Research at the National Archives&Beyond

Finding Agnes Mathieu! with Michael N. Henderson

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The Story of Agnes Mathieu, a slave who gained her freedom in 1779 through a year-long court battle with the help of Mathieu Devaux, a French National who served in the American Revolutionary War under theSpanish Governor General Bernardo de Galvez.  

Lieutenant Commander Michael N. Henderson, U.S. Navy Retired, began his genealogy journey almost 30 years ago. His success as a genealogist is attributed to an early curiosity about his family’s history, as well as the keen research skills he honed in the Navy. One of the family’s elders shared a story with Henderson of an ancestor who had once said, “they wouldn’t allow us to use daddy’s last name.” From the moment he heard the story, Henderson was haunted by and wanted to know the mystery behind it.  He uncovered his fourth generation great-grandmother, Agnes Mathieu, a slave whose great grandparents were listed on an inventory document in 1738. Devaux and Agnes maintained a long relationship that produced seven children, who were all born free prior to the Louisiana Purchase.  He is the first in his family to pursue membership in the NSSAR, and  the process was truly a labor of love and he says that " it’s an honor to have his family tied to an American Revolutionary War patriot. He serves as Vice-President of the Button Gwinnett Chapter, Georgia Society Sons of the American Revolution.

 


 

Tags:
Revolutionary War
Louisiana Creole
Slave
Manumission
DAR
Broadcast in History
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