originally published october 2019, translated to English Mr Tian UDDENBERG, january 2020
In the cemetery at L’Orient is the tomb of one Marie Augusta PERILLIER, deceased 16 August 1836. She is buried there with her child, Marie Zulma, who died 17 October 1830. Her remains are there along with those of 9 other persons until such time as they are removed to the cemetery at Public.
In fact, the maiden name of Marie Augusta PERILLER is Mary Augusta ALMEIDA, born in Baltimore, Maryland in about 1809. Her father … ah … her father … an historic figure, undoubtedly one of the best known personalities to have lived in our island…
Her father was none other than Jose Joaquim ALMEIDA, born in the Azores in about 1780. He moved to Baltimore, Maryland, USA in about 1796 and became an American citizen in 1805. He could neither read nor write but he was a mariner and merchant. In 1812 a war broke out between the United States and the United Kingdom that would last until 1815. Jose ALMEIDA took advantage of the situation to obtain a Corsair’s license, and at the helm of a boat paid for by his investors, became rich by attacking British vessels. At the end of that war, having come to understand the benefit he could enjoy from that activity, he continued, joining South American insurgents who were struggling for their own independence from Spain. In exchange, he was given Letters of Marque that authorised him to act as a ‘Corsair’ in the service of these emerging South American Republics. He sailed the seas searching for prizes under the Spanish flag – and keeping the booty for himself.
He quickly became a celebrity and continued to grow rich riding the coat tails of the revolution. He was unsuccessfully imprisoned several times by Americans after complaints brought against him by the Spanish. He frequented Gustavia in the 1820s and was among the wealthiest inhabitants of the town. He was a slave trader and undoubtedly one of the last true pirates to visit Gustavia.
In January 1829 ALMEIDA was betrayed by his own crew to the Spanish in Puerto Rico and was imprisoned in the ‘El Morro’ fortress and executed 13 February 1832. There are many tales of his escapades, but let us return to his daughter, Mary Augusta.
She married Edouard Jean Baptiste PERILLIER on 12 January 1828. Of the marriage at least two children were born:
Jeanne Marie Rosalie Eugenie Antoinette PERILLIER, born in Gustavia 31 December 1828 where she was baptized 19 January 1829. She was a schoolteacher in Gustavia and remained single. She died in Gustavia 16 February 1914.
Marie Zulma PERILLIER who was born ‘in America’ 14 March 1830 and was received in baptism in Saint Barthelemy 17 October 1830 under the simple first name ‘Marie’. She died the same day. It is she who is buried in the grave officially referred to as ‘Tomb number 1’ in the order of the President to remove the grave from Lorient. In fact, she died aged just 7 months.
Article the 1st:
The ten tombs that are identified following on the map attached to the present ordinance:
-No 1: Mme Marie Augusta Perillier, deceased in 1836, and her child Marie Zulma, deceased in 1830;
Edouard Jean Baptiste PERILLIER seems to have been born in France in about 1804. His father Jean Baptiste Alexis PERILLIER was originally from Nimes, and his mother Rosalie MOREL or MORELLE, from Lyon. The couple seems to have travelled widely (no doubt on business) and had two other children:
Their first child, Catherine Virginie was born in about 1801 in Ancona, Italy. She married Pierre Francois DEJOYE in Gustavia in 1821, and their third child Marie Henriette Zulma [was born?] in St. Thomas, then part of the Danish Virgin Islands, and married Antoine SAPENNE DELISLE in 1823.
Edouard Jean Baptiste PERILLIER also travelled extensively, explaining the birth of his daughter Marie Zulma ‘in America’. He was then in business with Alexandre COCK (son of William COCK). These two embarked in May 1837 on a ship belonging to John PORTELLY to move to America but had to return to Saint Barthelemy on their own boat loaded with provisions as a result of a terrible hurricane that happened on 2 August of that year.
In about 1842, he (E. J-B. PERILLIER) appears to have married a half-sister of his first wife, but I have not been successful finding the record of that event. In fact one Marie Henriette Zulma, born 12 January was baptized 9 February that same year. She was the legitimate daughter of Jean Baptiste Edouard PERILLIER and Elisabeth ALMEIDA. (The mother of Mary Augusta was one Ann O’BRIAN and the mother of Elisabeth Ann, one Thereza Ann MAGAN.)
To close I return now to Jose Joaquim ALMEIDA. He had several wives by whom he had several children. One of them, Abraham ALMEIDA (child of the third of his father’s wives who bore the name Justian Francoise(?)) was therefore half-brother of Mary Augusta – born about 1826 in Saint Barthelemy. I cannot tell for sure if Abraham was the son of Jose or a grand-son (as i have seen some trees on internet giving the second solution but i could not get it confirmed).
ALMEIDA had at least 16 children by three other women: with Anne Coralie or Caroline GREAUX who he married in 1848, but also with Anne Eliza CHOISY (also mother of Louis CHOISY) and with Mathilde WOODSIDE. It is by this last woman that he had at least 5 children who bore their mother’s name. Of these 5, two girls married COCK. One of them was Anne Edith Leonina or Loevinia who married Carl Oscar COCK in October 1900 and who had several children, among whom Gaspard Henri Edouard COCK in 1908. Their children are the closest living family to Mary Augusta in Saint Barthelemy, sharing a common ancestor born in the Azores.
Since i wrote this article, i found new items direcly connecting the CHOISY family to ALMEIDA, i should publish it soon.