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Jean Baptiste Simon

April 29, 2012

I have always been interested in knowing more about Jean Baptiste Simon Sr. Growing up, my family always had super sized family reunions, catholic mass usually in French, filled with stories that were also often in French, rich with our French heritage, and of course meeting several family members some who did not speak English or barely could. I have been to the Acadian Memorial a few times, got to find my ancestors name on the wall of names, viewed the eternal flame, got to walk along Evangeliene Park, and even went to the Acadian Museum once. The downtown area of St Martinville has several areas preserved from the mid to late 1700’s, and is actually pretty interesting. When you’re done you can walk down the street to eat lunch at Subway.

The history of Cajuns is pretty interesting. I have heard more detailed stories passed down from generations describing how the Acdians were treated, ripped from families, beaten and called stupid for speaking french, and several other instances of mistreatment. While searching for the story of the Acadians in exile, the stories I found are much milder than the ones I have heard from the older people in my family. My grandparents even refused to teach their children French, even though they both spoke it pretty well. They were ashamed to admit the knew French to anyone outside of the family, and never spoke it within the family. Even in Louisiana today, you still find many people of the older generation still speak French, and some of them that is all they know. In my generation, the pride for our French heritage was brought back, and several people actually got to learn a language that their parents were denied. I learned only the proper French (as spoken in France), and not the actual Cajun French. It has many similarities, but also many differences. Somewhere in my parents possession is a book of Cajun French. I was able to go through it once to compare what I learned to the Cajun language.

I was glad to be able to do this project because I was able to look further into the mistreatment of the Acadians, instead of relying solely on what I had heard of by word of mouth. This is the first time I actually was able to learn about the passage of my family into the United States, and about where they came from. I also learned that Jean Baptiste Simon and his fiancee traveled across on La Amistad, which would become a ship famous for a slave revolt that took place fifty years later.

The Jean Baptiste and his family was not involved in “Le Grand Dérangement,” but his soon to be wife Marie Magdeline Aucoin’s family was. I was also to learn about them finding their way in the United States, and setting in their new land. The family members who compiled our genealogy discovered that the Spanish actually changed Jean Baptiste and Marie’s names to Spanish names. They actually left France as Juan Bautista Simon and Maria Ocoin, but arrived in Louisiana under Jean Baptiste and Marie Aucoin. Some of the information I uncovered was old information that I already knew, but even more was new to me. Here is the story of my family who crossed over into a new land.


Jean Baptiste Simon Sr. was the son of René Simon and Sebastienne Monnier. René was the son of Macé Simon and Olive GrandJouan. Sebastienne was the daughter of Julien Monnier and Michell Bazin of Hede France. Jean Baptiste Sr. was born November 5, 1763 and baptized November 6, 1763 in the Parish of Notre Dame in the town of Hede, France. He left France via La Amistad (L’Amite) traveling under the Spanish form of his name “Juan Bautista Simon”, and arrived in Louisiana November 7, 1785.

Many Acadian families after being exiled from their home by the English in 1755 during “Le Grand Dérangement“, and after 28 years of miserable treatment by the French people, they didn’t feel at home anywhere. Under King Charles the III, Spain offered to pay for about Acadians to travel from France to help settle their land in Louisiana, which was a Spanish colony at the time. Many of these families were living in various towns of Brittany and some were located in the town of Rennes, France. Jean Baptiste Simon Sr. and his wife to be, Marie Madeline Aucoin, were from Rennes, France.

Spain wanted to protect their land against English invasion, so from 1785 to early 1786, Spain sent seven ships carrying almost 1600 Acadian settlers to Louisiana. These ships were called “Le Bon Papa“, “La Bergere“,  “Le Beaumont“, “Le Saint Remi“, “L’Amitie“, “La Ville d’Archangel” and “La Caroline“. Jean Baptiste Simon Sr. and Marie Madeleine Aucoin joined many of the other families at Opelousas/Attakapas.

-Research was gathered from:

the Acadian Cultural Museum (

and the book of Simon Family Genealogy.

Here you can locate the names of the people aboard L’Amitie (and where the picture came from):

or visit the memorial of these men in exile


From → Family Roots

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