Born in Kaskaskia, Randolph County, Illinois, Jean Baptiste Creely III died on 14 June 1833 in St. Ferdinand, with burial at Old St. Ferdinand Cemetery. Jean Baptiste married Elizabeth Bienvenue dit Delisle on 17 May 1779 in Kaskaskia. Jean Baptiste was the son of Jean Baptiste Creely II and Angelique Pillet dit LaSonde and grandson of Jean Baptiste Creely I and Marie Francois Aiet.

Many French families migrated to either New Orleans or Canada, then traveled on the Mississippi River to St. Louis. They did not want to live under English rule, so they left Kaskaskia on the east bank of the Mississippi River for their future home on the west side of the river, which was then owned by Spain. Some families lived in St. Louis; others traveled up the Missouri River to St. Ferdinand.

While a grape grower in France, Jean Baptiste I worked as a charcoal marker shortly after his arrival in New Orleans in 1723 and then in Kaskaskia. Jean Baptiste II worked as a cooper and built a stone house in Kaskaskia. Jean Baptiste III moved across the river where he farmed in St. Ferdinand, growing wheat and corn in the common grounds while living in town. His wife, Elizabeth, was the daughter of Charles and Elizabeth (Guillemont dit LaLande) Bienvenue dit Delisle.

As a teenager, Elizabeth and her friend with her baby walked to a field to pick berries. The child was asleep so the mother laid her in the grass to free her hands for berry picking. Suddenly an Indian appeared and grabbed the baby. As the child’s mother charged toward the child and the Indian, the mother was killed with a tomahawk by another Indian. Hidden behind some bushes, Elizabeth was not in view of the Indians. She stayed as quiet as possible as the Indians moved away. Elizabeth was spared that day, but apparently remembered every detail when interviewed for a newspaper article several years later.

When Elizabeth and Jean Baptiste married in 1779, the bridal couple signed a marriage contract, later filed with the probate court. The contract names parents and grandparents of the bridal couple, plus other relatives, all recorded in French. This couple had ten children: Elizabeth, Angelique, Joseph, François, Marie Therese, Infant [died young], Julie, Anne, Cecile, and Michael. Jean Baptiste married Marie James and had three more children: Jean Baptiste [died as an infant], Elizabeth, and Jean Baptiste; all grew up in St. Ferdinand.

The Jean Baptiste III probate file indicates that he owned a windmill on the Mississippi River, owned property, household furniture, horses, cows, and farm equipment, and three slaves, all together valued at $745.

(Documentation for this family includes burial records, census, church records, county histories, court records, deeds, marriage records, newspaper articles, probate records, and wills)

Written by Ann Carter Fleming
December 2016

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Last Modified: 26-Oct-2018 09:59