This year’s French Project Pioneer family — the Beauvais family of this area — is originally from a town in Normandy, France, with a population of 55,392.
Beauvais means “beautiful view.”
The family will be honored during Jour de Fete weekend on Saturday, August 11, and Sunday, August 12, along with the German Greminger/Gremminger family.
Many residents of the Ste. Genevieve area that carry other family names may not even know they descend from the Beauvais family. Project Pioneer is making an effort to reach them so their information can be included in the book of the Beauvais family.
Eight descendants of Jacques Beauvais dit Ste. Gemme and Jeanne Solde, all first cousins, came to Kaskaskia, Illinois, long ago. Arriving in the 1720s were Jean-Baptiste and Ralph Beauvais; Louis, Jacques, Joseph and Jean-Baptiste Turpin; and Jean-Baptiste Brunet dit Bourbonnais. After first spending time in New Orleans, Rene Augustin Beauvais came to this area in the 1740s. All were from Quebec, Canada, with ancestors originating in France.
The three Beauvais brothers were the sons of Raphael Ste. Gemme dit Beauvais. The five Turpin brothers were the sons of Marie Charlotte Ste. Gemme dit Beauvais. Jean-Baptiste Brunet dit Bourbonnais was the son of Baebe Ste. Gemme dit Beauvais.
Raphael, Marie Charlotte, and Baebe were sibblings.
Direct descendants of these Beauvais families living in the Ste. Genevieve area today include members of the Buatte, Picou, LeClere, Bova, Doza, Menard, Gendron, Grogg, DeRousse families, and Gremmingers living in Bonne Terre.
There are no records here today of any descendants of four other family members listed in A Story Of The Gabriel Beauvais Family by Lyla Mae (Gendron) Bova.
Jean-Baptiste Beauvais became a very prominent and important man along with being the richest in the territory, according to Bova’s book.
Kaskaskia manuscripts are filled with him buying and selling property. Proof of his wealth is in a Kaskaskia manuscript that shows the third and last round of bids on land and a building belonging to the Jesuits in Kaskaskia.
Jean-Baptiste Beauvais was awarded the property for his bid of 7,250 livres. He outbid a man by the name of Pierre LeClede, who obviously was bothered by his loss because he immediately left the area and headed north across the Mississippi River to the Spanish side. Pierre LeClede is responsible for founding St. Louis in 1764.
Jean-Baptiste had a son who also was named Jean-Baptiste. That son built the Beauvais-Amoureaux house on St. Mary’s Road that still stands today and is part of the Missouri State Parks system.
The first Jean-Baptiste also had another son, Vital, who built the house at 20 South Main St., another historic home still standing today.
Vital’s father-in-law was Nicholas Janis, who built the Green Tree Tavern, a third historic home believed to be the oldest building in Missouri and a recent acquisition for the Missouri State Parks system.
Raphael Beauvais was a carpenter in Kaskaskia. The Bova book reports he never was as wealthy as his brother, Jean-Baptiste, but was an important man in Kaskaskia. He was involved in the oxen business and made two substantial payments to two different individuals to move oxen to the fort being built on the Black River for the Chickasaw campaign. Raphael is also responsible for the Bova family members living in the area today.
Louis Turpin was a captain in the militia in Illinois, and the Bova book reports he also became one of the most prominent men in the territory. He was a very wealthy merchant in Kaskaskia. All of his descendants were deceased before 1811, except for the children of his daughter, Marie DeRousse.
Jean-Baptiste Brunet dit Bourbonnais was the first of the family members to appear in the Kaskaskia manuscripts. He also was the oldest by more than 10 years of the eight family members to settle this area. He was over 70 years of age when he passed away.
Rene Augustin Beauvais married a half-breed Shawnee woman and went into his wife’s tribe. It is thought that he was connected to the Louis Lorimer family through this marriage.
Lorimer was the founder of Cape Girardeau.
“If you are a member or descendant of any of these families, we would like for you to attend the 2018 Jour de Fete Pioneer family event,” said family member Mike “Skip” Weiler. “Please join us for this event to learn more about your Ste. Genevieve roots.”
For more information on whether you are connected to the Ste. Gemme Beauvais family, email firstname.lastname@example.org and leave contact information, or attend the Project Pioneer meetings the second Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. in the Ste. Genevieve County Library meeting room at the Ste. Genevieve County Community Center.
(Information in a release from Project Pioneer with family information supplied by Mike “Skip” Weiler)