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7462: Re: 7444: French town (Tallahassee) (fwd)

From: Edward Baptist <eebaptist@yahoo.com>

In answer to Leonie Hermantin's question, no, there's
no Haitian connection, at least not that I know of. 
During the 1820s the US government made a grant of
land to the Marquis de Lafayette of a 6 mile by 6 mile
square of land in what is today Northeast Tallahassee.
 He sold the land to plantation owners.  That's part
of the story, although "Frenchtown" is not really in
that part of Tallahassee, but in the NW quarter. I
think that's what your guide is talking about. 
"Frenchtown" itself comes, from a number of Norman and
(French-spekaing) Swiss peasant laborers imported to
work on two settlements in Leon and neighboring
Jefferson county--one on Lafayette's lands, one on
William Wirt (former Atty. Genl of the US)'s land. 
They were supposed to provide a labor alternative to
slavery, but for various reasons things didn't work
out (slaveowners found that they preferred having
slaves, who after all had no legal rights to protect
them from the planters).

Many went home, but a few remained in the Tallahassee
area. Their part of town was poor, and cheap to live
in, consequently Tallahassee's few pre-Civil War free
blacks may have lived there, and after the Civil
War, ex-slaves moved there in large numbers.  Long
answer for a short question...but sorry, no Haitian
connection that I know of. There is one to St.
Augustine, in northeast Florida, but that's a
different story...

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