Sunday, December 25, 2016

Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Art in my DNA

Mom admiring my Pennsylvania Dutch folk art frame (1973)

Pennsylvania Dutch art is a distinctive folk style transplanted by European immigrants who settled in southeastern Pennsylvania. 

Characterized by the bold use of color and motifs that emphasize birds, flowers, and elaborate decoration, Pennsylvania Dutch art was nurtured on the isolated farms where those settlers made their homes. 

Beginning in the late seventeenth century, immigrants from Switzerland, the Palatinate, and the Upper Rhine regions of Germany arrived in Pennsylvania. 

For the most part, they were peasants, small farmers, and artisans. The Pennsylvania Germans were industrious people; they cleared the heavily wooded lands and tilled the soil to establish a new life in America. 

Agriculture was the major industry, but as society became more firmly rooted, farmer-craftsmen turned some of their energies to producing and decorating the many articles of daily life. 

By isolating themselves from outside influences, the Pennsylvania Germans were not assimilated into the mainstream of American culture until this century. Thus, for over two hundred years, Pennsylvania German (Dutch) art flourished to become an important element of the American folk art tradition.

When I carved the frame for Joyce's mirror (above) I had no idea that I would ultimately discover my Pennsylvania Dutch roots over two decades later.  

Do you think DNA has anything to do for my interest in Pennsylvania Dutch art in the 1970s?

Who are the Pennsylvania Dutch?

The Pennsylvania Dutch are a cultural group formed by early German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania.

Many of these immigrants originated in what is today southwestern Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg).

Historically they have spoken the dialect of German known as Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania Dutch. In this context, the word "Dutch" does not refer to the Dutch people (Nederlanders) or their descendants, but to Deitsch or Deutsch (German).

The Krefeld Germans

We are descended from one of thirteen Mennonite families from Krefeld, Germany who settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1683.

The Krefeld, Germans arrived on board the galleon Concord. The ship is also known as the "German Mayflower". The Concord took sail on July 6, 1683, in Rotterdam under Captain William Jeffries with 57 passengers. The journey took 74 days to reach Philadelphia (Germantown) on October 6, 1683 (which was declared German-American Day in 1983).

Our Krefeld Ancestor Reynier Theissen (Tyson)

Reinert Tisen also known as Reynier Theissen or Tyson, our 8th great-grandfather, was one of the The Krefeld, Germans who arrived on the Concord.

He was the 4th great grandfather to President Theodore Roosevelt.  See:

Our Lineage:

Reynier Theissen (Tyson) (1659 - 1745) -- 8th great-grandfather

Mathias Tyson (1686 - 1727) son of Reynier Theissen (Tyson)

Margaret Tyson (1709 - 1752) daughter of Mathias Tyson

Joshua Hallowell (1751 - 1835) son of Margaret Tyson

Joseph Hallowell (1785 - 1872) son of Joshua Hallowell

Lt Rifford Randolph Hallowell (1816 - 1864) son of Joseph Hallowell

Amanda Merrio Hallowell (1842 - 1873) daughter of Lt Rifford Randolph Hallowell

Lillian Amanda Pierce (1867 - 1957) daughter of Amanda Merrio Hallowell

Frank Jackson Bailey (1886 - 1968) son of Lillian Amanda Pierce -- my grandfather

Monday, November 7, 2016

Was granddad descended from William the Conqueror?

The answer is a resounding maybe!

In my opinion all family history gets a bit murky once you are beyond the earliest census records (United States 1790 and England 1841) and parish church records (about 1538 in England, and as far back as 1303 in France).

At some point you have to accept accounts in "history books" written by someone who may have had a bias slant on the stories outcome.

It has been claimed every English monarch who followed William, including Queen Elizabeth II, is considered a descendant of the Norman-born king.

More importantly, many genealogists believe that approximately 25 percent of England's population today is also distantly related to him, as are countless Americans with British ancestry.

All that said, it's fun to consider we might actually be a distant relative of William the Conqueror.

One of the more interesting facts about William the Conqueror is that he spoke no English when he ascended the throne.  Like most nobles of his time, he was illiterate.

Thanks to the Norman invasion, French was spoken in England’s courts for centuries and completely transformed the English language, infusing it with new words.

1066 The Battle of Hastings
(excerpts from Wikipedia)

In 1066, England’s childless king, Edward the Confessor, died leaving multiple claimants from across Europe vying to succeed him on the throne.

It was thought that Edward, whose mother was from Normandy, had years earlier promised the throne to his first cousin once removed, William, the Duke of Normandy.

However before he drew his final breath on January 5, 1066, it was claimed that Edward made a deathbed conversion and specified his brother-in-law Harold Godwinson, the Earl of Wessex, was to be his successor.

Harold was crowned king shortly after Edward's death, but faced invasions by William of Normandie, his own brother Tostig and the Norwegian King Harald Hardrada (Harold III of Norway).

Hardrada and Tostig defeated a hastily gathered army of Englishmen at the Battle of Fulford on 20 September 1066, and were in turn defeated by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge five days later.

The deaths of Tostig and Hardrada at Stamford Bridge left William as Harold's only serious opponent. While Harold and his forces were recovering, William landed his invasion forces in the south of England at Pevensey on 28 September 1066 and established a beachhead for his conquest of the kingdom. Harold was forced to march south swiftly, gathering forces as he went.

The English army (7,000 strong) was composed almost entirely of infantry and had few archers, whereas only about half of William's invading force (10,000 strong) was infantry, the rest split equally between cavalry and archers.

Harold appears to have tried to surprise William, but scouts found his army and reported its arrival to William, who marched from Hastings to the battlefield to confront Harold.

The battle lasted from about 9 am to dusk. Early efforts of the invaders to break the English battle lines had little effect; therefore, the Normans adopted the tactic of pretending to flee in panic and then turning on their pursuers. ,

Harold's death, probably near the end of the battle, led to the retreat and defeat of most of his army.

William was crowned as king on Christmas Day 1066.

Our Lineage from William the Conqueror

The following lineage was pieced together with the help of ancestry (dot) com records supplied by many hundreds of researchers:

William the Conqueror (1024 - 1087) -- 27th great-grandfather

King Henry de Normandie I (1068 - 1135) -- son of William the Conqueror

Matilda England (1102 - 1167) -- daughter of King Henry de Normandie I

Henry II Plantagenet (1133 - 1189) -- son of Matilda England

King John Lackland Plantagenet (1167 - 1216) -- son of Henry II Plantagenet

Henry III Plantagenet (1207 - 1272) -- son of King John Lackland Plantagenet

Edmund Crouchback Plantagenet (1245 - 1296) -- son of Henry III Plantagenet

Henry 3rd Earl of Lancaster Plantagenet (1281 - 1345) -- son of Edmund Crouchback Plantagenet

Eleanor Countess of Arundel Plantagenet (1311 - 1372) -- daughter of Henry 3rd Earl of Lancaster Plantagenet

Richard Fitzalan III, Earl of Arundel, Earl of Surrey (1346 - 1397) -- son of Eleanor Countess of Arundel Plantagenet

Elizabeth Duchess Norfolk Baroness of Fitz Alan (1366 - 1425) -- daughter of Richard Fitzalan III, Earl of Arundel, Earl of Surrey

Lady Joan Baroness Stanley Goushill (1401 - 1460) -- daughter of Elizabeth Duchess Norfolk Baroness of Fitz Alan

Katherine Stanley (1430 - 1498) -- daughter of Lady Joan Baroness Stanley Goushill

Christoffer Savage (1473 - 1513) -- son of Katherine Stanley

Richard Savage (1520 - 1551) -- son of Christoffer Savage

Susan Savage (1550 - 1576) -- daughter of Richard Savage

George French (1570 - 1647) -- son of Susan Savage

Ann French (1610 - 1669) -- daughter of George French

George Mason (1629 - 1686) -- son of Ann French

Richard Mason (1670 - 1730) -- son of George Mason (immigrant ancestor)

William Mason (1692 - 1745) -- son of Richard Mason

Margaret Mason (1725 - 1752) -- daughter of William Mason

James Boyd (1757 - 1791) -- son of Margaret Mason

James Boyd (1783 - 1854) -- son of James Boyd (end of my sourced records)

Valentine Boyd (1811 - 1870) -- son of James Boyd

Sophia Boyd (1836 - 1908) -- daughter of Valentine Boyd

David Jackson Bailey (1865 - 1949) -- son of Sophia Boyd

Frank Jackson Bailey (1886 - 1968) -- son of David Jackson Bailey -- our grandfather

The Battle of 1066 as seen in "The Animated Bayeux Tapestry."

The Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth nearly 230 feet long and 20 inches tall, which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy, and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings.

A well done animated account of the Bayeux Tapestry and the history of the Battle of Hastings can be seen here:

Animated Bayeux Tapestry Credits:

The Animated Bayeux Tapestry was created as a student project while at Goldsmiths College. Just as the historic original embroidery does, the animation depicts the lead up to to the Norman Invasion of Britain in 1066. Starts about halfway through the original work at the appearance of Halley's Comet and concludes at the Battle of Hastings. Marc Sylvan redid the soundtrack to include original music and sound effects.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Ripples From an Inherited Canoe Paddle

I recently read about Misao Dean, a Professor of English at the University of Victoria, who claims the canoe is a symbol of colonialism, imperialism and genocide due to history.

In an interview for CBC Radio, she said, “we have a whole set of narratives that make the canoe into a kind of morally untouchable symbol, something that seems natural, that seems ordinary, and seems to promote values that we ascribe to.”

Then she added “But I think if you look a little further that narrative obscures or erases another narrative—and that narrative is about, to be blunt, it’s about theft and genocide.”

Dean explained, in her opinion, the majority of wilderness canoers are people who have a very privileged place in society. They're frequently highly educated people. They're almost completely white.

She concluded her interview suggesting every time we dip a paddle in the water we should be thinking about European colonialism, and the role the canoe played in displacing and harming indigenous people.

To hear the full interview, click the link below

My Canadian Canoeing Idol is still Bill Mason

I guarantee I'm NOT going to buy a copy of her book: Inheriting a Canoe Paddle: The Canoe in Discourses of English-Canadian Nationalism, just so I can put it on the book shelf next to those written by my Canadian canoeing idol Bill Mason.

I'm tired of politically correct, wacky, liberals who attempt to rewrite history for fun and profit

I for one will not be thinking about "theft and genocide" next time I paddle to those silent places that can only be reached by a canoe.


And, I will not be thinking about "white men of privilege" as I continue researching my French-Canadian Voyageur ancestors and the role they played in the fur trade and history of North American.


Yours truly, Jerry England in the Boundary Waters (1986)

So, Ms Dean if you happen to find my blog while goggling your name… 

I want you to know this 74 year-old man thinks your opinions are just that -- your opinions -- and they won't put a dent in the fascinating history of canoes and canoeing in North America.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Gaelic Love on Cape Cod: David, the Irishman, and Jane, the Welsh Maid

Edited from the Dennis Historical (Massachusetts) Society Newsletter, Feb/March 2008, by Burt Derick.

David O'Killia (O'Kelly) and Jane Powell’s (my 11th great-grandparent's) story is one of loneliness and love. In the 1650s, New England Separatists realized they needed to bring in willing (sometimes unwilling) workers, which was easy given the strife in Great Britain from wars, ravages of plague and religious persecution. Nearly all were young and unmarried, at the bottom of the social class.

David and Jane were poor bondservants (sometimes called White Slaves) charged with fornication.  They were in their teens, and forced to endure great hardship. Jane was likely originally from Wales. The distance between the homes of the owners of their indentures (Wm. Swift and Edw. Sturgis') is 24 miles, quite a distance in those days. Perhaps they met on the same ship from England to America.

David and Jane were poor, lonely, scared, moving to an uncertain future and they were Gaelic, sharing a common language others on the ship may not have had. They would have been immediately separated and endured a hard life, as Jane's plea in court shows. Many of the colonists were religious fanatics, ruling with an iron hand, punishing people for minor infractions. Somehow, in a time when roads were less than cartways and transportation was slow, David found Jane. Perhaps he had an errand to do for his master, attending the only gristmill in the area to get the corn ground to flour. It is unlikely it was a chance encounter--not a single encounter in the woods of Sagamore, but one of many. There was certainly a background relationship between these people that resulted in the encounter for which they were charged. The fornication charge likely means she was pregnant, rather than caught in the act.

Despite Jane's guilt, the magistrates could not bring themselves to levy the typical punishment of public whipping and they sent her home. They also didn't charge David with seducing the girl. They leave the two to work out the problem. It's also remarkable the Clerk took time to record so many details of Jane's predicament

After securing freedom for both of them, David did the honorable thing and married Jane and they moved to a 100 acre farm that was eventually named Kelley's Point, at the head of Bass River on the banks of what is today called Kelley’s Bay. The area is now called Mayfair in current day South Dennis, Massachusetts.

David's family lived in South Dennis, Massachusetts over 40 years, raising a family of five boys and two girls: Sarah b. ca 1660, Joseph b. ca 1662, +Jeremiah b. ca 1664, John b. ca 1667, David was b. ca 1670, Elizabeth b ca 1672, Benjamin b. ca 1675. All were mentioned in David’s will.

Our lineage is:

David Okille (about 1636 - 1697) -- 11th great-grandfather

Jeremiah OKilley (OKelley) (1664 - 1728) -- son of David Okille

Sarah OKilley (1689 - 1736) -- daughter of Jeremiah OKilley (OKelley)

Solomon Carpenter (1677 - 1750) -- son of Sarah OKilley

Elizabeth Carpenter (1703 - 1740) -- daughter of Solomon Carpenter

Soloman Braman (1723 - 1790) -- son of Elizabeth Carpenter

William Braman (1753 - 1804) -- son of Soloman Braman

Waterman F Brayman (1786 - 1865) -- son of William Braman

Elvira W. Brayman (Pierce) (Corey) (1822 - 1909) -- daughter of Waterman F Brayman

Marcus M Pierce (1842 - 1882) -- son of Elvira W. Brayman (Pierce) (Corey)

Lillian Amanda Pierce (1867 - 1957) -- daughter of Marcus M Pierce

Frank Jackson Bailey (1886 - 1968) -- son of Lillian Amanda Pierce -- our grandfather

Monday, October 3, 2016

Canoeing Advice for Old Folks -- (Elderly + 70 Years-Old)

I just came back from a little canoeing adventure in Oregon, and I've been thinking about a bad experience where I capsized my canoe.
I'm 74 years-old, so my lost of critical functions -- lack of strength and balance -- are a concern.  As we age we lose a lot of muscle and our balance gets poorer, it's a fact of life.  
I try to do balance and strength exercises to be fit leading up to a canoe trip, but they don't help much anymore.
I've also tried swamping my canoe in our backyard pool to practice a self rescue.  My 12' Old Town Pack Canoe fills with water, but doesn't sink until I try to get into it.  Then it sinks to the bottom of my feet.  
That's not a completely bad thing because coupled with my personal floatation device (PFD) I have a relatively safe platform to cling to.

That is unless it's severely windy, freezing cold, or nobody is within shouting distance.
In the last few years all of my canoe trips have been solo, so I've learned to take some precautions to return home safe.
Here are my suggestions for staying alive:

1. Always wear your PFD.

2. Always carry a whistle, compass and map of the area (in a waterproof case).

3. Always carry a -- easy to reach -- knife with a serrated edge.  All of my gear (fishing rod, tackle box, landing net and paddle) is on a leash, so it would be relatively easy to get entangled and possibly trapped under my canoe.
4. Always carry a spare change of clothes in a dry bag.  Rain pants, a paddle jacket and a wool or poly sweater will suffice.
5. Always carry a first aid kit, space blanket, headlamp, canteen of water, a Sierra cup (to boil water) and a means of starting a fire.
6. Don't go canoeing alone in windy conditions, and if it gets windy while you are on the water get to shore to wait it out.
7. Don't go canoeing alone in cold conditions.  If the water is below 50° you have just a few minutes to get out before hypothermia sets in.
8. Don't canoe beyond your safe swimming distance.  For me that's about 150' from shore with waterlogged clothes.

9. Be especially careful when entering and exiting your canoe.  Most canoe capsizes occur within 5' of shore.

10. AVOID DOCKS IF POSSIBLE.  I learned this just a few days ago.  Most older folks don't have the upper body strength to pull ourselves up onto a dock, and without immediate help you could be hypothermic before you can make your way around a long dock and back to shore.

I usually try to launch and exit my canoe at a beach, so if I do fall it's usually in a few inches of water, not several feet as found at a dock.

Canoeing is a passion that I've enjoyed 60 years.  
Nearly all of my canoe trips these days are solo, and I believe I'll be just fine as long as I adhere to my few simple rules.
One Last Thought
If you plan to canoe in alone in wilderness areas here's one more item you might consider carrying for protection from predators.

SEE: Backcountry Travel -- Packin' Iron

"Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment." - Will Rogers

Happy paddling

Update August 2018:

I just came across a pretty neat video of an old gentleman getting in and out of a canoe at a dock.  SEE...

I tested his instructions... I put my pack canoe in our swimming pool, the water is about about 14" below the concrete deck, and experimented with this gentleman's method.  It was easy and worked perfectly smooth.  Thank you Hornbeck Canoes.

I'm going to Voyageurs Park next month and have been worried about having to get in a canoe from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center dock.  I feel much better now.  75 year-old canoeists should still avoid docks whenever possible.

Happy Paddling

Update Monday, May 3, 2021 

I’m now in my 79th year on planet earth and solo canoeing is one of my few passions left.

Last year was horrible in every way possible. I didn’t get enough exercise, I lost even more strength, and my balance is not at all good.

However, I did manage -- last week -- to go canoeing two days in a row, albeit only a couple of hours each day.

I admit that getting in and out of a canoe is a challenge, but in shallow water it is safe and doable.

My biggest struggle is standing up when exiting. That can be improved with exercise, so I’ve added squats to my daily regimen.

Here’s a helpful video for Solo Canoeing - Entering and Exiting

Happy Paddling

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Paddling the Upper Klamath Canoe Trail

Located in the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is a marked, 9.5 mile canoe trail that meanders through a large freshwater marsh.

The canoe trail has four segments: Recreation Creek, Crystal Creek, Wocus cut and Malone Springs. Each section offers a different look at the Upper Klamath Marsh.

You can launch your canoe or kayak at the Rocky Point boat launch or the Malone Springs boat launch.

I can recommend staying at the Rocky Point Resort which offers both tent and RV camping as well as rental cabins.  Their restaurant is now open 7 days a week and offers a selection of delightful sandwiches and meals at affordable prices. 

Just in case you get skunked at fishing -- as I did -- they have fresh cod and chips.

Rocky Point Resort is located on Pelican Bay and has been in existence since at least 1909 as this old postcard attests too.

Ask about mooring your canoe or kayak at Rocky Point Resort's dock if you plan on staying longer than a day.

For me the canoe trail began at Rocky Point Resort, just north of Pelican Bay, which is aptly named for the American White Pelicans that often inhabit the area. It's great fun to watch pelicans soar with incredible steadiness on a wingspan averaging 9 feet.

Their large heads and huge, heavy bills give them an almost prehistoric look. Gliding on the water surface you'll see them dip their pouched bills to scoop up fish, or tip-up like an oversized dabbling duck. Groups of pelicans can be seen working together to herd fish into the shallows for easy feeding.

A solo White Pelican guided the way as I began my journey up the canoe trail.

There is an abundant variety of waterfowl and other wildlife in the refuge.  I am certainly not an authority on birds, so if you want to know what birds you can expect to see, you'll need to do a little homework.

Mammals along the canoe trail include Mink -- like this one I saw on a boat dock -- muskrats, beaver, occasionally otter, deer, coyotes, and rarely -- a newly located family of gray wolves.

Around every bend in the creek you can expect to see ducks and other waterfowl launch themselves as your canoe comes into view.

On my outward bound journey I passed several summer cabins, on the west, that had been grandfathered in when Recreation Creek became part of the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge.

Once past the cabins the forest to the west comes down to the creek while the rushes to the east creates an entirely different view of the marsh.

Wocus lilies -- which flower in the spring -- can be seen throughout the marsh. Wocus is a Native American word for the Rocky Mountain Pond Lily.

The Klamath Tribes, formerly the Klamath Indian Tribe of Oregon once gathered seeds of the wocus lily as an important food staple.

One of the many Shore Birds I encountered wading and feeding in the shallows along the edge of Recreation Creek.

I'll call them Cattail Rushes -- because I'm no expert on rushes -- are full of songbirds like these Red-winged Blackbirds.

It's unlikely that you'd ever get lost -- but just to keep you from wandering into areas of nesting birds -- the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has installed signs that clearly define the canoe trail.

To aid the nesting of the extraordinary bird life in the area the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has installed many of these birdhouses on posts along the water's edge.

About two miles north of Rocky Point an industrious beaver has built a dam across Recreation Creek.

Many canoeists would be undaunted and simply pull their boat over the top, but for me -- with my poor balance it was swim or turn around.  The decision was easy because I had seen a number of likely fishing holes that needed to be explored.

As I turned around on my homeward bound journey I noticed this beaver had his home in the bank of the creek.

Of the two creeks -- Recreation Creek and Crystal Creek -- for me the prettiest is by far Recreation Creek because of the forest.

I paddled this creek twice -- once in the morning, and once in the evening. The bird life is far more active in the early morning, but the evening shadows from the forest are both cooling and intriguing.

For me one of the real delights was spotting several Kingfisher birds. In the past I'd only seen them in Montana's Glacier National Park.

As you near Rocky Point the creek widens and you are again greeted by pelicans dipping for fish.

Friend Kenny kayaking Pelican Bay

To the south of Rocky Point Pelican Bay widens again, but is very weedy and shallow except for a channel that skirts the west and southern shoreline.

When I got back to the place where I had been mooring my canoe I was welcomed by this Great Blue Heron who grudgingly consented to share his dock with me.

I would definitely return to visit the area again.

My only displeasure was not hooking one of the huge Redband Rainbow Trout that inhabit the area. Given that the water is crystal clear and the creek holds thousands of small bait fish and perch these 2 to 3 foot trout are not easy to catch. 

One fellow fisherman said, "The small fish are so thick you can almost walk across the creek on them."

Call me disappointed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Great-Grandfather Jean-Baptiste Meunier Meets the Poncas

Jean-Baptiste Meunier (Mignier or Minier) dit Lagassé (Lagacé) (1749–1828), my 5th great-grandfather, was born before 8 Apr 1749 in la-Pocatière, Quebec, Canada.  He died 15 Sep 1828 in Laval, Quebec, Canada.  He married Marie Judith Gravel Brindeliere (1757 - 1779) 30 Oct 1775 in Cap-St-Ignace, Québec.  He was the son of Joseph Meunier Lagassé (Lagacé) (1706 - 1778) and Felicite Caouette (Cahouet) (1709 - 1783).

Jean was also a brother of two famous voyageurs: Andre and Charles Mignier dit Lagassé, both of whom used the Lagassé surname.  Both of these brothers traveled with the famous explorer, map maker David Thompson.

About the Surname

This family descends from Andre Migner (Meignier, Meunier, Minier) dit Lagacé (Lagassé) a French soldier assigned to the Carignan-Salières Regiment that had been sent to Quebec in 1665 by King Louis XIV to protect the French settlers from marauding Iroquois Indians.  In the army he was called by his nickname or noms de guerre, "La Gachette", which means "trigger" and is used to describe someone who can shoot with great ability -- a sharpshooter.  La Gachette eventually evolved to be Lagacé.

This family is difficult to track because of the many different spellings of both the surname "Meunier" and the dit name (called, said, or also known as) "Lagacé."

For whatever reason it appears the Lagassé name was dropped by Jean-Baptiste Meunier and some of his descendants.  However, a great-grandson, George Pinsonneau (changed to) Pierce identified his mother Marie Emélie Meunier (1808–1883) as a Lagassé many years later.

Missouria, Otoe and Ponca Indians by Karl Bodmer

Trading with the Poncas

Research reveals that Jean-Baptiste Meunier became a voyageur and traveled to the Missouri River and other Tributaries of the Mississippi.  About 1794, Jean-Baptiste Meunier and his partner, Jacques Rolland, established trading house near a village of the Ponca Indians on the Missouri River.  

1778 Voyageur contract

Jean-Baptiste Meunier - (1778, Feb 20 - Ezechiel Solomon hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier, voyageur de Laprairie de La magdeleine to go to Mississippi, and spend the winter, Notary Antoine Foucher) From the Archives of Quebec, M620/0097

Ponca Village on the Missouri River by Karl Bodmer


From: Jean-Baptiste Trudeau on the upper Missouri (1794-1796), his journal

[Translation: Two years later, Jean Meunier reached the Poncas village at the mouth of the Niobrara and may be made ​​by grant Carondelet , governor of Louisiana , the exclusivity of trade with this nation for a four-year period starting in 1794.]

[Translation: Jean-Baptiste Meunier, from Vercheres , settled in St. Louis before 1789 , the year he would have been the first white man to discover the Poncas located 400 miles upstream from Missouri. In 1794 is exclusive holder of license deals with this nation. Trudeau to meet again (see sheets 53, 55, 71 and 76 of the manuscript ) . Meunier was more engaged . In some names are spelled Menier , Monier or Munier.]

From: French-Canadian Trappers of the American Plains and Rockies ( (edited)

There were the settlers of French-Canadian origin operating in the Illinois country. They plied the Missouri River and other tributaries of the Mississippi deeper into the South, seeking additional fur-trading opportunities. 

It must also not be forgotten that there were a large number of subordinates, regular employees, from both small and large companies, as well as the self-employed, all of whom worked to assure the day-to-day operation of the fur-trading industry.

In the last decade of the 18th century, Jacques d'Eglise, Pierre Dorion, Pierre-Antoine Tabeau, Joseph Gravelines, Jean-Baptistes Meunier, Joseph Ladéroute, and Pierre Berger were all involved in operations along the Missouri, as were literally hundreds of others during the decades that would follow.

These are characters who have all long disappeared without a trace, except for their names written in various ledgers-the only written record left in a world where illiteracy reigned supreme.

From: Archaeology at French colonial Cahokia, by Bonnie L. Gums

1794 to 1809 - Jean Baptiste Meunier (Munier); a records search in the Illinois State Archives and the St. Clair County Archives failed to locate any notice of sale by Meunier after 1809.

From:  Prologue to Lewis and Clark: The Mackay and Evans Expedition, by ‪W. Raymond Wood‬
Eight years later, in 1793, the trader Jean Baptiste Meunier (or Monier) claimed that he was the first European to visit and "discover" the Ponca.  He and his partner, Jacques Rolland, nevertheless dealt with them from a trading house they established near the Ponca village. 

From: Before Lewis and Clark: Documents Illustrating the History of the Missouri, 1785-1804, edited by ‪Abraham Phineas Nasatir‬
See the letter from Meunier And Rolland to Carondelet, St. Louis, 1794.

It appears his son Jean Baptiste Meunier also became a voyageur
Jean Baptiste Meunier (Mignier) said Lagassé (Lagacé) (1776–1835), my 4th great-grandfather, was born 24 Apr 1776 in Terrebonne, Quebec, Canada.  He died before 1835 in St-Laurent, Québec, Canada.  He married Marie Angelique Baret (Barette) dit Courville (1779 - 1815) 21 Oct 1799 in Laprairie, Quebec, Canada.

1800 Voyageur contract

(1800, Feb 14 - James & Andrew McGill hired Jean-Baptiste Meunier voyageur de Chambly to go to Mississippi, and spend the winter, notary Louis Chaboillez) From the Archives of Quebec, M620/1200.

Descendancy Chart

Jean-Baptiste Mignier
(Meunier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1749 - 1828) -- my 5th great-grandfather

Jean-Baptiste Mignier
(Minier) Lagasse (Lagace) (1776 - 1835) -- son of Jean-Baptiste Mignier (Meunier) Lagasse (Lagace)

Marie Emélie Meunier
Lagassé (1808 - 1883) -- daughter of Jean-Baptiste Mignier (Minier) Lagasse (Lagace)

Lucy Passino
(1836 - 1917) -- daughter of Marie Emélie (Mary) Meunier Lagassé -- my 2nd great-grandmother (our French Connection)

UPDATE 2019:

An exciting new find about Jean-Baptiste Meunier (Mignier or Minier) dit Lagassé (Lagacé) (1749–1828), my 5th great-grandfather.
We know he was a fur trader trading with the Ponca Indians circa 1789-1799, and we have found many different references with his name spelled various ways (Monier, Munie, Meunier, etc).
The Ponca village was generally located on the Missouri River at the confluence of the Niobrara River.
Today I found a copy of "The Spanish regime in Missouri" by Louis Houck, published in 1909. In it he is called Juan Munie.
I've copied the following three pages that represent his license to trade with the Poncas given by the Spanish government...