Whitney Plantation, Creole Women, Slaves and Sugar

The New York Times published this story this morning. It is well worth a read. In addition, the following URLS are of interest. [ New York Times Article Driving Back Into Louisiana’s History By RON STODGHILL, a former staff writer for The Times, wrote “Redbone: Money, Malice and Murder in Atlanta.”] I was somewhat surprised to find that in 1810 – 73% of women who headed St. James Parish households owned slaves (a mere 10% of all households in St. John Parish were headed by women).

LSU provides more information on Whitney Plantation. I conducted a preliminary search of slave masters at the Louisiana Slave Database, by Dr. Hall. Of the over 200 mentioned, 171 slaves appeared with masters surame “Haydel”. The Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy database began with a study in Point Coupee Parish. According to the introduction, “…The project finally included all the geographic areas now constituting the State of Louisiana through 1820 and also included some documents originating in or involving parts of what are now Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The vast majority of the documents used are housed in Louisiana, but a few were consulted in archives in France and Spain and at the University of Texas in Austin. The project stopped with 1820 when descriptions of the African ethnicities of slaves became sparse in Louisiana at the same time as the volume of documents escalated…” the documents from several countries are utilized, in addition to several states within the United States. I wonder how this database differs from records in the new Ancestry.co.uk slave database? Does some of this information overlap? There are a number of masters with the surname “Haydel” in the British slave database. I’m curious as to how many women were slave owners in Britain. Frances Morlas thesis paper, provided by LSU, piqued my interest. She discusses creole women as plantation owners in Louisiana. I believe it would be especially curious to explore the same idea in Britain’s data due to the fact that Britain explored women’s issues and issues of slavery prior to the United States. How many women in Britain owned slaves?

Morlas also discussed Magdaline Haydel Becnel wife of Pierre Becnel. Magdaline’s mother was Margaurite Brou. I found a Land Patent from 1847 with Pierre Becnel and Valsain Brow. There are several others for Pierre Becnel in addition to Patents for a Madame A. Haydel, in St. John Parish, Louisiana. Magdaline was b. in 1755 and died in 1830. The property evidently stayed within the family. The BLS GLO record spells Valsain’s last name with a “w” instead of a “u”. Looking at the certificate, it is easy to see that cursive writing does look like a “w”.

St. John Parish Twp 12S-17E, LA, Louisiana (Subdiv. Lines) map survey began in 1829 November.

LSU Special Collections

Johnson, Bradish. Account books, 1819-1896 (bulk 1868-1886). 3 ms. vols. Location: F:18. Owner of Whitney Plantation, St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. Time book (1868) and pay roll book (1880-1886) for Whitney Plantation; an anonymous ledger containing accounts with early residents of St. John the Baptist Parish (1819-1822); and copies of letters written from Whitney Plantation (1896). For further information see manuscript card catalog. Mss. 753.

Haydel – Family History Collection SLU, Box 1 Folder 47

Origins of Becnel name and fate of Marguerite Becnel
Posted by: Darlene Becnel Schnatz

See also LA LAFOUR, LA ORLEAN, mailing lists on RootsWeb.

Rayne, LA and the Homesick Cajun

Genealogy and How – September 17, 2007, Cousin Connect

Search Afro-Louisiana History and Genealogy masters name “Haydel” returned 171 results.

Search Slave Registers of former British Colonial Dependencies, 1812-1834 masters name “Haydel” returned many results.

Sugar Sugar

LSU Sugar Presentation

Creole Women in Louisiana

LA MADAME ET LA MADEMOISELLE: CREOLE WOMEN IN LOUISIANA, 1718-1865, by Katy Frances Morlas, B.A., LSU May 2005.
“…In 1810, eighty-five women headed households in the river parishes of St. John the Baptist, St. James, and Ascension. These parishes contained nine-hundred and forty-eight households; thus, nine percent of households in these parishes were headed by women. In the individual parish of St. James, 10.9 percent of households had a woman as a head, the highest percentage in the River Parishes. Seventy-three percent of these women owned slaves…” [76 Ardoin, Robert Bruc L., ed. Louisiana Census Records.] – Morlas, Frances.

Faubourg Treme
– Dead Space

Vieux Carré: A Creole Neighborhood in New Orleans

A story about an Italian, Onorato Vacketta, from The Genealogue & The News Gazette, “Clan gathers to celebrate 75th consecutive reunion.”, worked in sugar cane fields.

NPS – Jean Lafitte

Documenting Louisiana Sugar  University of Sussex – July 18, 2008, links from Columbus Public Library Genealogy & Local History


About Louisiana Genealogy Admin

I manage several RootsWeb mailing lists and message boards, support Louisiana Cemetery Preservation, am a former Louisiana and Mississippi librarian, have been researching genealogy of my family since 1988, and write and promote several blogs supporting either Louisiana genealogy or Louisiana cemeteries.
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