SOJOURNERS FROM THE COLONIES
Angoulême was celebrated as a place with particularly healthy air. There were surgeons and apothecaries, some of whom, like the innkeepers of the town, welcomed visitors from distant parts of the French empire. A young woman of twenty-seven, Marie Lenoir, was described in the register for St Paul as having died in 1786 "at the house of M. Merilhon, master surgeon, at her passage in this town." She was the widow of M. Lebrun, who "died in Senegal about two years ago." Thomas Sutton died in the town in 1782 at the age of 60, while staying at the Hotel de la Table Royale, kept by M. Riffaud. He was a director of the French East India Company, a proprietor in Saint-Domingue, and an entrepreneur of the slave trade in the Indian Ocean. A little girl aged two years and ten months, Marie Joseph Berthoumieu, who was buried in the parish of St André in 1779, was from Saint-Domingue; her late father lived "a la ravine de la cartier de la paroisse de notre dame de l'assumption des cayes du fonds isle avache cote St Domingue."
The air of Angoulême also attracted officials who had returned from overseas. Claude Ogerdias, who had been a servant of the Dutch East India Company in Bengal, retired in 1773 to Angoulême, where he purchased the office of superintendent of water and forests. His two daughters, Jeanne Françoise and Agathe Jeanne Françoise, remained in the town and died there in 1849, within eight days of each other. Agathe Jeanne Françoise, who was born in Angoulême in 1775, was described as a "proprietor." Jeanne Françoise, who was born in 1767 in Chandernagore, was a nun in the hospital of Angoulême; she was described as having been born in Pondicherry.
There were surgeons in the town, in turn, who made their way to and from the colonies. Antoine Pissier, "master in the art of surgery," as recognised by the sovereign council of Cap François in Saint-Domingue, was in Angoulême in 1765, and married Rose Civadier, the daughter of the supervisor of police in the parish of St Paul. By 1772, two of her brothers were also in Saint-Domingue. Abraham François Robin, the son of a surgeon in Angoulême, left for the island of St Vincent in the Lesser Antilles (which was ceded by the French to the British in 1763, by the British to the French in 1779, and by the French to the British in 1783.) He described himself on his return to Angoulême as "former surgeon-major of the island of St Vincent," and had married an English woman, Elizabeth Stubbs. On his death in 1833 at the age of 82, he was described as having retired as "receiver of indirect taxes."
Louis Gabriel Latour, the son of a dancing master in St André, became a master surgeon on a slave plantation in Artibonite in Saint-Domingue. To his father, in 1772, he wrote with news of the difficulties of exchanging information between Angoulême and Saint-Domingue: his own letters had been delayed, and his father's letter had been opened by another surgeon on the island, who was also called "Latour." His own correct address was "maitre en chirurgie demeurant sur les Biens de messieurs les héritiers de Laville a la plaine de l'Artibonite cartier de St Marc ille St Domaingeue."
Sources: AM-A, GG90/155,131; GG75/43; GG45/173; GG68/95; GG41/30 ; 1E151/88,91; 1E102/7. Baptism of Jeanne Françoise Ogerdias, born on April 2, 1767, ANOM, Chandernagor, 1768, April 10, 1768. "Marriage du sr. Pissier et de la dlle. Civadier," December 12, 1765, "Procuration donnée par la dlle. Chauvineau, veuve de sr. Civadier," April 11, 1772, ADC, Caillaud, notary, 2E283, 2E295; Louis Gabriel Latour in Saint-Domingue to Marc-René Lefort Latour in Angoulême, August 8, 1772, Caillaud, notary, 2E296.
Louis M. Cullen, "Irish businessman and French courtier: the career of Thomas Sutton, comte de Clonard, c. 1722–1782," 86-104; F. Lequin, Het Personeel van de Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie in Azie in de Achttiende Eeuw (Leiden, 1982); ADC, B 140/58, Eaux et Forêts