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Introducing our Multi-Great Grandmother Desiree Baptiste 
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Our multi-great grandmother Desiree Baptiste was born in 1818 to her parents,  Jean Baptiste Chevalier and Marie (last name unknown). Marie was enslaved by a man named Michel Doucet and later enslaved by his ex-wife Celeste Doucet. Desiree had three half-brothers, Maximillian Comeaux, August Daigle and Michel Daigle.

Desiree bore five children. Her eldest son was Benjamin Edward, fathered by Pierre Edward. Her last four children, Felix James, Nasciele James, Mary Leonce James and Adeline James, were fathered by her husband, William James. With the massive families that descended from Benjamin Edward and the James clan, Desiree is a matriarch ancestor to literally thousands of our relatives. 

With her four youngest children under the age of 8, Desiree and her children were placed on the auction block and sold to the highest bidder. She and the James children were initially also enslaved by Michel Doucet and later his ex-wife Celeste Doucet at a plantation located in Plaquemine Point, St. Landry Parish.
 They were sold to Dr. William Knox in 1858. Desiree's eldest son, Benjamin Edward was sold to Emile Thibodeaux, Celeste Doucet's son. The plantation was in close proximity to where Benjamin's mother, brothers, and sisters were enslaved.

For many of us in the Edward and James family, this history is still generationally recent. Three of Desiree Baptiste's  children that were on the slave auction block - Benjamin, Felix, and Adeline are the great and great-grandparents of many of our kinfolk that is still living, and as children, they heard the stories of the life challenges and triumphs of their great and great-great grandparents.
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We, the descendants of Desiree Baptiste, her parents and her offspring,  embody the hopes and dreams that they could only imagine. We are so lucky that today, technology through DNA testing is allowing us to find our roots and each other as we get a deeper understanding of the strength and resilience inherent in our heritage and use it to embolden the next generation. Let us remember, honor, and celebrate the legacy of our ancestors. We are the hope, dreams, and aspirations of their struggle and their joys. 

"I Believe I Can Fly" Yolanda Adams
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In Honor
Of Our Beloved Multi-Great Grandmother Desiree Baptiste

Through her fortitude in the midst of the African holocaust of slavery, she held her family together. Today, Desiree Baptiste's multiple great-grandchildren count among many; Physicians, lawyers, engineers, teachers, policemen, CEO executives, even an opera singer and a cowboy. 
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Pierre 'Jack' Edward, one of the thirteen children born to Benjamin Edward and Sydalise Desmartes Edward.
Pierre "Jack" Edward, one of the thirteen children born to Benjamin Edward and Sydalise Desmartes Edward.

Benjamin Edward was the eldest son of Desiree Baptiste and Pierre Edward.  He married Elizabeth Trahan Bellard. They had two children and with his second wife, Sydalise Desmarets, fathered eleven children.  Benjamin would be considered the patriarch of the thousands of Edward descendants that are related to Desiree Baptiste and her children by William James.
William Edward, one of thirteen children of Benjamin Edward and Sydalise Demartes Edward
William Edward, one of thirteen children of Benjamin Edward and Sydalise Demartes Edward
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Felix James was the second eldest son of Desiree Baptiste and the eldest son of William James. He married Julia Bellard and they had 15 children. 

 
Julia Bellard James, wife of Felix James. She is the multiple great grandmother to many of the James descendants.
Julia Bellard James, wife of Felix James. She is the multiple great grandmother to many of the James descendants.


Julia Bellard James, wife of Felix James. 
Her lineage has been charted from Louisiana to Quebec Canada in the 1700s and as far back as France in the 1500s.

 
Andrea James Fisher, one of the daughters of Felix James and Julia Bellard James.
Andrea James Fisher, one of the daughters of Felix James and Julia Bellard James.
Arthur James, Son of Felix James and Julia Bellard James
Arthur James, Son of Felix James and Julia Bellard James
Mathilde James Simien, daughter of Felix James and Julia Bellard James
Mathilde James Simien, daughter of Felix James and Julia Bellard James
Christopher (Christ) James, Son of Felix James and Julia Bellard James
Christopher (Christ) James, Son of Felix James and Julia Bellard James
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Marie Leonce James, daughter of Desiree James and William James married Adrian Guidry. They had 8 children.
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Naeisle James was the second son of Desiree Baptiste with her husband William James
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Adeline James was the youngest daughter of Desiree Baptiste and William James. She married Felician LaChaise and they had ten children. 

 
Felicia LaChaise, daughter of Adeline LaChaise and Felician LaChaise, granddaughter of Desiree Baptiste and William Jame
Felicia LaChaise, daughter of Adeline LaChaise and Felician LaChaise, granddaughter of Desiree Baptiste and William James.
Adlene Marie James, granddaughter of Adeline James and Felician LaChaise, daughter of Felicia LaChaise, daughter of Paul
Adlene Marie James, granddaughter of Adeline James and Felician LaChaise, daughter of Felicia LaChaise, daughter of Paul James Sr.
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*Research and investigation on Desiree Baptiste and her family's enslavement credited to our distant cousin, genealogist, and Opelousas historian, Alex Da'Paul Lee, and in conversation with genealogist and cousin Rodney Sam a descendant of Desiree Baptiste via Benjamin Edward.