Jean Baptiste Rodrigue
Jean Baptiste Rodrigue came to the German Coast of Louisiana at the end of the French and Indian War in 1760-62. He probably came with the exodus of soldiers and settlers who left the northern districts of Quebec after the fall of French Canada to the British. It was common at this time for Canadian immigrants in Louisiana to marry women from the German Coast and to settle down within the Cote des Allemands community. Now these were the last years of French rule in Louisiana that became exceedingly unprofitable; moreover, the territory by this time had become badly managed by government. In the countryside the area of southern Louisiana away from New Orleans was still largely Indian territory with a few speculators and enterprising traders to be found.
The great grandfather of Jean Baptiste was Joao Rodrigues from Sao Joao parish in Lisbon, Portugal. Joao came to Quebec, Canada, in 1668 probably by way of France. There he married Anne Le Roy in 1671. She was one of the so-called "daughters of the King", who were sent to Quebec with dowry by Louis XIV, the Sun King. She was born in St. Germain l'Auxerrois, Paris, France, the daughter of Francois Le Roy and Anne Bourdais. The fifth child of this marriage was Rene Rodrigue. Rene married Elizabeth Dauphin at Beauport, Canada, Nov. 22, 1703. The fourth child was Jean Rodrigue, who was raised by a stepfather after Rene died within four years. Jean married Dorothee Fougere, a widow with six stepchildren (of which only two survived), on May 7, 1731. Jean Baptiste was on June 10, 1734.
In 1762, France ceded Louisiana to Spain, and it was during this
year or the next that John Baptiste Rodrigue married Marie Josephe
Dervain and settled down along the German Coast of Mississippi River,
an area so named because of the many Germans who originally settled
there. Jean Baptiste soon became a prominent member of the community of
the Second German Coast, where he owned and cultivated with slaves
about 305 acres on the west bank of the River.
In 1764, Jean Baptiste's and Marie's first child, Jean Charles Rodrigue, was born in the German community along the River. It was during these years and afterwards that settlements slowly began to increase along the Mississippi River
The Spanish authorities, however, were not especially desirous to
take possession of the vast new lands, and as a result they were slow
to take over the official reins of the government of Louisiana. This
had the effect of causing a vacuum of power between the years 1764 and
1768, and played into the hands of Frenchmen bent on remaining loyal
French subjects. Finally when the Spanish did
grasp governmental control, a certain royal decree was issued by the
Madrid government, which had the effect of unduly restricting Louisiana
colonial trade in an arbitrary manner. This unfortunate policy had the
effect furthermore of placing in jeopardy the fortunes and personal
situations of certain prominent Louisiana Frenchmen who never wanted to
be ruled by the Spanish
overlords. And so it happened that Frenchmen led by de Lafreniere,
Foucault, and others conspired to revolt against Spanish rule.
The German community meanwhile had considerable economic interests
at stake in the Rebellion of 1768. Another reason for their involvement
in the armed rebellion were the family ties of the aging commandant of
the German Coast, Charles Frederick D?Arensbourg to the French
conspirators of the rebellion. One way or another, D?Arensbourg,s
offspring and descendants had married into the French civic leadership
in Louisiana, that is, into a group of those very people who
personally had the most to lose by the new Spanish trade
policies. D?Arensbourg sided with the conspirators for economic
and personal reasons, as did Joseph Villere, the head of the German
Coast militia, an organization to which Jean
Baptist Rodrigue belonged. Thus, Joseph Viller? organized about 300
Germans from the Coast who were led to New Orleans on the afternoon of
October 28, 1768, armed, and drunk with wine the night before the
action. Since Jean Baptiste Rodrigue was a volunteer in the militia and
a prominent farmer in this community, it is almost certain that he
participated in this armed action.
Governor O'Reilly restored order in the colony in 1769 and he had the five leaders of the plot executed. For this deed, O'Reilly came to be known throughout Louisiana and history as "'Bloody' O'Reilly".
Jean Baptiste Rodrigue prospered as a farmer and had many children.
Note: Jean Baptist Rodrigue name appears on the rolls of the
1770 militia list.
For more information on the rebellion. See Reinhart Kondert, ?The
German Involvement in the Rebellion of 1768,? Louisiana History: The
Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association, Vol. 26, 385-97.
Geneological information about Jean Baptiste taken from (Descendants of Jean Rodrigue and Anne Le Roy of
Portugal--Canada--U.S.A. (Louisiana). Compiled by Wilma Boudreaux and Sandra Clark Henry. Edited by Sandra Clark Henry.)