Thursday, 16 May 2013

Catherine Sievwright from Brechin to Paris to New Orleans

Link to Catherine in my tree

Catherine Sievwright, the third child of John Sievwright, writer in Brechin, and Helen Low to be mentioned in Helen's will, (see previous post)  was hard to track. Helen died in 1838. In the hand-written will it looks like Catherine married "Lewis Pollorou Mouhaut". Fortunately both her birth and the marriage are recorded in Scottish Old Parish records. The "Mouhaut" is Merchant!

Catherine was born in 1798 in Brechin, Angus, Scotland and married a French merchant Louis Appollinaire Pellerin of Paris in Brechin in 1823 *. I wonder how they met. The Sievwrights and Lows had interests in London, but Paris?  In the will Catherine and Louis are said to be living in Paris although by the time of the death of Helen Low they were in America.

They had 2 children born in Paris: Helene Pellerin baptised 1825**  and Henri Pellerin about 1830.  Helen Lowe widow Sievwright was godmother at Helene's baptism. Father Louis was a cashier (caissier).

I suspected they moved to Louisiana from a naturalisation record for a Louis Appolinaire Pellerin in 1849 and a court case in 1845. But Pellerin is quite a common French name.

I am indebted to Lucretia Ramsey Bishko*** for filling in the gap.
In 1833 Louis (Lewis A Pellerin) and his wife and two young children set sail for Florida with a letter of recommendation from General Lafayette. Louis had suffered financial losses in the July Revolution of 1830****. Louis hoped to buy land in the Lafayette township in Florida. After 6 unsuccessful attempts to buy land,  during which time they "lived in a cabin like savages" Louis gave up and they moved to New Orleans about 1837 where he owned a cotton press yard (1850 census and 1845 court case). I hope Catherine got her share of her mother's estate in 1838!

Catherine died between the 1840 and 1850 censuses. Louis died in 1859. Son Henri died age 36 in 1866. Helene married Benjamin S Harrisson, a builder, in 1851 and they had 3 children. She died aged only 33 in 1859 and is buried in Lafayette Cemetery in New Orleans. Louis's funeral notice mentions Benjamin S Harrison, proving the link between the two families. Helene died in the January and her father Louis in the August of 1859.

* "Scotland, Marriages, 1561-1910," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 May 2013), Louis Appollinaire Pellerin and Catherine Sievwright, 09 Sep 1823.
** (France, Protestant Church Records, 1612-1906 004340993 Image 192)
*** from a research piece entitled A French Would-Be Settler on Lafayette's Township published by the Florida Historical Society, accessed 6 Aug 2012.  It was gleaned from a series of documents and letters in the Dean Collection of Lafayette.
**** He was awarded the Croix de Juillet in 1831  Bulletin des lois de la République Française Issues 86-134 Page 16

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