- Archdiocese of New Orleans burial record: “Louis François Pitard, son of Louis Pitard, deceased, & Julienne Renfray, deceased, native of the parish of Corps Nuds, arrondissement of Rennes, dept. of Ille-et-Vilaine (Brittany), France, born 21 June 1764, husband of Angelique Avril, died at “midi et demi” on 26 April 1830.”
- Before Louis François, there is a very early reference to Pitards in New Orleans, but it is too early to create a connection:
--Pierre Pitard was the son of Jean Pitard and Anne Prise; he was married on 19 October 1718 to Louise Marhe Seguin. The certification for the marriage was made on 17 November 1727, and is in Marriage Book 1, St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans. A Pierre Pitard "dit la France" is also recorded on the census for Louisiana between 1699 and 1732 as living on Rue Royal.
The earliest reference to Louis François's early life comes from the baptismal record for his son J.B. Octave Pitard, which says that he was from "Les Trois Maries, parish of St. Pierre, dept. of Ille-et-Vilaine (i.e., Corps-Nuds, Ille-de-Vilaine)." There is a Church St. Pierre in the center of Corps-Nuds, and a "Rue des Trois Marie" as well. This document also gives his parents' names. Corps-Nuds is in the Diocese of Rennes.
His obituary gives the next event, saying that he served "under Lafayette" in the Revolution. According to the database on LafayetteGenWeb,"Louis Pitard" served as a "aide-cannonier" (a "help-gunner") and/or "Officier-marinier de canonnage," a petty-officer of gunnery, on the ship "Le Vengeur" during the Revolution. The source for his appearance on this database is Les combattants francais de la guerre americaine 1778-1783 (French Combatants during the American Revolution), compiled by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the SAR. See in the middle column on 49. He’s been accepted by the SAR as an ancestor who fought in the Revolution.
"Le Vengeur" was a 64-gun ship-of-the-line. In 1778 it was in an action off of Ushant, near the English Channel; in 1779 it helped France recover Grenada from the British; and in 1781-82 it fought for the US in the Revolution. (Note that this ship is not "Le Vengeur du Peuple," a 74-gun ship-of-the-line that during the American Revolution was named "Le Marseillois." Both ships were in D'Estaing's fleet.)
The database also says he was probably from Barbados; if he enlisted from there, this would put him in the Caribbean by the mid-1770s, as a very young man.
The first record of Louis François in New Orleans is when he sold a slave named Robert to a Victor Coulon on 21 September 1810 in Orleans Parish. The slave came from Santiago de Cuba. Robert would have been brought from Cuba with the family--they had immigrated by then.
The obituary for Louis's wife (d. 1844) identifies her as having lived on Saint-Domingue, and as a native of Bordeaux. It identifies her son as "J. Pitard." His son Joseph was born in Cuba in about 1807. And, Louis Pitard does not appear in the 1805 New Orleans city directory. They must have migrated from Cuba to New Orleans, then, between 1807 and 1810.
No Pitard appears on the list of land-owners on Saint-Domingue (among the "settlers not planters" appears an unknown "Alexandre Pitard." This site gives a list of the "indemnity report"--plantation owners who were recompensed for their losses after losing their land on St. Domingue because of the slave revolts. It's not clear to me what this list of "settlers except plantation owners" indexes: first, are these original settlers, or the people to whom recompense was paid? And second, was recompense paid to these non-land owners?)
Yet despite this it seems logical to conclude that he and his family were refugees to New Orleans via Cuba from Saint-Domingue after the slave revolts of the 1790s. Saint-Domingue, now Haiti, existed as a French colony from 1697 until the slave revolts in 1792, when French emigrees started to leave, often for Cuba (just a few miles east). It's sensible to speculate that the Pitards were part of this group, migrating first from France to Haiti at the end of the 18th century. Then in 1809-1810, during the Franco-Spanish War when Napoleon invaded Spain, they left Cuba for New Orleans.
Family history also identifies Pitards as Creoles. The term refers to an eclectic group of people. (The Wikipedia entry for "Louisiana Creoles" seems to be pretty accurate here). The term "Creole" refers to people of any race or mixture of races who are descended from settlers in Louisiana before about 1810, or to their culture and cuisine, except for the Acadian migrants, who are "Cajuns."
Two other early references:
In the 1810 census there is an "Ate Paturd" in Plaquemines Parish; "Ate" is a possible abbreviation for Auguste.
In the 1810 census there is a "P Patard" in New Orleans.
Louis first appears in New Orleans in the 1811 city directory as: Pitard, Louis François . . . marchand, shopkeeper . . . 36 Levee. This address also has two other tenants: "GENERT, PETER; tailleur, tailor"; and "ROGERS, JOSEPH; graissier, grocer."
In the War of 1812, an "Abner Pitard" is listed as serving in the Mississippi Militia. I have found no other record or connection to him. His name is also, however, spelled as "Pittard" and "Pitterd," which means that he is probably connected to the Pittards, an unrelated family of English descent who settled further east, especially in Georgia.
Bet. 1813 and 1835, Louis F. Pitard is a plaintiff in a parish court case (defendant, Widow Merlet; case no. 599), and a defendant in another parish court case (plaintiff B. Marigny; case no. 1793).
In the 1822 Directory, Louis F. is living next to a Prados:
183 Bourbon; PITARD, LOUIS F.; trader
185 Bourbon; PRADOS, JOSEPH; victualler
In 1822 Louis and Augustine Pitard appear in the Indentures Index at nutrias.org:
PITARD AUGU vol. 3: no. 282 (June 1822) -- apprentice
PITARD LOUI vol. 3: no. 282 (June 1822) -- sponsor
The indenture mentions Cuba (that, I think, Augustine was born there--it's a bad photocopy in French), and that Louis François Pitard was the "pere" of Augustine Dominique Pitard.
Louis F. Pitard appears in the 1822 City Directory as "trader" at 183 Bourbon.
Louis F. Pitard appears in the 1823 City Directory as "trader, marchand" at 371 Bourbon.
(I can't find the family on the census from 1810-1830 in New Orleans. In the 1810 New Orleans census there is an "Ls Peter" that may be "Ls Pilie," with one f.w.m. from 16-25 and one from 26-44. In the 1830 census there is "L Pitter" on the 1830 New Orleans census that also looks like "Pillié." The entry includes 2 white males 10-15, 1 between 40-50; 1 white female 30-40, 1 between 40-50. It also includes 9 slaves. Neither of these would seem to match the family--Louis was born in 1765, and the oldest white male in the 1830 household was much less than 65.)
In the 1830 census there also is a Samuel Pitard in New Orleans, who was living alone, a man between 20 and 30 years of age; I don't know how he might be related.
An obituary was published in the New Orleans Bee on 29 April 1830 saying that he had died on Monday the 26th of April; this mentions his service in the Revolutionary War. [4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]