Second Owner of the House – Residency: 1833-1841
According to historical documents, Swiss consul and commission merchant John Merle owned at least 55 enslaved people during the period that he lived at 1113 Chartres Street, in what is now the BK House. It is believed that 5-10 of the enslaved people listed below lived and worked at this house, his primary residence, in domestic roles. Many of the others listed likely worked elsewhere, including on a saw mill owned by Merle’s business in Tangipahoa Parish. It is not yet definitively known which enslaved individuals lived on which of John Merle’s properties, so included below is a list of all of the known people owned by Mr. Merle during this time period. Also included are descriptions that were written about each of these people, which were found primarily in ‘Sale of Slave’ documents from the late 1830s and early 1840s.
|James/Tim||17 or 18||“James, about 17 years old, a cart driver, good faithful boy.”|
“James also known as Tim, negro aged around eighteen years, carter.” -James/Tim was sold to **Jean Antoine Philippon Jr. the 7th for 900 piastres in 1841, when the Merles were also selling the property at 1113 Chartres Street.
|John||15 or 16||“John, about 15 years old, a cart driver and well disposed boy.”|
“John mulatto aged around sixteen years, carter.” -John was sold to Jean Antoine Philippon Jr. the 7th for 950 piastres in 1841.
|Frederic/ck||28||“Frederick, about 28 years, a good sawyer axeman, understands marking the lumber, a very faithful man.”|
“Frederic negro aged around twenty-nine years, good sawyer and woodcutter.” -Frederic/ck was sold to Jean Antoine Philippon Jr. the 7th in 1841 for 825 piastres in 1841.
|Louis||38 or 39||“Louis, about 38 years, a sawyer, axeman, fireman, well disposed negro.”|
“Louis aged around thirty-nine years, woodcutter, driver.” -Louis was sold to Jean Antoine Philippon Jr. the 7th for 575 piastres in 1841.
|Richmond||37||“The said slave named Richmond, negro aged thirty-seven years, woodcutter & sawyer & being part of the goods abandoned by Mr. Merle…”|
“Richmond, aged around 37 years, woodcutter, sawyer, negro of good disposition, for six hundred fifty piastres.” “Richmond, negro aged forty-four years crippled in the right arm, valued at four hundred piastres.” -Richmond was sold to Jean Antoine Philoppon Jr. in 1841. Due to discrepencies in the descriptions, it seems that Richmond was injured in between 1841 and the time of Anais’s death in 1847.
|Charles/Charley||27 or 28||“Charley, about 27 years old, a sawyer, cart driver, axeman, very useful on board of a vessel, having served as a sailor for a length of time.”|
“Charles also known as Charley, negro aged around twenty-eight years, sawyer, carter & good sailor.” -Charles/Charley was sold to Jean Antoine Philippon Jr. the 7th for 925 piastres in 1841.
|John Ashby||28||“John Ashby about 28 years old, a sailor and good axeman.”|
“John also known as John Ashby negro aged around twenty-nine years, sailor & good woodcutter.” -John Ashby was sold to Jean Antoine Philippon Jr. the 7th for 875 piastres in 1841.
|Silvester||30||“The rights and titles to the mulatto man Silvester, about 30 years old, a good barber, absent from the state being a runaway for the last 12 months. The sale to constitute deliver.”|
-The rights to Silvester were sold to Mrs. Anais Merle via Frederic Pisching in September of 1841. He is not listed in her will and it is not known if he was ever caught after his escape in 1840.
|Aaron||33||“Aaron, about 33 years, a good warehouse hand.”|
“Aaron, mulatto aged thirty-nine years, valued at seven hundred fifty piastres.” -Aaron was sold to Anais Merle via Frederic Pisching in 1841 and listed in her will in 1847.
|Germain||30||“Germain, about 30 years, cook, but addicted to drinking.” “Germain, mulatto aged thirty-seven years, drunkard valued at three hundred piastres.”|
-Germain was sold to Anais Merle via Frederic Pisching and listed in her will in 1847.
|Louisa/Louise||46||“Louisa, about 46 years, house servant.”|
“Louise, negress aged fifty two years, children’s nursemaid, sickly, valued at one hundred fifty piastres.” -Louisa/Louise was sold to Anais Merle via Frederic Pisching in 1841 and listed in her will in 1847.
|Sam||36||“Sam, about 36 years, house servant.”|
“Samuel, negro aged forty-two years valued at five hundred fifty piastres.” -Sam was sold to Anaise Merle via Frederic Pisching in 1841.
|Samuel Peter||36||“Samuel Peter, about 36 years, house servant.”|
-Samuel Peter was sold to Mrs. Merle via Frederic Pisching in 1841. Only one Samuel is listed in Mrs. Merle’s 1847 will and it is unclear which one (however, it seems they were two different people).
|Joe||29||“Joe, negro of thirty-six years, house slave, valued at six hundred piastres.” “Joe, about 29 years, house servant.”|
-Joe was sold to Mrs. Merle in 1841 via Frederic Pisching and listed in her will in 1847.
|Constance||29||“Constance, negress aged twenty-nine years, laundress, valued at five hundred piastres.” -Constance was listed in Anais Merle’s will in 1847 but her original purchase date is unknown.|
|Davy||30||“Davy, about 30 years old, a cart driver, axeman and fisherman, has a rupture.” “Davy, aged about thirty years, fireman [?] and axeman, having a rupture.”|
-Davy was sold to Richard Charles Downes in 1841 with Polly and her two young daughters, Sarah and Mary, for 600 piastres (1850 total).
|Polly||45||“Polly, about 45 years, cook, washerwoman, addicted to drinking.”|
“Polly, a negro-woman aged about forty five years, cook and washerwoman, addicted to drinking, and her two children, Sarah, aged about twelve years, house servant, and Mary, aged about five years.” -Polly was sold in 1841 with her daughters, and Davy, to R.C. Downes for 550 piastres (1850 total).
|Sarah||12||“Sarah, about 12 years, daughter of Polly, house servant.”|
-Sold with her mother and sister, and Davy, to R.C. Downes in 1841 for 700 piastres for her and her sister (1850 total).
|Mary||5||“Mary, about 5 years, child of Polly.”|
-Sold with her mother and sister, and Davy, to R.C. Downes in 1841 for 700 for her and her sister (1850 total).
|Julia||21 or 31||“Julia, about 21 years, seamstress, washer, somewhat of a hairdresser, addicted to running away.”|
“Julia, aged around thirty-one years, seamstress, laundress, novice hairdresser, prone to grumbling.” -Julia was sold to Jean Joneau for 525 piastres in 1841. Note: It seems that there was only one Julia, so her age was likely mislisted in one of the documents.
|Willoughby||31||“Willoughby, about 31 years, a sawyer, axeman and sailor, addicted to running away.”|
“Aged around thirty-one years, sawyer, woodcutter, sailor, prone to grumbling.” -Willoughby was sold to Jean Joneau for 650 piastres in 1841.
|Charles/Carlos||21||“Charles, about 21 years, a mason, axeman and cart driver, addicted to drinking and running away.”|
“Aged around twenty-one years, stonemason, woodcutter and carter, indulges in drink and prone to grumbling.” -Charles/Carlos was sold to Jean Joneau for 400 piastres in 1841.
|George||41||“George, about 41 years, an axeman, sailor and well disposed negro.” “George, aged around forty-one years, woodcutter, sailor, negro of good disposition.”|
-George was sold to Jean Joneau for 450 piastres in 1841.
|Talbot||35||“Talbot, about 35 years, has one of his legs hurt.”|
Husband of Sally and likely the father of Sally’s child. -Buyer unknown.
|Sally||40||“Sally, about 40 years, wife of Talbot, and her child.”|
|Sally’s child||4||“About 4 years.”|
|Helen||50||“Helen, about 50 years, house servant.”|
-Helen was sold for 300 piastres in 1841 to an unknown buyer.
|Francoise||40||“Francoise, about 40 years, house servant, forming a family and to be sold together.” -Francoise was sold with family members Felix, William, Octave and Angela [listed below] to F. Peschier for 3550 piastres in 1841.|
|Felix||18||“Felix, do 18 do, house servant, forming a family and to be sold together.”|
-Felix was sold with family to F. Peschier for 3550 piastres in 1841.
|William||15||“William, do 15 do, house servant, forming a family and to be sold together.”|
-William was sold with family to F. Peschier for 3550 in 1841.
|Octave||9||“Octave, do 9 do, house servant, forming a family and to be sold together.”|
-Octave was sold with family to F. Peschier for 3550 in 1841.
|Angela||5||“Angela, do 5 do, house servant, forming a family and to be sold together.”|
-Angela was sold with family to F. Peschier for 3550 in 1841.
|Lisbon||25||“Lisbon, about 25 years, an engineer, cart driver and well disposed man.”|
-Lisbon was sold to Andre Deslondes for 1,075 piastres in 1841.
|Pleasant||29||“Pleasant, about 29 years old, a good gang gate sawyer, axeman, well disposed negro.” -Pleasant was sold to Andre Deslondes for 925 piastres in 1841.|
|Anderson||31||“Anderson, about 31 years old, an axeman, good fireman, a well disposed and very powerful negro.”|
-Anderson was sold to Andre Deslondes for 975 piastres in 1841.
|Titus||31||“Titus, about 31 years, an axeman, sailor and good natured negro.”|
-Titus was sold to Andre Deslondes for 675 piastres in 1841.
|Michel||31||“One certain slave for life named Michel aged about thirty one years, good cook, and making fast of the property surrendered by the said John A Merle to his creditors.”|
-Michel was sold to William Boman for 450 piastres in 1841.
|Unnamed||This unnamed person and other properties were sold to William Boman for 6600 piastres in 1841.|
|Nathan/Nelson/Charles||23||“A Negro named Nathan alias Nelson alias Charles aged around twenty-three years, belonging to the said Sir Merle by means of the acquisition that was made from Mr. Jean François Mutins Chapus.”|
-Nathan/Nelson/Charles was sold to Benjamin Duval by John Merle for 1600 piastres in 1834 (and therefore may have lived at BK House from 1833-34).
|Henry/Harry||50||“A Negro named Henry, alias Harry, aged around fifty years.”|
-Henry/Harry was sold to John Merle for 400 piastres in 1836.
|Judith||18||“A negress named Judith aged around eighteen years, house servant and hairdresser, belonging to the seller by means of the acquisition that he made of her from Aurore Tablado [f.c.l] following a notarial act reported by David L. M. Cay, notary in this city, acting as a substitute for William Boswell, also notary in this city, dated the first of June 1836, The said Mr. Montreuil declares that the said slave has escaped several times, a fact known to the acquirer, who hereby renounces all rights of recourse against the seller for this reason, The said Mr. Merle has been recognized as being in possession of this slave for many days and is satisfied.”|
-Judith was sold to John Merle for 775 piastres in 1837.
|Ben||26||“A negro named Ben aged around twenty-six years, belonging to the seller by means of the acquisition that he made of him from Mr. Charles David, following an act in the report of Carlile Pollock notary public in this city on the date of the fifteenth of February eighteen hundred thirty- four.”|
-Ben was sold to John Merle in 1835 for 580 piastres.
|Kit||18||“Personally appeared Mr. Charles Maddin of the County Genevieve, State of Missouri, and this day in this city, who does by there presents grant, bargain, will convey and sit over with all lawful guarantee and also from the vices & maladies prescribed by law, unto Mr. John Ami Merle, residing in this city, Conde Nast [?], here present and accepting purchaser for him his heirs and aligns, a certain negro boy named Kit aged about eighteen years old, belonging to the vendor by purchase made from Thomas Maddin of the country of Washington State of Missouri per act under private signatures executed in the said county of Washington on the Nineteenth day of March ultimo and here to annexed for reference.” “And I hereby sell the said boy Kit as a slave for life and warrant and defend the title to this said boy and warrant him to be a sound & hearty boy.” -Kit was sold to John Merle for 1000 piastres in 1836.|
|Louis||24||“A mulatto slave named Louis aged about twenty four years belonging to said vendor by purchase made from the testamentary executors of the late Agimor [?] Basque [unclear word] passed before Cecile Pollock notary public in this city on the eighteenth day of May eighteen hundred and thirty seven.”|
-Louis was sold to John Merle for 1200 piastres in 1837.
|Louisa||32||“A Negresse named Louisa aged around thirty-two years belonging to the said lady widow Carrick as having been born at her home to a Negresse named Louison, as well as the said Sir Lockhart to the name we have declared him, from which slave and declaration of the said Sir buyer has said to be content and satisfied.”|
-Louisa was sold to John Merle for 1000 piastres in 1835.
|Joe||29||“A slave named Joe aged around twenty-nine years, sawyer, builder, butcher and being part of the goods surrendered by the Gentleman Merle to his creditors.”|
“Joe, about 29 years, a sawyer, teamster and axeman.” -Joe was sold to Simon Gosselin for 575 piastres in 1841.
|Humphrey||24||“Humphrey, about 24 years, a cart driver, axeman, fireman, has a rupture.”|
-Humphrey was sold to Philipp Hehlbach for 525 piastres in 1841.
|Unnamed||This unnamed person and other properties were sold to Varnum Sheldon for 1900 piastres in 1841.|
|Townley||40||“Townley, about 40 years old, a sawyer, axeman, has served a long time on board of barges on the lake.”|
“One certain slave for life named Townley aged about forty years, sawyer and axeman has served a long time on board of barge on the lake.” -Townley was sold to H.C. Richardson for 675 piastres in 1841.
|Henry||30||“Henry, aged around 30 years, good sawyer, lumberjack, carter and well-disposed Negro.”|
“Henry, about 30 years old, a gang gate sawyer, axeman and cart driver, well disposed negro.” -Henry was sold to Paul Pandelly and his wife, Euphrosine Dimitry, for 900 piastres in 1841.
|Angelique||50||“Angelique, about 50 years, house servant.”|
-Angelique was sold to Julian Sel for 575 piastres in 1841.
|Sarah||50||“Sarah, about 50 years, cook, good washerwoman, good sick nurse.”|
-Sarah was sold to Louis Dansac for 425 piastres in 1841.
|Squire/Squier||30||“Squire, about 30 years old, a good sawyer; good axeman, addicted to running away” “The aforenamed slave Squier aged about thirty years, cartman and good sawyer; is in the habit of running away.”|
-Squire was sold to John O. Ferry for 450 piastres in 1841.
|Bill Steward/Stewart||28||“Bill Steward, about 28 years, a sawyer, axeman, an a very good hand on the water.” “The aforesaid slave Bill Stewart aged about twenty eight years, sawyer, axeman, and making part of the property surrendered by the said John A. Merle to his creditors.”|
-Bill was sold to William Rushton for 875 piastres in 1841.
|Perry||31||“A certain slaved named Perry, aged approximately thirty-one, sawyer, woodcutter, suited for all millwork and being part of the goods abandoned by the said Mr. Merle to his creditors.”|
-Perry was sold to Mr. Francois Volant Labarre of Jefferson Parish for 1,025 piastres in 1841.
|Delia||32||“The said slave named Delia, a [unclear] aged about thirty two years, intelligent but [unclear] occasionally, slave for life, intelligent but addicted to drinking.”|
-Delia was sold to Joseph Hournshein for 550 piastres in 1841.
*In 1841, John Merle ran into considerable financial problems, causing him to sell a large portion of his property to creditors. This included the property at 1113 Chartres Street, now the Beauregard-Keyes House, and a large number of enslaved people. In many cases, these sale of slave records provide the only known information about the enslaved people owned by Mr. Merle.
**Jean Antoine Philoppon Jr. was the father of Anais Merle, John Merle’s wife. Records indicate that he purchased several slaves–James/Tim, John, Frederic/ck, Louis, Richmond, Charles/Charley, Silvester and John Ashby– from his son-in-law and then gave them to his daughter. Another man, Frederic Pisching, served as her representative in similar purchases and allowed her to retain Aaron, Germain, Louisa/Louise, Sam, Samuel Peter and Joe. Of these enslaved people, Germaine, Joe, Louisa/Louise, Constance, Aaron, Samuel and Richmond were listed in her 1847 will which means that, in 1841, they likely moved to the Merles’ new residence which was a short trip away from the house at 1113 Chartres on Esplanade Avenue between what are now Royal and Bourbon sreets. This fact could also indicate that these enslaved individuals had lived in the residence of the Merles in the 1830s, but the evidence so far on this matter is contradictory.