Paschal Bequette

Paschal Bequette was born in Ste Genevieve on Oct. 24, 1804.  His parents were Jean Baptiste Bequette and Louise Mesplait. 

Information from a family tree I found at the Ste Genevieve library indicates that his father, Jean Baptiste Bequette III, was the son of Jean Baptiste Bequette II and Louise LaCourse.  An online family tree has essentially the same information although it says the mother’s name is Louise LaSource.  Neither give their sources, though, so I’m a bit reluctant to use this as a fact until I can find some documentation.

If true, this would make Paschal the grandson of the builder of the Bequette – Ribault house.  The HABS documents for this house say that the house was built for Jean Baptiste Bequet and his wife Cecile Trudeau; the family trees indicate that Jean Baptiste Bequette’s first wife was Louise LaSource and his second wife was Celeste Trudeau.  (He also had a third wife – Francois Corset.)

Regardless how this genealogical puzzle turns out, Paschal’s family had very close ties with Henry Dodge’s family. 

Paschal himself married one of Henry’s daughters, Elizabeth Piety Dodge, in Dodge’s Grove (in what is now Iowa County, WI but was then in Michigan Territory), on November 25, 1832. More details about their life in Wisconsin and their move to California in 1852 are in an article from the Iowa County Historical Society newsletter in 2004.

One of Paschal’s sisters, Adelle, married Henry’s oldest son, Henry Lafayette Dodge although that didn’t turn out so well, as Henry Lafayette was burned at the stake by hostile Indians, out west.

Another of Paschal’s sisters, Eleanor, married another Lead Region pioneer, S.F. Rodolf, and lived in Mineral Point until she died in 1844.

Their mother, Mary L. Bequette, was living in Dodgeville, with Adelle at the time of the 1860 census.

Paschal Bequette served with Henry Dodge in the Blackhawk War, in 1832.  Accounts of this are in The History of Iowa County, 1881, starting on page 479.  The History of Iowa County also describes some of the details of his settlement in Diamond Grove, which apparently was the site of Fort Washington, during the Blackhawk War. 

With all of this, I was hoping to be able to show that Paschal, and possibly his sisters, and maybe even their mother, were in the group that came up the Mississippi with the Dodges, in 1827.  Alas, according to his obituary, he didn’t migrate to the Lead Region until 1831.

However, the obit turned up a connection to a house we toured in Ste Genevieve, The Felix Valle State Historic Site, which includes the Shaw House. 

The obituary says “Colonel Bequette was bred to the profession of merchant, in the store of Bossier & Valle, in the house now occupied by the Widow Shaw.  He followed that accomplished and elegant merchant, Col. Jean Baptiste Bosier to Mine la Motte, and remained in his employment for some years at Fredericktown.  Col Bequette subsequently, in 1831, migrated to Wisconsin (then Michigan) and engaged in the business of merchandising and smelting lead ore.”

An article about Jean Baptiste Bossier, which includes the Audubon portrait of him, a copy of which we saw at the historic site, says he moved to Fredericktown in 1834, which doesn’t quite fit with Paschal following him to Mine la Motte before moving up the Mississippi in 1831, but perhaps the explanation for this will become clear at some point.

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