Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The Society of Jesus owned six plantations in the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries which they relied on to support their ministries. The estates totaled 12,000 acres on four large properties in southern Prince Georges, Charles and St. Mary's counties and two smaller estates on Maryland's eastern shore. These estates were presented to them by the Lords Baltimore who were Catholic and used slaves to work them. The slaves were gifts to the Jesuits from wealthy Catholic familes to sustain the church.

The records of these plantations, Jesuit Plantation Project(JPP), form part of the archives of the Jesuits and have been converted to an electronic by students of American Studies department at Georgetown University. The archives contain personal papers like the diaries of Br. Mobberly who spent time on many of the plantations, Sale Contract of 272 Slaves in 1838, documents regarding plantation conditions, the welfare and religious needs of the slaves, resources and a JPP bibliography.

The sale of the slaves by the Jesuits had nothing to do with morals but was a decision based on economics. They feared the devaluation of their property, at a time in which the abolitionist movement was spreading. The economy was no longer driven by slave labor and the slaves were getting very costly to feed and clothed. They were also experiencing difficulty with governing the slaves and thought they could make more money by selling the slaves and employing tenant farmers.

My Butler family was among the 272 slaves sold downriver to Louisiana plantation owners. According to the JPP site, sixty-four negroes including the "Butler Breed" as they were designated on a Slave Transfer from St. Inagoes(sic) Plantation in St. Mary's County, were shipped to Louisiana on Ship #2.

Nace and Biby Butlers are my great-great-great grandparents.

Friday, April 15, 2011



An undivided half share of the plantation was sold by the heirs of Jesse Batey to Washington Barrow of Nashville,Tennessee and his son, John Barrow of East Baton Rouge Parish on 18 January 1853. The Butler family was listed among the slaves that were sold in that transaction: Mary,17, Rachel, her child and my great-grandmother, 3 months; Nace Butler, negro man, 67; Biby, his wife, 63 and her three children: Henry, 19, Thomas,17, and John,15; Martha Ann,24, and her three children were also noted on the inventory: Bridget, 7 and Emeline, 4, were described as mulattos. Josephine, 1, Martha's youngest child, was listed as black.

Mary, Martha Ann and their children were not grouped with Nace, Biby and their sons. Perhaps, the young Butler women and their children were living on their own in separate cabins.


On February 4, 1856, Washington Barrow sold the plantation to Patrick and Joseph B. Woolfolk. On this list, Rachel is listed as age 3, but her mother, Mary, is not listed.  However, Rachel's grandparents, Nace and Biby(sic) Butler are among the slaves on the plantation. Also listed were Rachel's uncles, Henry, Thomas and John Butler. Martha Ann, Rachel's aunt, and her three children, Bridget, Emiline and Joseph were there, too, but living apart from the other Butlers.


In the city of Washington, on 10 November 1839(sic 1838) Thomas Mulledy of Georgetown, District of Columbia, sold to Jesse Batey of Terebonne Parish, 64 negroes. Nace butler, 50, is positioned as the head of the folowing slaves, who appear to be his wife and their nine children: Beby(sic), 45, and her children: Caroline, 16; Basil, 14; Martha Anne, 12; Anne, 10; Gabe, 9; Beby, 8; Henry, 7; Tom, 15;Mary(Rachel's mother), 3.



Butler, Nace 75, Male, Black, Farm Laborer, Place of Birth: Maryland
Butler, Biby  80, Female, Black, Keeping House, Place of Birth: Maryland
Butler, Charles 9, Male, Black, Place of Birth: Louisiana

Nace and his wife, Biby,were quite long-lived. They were found on the 1870 census at age 75 and 80.(I think that the ages were reversed). Charles was probably a grandchild. It is thought that Nace and Biby Butler died between 1870 and 1878. No records of their deaths have been located, but Charles Butler was enumerated with Henry and Rachel Hicks, my great-grandparents, on the 1878 Iberville Parish census.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


My search for the name of the ship that transported my ancestors from Maryland to Louisiana who were enslaved by the Jesuits came to an end after four years of research.  Three ships were involved in transporting 272 slaves from plantations in Maryland and all were identified by numbers. Ship # 1, Ship # 2 and Ship #3. The Butlers were transported on Ship # 2.
On July 4, 2008, I visited USGENWEB, clicked on Louisiana and found the Inward Slave Manifests for the Port of New Orleans. There were several rolls of transcriptions and I searched Roll 12, 1837-1839; the Butlers were sold in 1838 so I figured they would be on Roll 12. I went to Edit, clicked on Find in Top Window and typed in the name Jesse Batey, the plantation owner who purchased the Butlers, but he was not found. Then I typed in my great-great-great grandfather's name, Nace, and the entire family appeared.  The details are as follows:

Entry # 304
Port : Alexandria
Master: John G. Doany
0/S Robert N. Windson
Date: 13 Nov 1838

Nace and Bibey(sic) Butler and their children were listed. The sex, age, height and color of their skin were also noted. The transcriber was Alma McClendon. Other manifests had been transcribed by Dee Parmer Woodtor, PhD, author of the book, Finding A Place Called Home.

The Butlers as listed:

Nace Butler, m, 50, 5'9" Black
Bibey Butler, f, 45, 5'3" Brown
Caroline Butler, f, 17, 5'7" Brown
Bazel Butler, m, 16, 6' Brown
Martha Ann, f, 15, 5'5" Brown
Ann Butler, f, 11, 4'6" Brown
Gaib, m, 10, 5'5" Brown
Bibey Ann, f, 9, 4'2" Brown
Henry, m, 7, 4'1" Brown
Tom, m, 5, 3'8" Brown
Mary, f, 11, 3'4" Brown
John, m, 2, 2'3" Brown

Note: Nace, Jr., 20, did not board the ship. He ran away.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Noel Fergus(sic) Theodore Bayonne was born on December 23, 1887 in New Roads, Louisiana to Jules and Victorine Randall Bayonne. Man, as we called my grandfather, hated his name and never used it. He was known as Theodore or Ferguson. We thought that his legal name was Theodore until I saw Noel in the Catholic Records of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. 

Not much is known about his early life but he is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal census with his parents and siblings in New Roads. On June 5, 1917 he registered for military service in New Orleans. At that time, he was single and working as a tile setter. Theodore served in WWI from July 15, 1918 to April 14, 1919 as a Private First Class. He received the WWI Victory medal and WWI Victory Button Bronze. He was honorably discharged at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

Theodore met Carrie Taylor and from this union a son, Harold, was born on July 29, 1920.  On April 25, 1942 he married Carrie and they remained married but separated until death. He was also the father of Annette Bayonne, Gladys Stewart, Herman, and Walter Bayonne. Walter is also known as Walter Bayard.

Theodore Ferguson Bayonne died on June 18, 1957 from a cerebral thrombosis and arteriosclerosis of the carotid artery. He is buried at Holt Cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Carrie and twin, Harris Taylor, were born in Wakefield, Louisiana to Nelson and Martha Morgan Taylor. She used to live with us in Metairie and would travel to New Orleans to attend church. Cawoo, a named given to her by me when I was a toddler, was the storyteller in our family. At night after a long day of working as a domestic, she would relax smoking her pipe and talking about "the good ol' days." Grandma would sit in a dark room, rocking back and forth, puffing on her pipe and regaling us with tales of St. Francisville, Bayou Sara and her birthplace,Wakefield.

Carrie Taylor gave birth to my father, Harold, on July 29, 1920 at home in New Orleans. On April 25, 1942 she married  Theodore Ferguson Bayonne and though separated for as long as I can remember, they remained married until death. Prior to Harold's birth, Carrie Taylor and Mack Johnson gave birth to Sullivan Johnson.

Cawoo was the kindest, the sweetest and most generous person that I ever met. My mother,Gussie, called her a saint.  She was an excellent cook and when she was not working she attended church.

On October 11, 1959, Carrie Taylor Bayonne suddenly passed in New Orleans at the home of her sister, Ida Taylor Walker of hypertensive cardiovascular disease. A wake was held on October 14 and the funeral on Thursday, October 15, 1959 at Pleasant Zion Baptist Church.  She was buried in St. Mary's Baptist Church cemetery in Wakefield, Louisiana.


On the left, a younger and thinner Harold posed at the corner bar in Metairie. On the right, Harold is with his older half-brother, Sullivan Johnson.  Sullivan's father is Mack Johnson


These photos were taken in December 1986 while my spouse and I were visiting. Harold and Gussie are eating crabs but I think there were some crawfish in the pot.



Friday, April 1, 2011


Harold Ferguson Bayonne, Sr., the only son of Carrie Taylor and Theodore Ferguson Bayonne, was born at home in New Orleans at 2000 Delechaise St. on July 29, 1920.  He also lived on Amelia St and at 3212 Dixie Court during his teen years.

"Happy," a nickname given to him by his mother, attended Thomy Lafon  and J.W. Hoffman Elementary Schools and McDonough 35 High School. As a teenager, he shined shoes and delivered medicine for K& B Drug Store.  Harold attended Xavier University but dropped out in his sophomore year due to financial difficulties.

Harold F. Bayonne married Augusta "Gussie" Hicks on November 19, 1940 and together they had five children: Patricia, Jacqueline, Annette, Carol and Harold, Jr. Harold worked as a deliveryman and enrolled in classes at night to become a welder. When WWII began, he was a certified welder and was offered and accepted a job at the Norfolk Shipyard in Virginia. Harold rented a duplex in Portsmouth, Virginia and Gussie and children joined him when Jackie was five weeks old. Gladys, Gussie's sister, came along to help with the children. They returned to New Orleans in 1945 and Harold joined them when the war ended.  He began working with Gussie's father, Nace, as an apprentice carpenter.  

The Bayonnes lived with  Harold's mother in the early 1950's until  Dixie Court was demolished to make room for a school.  The family stayed briefly with the Hicks at 3305 Third Street and in  one large room on Prieur Street which was owned by one of  Harold's friends. With financial assistance from his mother, Harold purchased a lot in Jefferson Parish in an undeveloped area with no electricity or water. Trees had to be cut before Harold and friends could began building the house. As soon as it was framed and the weather stripping was put on, the Bayonnes moved in. It was years before the house was completely finished and even longer before water, gas and electricity were installed.  Although living like pioneers, the family was very happy.

Dad enjoyed crabbing and crawfishing. He is known for his spicy seafood boils which was so hot that lips would swell. The seafood boils contained a lot of cayenne, so much that the house would reek for hours after cooking. We cried and sneezed but it did not stop us from eating!  Eventually we got relief when the seafood boils were cooked outside. Harold loved to hunt and he had a great sense of humor. One time in order to get Mom to cook a muskrat in her pot, he told her it was a prarie squirrel.  When he wasn't fishing or hunting, he read Western novels.  Harold loved to watch Mardi Gras Indians and party with his favorite sister-in-law, Wilma, who he called Bill. He was a master gardner who planted jalapeno and green peppers, corn, okra, tomatoes and chayote squash.

After the family moved to Jefferson Parish, Harold developed asthma which is believed to be the results of working around asbestos during the WWII.  He suffered upper respiratory problem due to collapsed lungs caused by an auto accident.  In the early 1980s he developed diabetes. Harold was chronically ill about 10 years before he passed on August 4, 1994 from congested heart failure.