The Farthest Back I Have Ever Been

Howdy do! I hope this post finds you  all safe and healthy in these strange times. Quarantine has been okay for us once we got into the swing of being in such close confines together. I did quite a bit of gardening the first few months. These last few weeks I’ve had some really stupendous progress in the family history department, so I thought I would share with you.

I need to give a quick shout out to my cousin, Jason. He has been my cheerleader and/or Nag-in-Chief with this branch of the family for quite a few months now. He gave me the links that made this post possible. I wasn’t quite “ready” to research so far back into history, especially in an area of the country that is unfamiliar. But when I was it all came together.

The last far back family member I mentioned was Antonio Narbona (1773-1823). He was married to our first familial Escalante – Maria Ysabel. That is WAY back. He had made his life fighting in the Spanish military, which brought him out to the Southwest for Spain, and then Mexico. His link into the military life was his brother-in-law Brigadier General Enrique Grimarest who sponsored Antonio into the military when the kid turned 16.

I’ve not been able to find Antonio’s birth records. Yet. I’m going to need to run down to Mobile, Alabama, when everything opens back up. Road trip!

Researching the Gulf Coast was difficult. This part of North America was not my neighborhood. The time period was so long ago. First, it was Native lands. Then Louisiana/Mississippi was French. And then it was Spanish in 1763. However, it was from where some of our people came.

The names of Antonio Narbona’s parents were originally Antoine Narbonne and Marie Jeanne Krebs. Antoine was born in France in 1745. Marie was born in Pascagoula (now Mississippi) on October 28, 1745.

Do you see how long ago that was?? It was before the United States was born. I almost can’t wrap my brain around it. *Feeling faint, needing a mint julep.*

Antoine and Marie had three children, two daughters and one son. Antoine was killed in 1793. He had been a military man like many around him. I found record of his death in a “Louisiana History” journal article.

Discussion of Capt. Narbona’s murder in 1793.

Marie Jeanne, Antoine’s wife, was from a family long established in the area. Admiral Joseph Simon de La Pointe was a French Canadian who came into the Gulf Coast in 1701. He married Catherine Foucault that same year. He settled permanently in the area, starting a plantation. They had 4 children. Two girls lived to adulthood. One was Marie Josephe  (born in 1720). She married Hugo Ernestus Krebs who had immigrated from Neumagen, Germany, to the area around 1730. We are descended from this couple.

According to various sources, Hugo Krebs was a surgeon and also did well as a plantation owner. He was noted in the book “A Concise Natural History of East and West Florida” by Benrard Romans, written in 1772. Krebs created the first documented cotton gin. It was noted in the above book, predating Eli Whitney’s version by 20 years. (I have included a link to the book at the bottom.)

The following map is from the LaPointe/Krebs Museum’s web-page. It shows the original layout of the plantation.

mapofspanishfort

In French, of course.

Our branch came from Hugo’s first marriage. Marie Josephe died in 1751. When Hugo died in 1776, the region was now under Spanish control, which is why his will was written in Spanish. He left his daughter Maria Josepha Narbona surpringly out, “having been given nothing.”  Anna Narbona, and her husband, Enrique Grimarest, now the Governor of Mobile, had the house “converted into a fortified residence.”  It is after this when it gained it’s title “The Old Spanish Fort.” It stayed in the Krebs family for generations.

old-spanish-fort-museum-postcard-1024x649

Krebs descendants lived in the house through 1914.

I’m not sure if Anne and Enrique were married a very long time. According to the “Alabama, Surname Files, Expanded” on Ancestry, she died in 1783.

Opera Snapshot_2020-07-29_192329_www.ancestry.com

Brief history of the familial ties to the Narbona Family.

******

Jason sent me many links to assist my search. One of them was a Krebs Family Genealogy site. He had noticed Marie was left out of Hugo’s will. As there is no better way to find out information, I contacted the owner, David. He was so nice! We chatted for 2 hours. I came with my strong evidence of being related to Anna Narbona due to the Grimarest documentation, and the rest is history.

David and I are 6th Cousins, once removed! It boggles the mind.

He shared some great information with me. I have 3 pages of hand-written notes. One story that particularly stuck out to me was this. Some of the Krebs children from Hugo’s second marriage intermarried with the Native Americans in the Gulf Coast area. Their descendants were part of the Trail of Tears and forcibly removed to Oklahoma.

David asked me if I had heard of Krebs, Oklahoma. Yes, I had. Krebs was a mining town. It had a large group of immigrants come to work there. Italians were such an integral group to the area, they still have a yearly Italian Festival. However, Krebs was not a name of Italian origin.

Krebs was named for a famous Choctaw Judge, Edmond F. Krebs (1821-1893), one of Hugo’s descendants. We have distant cousins in Eastern Oklahoma! At the time of his death on Dec. 14, 1893 , the Vinita, IT Indian Chieftain shared, “Judge Krebs died very suddenly at his home in this city Saturday evening of a violent attack of pneumonia. The Judge was a Choctaw Indian and formerly lived near Eufaula. He was quite prominent in that country, being a man of integrity and good sense and have a great many friends in this city also.”

To be called a “man of integrity.” What a legacy.

********

Here is a photo of Hugo.

hugo

Hugo Ernestus Krebs, 1714 – 1776.  Courtesy of D.M. Krebs’ site.

Isn’t this wild? To actually see the face of an ancestor from so far back in history. *gush*

I’m going to put in tons of links at the bottom of all of this if you are interested in learning more. One day, if you visit Pascagoula, you will be able to see the LaPointe/Krebs family home that is still there. It was damaged heavily by Hurricane Katrina, but restoration work is being done.

I do have one more fun thing to share.

MarieJeanneKrebsBaptism

This is Marie Jeanne’s Baptism Record. Courtesy of D.M. Krebs’ website.

I’m one of those weird researchers who Googles every name I come across. I checked the names of Marie Jeanne’s godparents. Marie’s godfather was named as Chevalier Jeann Philippe Grondell. Swanky! Well, he has a Wiki page. (Of course he does.) While he was a young man over here in Louisiana, he was a soldier. He moved up in the ranks in the French army to General. Here is his portrait.

800px-Jean-Philippe_Goujon_de_Grondel

Jean Philippe, back when you had to sit for a selfie. (See source below)*

This has been so fascinating. I honestly thought one day, information on family links would dry up.  This recent search has been a well that has filled my heart with so many different emotions. Beyond our Spanish and Native ancestry, I had no idea that we would find European roots that would be a part of North American history.

As I had difficulty with Antonio’s raid on the Navajo, I am working through my issues about having relatives that were a part of the slave trade and keeping of slaves. However, this branch of the family shows that our cousins have truly been a part of the whole American experience: colonization, immigration, negotiations, oppression, being oppressed, war, expulsion, the justice system, and exploration.

Most of all, each family member showed us he was living life to the fullest, no matter what path that he chose to take.

******

 

My References and Fun Places to Visit:

Huge thanks to D.M. Krebs! If I got something wrong, please let me know. I’ll fix it.

http://www.krebsfamilygenealogy.org

http://lapointekrebs.org  <-This link is to the LaPointe/Krebs Museum.

https://archive.org/details/concisenaturalhi00roma/page/n7/mode/2up

https://www.mcalesternews.com/opinion/cathey-krebs-namesake-not-of-italian-descent/article_11a0cd3d-ac33-58a1-a390-fe1614eba8cf.html

https://scholarworks.uno.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1181&context=aa_rpts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Philippe_Goujon_de_Grondel * {photo credit: By Pderenev – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46719900}

https://books.google.com/books?id=DLIVAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA59&lpg=PA59&dq=admiral+jospeh+simon+de+la+pointe&source=bl&ots=7blC6rfCVp&sig=ACfU3U3zJGAEozP_7Rc9Km7CO7bv8NmLPw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj6z5LT4vjqAhUCX60KHauSAns4ChDoATABegQICxAB#v=onepage&q&f=false (pages 58-59)

“For Defense of Country and the Glory of Arms”: Army Officers in Spanish Louisiana, 1766-1803 Gilbert C. Din. Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association Vol. 43, No. 1 (Winter, 2002), pp. 5-40

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