Thursday, August 30, 2018

Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral Cemetery

Today's Walk Through the Tombstones is at the historic Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral Cemetery in Vincennes, Indiana.  It is also known as the The Old Cathedral Cemetery and the French and Indian Cemetery.

GPS Coordinates: 38.6791, -87.5345

This historic cemetery is settled between the George Rogers Clark memorial and the Old Cathedral Complex.  We visited here on August 25, 2018 as part of a trip to the Latino Festival happening on the Vincennes River Walk.  We went down early and decided to take a history tour around and found this little cemetery off to the side.  In reality, however, this cemetery is not so little having around 4,000 unmarked graves of the early inhabitants of Vincennes, many probably buried on top of one another as was the custom in those days.  From the Indiana Society Sons of the American Revolution website: "Contains the graves (mostly unmarked) of some 4,000 inhabitants of early Vincennes, including soldiers and patriots of the American Revolution who helped Colonel George Rogers Clark to capture the nearby Fort Sackville in 1779.  The cemetery marks the site of the log church where the people of Vincennes swore an oath of allegiance to the Republic of Virginia and the United States on July 20, 1778.  During the siege of Fort Sackville (February 23-24, 1779), Clark's men took up positions at the church and cemetery. It was at the church that Colonel Clark and the British commander, Lieutenant Governor Henry Hamilton, negotiated terms of surrender on February 24.  The surrender of Fort Sackville occurred the next day, February 25, 1779.  As a result, Hamilton's plan to crush the Revolution in the West was checked and a basis was laid for the United States to later claim the area northwest of the Ohio River, from which were eventually formed the states of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota."  Visit the link above to see a list patriots thought to be buried in the cemetery.


Our fist stop at the grave of Therese Caroline Gibson Benedict.
Born: 1827
Died: May 7, 1845

She was the daughter of James Gibson (?-?) and Marie LaMotte Gibson (?-?).  I believe that her grandfather was Joseph LaMotte, II (1767-1796).  He is listed as being buried in Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral Cemetery nearby but there is no headstone anymore.  Marie LaMotte Gibson was either born in 1775 or 1783, but I am not yet sure which.

She was the wife of Daniel Benedict (1811-1855).  He is buried in Upper Indiana Cemetery and was a veteran of the Black Hawk War.  You can read more about the Black Hawk War here.

I believe that he may have been married again after she died to Martha Knox Benedict (1826-1865).  She was the daughter of George Washington Knox (?-?) and Mary Polly McClure Knox (?-?).  I can't find much more information on her.

Caroline was only 18 years old when she died.  I can only imagine that it may have been in childbirth.

Daniel Benedict lived and farmed on the Illinois side of the river and from research that I have done, so did Joseph LaMotte II.  It is possible that they shared the farm or maybe Daniel had a farm nearby.

Thank you to a family member for the additional information: "It is thought my gg grandfather had a business in Vincennes but I have been unable to verify such. His name was Jacob and he supposedly had a livery stable & saloon there. He was primarily a career soldier fighting in the Blackhawk War with Daniel, The Mexican American War and in the Civil War with the 60th Indiana Infantry. He died of disease in New Orleans of disease while serving in 1864. If you run across any additional Benedict history please reach out to me. I traveled to Lawrence County, Illinois last year to find graves of other family members."


Here we have a lovely simple grave for Anne Jeannette "Janne" Bonneau Dubois.
Born: 1772, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana
Died: November 10, 1800, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana

Her headstone says that she died when she was 28 years old, though many believe that her birthday was April 12, 1770, though there isn't any documentation that I have found so far.

She was the daughter of Charles Bonneau (1714-1784), who was born in Quebec, New France (now Canada) and Genevieve Charlotte Dudevoir (1732-1773). Her mother was born in Fort Detroit, which was then part of New France.  They are both believed to be buried near her in the Old French and Indian Cemetery.

I am unsure of any siblings, though I imagine she must have had some.

She was married to Toussaint Dubois, Sr. (1755-1816) on October 6, 1788, which was make her around 16 or 18 years old at the time of her marriage, while her new husband was closer to 40.  They were married at the Saint Francis Xavier Church.  There are those that believe that her new husband was born into the French nobility, but there doesn't seem to be any proof of that.  He was born near Montreal, Quebec, New France.  Both of his parents were probably born there as well.

They were married for twelve years and had six known children:
Susanne Dubois/Debois (1789-1825) - burial unknown
Touissant Dubois/Debois, Jr. (1790-1833) - burial unknown
Henry Dubois/Debois (1792-?) - burial unknown (there is a possibility that he is buried in Union Cemetery of Lloyd, Ulster County, New York, but I am not certain of this)
Francois Dubois/Debois (1794-1794) - burial unknown
Charles Dubois/Debois (1795-1819) - burial unknown
Emanuel L. Dubois/Debois (1798-1818) - burial unknown

It is likely that all of them were buried in the Old French and Indian Cemetery since there are so many unmarked burials.


We now stop at the grave of Joseph Bowman.
Born: 1752, Frederick County, Virginia
Died: August 18, 1779, Knox County, Indiana

He was the son of George Bowman (1699-1798) and Maria "Mary" Elisabeth Hite Bowman (?-?).  George is said to be buried on the Bowman Estate on Cedar Creek near Strasberg, VA.

He had several siblings:
John Jacob Bowman (1733-1781) - buried in the Bowman Graveyard, Laurens County, South Carolina (He served in the South Carolina legislature in 1778 and was recognized for his civil and private service; he owned and operated a mill and a trading post as well; in June of 1781, he was shot in the doorway of his mill by Indians or Tories dressed as Indians.)
Emma Maria Bowman Stephens (1735-1819) - buried in the Stephens Graveyard, likely in Virginia, though records and the graveyard have been lost (she was considered a patriot of the American Revolution for donating supplies and time to the cause)
Elizabeth Bowman Ruddell (1735-1815) - buried in Old Stonermouth Presbyterian Cemetery, Bourbon County, Kentucky (she was married to Captain Isaac Ruddell, the founder of Ruddell's Station, Kentucky; he was captured by the Shawnee Indians during the Revolution and his son were adopted by the Indians.)
John Bowman (1738-1784) - buried in the Bowman Family Graveyard, Mercer County, Kentucky (he was appointed Sheriff for a year and paid in tobacco; there is a note that he may have been related to Daniel Boone, though I have not found reference anywhere else)
Regina Bowman Deyerle (1743-1828) - buried in Cooper-Kent-Heslep Cemetery, Roanoke County, Virginia (legend states that she heard a commotion by the river, grabbed her gun and went to investigate.  She found a bear and shot it dead, then brought it home to be butchered.  I am unsure of the truth in this, but it's an amusing tale; it is also said that she fell in love with her indentured servant Peter and married him, his name is listed on the reverse of her headstone.)
Abraham Bowman (1748-1837) - buried in Lexington Cemetery, Fayette County, Kentucky (Colonel in the Revolutionary War, also listed as a Major in the 8th Regiment also known as the German Lutheran Regiment; )
Isaac Hite Bowman (1757-1826) - buried in the Bowman Graveyard, Shenandoah County, Virginia (he served alongside his brother, Joseph and was entrusted with the responsibility of escorting the English Governor Hamilton and a number of other prisoners from Fort Vincennes to Williamsburg, Virginia)

I have not found any records of his being married or having an children.  

It is listed that he died in an accidental gunpowder explosion and was the only American officer killed during the Illinois Campaign.  He kept a daily journal during the trek from Kaskaskia to Vincennes.  


Here we have the grave of Michel Brouillette (Brouillet), Sr.
Born: 1745, Canada
Died: January 6, ,1797, Vincennes, Know County, Indiana

I am unsure as to who his parents were or whether or not he had any siblings:

He was married to Marie Elizabeth "Barbe"" Bonneau Brouillet (?-?) and the had at least one child that I have found found, though I am sure that there were more.  I am unsure as to where she is buried.

Michel Brouillet, Jr. (1774-?) - burial unknown

Michel Sr. came to Vincennes from Canada in 1761 where he entered into a verbal agreement with the French Commander at Vincennes, Louis Groston de St. Ange de Bellerive, for the title to a farm.  He may have also had a trading post at one point on the Wabash River north of Terre Haute on a creek that still bears his name, Brouillet Creek.

On May 1, 1773, Michel Sr. was about to pay about $240 for a house on what is modern day First Street in Vincennes.  He purchased this house and the surrounding land from Charles Bonneau, the father of his new bride.  Here his first son was born, Michel Jr in 1774.  This house still stands today and was restored in 1974.  It is now known as The Old French House and is part of the Vincennes State Historic Sites and tours are available.  Is a beautiful little home built in the post in sills style that was popular with the French Creole at the time.  The construction is sturdy, much more so than the popular log cabin style of building.

In May of 1777, Michel Sr. was given commission as a lieutenant in the militia as long as he swore allegiance to King George and was granted a farm north of town on Lick Road.  But things didn't stay that way for long.  In July of 1778, influenced by the actions of George Rogers Clark, several citizens of Vincennes marched into the log chapel and renounced their allegiance to King George and swore instead to be faithful to Virginia.  He was given commission as a lieutenant in the militia from the Americans and served faithfully on the American side.  

You can read more about him and his son, Michel Jr, in a wonderful this wonderful article.


We now stop at the grave of Francois Riday Busseron.
Born: 1748, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana (in a part of the Northwest Territory that was still part of France)
Died: 1791

He was a Captain of the Continental Troops in the Revolutionary War.  He was in command in 1780 of Fort Patrick Henry.

He is credited with created the "George Rogers Clark Flag", a red and green striped flag that was used by the aforementioned.

In the ledger of Francois Busseron, he lists the following:
"Paid to St. Marie for 5 ells of red serge for the flag at 9; 45 livres
Paid to Mr. Dajene for 3 3/4 ells of green serge at 10; 37 livres
Paid to Madame Goderre (Godare) for making the flag; 25 livres"

(An ell is a length of material measuring 45 inches long)

This flag was not only the only flag used by George Rogers Clark to be listed in historical record, it is considered the first American Flag made in Indiana.  

Busseron owned and operated a general store in the area and was also a fur trader.  He was very active in the militia in Vincennes, having assisted Clark with supplies and ammunition.  He lent out great sums of money to Clark, in total of around $12,000 but none of it was ever repaid.  He died a broken man without a penny to his name.  

He was married at some point, though I am unsure of his wife's name or that of his children.  I have read that only one of his children did not suffer poverty.


We now stop at the grave of Nicholas Cardinal.
Born: August 25, 1723, Montreal, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
Died: August 24, 1789, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana

He was the son of Jacques Cardinal (?-?) and Jeanne Duguay Cardinal (?-?).  I am unsure as to where they are buried or whether or not he had any siblings.

He married Marie-Josephe Girard (?-?) in 1761 at Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church.  I am not sure where she is buried, though it is probably in the Old French and Indian Cemetery near her husband.

They had eleven known children, though I only have reference to the following:
Marie-Therese Cardinal Vasher (1764-1839) - burial is listed as unknown
Marie-Josephe Cardinal Bunche (1776-?) - burial unkown
Nicolas Cardinal (1780-1843) - buried in The French and Indiana Cemetery, Knox County, Indiana
Francoise Cardinal (?-?) - burial unknown
Joseph Cardinal (?-?) - burial unknown
Medars Cardinal (?-?) - burial unknown
Genevieve Cardinal Aveline (1788-?) - burial unknown

He was a captain in the militia based in Vincennes and according to texts of Knox County "About nine o'clock Clark sent Nicholas Cardinal, a captain of the Vincennes militia, under a flag of truce, to Gov. Hamilton with a note to Lieut. Governor Hamilton, demanding his surrender..."  From Historical and Biographical Atlas of Knox County, 1903


Here we have the grave of Joseph Dubois.
Born: 1762
Died: 1812

He served in the Continental Line of the Revolutionary War.

The only reference that I can find for him is in a Civil Court Case where he and his wife were being sued for an unpaid mortgage on a log house and lot in Vincennes in 1801.

I am unsure of his relation to the other Dubois' buried in this cemetery and around Knox County.


We now stop at the grave of Louis Victor Edeline.
Born: December 23, 1730, Longueuil, Monteregie Region, Quebec, Canada
Died: April 28, 1799, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana

His father was Louis Antoine Edeline (?-?) and his mother was Marie-Madeleine Drusson dit Robert Edeline (?-1747).  I am unsure as to where they are buried, but I know that his mother died while he was still young, so she may be buried in Quebec, while his father could be buried in Detroit.

He was married to Marie-Joseph Thomas Edeline (1743-1808) on April 28, 1759 in Detroit.  I am unsure as to where she is buried.

They had eleven children that I have found reference to:
Marie-Louise Edeline (1761-?) - burial unknown (she died young)
Marie-Barbe Edeline (1763-1796) - burial unknown (drown while trying to cross the Wabash River)
Jean-Louis Edeline (1767-?) - burial unknown
Marie-Louise Edeline (1770-1793) - burial unknown
Nicholas Edeline (1772-1795) - burial unknown
Joseph Marion Edeline (1774-1819) - buried in The French and Indian Cemetery, Knox County, Indiana
Jacques Edeline (1776-1798) - burial unknown
Alexis Edeline (1777-1808) - burial unknown
Victoire Edeline (1779-?) - burial unknown (she died young)
Pierre Edeline (1786-1825) - burial unknown

He was active with the militia and he was appointed by Clark as a judge, a position which he held for the rest of his life.


Here is the grave of Pierre Grimard.
Born: 1745, France
Died: 1784, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana

He was the son of Pierre Morand-Moreau Grimard (1723-1791) and Veronique Cousineau Grimard (?-?).  I am unsure as to where they were buried.

He was married to Marie Genevieve Colon Grimard (?-?).  She may also be buried in the Old French and Indian Cemetery, though I am not sure.

They had at least two children:
Pierre Grimard, Jr. (1770-?) - burial unknown
Charles Grimard (?-?) - burial unknown

Pierre served in the American Revolutionary War and was one member of a company of volunteers under the command of Captain Francois Bousseron.  His name appears as Pierre Grimare.  He also signed the Oath of Allegiance to Vincennes, where his name is shown as Pierre Grimar.

There is also a record of Pierre suing Joseph Edeline (listed above) over the breaking of an agreement to build a fence for a house and property he had occupied for a year and not leaving it in good condition.  The case was settled before ever going to court.


Here we have the grave of Andre Lacoste Languedoc.
Born: September 17, 1733, St.Joseph de Chambly, Quebec
Died: March 9, 1793, Fort de Vincennces, Indiana

He was the son of Andre Lacoste (?-?) and Marie Jeanne Boutin Languedoc (?-?).  They were both born in Quebec, though I am not sure where they were buried.

He had several siblings:
Marie Madeleine Lacoste (1731-?) - burial unknown
Louis Lacoste dit Languedoc (1736-1789) - burial unknown
Francois Lacoste (1738-?) - burial unknown
Marie Elizabeth Lacoste (1739-?) - burial unknown
Charles Lacoste (1739-?) - burial unknown
Charlotte Lacoste (1746-?) - burial unknown
Marie Marthe Lacoste (1748-?) - burial uknown

He was married to Marie Josephe Custos Langeudoc (1737-1777).  She was born in Quebec and died while they lived in Fort de Vincennes. 

I haven't found any reference to any children born to them.

His gravestone says 1727, but all references that I have found list his birthdate as September 17, 1733.  


 Here is the grave of Jean Marie Philippe LeGras/LeGrace.
Born: 1734
Died: 1788

He was the son of Jean Baptiste LeGras (?-?) and Genevieve Gamelin Châteauvieux (?-?), who were married on January 11, 1733.  I am unsure as to where either are buried, though I believe probably in Montreal, Canada.

He had four siblings, though I have only found the name of one other:
Unknown Son (?-?) - burial unknown
Pierre Legras (1738-1810) - buried in Holy Family Church (this may be located in Canada, since from what I have found, I don't believe that he ever left Canada;  he was very active in the local milita and government.)
Unknown Daughter (?-?) - burial unknown
Unknown Daughter (?-?) - burial unknown

He was a Colonel in the Continental Troops in the American Revolutionary War.

He was married in 1767 to Marie-Jeanne Gamelin (?-1769).  She died just one month after the birth of their second child 

They had at two children that I have found reference to, but I haven't found any reference to them at all.


We now stop at the grave of Pierre Levry dit Martin.
Born: 1759
Died: 1804

He served in the Revolutionary War in the Continental Troops.

He was married to the daughter of Nicholas Cardinal, whose grave is listed above, though I am unsure as to which one.

So far, I have found no information about Pierre at all.  


Here we have the grave of Francois Pelletier.
Born: 1744
Died: 1788

He served in the Continental Troops in the Revolutionary War.  He was on the payroll of a company of volunteers in the service of the state of Virginia, commanded by Francois Busseron. He entered service on the 27th of October 1778 and finished up December 17, 1778.  His name appears as "Fransoa Pelletir, #1" on the payroll.  

His wife's name was Felecite Pelletier (?-?).  I know nothing more about her or their family.


Here we have the grave of Reverend Jean Francois Rivet.
Born: 1757, Martinique
Died: February 25, 1804, Vincennes, Knox County, Indiana

Their is a large crucifix memorial with the following carving underneath:
"Sacred to the memory Rev. Jean Francois Rivet V.G. --- Born at Grosmorne, Island of Martinique 1757  Died at Vincennes Indiana February 25, 1804"

Another side states:
"I ask that I may be buried in the midst of the people confided to be, that is, near the center of the cemetery"

The next side states:
"Defunctus Adhuc Loquitor" "He being dead yet speaketh, Hebrews XI, 4 Quoted in his last will by Father Rivet"

Behind the monument, settled into the ground is a bronze plaque that states: "Rev. Jean Francois Rivet 1757-1804 First Headmaster of Jefferson Academy Later Vincennes University."

Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any family information about him.  Most of the information is about his service to the Catholic Church and no more.

From "In April 1795, a few days after Father Flaget left Vincennes, Father Jean Francis Rivet arrived. Father Rivet had a commission from the War Department to be a missionary to the Indians, for which he was paid $200 a year. Government payment was usually in arrears, and because of the poverty of the pupils, Father Rivet frequently signed his letters "The Poor Missionary."

"The U.S. government (like regimes elsewhere) wanted missionaries to "subdue" native peoples, so settlers could take their lands "peacefully." Rivet, however, wanted to help Indians materially and spiritually. His first efforts met with little success, so he turned his attention to the French, teaching them (with Indians and non-Catholics) reading, writing, and catechism. He also liked to visit Fort Knox where many Irish soldiers lived with their families. There he baptized many children.

"Rivet was well-qualified, if not over qualified, for this position. Born on the island of Martinique in 1757, Rivet had occupied the chair of professor of Latin Rhetoric at the Royal College of Limoges from 1784 to the outbreak of the French Revolution. He came to America in 1794, and a year later Bishop Carroll sent him to Vincennes. As part of his educational program, Rivet brought in a new schoolmaster, this time a Frenchman from Detroit, Francois Houdon, but again the unhealthy climate of Vincennes frustrated the plans for a school. Soon after his arrival, the new school master sickened and died on September 8, 1796. In 1796, Rivet petitioned Congress for a land grant to support a school, but with no results.

"When the new governor of the Indiana Territory, William Henry Harrison, arrived in Vincennes in 1801, he found Rivet a ready ally in the cause of education. Harrison asked him to teach his four-year-old son and to become Headmaster of a school. Rivet wrote his bishop: "Governor Harrison, who has showed great esteem for going to establish a college here for Latin, and wishes me to have a considerable part in this establishment which was called Jefferson Academy." This school was predecessor of Vincennes University, and Rivet is considered to be the first Headmaster. By the fall of 1801, the school was in operation with masters in the classics, belle-letters, mathematics, and English and French languages. To aid him, Rivet brought from Baltimore a Mr. "Makdonas" (probably Peter A. McDonald). At first the classes were held in the living room of the rectory behind the old log church. Later, Rivet moved the school to a two room building of native cypress next to the governor's mansion, but probably it did not continue beyond the death of Father Rivet in 1804. Catholic education would be delayed a number of years because of Indian disruptions and the War of 1812.

"In spite of extreme hardships in his personal life, Father Rivet practiced heroic penances as the leader of his flock. In his spiritual diary he writes that he slept on the floor without blankets. Perhaps because of these sacrifices, Father Rivet became ill with the "White Plague," called for a priest, and wrote out his confession. Unfortunately we do not know what he looked like nor the exact date of his death (February 12, 13, or 25). If one considers the number of baptisms, marriages, conversions, and burials, then he was a very successful pastor.

"Among Father Rivet's effects was a library of 290 volumes, probably the largest library in the territory. Most of these books were theology or lives of saints, but some could have been used for instruction, such as "Principles of Latin Language," "Principles of English Language," "Conduct for Children," and three pamphlets entitled "Mathematics." Also listed in his possession were "1 big school bench." In his will, Father Rivet requested that he be buried, and that a crucifix be erected to remind people to pray. He would wait 140 years before the monument was purchased."


Here we have the grave of Mary LaPlant.
Born: February 9, 1807
Died: January 7, ?

She was the wife (or as it says on her headstone, consort) of Lambert Barrois (?-?).  I am not sure where he is buried, though I would imagine that it would be near her.

There is no information about her that I can find.


This lovely gravestone is in remarkably good condition, except for the name.

The transcription is as follows:
To the memory of
Mrs. _______ ____________
Born in Massachusetts April
30, 1769  Departed this life
February 20, 18__

An example to her sex
An ornament of society
The Best of Mothers.


This stone is in such terrible condition that little or nothing can be read.  I can make out the name Heloise and part of the inscription at the bottom which looks like "Have _______ in Mary".

This stone has been pieced back together and is settled into concrete.


This stone is pretty much illegible except for the cross at the top.  I haven't been able to find any reference to this stone or any transcription of it.

I hope to get back at some point and take another look at it.


Our last stop are a series of foot stones that have been set into concrete next to that of Mary LaPlant.  Since there are so many missing headstones and those that have been lost to time, I am unsure how we would ever learn who they belong to.


Thank you for joining me for a walk through this historic cemetery.  I am thrilled that I got to visit such an old, valuable cemetery not far from me.

Please visit the listing at Find-A-Grave.


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