Granny Rat’s descendants claim she was born July 24, 1740 and died February 7, 1856. She also, according to family lore I’ve been able to find, had at least the following children:
By Timothy Demonbreun (1747-1826)
William Demonbreun (1783-1870)
Jean Baptist Demonbreun (1788-1872, who may also be Felix. If not, then Felix in here someplace.)
Polly Demonbreun (1792-1842)
By Joseph Durard (maybe 1740-1812)
Joseph Durard (about 1793)
Betsy Durard (about 1794)
Timothy Durard (about 1795)
Lewis Durard (also about 1795, assuming this isn’t Timothy by another name)
I think it’s very, very unlikely that Elizabeth was having kids when she was 55 years old. I think it’s more likely that she was born in 1750. Now, I would hope some of you are kind of raising eyebrows at the short time between baby Polly and baby Joseph. I am. But let’s raise eyebrows at the timing of these children.
Timothy Demonbreun’s children with his wife:
Therese Demonbreun (1768-1838)
Timothy Demonbreun (1770-1868)
Julienne Demonbreun (1785-)
Jacques Demonbreun (1787-)
Marie Demonbreun (1792-1842)
I’m understanding how Mama Therese understood the existence of baby William, but man, those other two children would have pissed me off, if I had known about them. After I’ve returned to you from being kidnapped by Indians, you don’t keep having kids with the woman you took up with while I was gone or we will fight. I’ve seen that at least the two youngest, if not all three, didn’t know they were Demonbreuns until later. They thought they were Durards.
Ha, I bet Timothy hoped every day that Terese thought they were Durards, too.
The thing that tickles me so much about this is that it’s like, well, you live in a very frontier society. You’re illiterate. You got kicked out of church at least once, maybe twice, and there’s no tv. What do you do for entertainment? Oh, carry on in a fashion so soap-opera-ish that folks spend years trying to untangle it. A gal starts to think that all this talk of “proper Southern women” was more a prayer for women like that to come along than actuality. Ha ha ha. Please don’t shoot me, southern women.
I’m glad, though, that I went with Durand and Durratt in the book. I don’t think any of Joseph’s descendants who are in the area actually ended up with those last names. They seem to be mostly Durards or Durrards or DuRards or maybe Girards. So, hopefully, they can read the story and know that the character is loosely based on their ancestor, but obviously, not exact.
I honestly think that the real lives of those folks is much more interesting than any story I could have written about them, but I hope that reading those stories will inspire people to learn more about the real people.
I am still, however, on a quest to try to figure out where Granny Rat’s tavern was. I might have to work up the guts to ask a historian with the state. I’ve already done TSLA and asked the state archaeologist.