male), no other information
According to my relatives, Clementine (my grandmother) was "disowned" because she married an African-American (Francis "Tutu" Toussaint) after the death of Ambroise Antoine. I don't know if that's true, but I know that, while I've found a wealth of corroborating information on the DeVilles before Alexandre De Franc DeVille, I have only family oral history and the diligent efforts of a few relatives to tell me what happens after the union of Alexandre and Augustine. One post I read made this statement: "Someone in the family married an Indian woman. She was hanged because of it." Any ideas what that is about? Anyway, the way the well of information dried up, and given that the DeVilles were a rather prominent Louisiana family, there might be some credence to the notion that either Augustine or her children were ostracized in some way.
I have a pretty good information set on the DeVille ancestors prior to Alexander De Fran DeVille. Let me know if you're interested.
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