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The Cadot Family of the French Five Hundred

By Barbara Cadot Keating

October 5, 2009

     In 1757 in Burgundy, France a baby boy was born to a vineyard owner, Claude Cadot and his wife, Jane Fevier. Their vineyards were near a village called Senailly. They named their son Claudius and he soon showed a talent in art. He was sent to Paris to study. He became an excellent sculptor, called a stone carver and worked on the Notre Dame Cathedral in the service of the King Louis XVI.

     In 1766 in St. Germain of Bligny in the diocese of Autun, a baby girl, Jane, was born to John the Baptist Bastide and his wife Claudine Jobard. Jane showed great talent as a seamstress. Her older brother Steven and their father were stone carvers on Notre Dame Cathedral. Steven introduced his younger sister, Jane, to his good friend, Claudius. They fell in love.

     By 1789 France had been fighting England for seven years, ever since Benjamin Franklin had convinced Louis XVI to help the Americans fight the English in our revolutionary war. Also in the 1780’s in France the people were suffering from a great famine because the church had imposed another tax on the French people on all crops grown. The French people revolted in 1789 and the French revolutionary war began in December with the fall of the bastille and lasted ten terrible years.

     King Louis the XVI, Marie Antoinette and the entire French court were carried off to be executed. This caused a wave of terror among the privileged class, who began leaving France by the hundreds.

     When the King was taken prisoner, the sculptors like Claudius Cadot, Steven and John the Baptist Bastide lost their income because they were in the service of the King.

     Meanwhile in America, Colonel Duer, a member of Congress, and other congressmen formed the Scioto Land Company and told representatives of the Ohio Land Company, who wanted congress to pass a bill selling them one million acres of land west of the Ohio River if they would add on five million more acres for which the Scioto Land Company would pay he would see that Congress passed the bill. Their idea was to buy the land for a low price and sell it at a profit. However, they couldn’t sell enough of the land. After learning that so many upper class French people were fleeing France, they decided to sell the land to them. So Colonel Duer’s friend Joel Batlow was sent to Paris to sell the land. However, he was a young bachelor, a pot=et by trade, enjoyed the high life of Paris and failed to sell lmuch land. He met an Englishman, fluent in French named Playfair. Playfair said he could sell the American land, which he did. He sold over 100,000 acres. How did he do it? He told the French people that the American wilderness was utopia on earth. It had an excellent lmild climate, rich soil, rich in minerals such as silver and gold, plentiful game, friendly natives, and plentiful water. It was well worth one French crown per acre. The French were enchanted at the idea of moving to such an earthly paradise and leaving the turmoil of France behind.