(continued - page 2)

     The next year, 1700, the Seminary sent out Fathers Bergier, Bouteville and Saint Cosine, the latter a younger brother of the missionary at the Tamarois, but not yet a regularly ordained priest. The elder Saint Cosine went to the Natchez on the arrival of his brethren. The Jesuit missionaries received the Quebec missionaries with politeness, but showed much opposition to what they regarded as an intrusion into their field of work. 

     Before long Father Montigny found his position so unpleasant that he began to see failure in the mission on which he had spent his means so generously. He returned to France with d’Iberville in 1700, hoping to regulate his mission affairs satisfactorily. When he left, Father “Bergier became Superior of the secular missions on the Mississippi Valley, and made Tamarois his residence, Rev. Mr. St. Cosine remaining at Natchez.  Father Montigny never returned to America. He went East where his services in the cause of religion were signal.

     In the fall of 1702, fathers Davion and De Limoges, who lived among the Natchez, went to Mobile and informed Bienville that the Coroas had killed their colleague, Father Foucault, and three other Frenchmen above the Yazoo river.  Nicholas Foucault had arrrived in 1701, and in 1702 was laboring among the Tunicas and Yazoos.  He set out for the fort with three Frenchmen, and was attended by young Coroas.  These two savages effected the death of the entire party near the Tunica villages. 

     On learning of the death of Foucault, Davion, the missionary among the Tunicas, and De Limoges, from the Oumas (Humas), considered it no longer wise to remain in such an exposed situation. They went down to the French fort where they arrived on the first of October. The governor determined to exact reparation for the murder. This made a return for the priests still more perilous.

     It was in 1703 that Father Saint Cosine with three companions was descending the Mississippi, to make a visit to St. Denis, who commanded a fort at or near the mouth of the river. Saint Cosine passed Natchez in safety, but went further down to a place where there had been a Bayogoula village. The Bayogoulas and the Chetiinachas were then at enmity, and the latter masacred the entire party, except a little slave. 

     Bienville heard of the crime, and St. Denis, with ten Frenchmen and 200 Oumas, Ouachas, and Bayogoulas, set out to punish the Indians. Fifteen Chetimachas were killed, and others were wounded and captured. Among the captured was one of the murderers. Bienville had his [the murderers] head broken. His scalp was afterward taken off and his body thrown into the river. Bienville even went so far as to offer a fixed price for each Chetimacha or Alibamon scalp or prisoner delivered to him.

     Some Choctaws brought the scalps of five Alabamons. From the Choctaws and some Chickasaws, Bienville was informed that a number of Englishmen were busily endeavoring in their villages to draw off these Indians from their alliance with the French.

     Father Davion, who had recently come down the river, was still at the fort, and it was deemed hazardous to allow him to return; and, in November, 1704, two chiefs of the Tunicas came to escort him back. Bienville told the chiefs that he could not consent to the return of the priest to the Tunicas till they had avenged the death of Father Foucault, murdered by the Coroas, at the instigation of the English; and he expected them to seize the traders of that nation, and bring them and their goods to Mobile. He proposed to furnish them with ammunition. 

     His offer was accepted, and St. Denis offered to go with them, accompanied by twelve Canadians. The party was to be supported by Lambert, another Canadian, who was going back to the Wabash with forty of his neighbors. The Tunica chiefs left, having promised to meet St. Denis at the Natchez. Bienville ordered some boats built, but before they were completed, news came that the French settlements on the Wabash had been entirely destroyed by the Indian allies of the British. Lambert gave up the intended trip, and it was considered too dangerous for St. Denis to go without the anticipated escort. So the project was abandoned.

Shea makes the following statement:

“At last, however, in December, 1704, the Tonicas sent their deputies to Mobile to beg Davion to return and instruct them. Although they had hitherto shown little regard to his teaching, he finally yielded to their solicitations and returned, but resolved to adopt a different course from that he had hitherto pursued. He spoke freely and boldly, denouncing their vices and idolatry, and urging them to embrace Christianity. Finding them deaf to his exhortations, he destroyed their temple and quenched their sacred fire. Incensed at this, they drove him from their village, but were so indifferent in reality that they took no steps to rebuild their sacred edifice, and soon after invited Davion to return.”
     Father Davion kept up his Tunica mission till 1708, when some Indians on the side of the English threatened it, and he went to Mobile. He left Louisiana in 1725, and died among his relatives in France in 1726.

     The “Company of the West” obligated itself, in an article in one of its contracts, to erect churches at the places where settlements were formed and to maintain there the necessary quota of approved ecclesiastics. The Company took up the matter in 1722. The year before Father Charlevoix had passed through the North American French provinces, and after his return to France had told of their religious destitution. As a consequence, the Company took the following measures:

The Jesuit priests would leave the southern part of the Mississippi Valley and labor north of the Ohio; the Bishop of Quebec would still be the bishop of the whole French colony, but would be allowed a co-adjutor-bishop, who, as vicar-general of the Quebec diocese, would superintend the very southern missions.  Rev. L. F. Duplessis de Marnay, a Capuchin, was named Co-adjutor-Bishop of Quebec. He invited some Capuchin priests from France to take charge of the Louisiana missions. They accepted, and some Capuchin priests did arrive in Louisiana, but they soon saw that there were not enough of their order to give proper care to the missions, and the Company arranged that the Capuchin fathers should take charge of the French settlements only, and the Indian missions should be given to Jesuits from France. Rev. Philibert, Capuchin, was appointed to the Natchez; Rev. Matturin be Petit, Jesuit, to the Choctaws; Rev. Souel, Jesuit, to the Yazoos; Rev. Beaudouin, to the Chickasaws. Rev be Petit was afterwards called to New Orleans, and Rev. Beaudouin went to the Choctaws, where he worked eighteen years, aided by Rev. Lefevre for some time.

[Father Beaudouin’s mission appears to have been at Chickasawhay Town. The Indians reported to Mr. H. S. Halbert, so the latter wrote the author, that Chickasawhay Town was located about three miles north of the modern town of Enterprise, Miss. {Possibly present day Amite County.}

[From Bossu it is learned that Nicolas be Febre was chaplain at Fort Tombeckbe' about 1759.  He was born in Belgium in 1705—a Jesuit. The site of this fort was near the modern Epes Station on the A. C. S. R. R. on the peninsular piece of land between the river and a brook running into it—about 100 yards above the place where the A. G. S. R. R. crosses the Tombigbee. 

[When Rev. Guyenne went on the mission to the Alibamons in 1726, Rev. Maturin Le Petit went among the Choctaws.  Rev. Michael Beaudouin, Canadian, came to Louisiana in 1726.  In 1747 he was promoted to be Vicar-General of the Bishop of Quebec.]

Shea says;

“The Choctaw mission, the fourth of those begun by the Jesuits in Louisiana [what was then Louisiana], was the most exposed and difficult of all. It was founded by Father le Petit, but he was replaced prior to 1730 by Father Baudouin. The Choctaws, though allies of the French, and battling with them against the Natchez were a wild and lawless band, and could not be relied upon.  The missionary acquired no ascendency over them; he could not even obtain from their bands the church plate and vestments recovered from the Natchez and Yazoos.  Desperate, however, as his mission was, Baudouin persevered for eighteen years on the unproductive field.  Of his struggles during that period we have no record.  A letter of his from the Indian town of Tchicachee, dated November 23, 1732, is still preserved in Paris in the Archives of the Marine and Colonies, and is said to be an interesting account of his mission, but it has never been copied.”
     The names of Fathers Souel and Doutreleau, the former a martyr, richly deserve to be remembered in this sketch.

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Ellen Pack