Saturday, May 2, 2015

Marie Henriette Brown Dumas (1857-1890)

Marie Henriette Brown was born into bondage circa 1857 in either St. John the Baptist or St. James Parish, Louisiana. Her parents were Adam Brown and Eliza Butler. She and both her parents were listed as mulatto. (This term was more a matter of complexion than the strict dictionary term of having one black parent and one white parent.) There is also some evidence that her paternal grandfather was a white man, the son of a local planter. I am still researching this, but it would explain many DNA matches I have not been able to corroborate. Neighborhood elders describe her as a quiet woman, very tall with long black hair and fair skin. My Dumas family happen to be tall so I found this bit of information right on point.

Marie Henriette in 1870 Census with parents

                Because of her status, much of Henriette’s youth remains a mystery. I am able to find the family in 1870. Her father, Adam Brown, is listed as a Brick Mason. Her mother was a housewife. Marie Henriette, age 13, worked as a “domestic servant”. What surprised me was that she and her parents were literate! It was illegal for slaves to be educated, so I wonder who taught them. Did they have to keep this a secret?

On 9 May 1878 Marie Henriette Brown married Pierre (Numa) Dumas at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Vacherie, Louisiana. After marriage, she became a housewife and mother.

Henriette Brown and Pierre Dumas had seven children:

Pierre Jr. (1879-1946)
Joseph Adam (1880-?)
Marie Anastasia “Zene” (1882-1969)
Leopold (1884-1966)
Marie Noelie (1886-1923)
Jean Orderille (1889-1951)
Roselius (1890-1920)

On 20 Nov 1890, Henriette would pass away prematurely at the approximate age of 33. She was buried the following day at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church. The cause of her death remains unknown. After her untimely death, her husband, Pierre would pass away within the next ten years. Their young children would be split between their daughter Anastasia (who raised Orderille and Roselius in Vacherie) and Pierre’s sister Eliza “Lise” Dumas Jefferson (who raised my great-grandfather Leopold and his baby sister Noelie in Wallace). The eldest two children were of age by this time and on their own. To this day, there is a set of Dumases in the neighboring towns. 

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