Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Continuing . . .The French Negroes of Illinois

A few weeks ago, we began the story of the "French Negroes of Illinois." We interrupted that story because we received from "an important and credible source" further information pertaining to the topic. I can tell you now that our source was the religious order the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, in the person of their communications director, Mr. David Braun. You may recall that the Adorers were mentioned in our earlier posts. They were a group of religious women who had established themselves at Redbud, Randolph County, Illinois. They had also founded the first school for colored children in Prairie du Rocher.

We had come across a letter written in 1981 by Sister Mary Philomena, nee Adelaide Francis Micheau, of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, to Sister Mary Joan Weissler, ASC. Sister Philomena's letter was an apparent response to an inquiry from Sister Mary Joan, who was then writing a history of the Adorers in Illinois.

We learned from Mr. Braun that there was indeed such a history written. He was kind enough to provide some relevant materials from that history and from other documents in the archives of the Adorers. Space with this new material we are able to provide a much more accurate description of the French Negroes of Illinois. So stay tuned as we continue next the history of the French Negroes of Illinois.

1 comment:

Peggy said...

Very interesting series. It initially caught my eye because Sister Mary Joan Weissler is a distant cousin of mine - her grandfather, William Wenkel of Monroe County, is my great great great grandfather. As of 2004, she was still living with the Sisters in Ruma, Illinois.

Thanks for sharing a piece of Illinois history I knew nothing about.