Genealogy Investigations in Missouri and Illinois #2: Sophie Rousselle and her three—or four—husbands

Sophie RousselleÉmilie‘s sister and third-born child of Pierre Rousselle and Françoise Gagné—was born on November 19, 1807. She was baptized one month later, on December 20, at St. Ferdinand Catholic Church, in Florissant, Missouri.

At the age of 18, on October 5, 1826, she married Jacob Nicolas Fahsnacht—not Foster!—at St. Louis Cathedral.

On October 5, 1826, I, undersigned priest, in the absence of the parish priest, after grant dispensation of the three publication of banns for reasonable cause, but without investigation of the groom, I have received the mutual consent of marriage and have given the bridal blessing according to the rites of our Holy Mother Church between Jacob Nicolas Fahsnacht, son of Jean Fahsnacht and Elisabeth Wise, born in Aunspock baright—Inspruck (Beureith) in margin—in Germany, and Sophie Roussel, daughter of Pierre Roussel and Françoise Gagné, in Florissant, in the presence of friends and witnesses. [Translated from French]

As per both spouses’ signatures appearing above, it can therefore be assumed that the original spelling of Jacob’s surname is Fahsnacht. All other witnesses are related to the mother’s bride, except for Toussaint Tourville, who may be either the father-in-law or the brother-in-law of Sophie’s sister Émilie, and E. F. Smith, whose ties with the bride and groom remain unknown to this date.

There is no question that Jacob was a Catholic—church registers are priceless!—given that he signed for three presences at the Church, as he was godfather to three children baptized in 1829: first, on July 19, in Florissant, for Charles Tourville; and then on September 15, in Saint Louis, for both François Bergeron and Antoine Desjarlais—Sophie Rousselle was the godmother for this one.

I was able to identify two children born to our couple:

  • Caroline, born about 1829 (her parents’ names are reported on her two marriage records); and
  • Jacob, born on December 20, 1830, and baptized on June 19, 1831, in St. Louis.

We are lucky enough to locate the family in the Lower Ward of the City of St. Louis—thanks to the 1830 US Census taken on June 1—under the name of Jacob Fosnot:

  • Jacob, born between 1790 and 1799;
  • a white woman, born between 1800 and 1809 [Sophie was born in 1807];
  • a white girl, born between 1825 and 1829 [Caroline was probably born in 1829]; and
  • an unknown young white girl born between 1816 and 1820.

The lack of a Missouri Federal Census for 1820, and Jacob’s name not appearing on tax lists that survived, keep me from confirming Jacob’s presence in the State during such period though.

As Sophie was remarried to Amable Latour, on May 18, 1835, in St. Louis, it likely sets Jacob Fahsnacht’s death well before such date. On Sophie’s second marriage record, she is not mentioned as being Jacob’s widow, but again, as the daughter of Pierre Rousselle and Françoise Gagné. As Sophie and Jacob were Catholics, I cannot imagine how she could remarry in the same church if her first husband was still alive!

From Amable Latour and Sophie’s marriage were born five children in Missouri:

  • Hélène Exilda, born in 1836;
  • Philomène, born in 1839;
  • Peter, born in 1841;
  • Louis, born about 1843; and
  • Lucille Angélique, born in 1846.

It was also Amable’s second marriage as he was first married to Félicité Cadoret. Their daughter Geneviève died in 1886—Sophie Rousselle was living with her stepdaughter at the time of her death in 1884. Amable Latour died at age 45, on January 11, 1848, in St. Louis.

Unfortunately, the family does not seem to appear in the 1840 US Census.

On September 9, 1849, Sophie remarried for the third time, to Anthony Lucero. One daughter, Emily, was born in 1850 and died two years later.

The 1850 US Census, in St. Louis, Missouri, provides the following details:

  • Antoine Lesere, a boatman, born about 1814, in Spain [might be Spanish Territory in America];
  • Caroline Paient, born about 1829, in Louisiana;
  • Sophie Lesere, born in 1811 [1807], in Missouri;
  • Ellen Lesere [Latour], born about 1837 [1836], in Missouri;
  • Peter Lesere [Latour], born in 1841, in Missouri;
  • Emily Lesere, born in 1850, in Missouri; and
  • Robert J. Lesere, a labourer, born about 1831, in Missouri.

Anthony Lucero or Lesere disappeared after the 1850 US Census. No death record has ever been found. As for Sophie, her next census appearance will occur in 1880, in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1864, 1866, 1875, 1876 and 1878, I nonetheless did identify her in the St. Louis Directory as either Sophie Latour, widow of Amablot, or Sophia Fasnat, widow of Jacob.

According to the City of St. Louis records, Sophia Latour passed away from gastroenteritis on March 8, 1884, at age 77 [she was 76], at home on Jefferson Avenue, between Wyoming Street and Utah Street, in Ward 21 of the City of St. Louis. Her place of birth is indicated as Louisiana [at the time of her birth, Florissant was in Upper Louisiana]. She was buried in Saint Matthew’s Cemetery, in St. Louis.

Curious about all these people? Do not worry, we will come back to some of them. Next in line is Lucille Tourville, married to Paschal Payan dit Saint-Onge, in 1838. After years of research, I finally learned what happened to Lucille and Paschal. Stay tuned!

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A family tree on Ancestry suggests that Sophie Rousselle married Antoine DeGerlia [Desjarlais] on April 5, 1858, in St. Louis, Missouri. No proof is given for that event. Antoine died in August 1861, in Calhoun County, Illinois—just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. I did find Antoine in said County, in the 1860 US Census, but no wife is mentioned. A Calhoun County history on the Web also refers to Sophie Rousselle as Antoine’s second wife. An in-depth research will be conducted later this year.

Update as of April 4, 2018 — Please refer to Post #2a: Sophie Rousselle and her fourth husband


4 thoughts on “Genealogy Investigations in Missouri and Illinois #2: Sophie Rousselle and her three—or four—husbands

  1. Hi Diane,
    I’ve been following your fascinating posts. I think we met at the NYG&B writing workshop last year.
    Sophie Rouselle caught my eye as I have done some St. Louis research. You may be aware that there were 2 enumerations in 1880 for St. Louis. If not, the second one, in November, is for Sophia Latur, ED 402. She’s listed as mother-in-law to George Reimann.

    • Hi Margaret,
      Thank you! I didn’t know about the 2nd enumeration in 1880 for St. Louis, that’s interesting. I will look into that. George Reimann is Jane Latour’s second husband. Jane being Sophie’s stepdaughter.

      I wasn’t at the NYG&B writing workshop last year. I cannot wait to be retired to attend fun events like that. 🙂

  2. Sorry, I must have mixed you up with another blogger. But I hope we meet someday.

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