The most powerful countries of Western Europe, England, Spain and France, had financed the voyages of the early explores for many reasons. They would increase their “Mother Country’s” wealth by finding the gold, silver and spies. Furthermore, they wanted to expand their trading partners and they wanted to spread the Christian religion. (1)
In 1604, the French established a presence in the New World, Canada, that later became Acadia. “In 1713, when the Treaty of Utrecht was made, the French government sold out the Acadians by ceding Acadia to England - Acadia then became known as Nova Scotia. From 1713 to 1755, the British continued the persecution of those God-fearing compassionate people. They not only took their land, they forced them to take the oath of allegiance to England. But when they tried to make the Acadians renounce their Catholic religion and become Protestants, and to agree to bear arms against France, these proud unfortunates flatly refused.” (2)
The Acadians became prisoners of the King. Many were placed on ships, not always as a family, and sent to the Mother country, to the English colonies, who were primarily Protestant, where the Catholics were called “papists”. (3) Still others migrated to the New England area, Virginia and the Carolina’s and to Georgia.
The Seven Years War, a global war and referred to as the last ‘War of Religion’, (4) was known as the French and Indian War in North America, 1756-1763. They fought for property rights in the Ohio River valley. The French and the American Indians teamed up to keep the British from controlling that area.
“The Seven Years War ended with the signing of the treaties of Hubertusburg and Paris in February 1763. In the Treaty of Paris, France lost all claims to Canada and gave Louisiana to Spain, while Britain received Spanish Florida, Upper Canada, and various French holdings overseas.” (5)
With growing tensions between the North American colonies and Great Britain, the American Revolutionary War, 1775-1783, created greater uncertainty for new emigrants to North American. The American Continental Army assisted by the French forced the British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. (6)
The declaration of war against the British in the Baton Rouge area was in June 1779. Spain and France supported the American Colonies in that conflict. The Spanish seized the British posts at Manchac and Pensacola, ending British control of West Florida. All of Louisiana ceded to France in 1800. Three years later France completed the Louisiana Purchase with the United States. Spain insisted on maintaining control of Baton Rouge and West Florida until 1810. (7)
Original Highland Cemetery article ... Jacob Miller, Jr. Marital Challenges
Maryland was a religious free state with the passage in 1649 of the Maryland Tolerance Act. It mandated religious tolerance for Trinitarian Christians. (8) Accordingly, some Acadians that left Nova Scotia settled in Maryland. Germans who entered the Port of Philadelphia joined them.
Some of the settlers that made their way to Maryland also made their way to Louisiana prior to the 1770s. They settled above Bayou Manchac near Baton Rouge Louisiana.
Established in 1813 on Geoge Garig’s plantation, the Highland Cemetery was donated to the Congregation of the Roman Catholic Church four years later. The love for the deceased are revealed with inscriptions on some tombs that read “Budded on earth to bloom in heaven.” or “He lived as lived a peaceful dove. He died as blossoms die.” (11)
“Today, a group of volunteers through a non-profit group called "Historic Highland Cemetery, Inc." has been given permission by its owner, the Catholic Church, to care for her. This group commissioned an archaeologist to do a systematic study of the cemetery and to use that data to restore the cemetery to the most original condition possible in order to increase its chance of selection to the US National Register of Historic Places.” (12)
A Highland Cemetery plaque located on one of the brick walls reads:
Hill of the Fountains
The Highland Ridge which borders Bayou Fountain and extends to Ward’s Creek was settled as early as 1784 by predominantly German and Acadian folk through Spanish land grants. Be it recorded here that the names of early settlers of “The Highland” were these: Emeric Adams, Philip Anglehart, Moses & John Babin, Simon Daigre, George Garig, John Hillen, Firmin Landry, Johann George Kleinpeter & Sons, Jacob Meuller, Lewis Ory, John Ryan, Paul Sharp & Sons, and Henry Thomas.(13)
Information on these named individuals, their family, their history and their journey to the Baton Rouge area are discussed below.
Emeric Adam (1730- 1801)
Emeric or Emmerich Adam was born about 1730 in Germany and died about 1801. He arrived in Louisiana in mid-August 1774 with Jean Baptiste Ory and Phillip Englehardt on their return trip after settling Nicholos Ory’s estate in Maryland. Emeric married Catherine Kleinpeter, born about 1750, in Maryland. She is the daughter of Johann George Kleinpeter and Gertrude Hitz. (14) Emmerich Adam and Catherine’s daughter Catherine Adam married Jacob Miller, Jr., son of Jacob Meuller (Miller), in 1795. (15) The Kleinpeter’s second daughter, Eve Adam married Johann Thomas, son of Henry Thomas and Barbara Ory. (16)
A review of one name on this plaque reveals that several people, Emeric Adam(s), Johann George Kleinpeter, Jacob Meuller or Jacob Miller, Jr. and Henry Thomas were probably close-knit families. To add to the family’s close fellowship, Jacob Meuller (Miller), Henry Thomas and Nicolas Ory, father of Barbara Ory were passengers on the British schooner, La Britiana, which sailed from Maryland enroute to Louisiana in 1769. (17)
Philip Anglehart (1738-1801)
Philip Anglehart or Englehardt or Inglehardt married Magdelena Ory before 1769 in Maryland. Philip was a witness on a property transfer “Petition to Governor” for Henry Thomas property to his two sons dated 1801. (8) Magdelena Ory’s father, Nicolas Ory was a passenger on the La Bretania with Jacob Meuller (Miller) which sailed from Maryland to Louisiana in 1769. (18)
Phillip Englehardt (Anglehart) accompanied Jean Baptiste Ory to Maryland in 1772 to settle Nicolas Ory’s estate. When they returned to Louisiana in 1774, they were accompanied by four more families; “…Georges Petitpiere (better know[n] in Louisiana as George Kleinpeter), his wife, Gertrude, their sons, Jean, Joseph, George, and Conrad, and their daughters, Barbara, Genevieve, Susanna, and Jeanne. Also with them was their married daughter, Catherine, and her husband, Emmerich Adam. Next were Paul Sharp, his wife Catherine, and Joseph, Jacob, Nicolas, Catherine, and Elizabeth, their children. Finally, there was Sebaseien Quidre and his wife.” (19) As mentioned earlier, Emmerich Adam and Catherine Kleinpeter’s daughter Catherine Adam married Jacob Miller, Jr. in 1795; his 2nd wife. (20)
Simon Daigre (Daigle) (1735-1792)
Simon was among a large contingent of Daigles that arrived in New Orleans in the late 1700’s. These families settled near Fort Bute, just north of Bayou Manchac.
Simon-Pierre Daigle, age 50, was probably born in the 1735 in Riviere aux Canards, St. Joseph, Acadie. He is the son of Olivier Daigle and Francoise Granger. He first married Marie Madeleine Theriot in 1758. (21) His second wife Anne Michel and seven of his children from his first marriage came to Louisiana with Simon. Anne died at Manchac in July 1786 soon after they settled there. Simon-Pierre remarried a third time to Rosalie, daughter of fellow Acadian Charles Theriot and widow of Alexandre Aucoin in 1788. Simon probably died at Manchac in October 1792 at age 57. (22)
George Garig was a German settler from Maryland who owned an 800 arpent plantation in Highlands. He was considered to be “…a resident of well-known honesty and one of the most skillful builders of cotton gins and presses in this territory.” In 1819 he donated one arpent of land to the Catholic Church where settlers had been burying their dead. (23)
He noted on his marriage certificate that he left Philadelphia on June 8, 1788 and arrived in New Orleans on August 27, 1788. (24)
George Garig whose name may be William George Garig, was married to Marie Barbara Thomas on July 13, 1794. She is the daughter of Henry Thomas and Marie Barbara Ory. (25) Marie. Barbara Ory is the daughter of Nicolas Ory and Anna Strassbach and she is the older sister of Lewis Ory. Lewis Ory, whose name, as mentioned earlier is found on the “Hill of the Fountains” plaque. Marie Barbara Ory’s older sister Magdelena Ory married Phillip Jacob Engelhardt, also known as Philip Anglehart, whose name is also on the “Hill of the Fountains” plaque. (26), (27)
Johann Georg Kleinpeter was born about 1730 in Strassburg, Alsace, Germany. He married Gertrude Hitz (1736-1806) about 1755. (28) She is buried at the old St. Gabriel Church. (29) There were six children born to this couple. As previously mentioned, he arrived in Louisiana in 1774 with Jean Baptiste Ory and Phillip Englehardt (Anglehart).
Son, Johann Baptist Kleinpeter, is credited with erecting the first steam sugar mill in 1832 on the highlands. His father erected the first cotton gin about 1790. (30)
George Kleinpeter, son of this couple, married Marguerite Judith Ritter. Their daughter Mary Catherine Rose Kleinpeter married George Garig, Jr., son of George Garig and Marie Barbara Thomas. See George Garig mentioned earlier. More about the Kleinpeter children is discussed under Emeric Adam above.
Jacob Miller [Sr.] stated that he is “Roman Catholic and Apostolic, and native of Germany”. (31) He and his wife Anne Marie Thaison left Port Tobacco, Maryland in January 1769 on the vessel Britian or La Britiana. The ship was destined for New Orleans. Due to inclement weather, the ship went aground on the Texas shore. Held against their will by the Spaniards at Presidio Bahia near Goliad, Texas, they were permitted to leave after several weeks of captivity. They left Golaid, TX by caravan for Natchitoches, Louisiana, a 350 miles journey, arriving in October 1769. (32)
“The German Families, however, apparently had not planned to settle in Natchitoches, nor was it [Govenor] O’Reilly’s plan that they do so. They therefore accompanied the English crew of the schooner [La Britiana] to New Orleans.” Arriving on November 9, the Germans were given tools and money on November 16. They were informed to settle on the site of Fort St. Gabriel de Manchak [near Fort Bute]. “[Jacob] Miller, his wife, and four children apparently settled in St. John Parish and subsequently moved to Opelousas.”
Jacob Miller is on the “List of Foreigners in the District of Opelousas and Attakapas and in New Iberia, May 15, 1781. (33)
Jacob Miller sold land located in Grand Coteau, LA to Charles Smith in 1806. Some of the land owned by Jacob Miller, and sold, was later donated to build The Academy of Sacred Heart, Grand Coteau, LA. (34)
Given that Jacob Miller, Sr. is on the “List of Foreigners In the District of Opelousas and Attakapas and in New Iberia” dated 1781 and he was on the Militia Rolls for the Opelousas Post in 1785 and he owned land in Grand Coteau, LA, which is west of Baton Rouge about 70 miles and he died in that area in December 1807 and is buried at Saint Landry Church Cemetery, Opelousas, LA, is the name on the Hill of the Fountains plaque a tribute to him or to his son, Jacob Miller, Jr. the husband of Catherine Adam, whose father Emeric Adam is also on the plaque?
A Jacob Miller who was a resident of the Highlands in Baton Rouge signed a request for smallpox vaccination in 1802 along with Paul Sharp, George Kleinpeter, Emmericus Adam, Jehan Thomas, John Rine and Mary Thomas. Many of Jacob Miller, Jr. descendants live in the Baton Rouge area and surrounding parishes. His daughter Celestina Adelaide Miller, born in Baton Rouge, married Phillip Garig, son of George Garig and Marie Barbara Thomas and grandson of Henry Thomas and Marie Barbara Ory. In summary, there is an argument for concluding that Jacob Miller, Jr. is the man honored on the Highland Cemetery plaque.
Louis is the son of Nicolas Ory and Christine Michel. The English vessel La Britiana passenger list shows a “Lois, their daughter”, age 7. (20) Based on a review of Ory family documents, it appears that it should have read “Louis,” age 7, which would agree with Louis’ approximated birth. Lois is not a family member in other references to the Nicholas Ory family. (35)
Louis married Margarethe Vicner in February 1791 at St. John Church, Saint John the Baptist parish, Louisiana. They had five children.
John / Johann Rein / Ryan / Reine (1752-1814)
Johann Reine is the son of Louis Reine and Marie Barbe Letger (correct spelling). John arrived with his parents with two other German families, Johann Schlatter, also known as Jean Chelatre and the Jacob Paille family, from Maryland in August 1773. Louis Reine received a land grant in 1773/74 at Manchak on the west bank of the river. (36)
John (Jean) Reine (Ryan) married Eve (Genevieve) Kleinpetre, of Strassburg, Alsace, Germany, on June 22, 1777. Eve is the daughter of Johann Georg Kleinpeter and Gertrude Hitz. They had five children. (37)
Paul Sharp (Abt. 1725-1813)
Paul Sharp and his wife Catherine Ory, daugher of Nicolas Ory and Anna Strassbach, arrived in Louisiana in 1774 with Jean Baptiste Ory and Phillip Englehardt (Anglehart) returning to Louisiana after settling Nicholos Ory’s Maryland estate. See Phillip Anglehart above.
Henry Thomas (Abt. 1743 - 1798)
Henry Thomas, age 26, was classified as a bachelor on the British ship La Britiana. He married Nicolas Ory’s daughter, Marie Barbara Ory in 1770. Their daughter, Mary Barbara Thomas married George Garig, also named on the plaque, in 1794. More details discussed above under Geoge Garig.
Moses & John Babin
No specific information on Moses and John Babin was located. The following is a summary of the Babin family:
“Babins were among the early settlers of Acadia and some of the earliest Acadians to find refuge in Louisiana. Dozens of them from the Minas Basin came to the colony from Maryland in 1766, 1767, and 1768. They settled in large numbers along the river above New Orleans from Cabanocé/St.-Jacques all the way up to Natchez. In the late 1760s or early 1770s, one family from the river moved to upper Bayou Teche and created a small western branch of the family. Only a hand-full [sic] of Acadian Babins came to Louisiana from France in 1785, but they established vigorous lines among their cousins at Manchac near Baton Rouge, and a smaller line on upper Bayou Lafourche in the early 1790s. A Babin family reached the colony in 1788 on a ship from Île St.-Pierre off the southern coast of Newfoundland, but they established no new family lines. Meanwhile, during the late colonial and early antebellum periods, Babins moved from the river to Bayou Lafourche and added substantially to that center of family settlement; by the late antebellum period, some of them had settled as far down as Lockport and Montegut in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes. A few Babins from the Lafourche/Terrebonne valley moved to lower Bayou Teche and the St. Landry prairies soon after the War of 1861-65. Most Babins, however, remained on the river along the old Acadian Coast, in West Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Ascension, and St. James parishes. They were especially plentiful around Gonzales, Ascension Parish, during and after the war.” (38)
John Hillen (1820-?)
The only John Hillen located in Louisiana was living in East Feliciana, LA in 1850. He was married to Lucinda and their son was named Benton. (39)
Firmin Landry (1726 – 1801)
Firmin Landry information regarding his activities in the Baton Rouge area could not be located. There is a Firmin Landry buried in Saint Martin de Tours Churchyard, Saint Martinville, Louisiana married to Francoise Elizabeth Thibodeau in Pisiquid, Acadia. They had four children. Firmin and family were exiled from Acadia to Maryland in 1755. He married a second time to Theotise Thibodeau with whom nine children were born. (40)
The German families that settled near Bayou Manchac inhabited an area known as the Dutch Highlands. The families had common values and customs and sometimes traveled as a group.
The fifty-seven German Catholics who arrived on the schooner Britain or La Britiana from Maryland were unwilling to endure the local anti-Catholic hysteria born of the French and Indian War (1754-1763).
Of the fifty-seven German Catholics, Jacob Miller and Nicolas Ory families traveled together on the La Britiana that left Port Tobacco, Maryland on January 5, 1769. Henry Thomas, also named on the Hill of the Fountains plaque, was a bachelor on the ship from Maryland. They were together through their captivity by the Spanish held at La Bahia near Golaid, Texas. Along with the Arcadians on the ship, they all traveled 350 miles to Natchitoches, Louisiana arriving in October 1769. These families were together for ten months. (41)
Nicolas Ory’s daughters married three men mentioned on the plaque, Marie Barbe Ory to Henry Thomas, Magdelena to Phillip Jacob Anglehart, and Catherine Ory married Paul Sharp. The name of Nicolas’ son, Lewis Ory is on the plaque. Henry Thomas and Marie Barbe Ory’s daughter Marie Barbe Thomas married George Garig, also named on the plaque.
Johann George Kleinpeter’s daughter Catherine married Emmerich Adam, also named on the plaque. Their daughter Catherine Adam married Jacob Miller, Jr.
In conclusion German families …” maintained group unity by migrating in kinship groups and practicing endogamy, but adhered to other cultural norms…” (42)
- European Immigration to America, http://www.emmigration.info/european-immigration-to-america.htm
- “Le Grand Derangement” by Pascal Fuselier. Printed in Bonnes Nouvelle newspaper, Ville Platte, LA. Date unknown.
- “The Global History of the Seven Years War”, Common Place, common-place.org,
- History.com, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-seven-years-war-begins
- Ibid, http://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/american-revolution-history
- Cultural Resouce Study. Report Number: CEMVN/PD-97/04. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, pg. 18.
- Wikipedia.com. Maryland Toleration Act.
- Cultural Resources Survey of the Bayou Fountain Channel Enlargement Area, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana by Tom Wells and Dayna Lee, October 1997. Prepared for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District, Contract No. DACW29-07-D-0017.
11. “Highland Cemetery has stories to tell”. Baton Rouge Magazine. October 25, 1992.
12. Historic Highland Cemetery, http://historichighlandcemetery.org/home.html.
13. Murphy Miller, Jr. 1999 photo.
14. The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana and The Creoles of German Descent, by Hanno Deiler, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1975), 109.
15. Southwest Louisiana Records (1750 - 1900). Rev. Donald J. Hebert. Hebert Pubications. POB 147, Rayne, LA 70578.
16. The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana and The Creoles of German Descent, by Hanno Deiler, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1975), 109.
17. The Long Road to Louisiana: Acadian Exiles and the Britain Incident” by Carl A. Brasseaux. Gulf Coast Historical Review 1, no. 1 (Fall 1985)
18. Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1945, Volume II, Spain In The Mississippi Valley, 1765-1794, edited by Lawrence Kinnaird, Pt. 1, The Revolutionary Period, 1765-1781. Printed by the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1949.
19. “Les Voyageurs”, Vol. III, No. 4, December 1982, pp. 85-88. By Dr. Glenn Conrad, Director of the Center for Louisiana Studies at USL.
20. The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana and The Creoles of German Descent by J. Hanno Deiler. 1909.
21. WikiTree.com, www.wikitree.com/wiki/Daigre-15.1735
22. Acadians Who Found Refuge in Louisiana, February 1764 – early 1800s. WWW.AcadiansInGray.com/Appendices-ATLAL-DAIGLE.htm#DAIGLE
23. “Highland Cemetery, East Baton Rouge, Louisiana” by Sherry Sanford. Louisiana Genealogical Register, Volume XXXIX, No. 2, June 1992.
24. Wedding Certificate issued by Charles Burke, Parish Priest, Baton Rouge. Personal family notes also written on the document by George Garig.
26. The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana and The Creoles of German Descent, by Hanno Deiler, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1975), 111.
27. Murphy Miller, Jr. 1999 photo.
28. The Settlement of the German Coast of Louisiana and The Creoles of German Descent, by Hanno Deiler, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1975), 109.
29. Cultural Resources Survey of the Bayou Fountain Channel Enlargement Area, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana by Tom Wells and Dayna Lee, October 1997. Prepared for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District, Contract No. DACW29-07-D-0017.
30. “De Bow’s Review of the Southern and Western States”, Vol. XI – New Series, Vol IV. New Orleans. 1851. 616.
31. Inquest Concerning George Stelly Who was Found Hanging from a Tree. This document written in French, was obtained from the Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans. Submitted by Mrs. Roy H. Harper of Slidell, La. Translated by Michael J. Foret.
32. “The Long Road to Louisiana: Acadian Exiles and the Britain Incident” by Carl A. Brasseaux. Gulf Coast Historical Review 1, no. 1 (Fall 1985)
33. Attakapas Gazette. Date unknown. P.139.
34. American State Papers, Documents, Public Lands, Vol. III, P. 178. U.S. Govt. Doc. Section, LSU Library.
35. Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1945, Volume II, Spain In The Mississippi Valley, 1765-1794, edited by Lawrence Kinnaird, Pt. 1, The Revolutionary Period, 1765-1781. Printed by the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1949.
36. “Les Voyageurs”, Vol. III, No. 4, December 1982, pp. 85-88. By Dr. Glenn Conrad, Director of the Center for Louisiana Studies at USL.
37. Diocese of Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records. 1770-1803. Volume 2. 1980. P. 618.
38. Acadians In Gray. http://www.acadiansingray.com/Appendices-ATLAL-BABIN.htm#BABIN
39. Ancestry.com. 1850 U.S. Federal Census.
40. FindAGrave.com Memorial ID 116969725
41. “The Long Road to Louisiana: Acadian Exiles and the Britain Incident” by Carl A. Brasseaux. Gulf Coast Historical Review 1, no. 1 (Fall 1985)
42. Diversity and Accommodation; Essays on the Cultural Composition of the Virginia Frontier, edited by Michael J. Puglisi, 1997 by The university of Tennessee Press.