Davids of New France

Jean Baptiste David

Fortress of Louisbourg, Île Royale, Nouvelle France


Jean Baptiste David, 4th son and 6th child of Jean Pierre David and Marie Magdelaine Monmellian, was born on 22 July 1725 at Louisbourg and baptized the following day, 23 July 1725. His godparents were Jean Richard and Marie Cecile Boucher. Presiding at the baptism for the Abbot was Fre Jordore Caulet. Jean Baptiste's Act of Baptism record notes that his father, Jean David, was at that time a "blacksmith and resident of Louisbourg."

Baptism Record of Jean Baptiste David - 23 July 1725


Little is known regarding Jean Baptiste’s life at Louisbourg between 1725 and 1758. Only 5 primary source records have been uncovered which list his name. These include his baptism record above in 1725, the Louisbourg 1749-1750 Census and his burial record in 1758. His name is also listed as a witness at a baptism in 1756 and as godfather at a baptism in 1757. Jean Baptiste's name is also listed within 2 Fortress of Louisbourg secondary source abstract documents, a Family Reconstitution File and a Historical Memoranda of his father, Jean Pierre David. In addition, the Louisbourg 1726 and 1734 Census records indirectly indicate his presence in Louisbourg for those years.

The timing of his death at the age of 32 on 18 March 1758 may have indicated that Jean Baptiste was a Fortress of Louisbourg soldier and died in the line of duty during one of the many war time skirmishes leading up to the 2nd siege of the Fortress of Louisbourg on 26 July 1758.

1725 to 1735

The Louisbourg 1726 Census

Jean Baptiste's presence in Louisbourg is indirectly recorded in the Louisbourg 1726 Census which lists his father, Jean David dit Saint Michel of Nantes, a blacksmith, a wife, Marie Magdelaine Monmellian, 4 sons under 15, Pierre, Michel, Jean Jacques and Jean Baptiste and 2 daughters, Magdeleine and Marie Josephe.

Louisbourg 1726 Census

The Births of Francois, Francoise Charlotte, Etienne Thomas and Louis

Between the Louisbourg Census of 1726 and 1734, the births of 4 more children blessed the David dit Saint Michel household, Francois on 16 June 1727, Francoise Charlotte on 10 April 1729, Etienne Thomas on 21 December 1730 and Louis on 02 September 1732.

Unfortunately, along with this joy came much sorrow. For during this period, Jean and Marie tragically buried 3 of their children with the deaths of their 1st son, Pierre, on 30 January 1730 at the age of 11 years, their 1st daughter, Magdeleine, on 09 February 1733 at the age of 12 years and Etienne Thomas on 01 April 1733 at the infant age of 2 years.

The Louisbourg 1734 Census

The Louisbourg 1734 Census seems to account for all surviving family members at that time. It also lists Jean David dit Saint Michel of Nantes, a blacksmith, his wife, Marie Magdelaine Monmellian, 4 sons under 15, Jean Jacques, Jean Baptiste, Francois and Louis, and 2 daughters, Marie Josephe and Francoise Charlotte. In 1734, their 2nd son, Michel would have been at least 15 years of age or older and for that reason was possibly not included in this census.

Louisbourg 1734 Census

1735 to 1745

The Births of Claude Thomas, Jacques Andre, Jeanne Olive, Marie Magdeleine and Jeanne Angelique

The last 5 of Jean Baptiste's siblings to be born at Louisbourg were Claude Thomas born on 20 December 1735, Jacques Andre born on 30 November 1737, Jeanne Olive born on 10 July 1739, Marie Magdeleine born on 16 January 1741 and Jeanne Angelique born on 21 December 1743.

The David Family in 1744

According to the Fortress of Louisbourg Historical Memoranda Series 1964 to Present H F 25 1989 titled Jean Pierre David dit Saint Michel: Blacksmith authored by Eric Krause of Krause House Info-Research Solutions, Jean Pierre and Marie Magdelaine were still living at Louisbourg in 1744 along with their surviving children of " 5 boys for certain, possibly 6 and 5 girls." These children would probably have included their sons Jean Jacques, Jean Baptiste, Francois, Louis, Claude Thomas and Jacques Andre and their daughters Marie Josephe, Francoise Charlotte, Jeanne Olive, Marie Magdeleine and Jeanne Angelique. The "possibly 6" son referred to was probably Michel who married Genevieve Hebert on 20 January 1744 in Grand-Pré, Acadie and was probably living there with his wife. eric

France, Acadie or Quebec

1745 to 1748

The 1st Siege of the Fortress of Louisbourg in 1745

By 1740, the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748) had engulfed Europe. As a result, by 1744 the mutual declarations of war between France and England, which had soon spread to North America, was seen as an opportunity by British Colonists in New England who were increasingly wary of the threat the Fortress of Louisboug posed to their fishing fleets working the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

After a 47 day bombardment, a New England British colonial force lead by General William Pepperell supported by a British fleet commanded by Commander Peter Warren captured the Fortress of Louisbourg on the 16th of June, 1745 with the French capitulating 2 days later on June 18th.

Capture of Louisbourg by British in 1745, German Engraving

The Deportation of the French Inhabitants of the Fortress of Louisbourg in 1745

The first order of business for the victorious British Colonists, by the terms of the capitulation, was to expel all French inhabitants of Louisbourg. including the French administrators and soldiers, and transport them back to France. The British stripped their 40 gun Warren ship, the Launceston of all but 2 of it's guns and fitted the ship with cabins for the French officers and their families. The Launceston along with some small transports belonging to the colonies, left Louisbourg on 2 July 1745 with 1,500 French colonist including the governor, intendant, most of the chief officers, regular troops, men, women, and children. Another 400 French inhabitants, less important types, were loaded on smaller auxiliary vessels and sent off. The Launceston deportation fleet arrived at Belle Ile, France on 15 July 1745.

One of those Louisbourg officials was Francois Bigot, financial commissary of Louisbourg. It is recorded that sometimes after arrival at Belle Ile, Francois Bigot was sent to Rochefort where he was charged with organizing preparation of rations for the expedition for the recapture of Ile Royale. That expedition was plagued with a deadly storm, crew illness and unexpected change of command and apparently failed in June 1746.

It is believed that other expelled Louisbourg French inhabitants also migrated to Rochefort including the family of Jean Pierre David. For in December of 1745, tragedy once more visited the lives of Jean Pierre and Marie Magdelaine with the passing and burials of 2 more of their children within a one weeks time, , Jeanne Angelique and Francois David, in Rochefort, France.

The Whereabouts of Jean and Marie's Children

Since it is recorded that there were 11 surviving children in 1744 living with the family at Louisbourg prior to their deportation from the Fortress in 1745, it is not known for certain which children accompanied Jean and Marie from Louisbourg to France. After their return only 7 of these children plus 2 new additions to the family are recorded in the Louisbourg Census of 1749-1750 to be living with the family in Louisbourg.

During this period, it is unknown where (3) of Jean Pierre and Marie Magdelaine's children may have spent these four years. It is highly likely that Michel, having just been married in 1744, may have been in Grand-Pré, Acadie with his new wife, Genevieve. However, the whereabouts of Marie Josephe and Jacques Andre during this period are unknown. The Family Reconstruction File based on the Louisbourg 1749-1750 Census indicates that these (3) children were not living with Jean Pierre and Marie Magdelaine when they were repatriated to Louisbourg in 1749 from their exile.

The Jean Pierre David Family in France between 1746 and 1749

The burial records of Jeanne Angelique and Francois place the family of Jean Pierre and Marie Magdelaine in Rochefort by December of 1745. From that date until 1749, when they return to Louisbourg, their life during these 4 years remains unknown. Nor is it known if they remained in the Rochefort area or migrated north towards Jean Pierre's birthplace of Saint Nazaire and Nantes, France. No further records of the David family's life between 1746 and 1749 have been yet uncovered. The records of their lives and whereabouts pick up once again with the Louisbourg Census of 1749-1750 and the marriage of their daughter, Marie Josephe David, on 1 June 1751 in Louisbourg.

David Children Born in Exile

Their exile from Louisbourg did not deter Jean Pierre and Marie Magdelaine from continuing to grow their family. For when the family returned to the Fortress in 1749, as mentioned above, they did so with 2 new boys, Joseph and Jacob.

Fortress of Louisbourg, Île Royale, Nouvelle France

1748 to 1751

In 1748 as part of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, "Louisbourg was returned to France in exchange for their handing back J Madras to Britain, and withdrawing their troops from the Low Countries. The decision to withdraw from Louisbourg came under fierce attacks in London from opponents of the Pelham Ministry, but it went ahead nonetheless".8

The New Englanders' elation turned to disgust three years later, in 1748. The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which ended the War of the Austrian Succession, restored Louisbourg to France in return for the British trading post at Madras in India. The New England forces left, taking with them the famous Louisbourg Cross which had hung in the fortress chapel. This cross was only rediscovered in the Harvard University archives in the latter half of the 20th century; it is now on long-term loan to the Louisbourg historic site. 9

The Davids are Repatriated to Louisbourg

When Jean Pierre and Marie Magdelaine returned to Louisbourg in 1749, they did so with 9 children and an orphan. These included 2 new sons, Joseph and Jacobs, who apparently were born during the 4 years of their exile. According to the Louisbourg Census of 1749-1750, it appears that the other (7) children returning to Louisbourg from exile were Jean Jacques, Jean Baptiste, Louis, Claude Thomas, Francoise Charlotte, Jeanne Olive and Marie Magdeleine.

The Louisbourg 1749-1750 Census

 Census 1749-1750
Louisbourg 1749-1750 Census


The Death of Jean Baptiste David

On 18 March 1758 at the age of 30 years, a Baptiste David was buried in the Cemetery of the Parish of Louisbourg. Although Fortress of Louisbourg historians document in the Family Reconstitution File of Jean Pierre David, it is not confirmed that this Baptiste is Jean Pierre's 4th son, Jean Baptiste. At the time of this burial, Jean Baptiste would have been approximately 32 years 7 months of age. In addition, it has been documented in an earlier Louisbourg baptism record that another Jean Baptiste David La Vigne was an inhabitant of Louisbourg and a ship captain. The cause of Baptiste's death is unknown. However, it may have been related to his possible military profession and the 2nd siege of the Fortress of Louisbourg in 1758. Fre Patrice LaGree presided at the burial.

On closer review of the original source document folio that this burial record appears within, the 2 prior burial records of a Jean Cousin La Vigne and a Julian Cousin are dated the same day as Baptiste's burial and have very similiar wording. Could it be that these 3 men died in a naval battle related to the 2nd siege of Louisbourg?

Burial Record ofJean Baptiste David - 18 March 1758

Other Compiled Abstracts

Jean Baptiste's documented presence in Louisbourg is recorded in a Family Reconstitution File of his father, Jean Pierre David, which is archived at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada. This Family Reconstitution File was abstracted and compiled from original source documents archived at the Archives of Canadian and the Archives Nationale.

Other Recorded Events

Two primary source documents have been uncovered that document a Jean Baptiste as a witness to a baptism in Louisbourg in 1756 and as godfather at another baptisms there in 1757. The first of these baptism records not only indicates that this Jean Baptiste was literate but it also documents his profession as a ships capitan in the French navy at the Fortress of Louisbourg which may have been tied to the reasoning for his death in 1758.


The Baptism of Jeanne Louise Dumoncel Witnessed by Jean Baptiste David

On 30 April 1756, a Jean Baptiste David La Vigne is recorded as the godfather of Jeanne Louise Dumoncel born, the daughter of Michel Dumoncel, merchant of this city and Genevieve Clermont. She was baptized the following day, 1 May 1756. The child's godmother was Demonsielle Genevieve Dumoncel, sister of the Jeanne Louise. Fre Pierre D'Alcantara Cabaret presided at this baptism. Witnesses attending the baptism were recorded as Dumoncel, Genevieve Dumel, Jean Baptiste, Marie Dumoncel, Le Comberre, Loppinot, Beauport and St. Aigne Bacquerisse.

What is interesting about this baptism record, is that it documents a Jean Baptiste David La Vigne as a ship captain, possibly a military naval officer.

In addition, this Jean Baptiste David's signature on this baptism record indicates that he was literate and is the only record of his signature yet uncovered.

Baptism Record of Jeanne Louise Dumoncel Witnessed by Jean Baptiste David - 30 April 1756


The Baptism of Jean Baptiste Le Roy, godchild of Jean Baptiste David

On 2 February 1757, a Jean Baptiste David is recorded as the godfather of Jean Baptiste Le Roy, born the son of (unnamed) Le Roy and Marie Anne Martin. He was baptized by the midwife or another witness to the birth at the home. The batptism record is dated 4 February 1757. The child's godmother was Anne Dou (unnamed). Fre Pierre D'Alcantara Cabaret presided at this baptism. Witnesses attending the baptism were recorded as Louis Joly, Josephs and Bailac.

Baptism Record of Jean Baptiste Le Roy, godchild of Jean Baptiste David - 2 February 1757





History of Updates

The following chronological history of updates document the changes that have been made to this ancestorial life story and the date those changes were made by the author.

15 Nov 2010 - The theory related to the 18 March 1758 burial record of a Baptiste David has been reworded.

15 Nov 2010 - The theory related to the 30 April 1756 baptism record of Jeanne Louise Dumonce, as it relates to her recorded godfather, a Jean Baptiste David La Vigne, has been reworded.

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Earl Joseph David, Denver, Colorado 80207