The great family of all the GAUDEL

1831-Jean François GAUDEL arriving in New York



Jean François GAUDEL belongs to the Montigny branch.

  Jean François GAUDEL's ancestors left Montigny around 1736 to live close to the village of Moussey.

    He was born in 1785 in Maizières lès Vic. This village located five kilometers north of Moussey was at the time part of the department called "Meurthe" in "Lorraine", in the east of France.

   He became German for a time in 1871 after the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by Germany, which eventually came back to France at the end of WW1 in 1918. The village of 350 souls is now in the southern part of the Département de la Moselle.

  Jean François belonged to a modest family of 3 children, and his father Jean was a menial laborer, as most men in the GAUDEL family at the time. In 1806, he settled in Azoudange, the birthplace of his spouse Marie Thiébaut. She would bear him eight children, only four of which survived, all boys.

Jean François was just a menial laborer, and times were hard. In august of 1831, his first born son Dominique got married, and soon thereafter, the family decided to go to America in search of a better life.

And so, on November 14, 1831, after more than two months at sea from Le Havre, "Le Siroc" arrive in New York with on board Jean François GAUDEL, then 47 years old, his spouse Marie, their four sons Dominique, 23 , Jean-Pierre, 17, Nicolas , 12, Joseph, 10, and Dominique's wife Marie Rose CHARDIN, 23.

This family is part of the 2038 French immigrants that arrived in the United States in 1831.

   The final destination was supposed to be Maryland, but in the end, it is in Croghan, Lewis County, State of New York that Jean François, having become John F. finally settles as a farmer.

A few years later, Dominique GAUDEL returned to France with his spouse and their son Emile, born in New York. But he must have acquired a taste for travels, as Dominique will eventually go to North Africa, and become the "Father of the Pieds-Noirs GAUDEL"

   The second son of John F, Jean Pierre, renamed John P. GAUDEL lived in Cape Vincent, Jefferson County, in the State of New york. His son Louis served as an artillery man in the Union army in the Civil War.

I could not find any trace of the youngest son Joseph.

As for Nicolas, now Nicholas GAUDEL, he opened a shop in Croghan, where he lived with his wife Mary Ann Becker, born in Lorraine and their eight children. After her death in 1876, he remarried twice and settled in Glencoe, Mc Leod County, Minnesota, where he made his living as a carpet weaver.

Nicholas' daughters had a large offspring, but the name GAUDEL disappeared.

  That leaves John P. GAUDEL, son of Nicholas et Marie Ann, born in1848 in Croghan. He worked as a house painter, and married Flora, of German extraction. The couple and their four sons lived in Glencoe Village, McLeod County, Minnesota. An older John P. eventually finished his life as a widower living with his only daughter Susie in Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota, until he died in 1923.

   Frank GAUDEL, son of John P. and Flora, was born in 1872. After working as a house painter too, he became the coach of his daughter Marcella GAUDEL, a theater performer in the 1930's in Minneapolis.

 And so, 100 years after the arrival in New York of Jean François GAUDEL, poor French laborer, his descendant Marcella GAUDEL lives in Los Angelès, weds Walter VAUGHN and gives birth in1932 to Robert VAUGHN, who became a well known movie and television actor.

Maizières lès Vic

Jean François 's baptismal certificate

L'an 1785 le 18 de février à quatre heures du soir est né et a été baptisé le lendemain Jean François fils légitime de Jean GAUDEL manoeuvre à Maizières et de Marianne Devot son épouse. Il a eu pour parrain Michel GAUDEL son cousin germain, jeune garçon de la paroisse de Moussey et pour marraine Brigitte DEVOT sa cousine germaine, jeune fille de la paroisse de Donnelay, laquelle a fait sa marque au dessous n'ayant pas l'usage d'écrire de la requise et le parrain a signé avec nous le présent acte.

signed by Michel GAUDEL , god-mother's cross

Marcella GAUDEL studied at the Minneapolis "North High School". At age 16, she was the secretary and an actress in the Dramatic Theatre Club of the school.

   In 1931, Marcella played the part of Lucy Sewad in "DRACULA", the play by Bram STOKER.

 The latest news and program of the club club were reported in a 1924 newspaper article.

Marcella is in the second row from the back, the fifth from the left.


Croghan and New-Bremen, Lewis county, New-York state

Lewis county is about 300 kilometers Northwest of New-York.

In 1860, Lewis county counted seventeen towns. It is an inland county, with no antiquities older than some of its inhabitants and no traditional legends.

A few French people settled in the region of Croghan about 1798. The few improvements made by the French were soon abandoned, as the would-be pioneers became disheartened and either moved away to older colonies or returned to France.

There was scarcely a perceptible progress in settlement during the first twenty-five years after the French left.

Croghan was formed from Watson (formed in 1821) and Diana (formed in 1830), April 5, 1841, and named in honor of Captain George CROGHAN, whose military services had then been brought to public notice in the presidential campaign resulting in Harrison's election. George CROGHAN died in 1849 in New-Orléans.

The town of New-Bremen was formed in part from Watson (for 1030 inh.) and in part from Croghan (for 315 inh.), on March 31, 1848. Its name was probably chosen to make it it more attractive to European immigrants.

In the winter of 1848-49, a census taken in Croghan and New Bremen, showed 247 European families, of 1,275 persons, classified as follows : 190 families from France with 967 persons ; 46 families from Germany with 230 persons ; 11 families from Switzerland with 58 persons.

All these families had been settled for less than twenty years in America.

They owned or occupied 12,413 acres, of which 4,338 were fenced and improved, and 500 partly cleared.

They owned 59 horses, 388 sheep, 613 swine and 1,256 horned cattle, and their production the previous year had been 2,770 bushels of wheat, 4,430 of corn, 7,513 of rye, 3,127 of buckwheat, 10,640 of oats, and 33,339 of potatoes, 1,447 tons of hay, 17,068 pounds of butter, exclusive of that was used in families, and 27,925 pounds of maple sugar.

Bounties for the destruction of wild animals were voted in 1841 for wolves, panthers, and bears.

These immigrants were chiefly from the east of France (departments of Moselle, Meurthe, Lower Rhine, Upper Sadne and Doubs), and the adjacent parts of Germany and Switzerland.

Recruiting agents travelled in Europe, for the recruitment of emigrants. They distributed pamphlets, maps and other publications in French and German, in order to give a favorable impression of these lands. The terms advertised in Europe were: one-fifth payment at the end of one year after the selection of lands by the purchasers, and four-fifths in six years in equal annual installments, with interest.

Settling together, they retained the use of their native languages in their families and at religious meetings, but most of them readily learned English, and their children attending the district schools with Americans learned to speak English without the slightest foreign accent.

The French Settlement on Beaver river, and partly in New Bremen, was a scattered village half a mile long and mostly on the south side of the river. It had a Catholic and a Methodist church, a large tannery owned by Blair, Rice & Bros., a grist mill, two saw mills, two inns, and several mechanic shops.

In 1852, a new tannery, a small Evangelical church, and three houses were built on the New Bremen side.

There are two Roman Catholic churches in Croghan. St. Stephen's church was erected at the French settlement in 1847, and sermons were preached on alternate Sundays in French and German. Its trustees were incorporated under the general statute, March 14, 1853, the first being Nicholas GAUDEL, Christopher MILLES, and F. E. ROFINOT, Jr. .There was also a small Catholic church in Belfort.

The "German Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed Congregation" in Croghan was formed on September 15, 1847.

In 1859 Nicholas GAUDEL became supervisor of New-Bremen.

    In the year 2000, Croghan had about 3200 inhabitants.

Inspired of the biography edited in 1860 "A history of Lewis county, in the state of New York" by Franklin B. HOUGH