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|Source: Terrebonne Life Liner, Volume 3,
No. 1, Spring, 1984
THE STORY OF JACQUES POCHÉ Compiled by Joyce Schouest Phillips, 3738 Saratoga Dr., Metairie, LA 70002
The founder of the Poché family in Louisiana was born about 1679 in St. Omer, France. (THE FIRST FAMILIES OF LOUISIANA, Vol. 11, by Glenn R. Conrad) ). His name was Jacques Poché, but he was often called "La Chapelle" in many official documents. Jacques' birthplace belonged to Belgium, but one year prior to his birth it became part of France.
His name does not appear on any of the early ship lists - at least I could not locate it. It is assumed that he was one of the many hired workers that came over with the John Law Concessions.
The 1724 Census of the German Villages taken on November 12 and 13 is the first record of Jacques Poché and his wife Eliza Champion. At the time of the census they were living on the west bank of the Mississippi River in what is now St. Charles Parish. Jacques was 45 years of age and was a shoemaker by trade. This must have been a very important job in the colonies. J. Hanno Deiler, in his book "THE SETTLEMENT OF THE GERMAN COAST OF LOUISIANA", tells us that the German Villages at that time extended just above the Bonnet Carre Bend of the Mississippi River about four miles below Edgard, Louisiana.
Sometime between November of 1724 and January 1, 1726 (the census was taken at that time), Jacques became partners with another inhabitant and started to clear land above the Count Dartagnon Concession at Cannes Brulées, now Kenner, Louisiana. The land measured 4 arpents front by the usual 40 arpents depth and Jacques filed an application to the Superior Council in New Orleans to obtain the grant for this land. The grant was approved 25 June, 1726, according to Document #11 which was found in the St. Charles Parish Courthouse, dated 2 November 1741. According to the Census of 1 July 1727, Jacques and his wife were living on.this land grant. There were many large concessioners who owned land in Louisiana and they had never even seen the land. The Superior Council of Louisiana petitioned the King of France to change this. An edict dated 10 August 1728 issued by the King changed this and as a result all the land which had lay unused was opened to any bona fide settlers. Jacques gained possession of six arpents this way, further up on the east bank. From Document #11 dated 2 November 1741 it was 1earned that Jacques later sold this same piece of land to Johann Nikolaus Wichner. Sometime circa the year 1730 and at about the age 51, Jacques and Eliza Champion Poché became parents to a son. No other known children were born to this couple.
Jacques Poché dit La Chapelle died on the First German Coast circa 1747. No known record of his death has been found. We learned the approximate date because on 9 June, 1747, his widow purchased the land of a neighbor, Sebastian Friedrich
After the Natchez Massacre, in 1729, the Indians were still a source of worry and fear. They would send all raiding parties even as late as 1747-1748. These raiding parties would suddenly appear and kill, capture, or wound the settlers. In addition, they would ransack the settlers' homes. The Germans on the east bank were particularly vulnerable to these attacks due to their exposed location. The English further complicated this situation by inciting the Choctaws. During this time many families left their homes on the east bank and fled to the west bank to stay with friends. Finally, a small military post with a wooden enclosure and one gun "en barbette" was built (1).
In the Census of the German Coast taken 8 February 1749, we learned that the Widow Chapelle and her son had left their east bank home. They went to stay with the Nikolaus Mayr family on the west bank. No death record has ever been found for the widow of Jacques Poché, Eliza Champion. The son of Jacques Poché would later marry the daughter of Nikolaus Mayr.
Son of Jacques Poche and Eliza Champion François Poché, like his father, was also called La Chapelle. He was born in 1730 on the First German Coast. His parents, Jacques Poché and Eliza Champion, were living at the time of his birth on the east bank of the Mississippi River.
François was an only child and at the age of 17, upon the death of his father, he became the head of the family. In 1747, his widowed mother purchased a farm, but the Indian raids of 1747-1748 forced both François and his mother to leave their home. They went to stay on the west bark of the river with the Nikolaus Mayr family. Eventually François and Agnes, daughter of Nikolaus Mayr, were married. After becoming the bride of François, they lived only about two doors away from Agnes' parents. This was about 25 miles above New Orleans. The census of 1763 tells us the couple had 2 sons,:François Junior and Jacques; 3 slaves; 8 cattle; 7 sheep; 2 muskets. This census is a very important one because of the May 1817 fire that destroyed all the church records from 1759. A recapitulation of the 1763 census noted there were 241 slaves on the German Coast owned by only about 30 families. Since there were 120 families living on the German Coast, simple subtraction tells us that 90 families worked their land without slaves.
In 1765, François and Agnes had a daughter, Eleonore, and in 1756 a son, André, was born. The family must have been prospering because by. 1766 they employed an indentured servant, had 5 slaves, 18 cattle, 1 horse, 1 ox and 6 pigs. About 1768, Agnes, the fifth and final child was born. The family owned a farm on the west bank of the Mississippi River, still about 25 above New Orleans. By 1777, the family had 10 slaves and had produced 25 quarts of rice and 100 quarts of corn. This information was found in the census of 1770. It is the census that tells us about agricultural produced being produced the German Coast.
The nearest neighbors upriver to François and Agnes were the Materne brothers - Jacque and Nicolas. Jacque Materne was married to Agnes' sister, Marie Anne Mayer. From the census of 17 January 1770, we learned that François, age 40, was a member of the First Company of Militia on the German Coast. Then on 22 June 1785, François is again listed as a militiaman and this time the name of his eldest son, François, Jr., was listed.
The German Coast began about 25 miles above New Orleans and ran for about 40 miles on both banks of the Mississippi River. From a description of the land from one of the early census, we know that at a distance of about 1 to 3 miles from the river, the land became lower. On each side of the Mississippi. there was only a 2 to 3 mile strip which could be farmed. This is the reason the land was measured in arpents only along the river front.
Each front arpent usually had a depth of about 40 arpents. The hurricane of 0ctober 1780 caused much damage along the German Coast including the church at St. Charles des Allemands. Following this destructive hurricane, many of the residents of this area moved to new lands further upriver. François and Agnes Poche lived in St. Charles Parish all their lives.
After 24 years of marriage, Agnes Mayer Poché died. in 1784. She was survived by her husband, 5 children (the youngest was about 16), and many grandchildren.
On 23 June, 1784 the community property was appraised and included in the appraisal were a farm, 4 arpents wide by 40 arpents deep on the west bank of the Mississippi River. This was the same farm that Agnes and François had bought many years before. An agreement was reached on 3 Feb. 1785 between the father, François, and his oldest son, as follows: Agreement between François Pochet Pére and Francois Pochet Fils. The agreement dealt with the leasing of François Pochet's farm to his son. The son agreed to work the farm for one third of the profits. (St. Charles Original Acts, 1785, #657) Three years later François sold a farm 4 arpents wide by customary depth to Marguerite Rillieux, Widow Antoine Thomassin. The property was located about 30 miles above New Orleans on the right bank of the river, descending. He then purchased land about 3 miles further upriver. It was located about 33 miles above New Orleans on the right bank, descending. He paid the same price, 3,000 piastres, for the farm as he had sold the first one for. (St. Charles Courthouse records nos. 826, 827, & 1673.)
There is a request to inventory the community property of François Pochet dit Chapelle and his late wife, Agnes Mayer, recorded in St. Charles Parish Acts, 1784. At the request of relatives of François Chapelle, husband of the late Agnes Mayer, daughter of Nicolas Mayer, there was an inventory and appraisal of the community property in order that there might be a settlement between Chapelle and his children, namely-. François Pochet fils, André, Jacques,, Eleanor, and Agnes Pochet. The inventory was taken in the presence of François Pochet fils and François Pochet pere. One of the items inventoried was a farm located about 27.5 miles above New Orleans on the left bank of the .river ascending. The Pochets, father and son, requested to have the inventory signed for them. In 1786 Jacques Materne declared that he had received a slave valued at 590 piastres from François Chapelle, his father in law. The slave was given by François Pochet (dit Chapelle) to his daughter, Lenore (Materne's wife), as her share of her mother's succession. Then in 1793 François Pochet, pere, declared that he had sold 2 slaves, namely Louis (27) native of the colony, and Rocq (26), native of the colony, to Alexander Brignac, his son in law, for 1,800 piastres. One year later, Francois auctioned several of his slaves and some grain so that he could settle with three of his children. By 1795 François was about 65 years of age and he started, selling parts of his farm. He must have been needing help because he hired a free mulatto, Daniel, to work on the farm. He continued selling small parts of his land until by 1804, he only owned 1-1/2 arpents front. He had an old female negro, a free person of color and one male slave living with him.. However, he no longer grew crops. He was now 74 years of age. Sometime before 1810 François Poché died on the First German Coast.
The children of François Poché and Agnes Mayer:
1. François Poché, Junior b. 1761,
First German Coast
m. Veronique Vichner. 12 February 1793 St. Michael Church, Convent, La. d/o Jean Adam
Vichner and Anne Marie Tregre
4.. André Poché b. 1766
5. Agnes Poché b. 1768
Nikolaus Mayer, the only known child of Georg Mayer and Magdelan Frommberger. was born in 1704 in Institippil, Swabia, Germany. We know very little about Nickolaus' father, as his wife was listed as a widow in 1724. It. is not even known if Georg came to Louisiana or not. The census of 1724 listed Magdalena and her son as living in the German village located three quarters of a mile from the Mississippi River - today the Cities of Taft and Killonain St. Charles Parish, are located in the area.
Magdalena Frommberger Mayer was born in 1674 and both she and her son Nikolaus were Roman Catholics. Besides being in the cooper trade, Nikolaus made galoshes. It is important to remember that shoes were very scarce in colonial Louisiana.
The Census of 1724 states:
Nikolaus Mayer was also known as Claus. By 1726, he and his mother had moved to a new farm located on the west bank of the Mississippi River, but in the area of today's Lucy, La. Today it is in the St. John the Baptist Parish but in that time it was part of the first German Coast.
There are no known records of the marriage of Nicolas to Anna Maria Kantz, but it appears they were married by 1728.
By 1731 Anna Maria and Nicolas Mayer were living next door to the Commandant of the German Coast, Karl D'Arensbourg. The family included 2 women of marriageable age, 2 Negro slaves, and a hired man to help run the farm of 8 arpents. Nikolaus was identified as a cripple. By 1747 there were 6 children in the family - 1 son and 5 daughters. In 1749 the family was still living on the First German Coast (St. John the Baptist Parish). The farm must have been prospering because in 1763, the Mayers had 9 slaves, 2 bulls, 8 cows, and 16 sheep. By 1764 the grandson of Anna Maria and Nicolas had come to live with them after the death of his parents. We know Nicolas (Claus) died sometime between September 1763 and April 1766 as Nicolas is listed in the census of September 1763 and only his widow is listed in the census of April 1766.
Anna Maria Kantz Mayer and her grandson continued to live on the farm in a 3-room house. There was a kitchen with a connecting storeroom and a large .shop. A cellar was below the main house. The farm included a hired hand, 8 slaves, 6 horses, 14 cattle, 20 sheep, and 10 pigs. This information was found in the census taken on 25 June 1766. In the census of 1770, the money crop was listed as 100 quarts of corn and 45 quarts of rice.
Anna Maria Kantz Mayer died 3 October 1771. Her estate was sold for 19,056 livres and each of her 5 heirs received about 3,811 livres.
There was only one male heir to carry on the family name of Mayer and this was the grandson, Christopher, that had come to live with his grandmother about 1764.
The children of Nikolaus Mayer and Anna Maria Kantz:
1. George Mayer b. 1729/1739 German Coast
2. Agnes Mayer
3. Eleonore Mayer b. 1739
4. Marie Anne Mayer b. 13 August 1741, St. Charles Borromeo
5. Catherine Mayer
6. Marguerite Mayer b. abt. 5 August 1747, Little Red Church, St. Charles Barromeo
References to ST. CHARLES ORIGINAL ACTS by Glenn R. Conrad
No. 172, 5 Oct. 1776
No. 293, 14 July 1778
No. 311, 18 Jan. 1779
No. 374, 20 Oct. 1780
No. 524, 27 Jan. 1783
No. 613, 23 June 1784
No. 657, 3 Feb. 1785
No. 745, 13 Dec. 1786
No. 858, 27 Aug. 1788
No. 826, 4 Feb. 1788
No. 827, 4 Feb. 1788
No. 1110, 22 Mar. 1792
No. 1151, 21 Jan. 1793
Public sale of some slaves and grain belonging to Francois Pochet sold he could settle with three of his children.
No. 1282, 22 June 1795
No. 1299, 13 Nov. 1794
Catherine, a free Negro, is mentioned as being a former slave of Francois LaChapelle.
No. 1384, 28 Dec. 1796
No. 1550, 22 May 1799
Receipt from Jacques Pochet to Francois Pochet, his brother, for 590 piastres due him from the succession of his mother, Agnes Clause (Mayer).
No. 1644, 25 July 1800
No. 1649, 16 Apr. 1800
No. 1573, 1 Oct. 1800
No. 35, 15 May 1809