Why Joseph is On My Mind

I’m in the middle of working out the details, so I’ll leave it intentionally vague, but I might have occasion in April to talk to people who are intensely curious about him about the kinds of things I’ve discovered, so that it might aid in their attempts to do their own research on him.

The absolute biggest obstacle to researching him is that his last name isn’t standardized, nor that distinct, and his first name is “Joe.” If you know that Timothy Demonbreun spent time in Vincennes, was an important politico in Kaskaskia, and traded down in New Orleans, as well as doing shit here, when you come across anything about Timothy Demorgbbuelrembum or Timothy Mmmmbmbmbm or all the ways they could have slaughtered his last name, you can kind of sound out the last name, decide it sounds close enough to “Demonbreun” and put it on your list of potential Timothy Demonbreun sightings.

But that’s not exactly the case for Joseph. However, once you know that the guy who is “Joseph Deraque” in the State Papers and in the state legislature records is also the guy married to “Granny Ratt” and thus also referred to as “Joseph Duratt” or “Joseph DuRat” and that Elizabeth Girard in the 1850 census living with Demonbreun grandchildren with children all named “Durard” is our same old Elizabeth providing us with two more forms of his name.

And then, interestingly enough, even though, in the State Papers, in his first person account, they spell it Deraque, at the end of one of the narratives, it says “Joseph Deratte, his+mark Robert Hays Justice of the Peace.” Now, the reason this interests me are two-fold. Deratte or De Ratte is a last name French people had in the 1700s and it would seem to indicate that, though they were spelling his name Deraque, he signed it “Deratte.” Meaning, that’s his name.

So, if you were going to look for his parents in Canada, you could do worse than to start there.

(Just as a side note, I’m not going to be at all surprised if Joseph and Timothy also end up being related.)