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Chevalier Charles Frederick D'Arensbourg, settler of the German Coast


Map of the German Coast by Guillaume Delisle (d. 1726)


This week's prompt from #52ancestors is #immigration leaving many choices since we are a nation of #immigrants. However, one #ancestor stood out because he helped settle an entire area of Louisiana called the German Coast.



Charles Frederick D'Arensbourg (1694-1777)


Charles Frederick D'Arensbourg, a German born in Poland who would serve for years in the Swedish army, was my 7th great grandfather. After his family suffered some kind of financial disaster he joined John Law's Company of the Indies and their ventures into New World where he enlisted as a "reform captain" and arrived in Louisiana on June 4, 1721, aboard Le Portefaix.




Some time after his arrival through the influence of Bienville he was appointed head of the German families (it probably helped that he spoke German) that Law had coerced into moving to Louisiana who were settled in an area that would become known as the German Coast, about 25 miles upriver from New Orleans. The area thrived as a sort of bread basket for the area including the city of New Orleans and the German farmers became quite prosperous.


On August 1, 1759, after years as Commandant of the settlers, King Louis XV bestowed the cross of St. Louis for his service specifically because of his assistance in settling German families from Alsace-Lorraine on the German Coast.


In 1768, the D'Arensbourg family was forced to sell their land on the German Coast and were exiled from the area after the involvement of Charles' granddaughter's husband, Joseph Villere*, in the Revolt of 1768, began by Nicolas François Chauvin de Lafreniere, another ancestor who was featured in an earlier post. Ten years later he would die outside of the region he had established and presided over for 48 years, banished by the Spanish from the German Coast even though he had no involvement in the incident.


Villere* set out to join the Revolt because the new Spanish government had bought grain on credit from the German Coast farmers to feed the newly arrived Acadians and had failed to pay by the agreed date.




Sources:


Reinhart Kondert. Charles Frederick D'Arensbourg and the Germans of Colonial Louisiana. Lafayette: Center for Louisiana Studies University of Louisiana, 2008.


Lawrence N. Powell. The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012.


Albert J. Robichaux, Jr. German Coast Families: European Origins and Settlement in Colonial Louisiana. Ryan, La.: Hébert Publications, 1997.

Marc de Villiers du Terrage, translated by Hosea Phillips. The Last Years of French Louisiana. Lafayette: Center for Louisiana Studies University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1982.


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