French Merchants and Slave Owners in Opelousas, Louisiana: 1790 Dejean & Lastrapes Statement of debt
by [Slavery; Louisiana]
Opelousas, Louisiana, 1790. Very good condition. Manuscript statement of debt owed by indentured servant G. Brom to Dejean, in partnership with Lastrapes, both of whom were Opelousas merchants and slave owners of French ancestry. Written in French, the statement lists money earned and debt owed by Brom, who entered into service at Dejean and Lastrapes for a period of 13 months and 24 days, from 20 February 1789 to 14 April 1790 at a rate of 20 francs per month. The account carefully deducts one month's pay for the time in which Brom was ill and "tenu a sa chambre" and for also for a pig and a heater. When the account is tallied, Brom owes Dejean & Lastrapes slightly more than 65 francs.Opelousas was the third oldest European settlement in Louisiana, having been established in 1720 as Le Poste Des Opelousas, a major trading post for merchants to trade with local Native Americans. Following the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Louisiana became a colony of Spain. Acadians moved from France and other parts of the American colonies to the area under the misconception that France still had control of Louisiana. By the time most Acadians arrived, the colony had become Spanish, with Spain taking over in 1769. Acadians had no choice but to take oaths of allegiance to Spain.The merchants here, Dejean and Lastrapes, adapted to the difficult conditions of Louisiana and became successful merchants and ranchers using both slaves and indentured servants for labor.Written in an elegant hand on pale blue watermarked laid paper, 8 x 12 1/2" (Inventory #: 22339)
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