There were sojourners in Angoulême, the immobile little town on a hill, who had arrived there after very long voyages. Some had come from Africa, or were of African origin. Jean-François-Auguste, a "negro of the nation of the coast of Juda," [Ouidah, in Benin] was baptized in the parish church of St André in 1733. He was described as the domestic servant of a local proprietor, "who had brought him from the islands with the intention of taking him back there, and declared that he could be aged around 16 or 17." In 1758, the bishop of Angoulême presided over the baptism, also in the parish church of St André, of "a negro of the nation of Capélaou in Guinea [Cap Lahou, in Côte d'Ivoire], aged about 15." The boy was named Claude, and his godfather was a merchant named Benoit Des Essarts, "to whom he belongs." Jean L'Accajou was baptized in Petit Saint Cybard in 1775; he was described as "a native of Africa, arrived in France on the ship La Cicogne, Captain Delage, so it appears, and declared at the admiralty in La Rochelle." Louis Félix, who was confirmed in 1780, also in the parish of Petit Saint Cybard, was described as "15 years old, a native of St. Domingue," living in the lodging house of M. Desprez. Ten years later, in 1790, Louis Félix was a goldsmith, living in the parish of Saint Paul, and married with two children. By 1795, year four of the French republic, he was "public officer of the commune of Angoulême," and certifier of births, marriages and deaths in the town. In 1798, he was a widower, and "commissioner of the executive directory to the municipal administration." In the record of his second marriage, to Marthe Dumergue in 1798, he was identified as the natural son of Jacques Orillac, trader, and Marie Elizabeth, born in 1765 in the parish of St Marc, St Domingue. He died in Angoulême, described as a "rentier," in 1851.
One of the promises of the history (and visualization) of social networks, is to be able to follow the connections of these individuals, these parishioners in Angoulême of African origin, over time and space. Louis Félix, the signer of certificates, is relatively easy to find. Did Jean L'Accajou also stay in Angoulême? Was Jean-François-Auguste, in the end, taken "back there"?
Sources: AM-A, GG39/205, GG42/113, GG68/58, GG68/81, GG90/178, 1E7/29, 1E14/114, 1E157/89
La Cicogne was a slaving ship. The voyage at the end of which Jean L'Accajou arrived in Angoulême began in La Rochelle in December 1772. The ship embarked 516 slaves on the west coast of Africa; 430 slaves disembarked in Port-au-Prince, Saint-Domingue (Haiti) in November 1774; the ship returned to La Rochelle in April 1774. The captain was Michel Delage, who undertook five slaving voyages, on four different ships, from Bordeaux and La Rochelle. The Cicogne made nine different slaving voyages, with eight different captains. On a journey in 1778, when 634 slaves were embarked and 577 landed, the ship was captured by the English. Its last slaving journey ended in La Rochelle in September 1792. Jean L'Accajou's journey was voyage 32279 in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.