Mme Le Gras of Port Margot, St-Domingue


Pretty much all of Moses Tryon’s merchant career relied upon his business contacts in Saint Domingue… The French part of the island of Hispaniola, what is currently the country of Haiti.  Certainly by 1785 Moses is routinely putting in at Cap-Françoise (Cap-Liberté) in the North section of the country, with touches at Port-au-Prince.  Not far from “The Cap” was a town called Port-Margot, the oldest French settlement on the island and while not the largest town or political center, it is important to this story for it was the location of the sugar plantation of a one MaDame Marie Michel La Carrière Gazin Le Gras, widow of François Esprit Félix Le Gras, she being the business associate and contact for Moses Tryon and his associates, and it seems Moses’ particular friend.

There is not much for surviving records of their friendship, due largely I suppose to the 1833 fire that destroyed the Tryon home in Wethersfield, CT, with only the barest of things rescued in the minutes allowed.  However, it becomes rather apparent when one sees the accounts later published in regards to the lawsuit of Mme Le Gras vs. Gov. Arthur Fenner of Rhode Island in which Moses acts as her power of attorney… Also in that Moses’ youngest daughter was named Chiffonnette Le Gras Tryon… Doubtful that he would have named her that had the relationship been merely an acquaintance.  There is a rumoured supposition largely via descendants of the siblings of Moses’ 2d wife Eunice Treat that Chiffonnette Le Gras either the “love child” of Moses and Mme Le Gras OR an illegitimate child of someone in the Legras family that Moses spirited away and adopted.  However, as I look over the dates of when Moses was home and when Chiffonnette was born, it becomes FAR more likely that she was legitimately the child of Moses and Eunice and simply named on behalf of the woman who was Moses’ friend whom he knew to have been slain in the initial hours of the slave insurrection of 22 Aug 1791 in St-Domingue.

Working on something more of a bio on this woman, Moses’ friend being the 1st generation seen in this graphic (Marie Michel La Carrière Le Gras), so more to come…

Sincerest gratitude to the help of Michelle Camel!