Pierre dit La Genvery PERTUIS Manuel PERTUIS Nina PERTUIS Elizabeth GAREET Earlywife NONAME Mini tree diagram
Pierre dit Chevalier PERTUIS

Pierre dit Chevalier PERTUIS3,3,4,5,1,1,6,2,2

about 17561,2 - 2nd Dec 18211

Life History

about 1756

Born in Arkansas Post, New Madrid, Louisiana, New Spain.1,2

11th May 1793

Married Elizabeth GAREET in Arkansas County, Arkansas.6

24th Mar 1794

Birth of son Manuel PERTUIS in Arkansas, New Madrid, Louisiana, New Spain.2


Resident Petro/Pierre set up a fur trading business on the White River on a Spanish land grant, later bought by Col Charles Belknap and chartered as the town of St Charles in St Charles, Arkansas, New Madrid, New Spain

about 1802

Birth of daughter Nina PERTUIS in Arkansas Post, New Madrid, Louisiana, New Spain

2nd Dec 1821

Died in Arkansas Post, Arkansas County, Arkansas Territory.1


  • Pierre Pertuis was referred to in one history of Arkansas pioneers as "Chevalier Pierre Pertuis."  After finding various historical references in early Spanish and English colonial documents, I found one genealogy that had some details and an extended line including Pierre Pertuis the Chevalier, with some missing persons and dates, and no documentation.

    But the provided details reflected family information, partly validated by the very lack of certain details while providing other details missing in the general historical references.  This genealogy, named the Pertuis Family Tree, also accounted for some of the Pertuis individuals I had lacked sufficient information to link to the ones I knew and had documented.  This genealogy made the connection to the Arkansas line from the Quebec side.

    Many members of the Pertuis family lineage in France were Huguenots (Protestants) and are reported to have fled to several other countries for refuge during the Catholic purge of Protestants.  But those who came to Quebec were Catholic, and maintained their faith as they moved south along the rivers over the generations, becoming prominent in colonial Louisiana, Arkansas, and areas further north.

    The Perthuis who left France for Canada kept their Perthuis spelling.  Charles Perthuis arrived in the early 1690's and became a prominent merchant in Quebec.  His sons Joseph and Jean-Baptiste followed in their father's footsteps but returned to France after the defeat by the English in 1763.

    The descendants of Pierre Perthuis, a fur trader in Montreal, did stay.  They moved south to Detroit and later as Pertuis to Arkansas when it was still a French trading outpost of colonial Louisiana.  Pierre Pertuis there became Peter Pertuis.
    --  Select Surnames, http://selectsurnames.com/pertwee.html

    This Pierre first appeared to be the brother of Louis Pertuis who married in 1793, and whose father Pierre was reported deceased by that time.  But the problem is that Louis was a generation younger than Pierre the Chevalier, whose father was reported as another Pierre, as I had surmised.

    It was interesting that the Pertuis Family Tree providing the Quebec family had no Louis in the Arkansas family.  So the relationship of Louis and his family to the Chevalier. is still somewhat unclear.  Louis and Pierre could be the sons of the same father named Pierre, but there is a gap of a generation in their ages.  The marriage of Louis recorded in 1793 may be a second marriage, but does not appear to be, and no earlier marriage information has been found for Louis.  The elder Pierre, father of Pierre and thought to be the one called La Genvery, moved to Arkansas post from Illinois, where Pierre dit le Chevalier was born.

    That genealogy provided the name of Pierre the Chevalier's father, also named Pierre, who would have been the original fur trader who moved down the Mississippi and settled on the White River near Arkansas Post,  Historical records are vague about "Pierre."  Some refer to the original fur trading pioneer, but mention no later details, while others refer to the Chevalier, as though he was the original settler.

    "In the same category [settled at Arkansas Post in the 1700s] were Jean Lavale, Pierre Pertuis, Alexis and Jean Jardales. About two miles from the Post on farms antedating 1800 lived Christian Pringle, Francis Gimblet, John Hadsell and George Leard."
    --  "The Arkansas River," All Arkansas History and Pioneers, http://ancstry.me/10bErRU

    But we know there was at least one earlier Pierre, whose wife was Jeanne Francoeur.  These were the parents of Louis Pertuis, referred to in his 1793 marriage record as already deceased.  Meanwhile Pierre the Chevalier, in the prime of his life, received a Spanish land grant in 1707 to establish a fur trading station in St Charles, upriver from the Arkansas Post.

    Ages are uncertain, and the generations may be adjusted as further information is found.  There are several Pertuis individuals over several generations named Pierre or variations of that name.  One key reference is a marriage record in New Madrid parish records of one Louis Pertuis and Marie Madeleine (also spelled as Magdeleine and various) on 12 April 1793 (See records below).  The parents of Louis are reported as deceased Pierre Perthuis and Jeanne Francoeur.  (See marriage records below.)  References to this couple appear in other records of the era.

    No age is available for any of these persons.  Several individuals with variations of this name (Pierre, Peter, Pedro) appear in land surveys and other early French and Spanish documents.

    A person known as Petro/Pierre/Pedro Pertuis was named in a Spanish land grant dated 1979 in what is now St Charles.  This indicates that the person referred to in some sources and summaries as the original Pertuis was still alive in 1797 and later.  But the original Pierre died before Louis Pertuis' marriage in 1793.  There were likely several generations of father-sons named Pierre.  It is likely that some summaries and references have merged father and son of the same name, who were both involved in the fur trade.

    Since the original Pierre was a fur trader before he came to Arkansas Post, he likely set up that business there.  His son Pierre (Le Chevalier) likely worked with him. It would have been the younger Pierre who succeeded in getting the land grant in 1797 after his father died.  That land grant was later bought by Colonel Belknap who laid out the town of St Charles and brought in settlers and sold the plots to establish that town on the White River.

    Perthuis family information reports that several of the Perthuis men from France came to Quebec.  Some returned, but one Pierre Perthuis remained as a fur trader, later moved to Detroit, and then on to Arkansas, as reported above.  This seems to be the Petro Pertuis who opened up a very successful trading post at St Charles.  Father and son of the same name have probably been merged in some of these summary references, since it was the younger who actually received the land grant in 1797.

    "Pierre Pertuis, fur trader, arrived [in the St Charles area] after purchasing a 1797 Spanish land grant."
    --  "St. Charles," Encyclopedia of Arkansas, http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=6199

    Pierre Pertuis dit Chevallieur
    [misspelled, should be Chevalier in French, may be a variation in Old French that survived in Qu├ębec]
    Birth 1756 in Arkansas Post, Death Unknown
    Father Pierre Pertuis dit La Genvery, Birth 14 Nov 1723, Death Unknown
    Mother Unknown
    --  Pertuis Family Tree, http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/10957347/person/-551298971

    The Pertuis Family Tree did not know the Chevalier's wife's name.  It seems likely that Pierre Pertuis called la Genvery was the Chevalier's father and the husband of Jeanne Francoeur, who died at some time before the marriage of his son Louis in 1793.  The generation and birth dates now estimated will likely need to be adjusted as further details are discovered.  (Ref date 20 October 2014).  It seems likely that Louis whose marriage record is cited above is the brother of the Pierre/Petro Pertuis who was named in the St Charles land grant in 1797, who was designated as a fur trading.  The older Pierre would seem to be their father.

    The father, also a fur trader (and general entrepreneur), is likely also the one associated with the original early settlers.  Being a fur trader, reference to him and his son of the same name may be merged in some references.  So it could very well be that father Pierre was trading furs in the area, perhaps even at St Charles, north of their land around Arkansas Post, and it was his son who succeeded in getting the Spanish land grant in 1797.  The dates and grants may also be related to confirmation of earlier French deeds after the Spanish took over this territory from the French in one swing of their seesaw wars.

    Generational frames indicate the original Pierre (Petro) Pertuis was probably the father of Louis and maybe of Pierre.  This younger Pierre is likely the grandfather of Peter (Pierre) and John Pertuis, enumerated with their widowed mother in the 1850 census.  John was born about 1834 and married Francis Brinsbac, daughter of another earlier French pioneer.  That surname is also found spelled in the Germanic form Brinsback.  We also see it as Binsbeck.  (Spellings in both English and French in that era were very ad hoc.)  The Brinsbac family probably came from Alsace or Lorraine, German-speaking areas of France to the present day.

    These early settlers appear to have come to Arkansas area, then called New Madrid District of New Spain, under Spanish administration.  The territory changed hands at times in the French-Spanish wars.  From the end of the Seven Years War in 1763, the territory was Spanish.  Much of the White River area of New Madrid that became Arkansas Territory was platted under Spanish administration.  But most of the population were still French speaking.  The Spanish never succeeded in settling their vast new lands of Louisiana.

    In 1803, within a month according to some authorities, France under Napoleon took possession of the whole Louisiana District from Spain, then sold the whole thing to the United States in what came to be known as the Louisiana Purchase.  Some recountings of the events says that Napoleon regained control on a date in 1800, so possessed it for about 3 years before selling to the US.  At any rate the area was "owned" by France under the restored Empire of Napoleon at the time the US bought the Louisiana Territory in 1803.

    The names indicate most of these early settlers were of French extraction.  In the 1814 Arkansas Territory Tax Roll, only one entry had a Spanish surname, Aaron Goza.  Arkansas Territory was established by the US in 1819, cut out of the Louisiana Territory.  This originally had a border farther north than the later Arkansas State.

    "In 1803 Pierre Perti [this would appear to be the Pierre Pertuis who got the land grant at St Charles north of Arkansas Post in 1797] lived three miles east and in the same year Charles Bogy on River Grues. In 1802 John B.Dardenne was found on the river above the Post; Madame Francis Valliere had a farm in 1802 and two miles below the Post lived Etienne Vasseau, in the same vicinity as lived Baptiste Placide."  This Etienne Vasseau may the father of the Etienne (Stephen) Vasseau who married Louis' daughter Suzanne/Susan in 1815.
    --  Pioneers and Makers of Arkansas, Internet Archive, p 3, http://archive.org/stream/pioneersandmake01shingoog/pioneersandmake01shingoog_djvu.txt

    Since John Pertuis' older brother, born in about 1828, was named Peter, it is likely his father was named Pierre.  We originally estimated that Pierre was born around 1775.  But there was a problem with the timeline since Louis' father Pierre died before 1797, and the prominent Pierre Pertuis we find referred to over the turn of the century is reported to have died in 1821 at the age of 56.  We need more information to clarify this family lineage and generational relationships.

    Age 56 in 1821 would make the Chevalier Pierre's birth in about 1756.  This is about the time we estimated for Louis' father who, married Jeanne Francoeur in the 1770s.  This displaces Pierre from the linear connection, either as the son of the first Pierre who died before 1793 or as the father of Louis, since Louis would have been born in the 1770s.  The primary problem lies in the report.  Though perhaps the original Pierre was older and married once before and had a son Pierre from the first marriage.

    "Chevalier Pierre Pertuis ... died at the Post December 2, 1821, at the age of sixty-five [b abt 1756] having lived in this region all his life.  His daughter, Nina Pertuis, married Victor Vasseur at the Post in June 1822, the ceremony being performed by Judge Andrew Scott.  I think the name Pertuis is nearly extinct in Arkansas, but the blood of the old Chevalier is still perpetuated."
    --  Pioneers and Makers of Arkansas, p. 97, accessed on Ancestry.com 3 October 2014, http://archive.org/stream/pioneersandmake01shingoog/pioneersandmake01shingoog_djvu.txt

    One would think at first that the Chevalier was the first Pierre in the area.  But this is complicated by the report that Louis' father named Pierre died so early, before a Pierre Pertuis gets the 1797 land grant at St Charles upriver.  This was likely the person referred to above as "Chevalier Pierre Pertuis," but also sounds like the original patriarch.

    At any rate Louis' father was likely the original Pierre who settled at Arkansas Post under the Spanish or French, and was probably also the father of Pierre dit le Chevalier.  The exact date of settlement is not known, but Pierre Pertuis was in place before 1800.  The records around the turn of the century are for Pierre dit le Chevalier.

    "Dating back into the eighteenth century were the settlements of Francis de Vaugine, Petro [Spanish form of Pierre] Pertuis, Joseph Trudeau and F. Imbau on the Arkansas river."
    --  All Arkansas History and Pioneers, http://ancstry.me/1okIJRO

    Early marriage records give us some helpful insights into family structures and to some extent, generational relationships.  I find it interesting that the Perthuis name is reported as Protestant, and as fleeing the Protestant purge in France.  But the records we see in early New Madrid (Arkansas) report the marriages were performed by a Catholic missionary priest (confirming earlier marriages before witnesses in the community, lacking any resident priest).  This seems to indicate that not all the Pertuis (or other family) members who went to the New World left for religious liberty reasons.  There was adventure and opportunity as motivations.

    The following appeared in Arkansas County, Arkansas, Marriage Records (1786-1875) Volume 1, compiled by R. W. Dhonau

    page 2
    Pertuis, Louis, son of deceased Pierre Perthuis and Jeanne Francoeur, to
    Marie Magdeleine Benoit, of Carolina, daughter of deceased Andre Benoit and
    Suzanne Raye, on 12 April 1793
    Witnesses Ignace Delino, Jean Bte.(Baptiste) DuChassin, Rene Soumande
    From the book Abstract of Catholic Register of Arkansas, 1764-1858, compiled by Dorothy Jones Core

    page 8
    Pertuis, Susan to Stephen Vasseur on 5 Sep 1815. Married by Andre Fagot [this name appears in some records as Fargo]
    Witnesses Pierre Pertuis, Francois Vasseur, Athanase Racine, Charles Robin
    Recorded Marriage Record Book B, Arkansas County, AR (1839-1859), page 63

    page 10
    Pertuis, Elizabeth to Pierre Michel on 7 Nov 1816. Married by Andre Fagot
    Witnesses Carlos DeVilemont, Joseph Bogy, Michel Petersell, Pierre Pertuis
    Recorded in Deed Book B, page 418.

    page 14
    Pertui [sic], Nina to Victor Vasseur - noted in the record as "Recently" 1822.
    Married by Louis Bogy, Arkansas Gazette (AG) newspaper, 25 June 1822 issue
    [The date of publication is the actual date of marriage, according to Arkansas County, Arkansas, marriage records.]

    page 31
    Pertuis, Elizabeth L., age 24, of Arkansas County, to Lewis Derrusseaux, age
    30, of St. Louis, Mo. Married on 22 May 1850. Married by William Maxwell,
    Justice of the Peace. Recorded Marriage Record Book B, Arkansas County, AR
    (1839-1859), page 46.

    page 36
    Pertuis, Pierre to Eliza Lee, born of Arkansas County, on 2 Jan 1853.
    Married by A O Douglass, Justice of the Peace, Douglass Township. Recorded
    Recorded Marriage Book B, Arkansas County, Arkansas (1839-1859), page 68.

    page 43
    Pertuis, Virginia, age 20, to William Menard, age 22, on 8 Jan 1857
    Married by Wm. Refeld, Justice of the Peace.
    Recorded Marriage Book B, Arkansas County, Arkansas (1839-1859), page 99.

    --  Arkansas Colonials, a collection of French and Spanish records listing early Europeans in the Arkansas, 1686-1804, compiled and edited by Morris S. Arnold and Dorothy Jones Core.  Cited and transcribed by Delores Lay,  RootsWeb Email Archives, http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/ARARKANS/2001-01/0979281607

    One Pierre Pertuis married in 1793.  The ages of the individuals are not reported, so we have no correlation for confirmation.  It would fit to be this Pierre, perhaps a second marriage.  Pierre born in 1856, called the Chevalier, in historical reference above, would have already been almost 50 in 1793.

    Arkansas Marriages to 1850
    Pierre Perthuis
    Spouse Elizabeth Gareet
    Marriage 11 May 1793 Arkansas County


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