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Marie-Françoise Dizier Brazeau

Anyone researching the French Illinois Country knows about the Kaskaskia Manuscripts. This great resource is in French, but an English index is available. My daughter, Jen, wrote an article about the collection HERE.

Sad to admit, even though I know this collection is full of family history treasures pertinent to my own research, I have ignored it because it's in French. I have scoured the abstracts, though, and read several books that mention one particular event in the history of Kaskaskia, Pays des Illinois. In 1748, my 5th Great Grandmother Marie-Françoise Dizier, wife of Joseph Brazeau, made a grim discovery. Her pigs had dug up the arm and skull of a newborn infant.

Now that should be a movie!

Note: Please read to the end of this post. There are some pertinent comments after the story.

Thanks to historian Sophie White's book, Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana. UNC Press Books 2019 I highly recommend both of her books on French Colonial Illinois/Louisiana. You can pick them up here:

Voices of the Enslaved

Wild Frenchmen and Frenchified Indians

Over the years, I have wondered about Marie-Jeanne. She was young and enslaved. It was entirely possible that she did not want her child to grow up enslaved too. Historian Sophie White brings up another perspective in her book, Voices of the Enslaved. It is possible that Lisette lied. I hadn't thought of this. As a young enslaved girl, she may have been supervised or at least harshly treated by the older Marie-Jeanne. Although Lisette was very young, she could have found a way to get herself out of a bad situation. She knew her accusation would remove Marie-Jeanne from the household. We will never know what really happened, but it certainly is an interesting event.

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