Jason Family of Ville Platte, LA –  Brick wall knockdown

The Jasons, like most of the families in Bayou Chicot and the surrounding area, were farmers, and each of the Jasons had a brood of children, ensuring their family’s presence in future generations. That’s how I was going to start part two of my Jason’s blog post. However, with my recent big find, that part of the story will have to wait!

I started doing family research hoping to learn more information about my ancestors, including finding out who held my ancestors as slaves. For several years now, I’ve been visiting the archives in both Opelousas and Ville Platte.  Opelousas is the parish seat for Saint Landry, whereas Ville Platte is the seat for Evangeline Parish.   Established in 1805 and, once, much larger Saint Landry Parish has since been carved up, forming separate parishes, including Evangeline Parish, which was established in 1901.

I remember how nervous I was going into the Opelousas archives for the first time.  It was daunting, seemingly insurmountable. I was doing something that was important for my family, something that my ancestors were pushing me to do, but I didn’t even know where to start.  And, I was alone.  So, I took that step in.  There were hundreds upon hundreds of huge books that weighed easily 25+ pounds spread across the room.  No one offered to help me.  No one pointed me to the starting place.  I didn’t even know that I could do a search on the computer that was in the archive room.  There were just these books, walls and walls of big books.  Saw sections labeled marriage records, probate and succession records, notarial records’, conveyances, miscellaneous records.   I ventured into reading one of the succession records – everything was in French.  Okay, this is not going to work, I said to myself.  I have to get some information.  I took a deep breath and that’s when I decided just to start with the marriage licenses and see if I can pull licenses for the people I did know.   I just started looking up surnames, and if I recognized a given name I would get a copy of the marriage license. Simple as that.

In discussing family ancestry with others, it has been my Jason family members who have had the most interest, and it’s with the Jasons that I also have the most passionate fellow family researchers.  One of my researcher-cousins, Patricia, connected me to Moses Jason’s sister Hannah and their father Godfrey Jason.  Patricia is a descendant of Hannah and she made me aware of the 1870 and 1880 census, which showed Moses and Hannah living as next-door neighbors.

Through the years, they were proud and close knit family, often living in clan clusters a rocks-throw from one another.  That’s a tradition that’s persisted. When my family moved from Louisiana to California in the 1970s, for the first year, we lived with my uncle near the San Francisco Bay. The next year, we moved—right next door to my mother’s first cousin. Researching enslaved persons can be challenging – one reason being the propensity of slavery to split families and possibly sell family members to unknown or faraway plantations.  Another reason is that ‘slaves’ had no surnames, so when do typical genealogy research you’re looking at both the given name and the surname.   So if you don’t know the name of the slave ‘owner’ it can be difficult to find your ancestors under slavery.

Per the 1870 census, Godfrey Jason was born in South Carolina and this same researcher-cousin surmised that Godfrey Jason may be one and the same as ‘Old Uncle Godfrey’ mentioned in the book Old Families and Tales of Chicot; or Miss Emma’s Memoirs , where Godfrey is noted as a slave owned by the Griffith family. Using the censuses, I was able to find Moses’s and Hannah’s other likely siblings: Winifred, Phoebe, and Temperance, also known as Tempy.  In this family, as in other enslaved families, it was common to name children after their grandparents and their parents siblings. This was used as a code. It helped implicitly connect families, even if they were sold and separated. Moses named two of his daughters, Winifred and Hannah; Winifred named one daughter Temperance; two of Tempy’s children were named after her sisters Phoebe and Winifred; Godfrey Tatman, found in the 1900 census, is potentially Hannah’s son—named him after her father, Old Uncle Godfrey Jason.

Three or four years after my researcher-cousin first mentioned Hannah to me, I pored through census records to find links to her brother, my direct ancestor. In 1900 and 1910, Moses Jason who was living in the same household with Tempy and her family.  Then, I had no idea who Tempy was. In 1900, Tempy and Moses are living in the household of a John Brown and his wife Harriet.  Tempy is listed as John’s mother-in-law, making her Harriet’s mother.  Moses is listed as John’s brother, which I thought was a mistake. I wasn’t able to pinpoint the relationship between John and Moses until the 1910 census.  On this census, Tempy King is listed as the head of household, living with several people, including her brother, Moses Jason.  King was probably Harriet’s last name, too, I thought.

Moses Jason 1900 Census  Moses Jason 1910 census


Using Rev. Donald J. Hebert’s Southwest Louisiana Records (SWLA) CD, a couple of significant marriage references, I found out a couple of things:

  • Temperance Jason [Jacena] married Warren King on April 2, 1870
  • Harriet King married John Brown March 30, 1891.

The Louisiana Death records on FamilySearch shows that Tempy passed on March 29, 1921, had a deceased spouse named Warren King… and that her father was Godfrey Jason!  Unfortunately, no mother is listed.

Familysearch.org Louisiana Death Index entry for Tempy:

Tempy Jason Death entry

I traveled with my cousin Geraldine to the Opelousas court house, doing computer index searches and surveying marriage licenses. Then, I decided I wanted to look up sale records. MY ancestors were bought and sold. There may be a record of it. I remembered what Patricia said, about Old Uncle Godfrey and the Griffith family. So, we looked up in the vendor/vendee index several of the conveyance records for Griffiths slave transactions.  Two of these references broke down the slavery brickwall.

Per the conveyance document recorded December 17, 1833, Daniel Ferguson received nine hundred dollars from Isaac Griffith in exchange for a negro male slave, age 36.  The slave’s name was Godfrey.  My great-great-great-grandfather!

Godfrey Jason slave doc 1833

My excitement continued when I found, in another document dated April 18, 1848. Marie Ann Ferguson [Furguson], wife of Isaac Griffith, is transferring ownership of several slaves to her daughter Hester Griffith, wife of C. D. Tatman. These slaves were a negro male named Warren, 28; a negro woman named Tempy, 23; children  Bob, 6, Henry, 4; Louis, 2; and Rachel, infant.  The children are listed as only Tempy’s children, but Warren may indeed be the father.  Not only had a found a daughter of Godfrey, but it so happened to be the one daughter where I had proof per the death certificate that Godfrey was her father.

tempy and warren slave doc

I did not have Bob, Henry, Davis, nor Rachel in my tree, prior to finding Godfrey and Tempy in the slave records.  However, on the 1870 census in the domicile right next to Warren and Tempy, we find Henry [one of the children on the Tempy slave document] and his wife, Isabella, living with several of Henry’s siblings—including Harriett!

Henry King, wife and siblings living next to Mother and Father (Tempy and Warren)
Henry King, wife and siblings living next to Mother and Father (Tempy and Warren)

Daniel Ferguson, born in South Carolina in 1774, was the fifth son of Moses Ferguson and Elizabeth Lively.  In South Carolina, Daniel married Esther (Hester) Peak(e), where five of their  eight children were born; the remaining being born in Bayou Chicot. Their daughter, Mary (Marie) Anne Ferguson, married Isaac Griffith in 1815 and their daughter, Hester, married Cornelius D. Tatman in 1842.  More than likely, The Ferguson, Griffith, and Tatman family records may hold additional documentation on my enslaved family members.  Information obtained using this link: http://dna.cfsna.net/GEN/USA/SC/Moses_Ferguson_and_Elizabeth_Lively.html. Here are a couple of entries on the family from Rev. Donald J. Hebert’s Southwest Louisiana Records entries:

  • CLARK, Elisabeth – native of this parish (major daughter of dec. John & Marie STEVENS)  m. 13 July 1830  Daniel FERGUSON – native of South Carolina (major son of Moses & Elisabeth LIVELY)  Wits: Francis D. SMITH, James MORGAN, Uriah FERGUSON, Edward FAHEY.  Fr. Flavius Henri ROSSI (Opel.Ch.: v.1-B, p.558-B)
  • GRIFFITH, Hester   m.  15 Dec. 1842  Cornelius D. TATMAN  (Opel.  Ct. Hse.: Mar. #5)   W

With these findings, I expect that it will lead me to find other enslaved relatives.  Recently, I’ve been in contact with a number of DNA cousins that have known ancestors only in South Carolina and are not aware of any connections of ancestors in Louisiana.  Wouldn’t it be great if I would be I able to trace my Louisiana family to our long ago- separated South Carolina family members, once again uniting them?  That’s a wonderful dream…and, dreams do come true.

Happy searching!

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For the last 30+ years, I've worked as a finance executive for a global corporation and I am now retired. In 2000, I started seriously researching my family ancestry, and I was able to trace both my maternal and my paternal line back to 1700s. I've identified ancestors that were free people of color. I've even traced several separate lineages of my enslaved ancestors through slave property rights documentation. I've helped many with their personal genealogical quests and I've shared my personal genealogical findings on my blog: Ancestors in the Present. In 2017, I will begin doing workshops and seminars to help others get started in genealogy. I also have run Ancestral Pathways LLC, which provides genealogical services. If you would like my help, I can be reached at iyatee@gmail.com.

32 thoughts on “Jason Family of Ville Platte, LA –  Brick wall knockdown

  1. Hi Tammy, this is my 3rd time trying to leave a message. There seems to have been a problem with my password, but hopefully, I can post this time. 🙂

    Thank you (and Cousin Gerry) SO much for researching and finding this proof! I am so elated! I think for me this will settle my grandfather’s father’s side. I’ve been praying to do so for a long time. Although, they owned our family, I’m so grateful that the Fergusons, Griffith’s, etc. were so specific in their records by naming Godfrey. I’m so happy and I can’t wait to just sit down and read through all of this again. I’m printing everything off. 🙂 BTW, great blog! Thanks for sending the link!

    Patricia Samuels

    Great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Godfrey Jason
    Great-great-great-granddaughter of Hannah Jason Thomas


    1. Thanks Cuz for the comments. This really has been an adventure and to find Godfrey it was really a spiritual moment. I hope to find Hannah and Moses in other records, but this is good for now.

      Now, question for you: Godfrey Tatman named is daughter Emeline. Do you think, then that instead of Godfrey Tatman being the son of Hannah that he is the son of Emeline?

      Also, let me know (send me FB) if you done DNA so we can try to connect there.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Love ya Cuz!


  2. Off the top of my head, I don’t recall an Emeline. Is that one of Hannah’s sisters? Or is that Moses’ wife? I know Godfrey lived with them at one time. He may have named a daughter after her for that reason. Believing that he is Hannah’s son is another one of those gut feelings like I had when I read about “Old Uncle Godfrey” in that book and believed him to be our Godfrey. Looks like some more research has to be done to get proof. Guess I’m not finished with this line afterall. Plus, I need to find Hannah’s husband, Thomas Thomas. Sigh… 🙂


  3. THIS. IS. AMAZING. congratulations to you! to find a bill of sale for your ancestor, while very emotional, is also outstanding for your research! bask in the glory of this breakthrough…your ancestors HAVE to be SO PLEASED! 😀


  4. Wow, Tammy, this is so fascinating, and well told. You really make me want to go and research my family’s history too. I hope you can connect back to your folks in rice country. That’s where my people are from – let me find out you my cuz!


    1. Thanks Kemba! It has been a wonderful journey finding my ancestors. They really have been leading and helping me to find them! Thanks for stopping by.


  5. stumbled across your blog…your ancestors (the jasons) are my ancestors too….im like you curious about my grandmother (she went by the surname Ardoin…but her mother [my great-grandmother] was not an Ardoin (at least i dont believe)…..but the man that is listed on my grandmothers death certificate as her father is listed as an Ardoin…(which makes him my great-grandfather)….but the confusing part is that he [my great-grandfather] is a Richard? (his mother was an Ardoin though)….this is where i dont see how my grandmother was an Ardoin….if her dad “supposedly”…was a Richard?……also my grandmother is not mentioned as his daughter???…….this relation of the ancestors is from Hannah Jason who married a Richard (William). Hannah and William had a son “Charles Richard”….Charles is the father of Lucius Richard…Lucius is my great-grandfather (the man listed on my grandmothers death certificate as her father)….could you help me with the confusion?


    1. Thank you so much for reading my blog! Yes, does seem like we need to like at what’s going on here. So, I do have the Charles Richard (who sometimes is listed as Charles Thomas) was married to an Odilia Ardoin. I have the Odilia was Lucius mother! Odilla’s father I have as Zenon Ardoin. I have the Lucius Richards sometimes went my Lucius Thomas.

      I have a question for you. Can you confirm that Lucius nickname was “Smitty”? Also, do you know if Lucius had a daughter named Rose?

      I look forward to hearing from you.


      1. Thanks so much for replying! My grandmother [the Ardoin] was an only child (as we know of) that is why Im confused about this Lucius man. You see, my grandmother was raised by her aunt [ Isola? Ezola?..she was a Pitre who was married to a Charles or Charley/Charlie]…because her mother [my great-grandmother—which i dont know the name] was dying….and so my great grandmother asked Isola? or Ezola? to care for my grandmother [Ardoin]. Isola or Ezola and my great grandmother were sisters. My grandmother name was Lillian but she went by Lillian Ardoin (dont know how she got the name Ardoin?). I dont have much information about Lucius only that he was listed as my grandmother father and on the certificate he is listed as Lucius Ardoin [his first name may be spelled differently]….my grandmother grew up with her cousin Mary Richard. Mary Richard married a Lefluer? She not long ago passed away maybe 2010? 2011? She was from Ville Platte, Louisiana. Mary was the lady who filled my mom in on some of this information but she’s no longer with us and I’m not sure if Mary’s kids have information. My mom remembers a “Gussie” and “Beatrice”…..they were Mary’s sisters [not sure if by blood or just called each other sisters because they grew up together]…..

        The only daughter only record by Lucius is Rose Thomas but I dont know who this woman and the only marriage on record by Lucius is with Louise or Louisa. I dont know this woman either. If only I could find out my great grandmother name…but I dont believe she and Lucius ever married….but still it leaves me puzzled where that Ardoin name came from….maybe my great grandmother was an Ardoin? …..sorry for the long post! 🙂


      2. The Thomas connection is through Hannah. She was married to a Thomy Thomas and they had at least three children. I’m a decendant of Louisa. I will take a look at my tree when I get a chance and see if I have any information that you can use. You can reach me via email and we can try to collaborates. Iyatee@gmail@com.


      3. ok, yes i see the Thomas connection was through Hannah…but i don’t understand how or why Lucius went by the “Thomas” name….[if he was a Richard]?…..and thank you so much!

        my email is tamekia01@hotmail.com


      4. oh and there were 2 Charles Richard. Charles Richard Sr. and his son Charles Richard Jr. I am not sure how “Thomas” was used as their surnames.


  6. Hi Kiamari. I can help you with your Richard line. I’m not sure about the Ardoin name; I’d have to look at my tree. However, I descend from Hannah Jason and Thom Thomas. She had 3 sons and I’m not sure how many daughters with Thom, but she also had a son, Charles Richard, with a William Richard. Charles was much older than her Thomas children and was born while Hannah was still a slave. He was also mulatto, so William is caucasian. The names you mentioned (Gussie, etc.) are in the Richard line that I went to school with in Port Arthur, Texas. My classmates’ (cousins’) grandfather was Charlie Richard, the grandson of Hannah’s son Charles. (So, there’s Hannah’s son Charles “1”, then he had a son named Charles “2” and that Charles had a son named Charles “3”.)

    Are you on ancestry.com? If so, reach out to me there at psam9 and I can connect you to my tree. I have a lot of information on your line.



    1. Hi Patricia…..Whew! i am so confused LOL…..ok so William was white? I remember my mom mentioning something about a grandfather being white…[i thought she meant her grandfather (Lucius)–my great grandfather]…well in a way if he’s a descendant of William then i guess he (Lucius) did have European blood. So, I take it as William Richard was not a slave? And the Ardoin name i believe came from Lucius mom…that’s the only person I can tie my grandmother to with that name…..but why would my grandmother take on Lucius mom name [her grandmother]? If Lucius was really my grandmother’s father…then why didnt my grandmother use the Richard name? Confusing…LOL

      Yes, Gussie, Beatrice…etc were from Texas…my mom visited them there when she was a kid and Gussie was the cousin that took a liking to my mom and always wanted my mom to stay with her….but my mom did not like Texas LOL.

      Yes, I am on ancestry.com….I believe i sent you a comment on there yesterday….I remember your name….I believe my name on there is tamekia or it could be kiamari…LOL

      Thanks so much…..by the way are you related to any Lively’s ?


  7. You’re welcome. I was actually really excited when I figured out how I was kin to my classmates. You see, there was a whole lot of almost dating that took place between them and my siblings and I. LOL. It would always get stopped when an older family member would say, “That’s you cousin!” (not “your” but, “you”) 🙂 So, for years I couldn’t make the connection. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon records listing Charles’ parents as Hannah & William.

    Lucius may have been thought to be white because he may have still had white features.

    I really need to look at my tree. The system is down right now. I think Charles “2” married someone who was married previously and the different last names came into play there – taking on the surnames of the new siblings. I vaguely remember something like that.

    I believe Gussie and Beatrice are Charles 3’s sisters. (Again, I have to check the tree.) I believe Gussie lived in Houston. C’n Charlie lived in Port Arthur. I think I have her funeral program on the tree.

    I don’t believe I’m related to any Lively’s, but for some reason that name sounds familiar.

    I know it seems confusing, esp. with 99 Charleses, but I remember untangling all of that and I know it’s clear on the tree.


    1. LOL…oh wow..well its a good thing your older family members were there to put a stop to it

      yes Gussie lived in Houston…my mom has her funeral program…and i believe she has Beatrice program too…………..but i dont know if they had a brother named Charlie……i know their father was Charles “2”

      So, Hannah’s first husband was William Richard? or was it the Thomas man?


  8. Hello
    I was wondering if I could in some way be of some help. I have been studying the Tatman family for years, and if I’m understanding this blog correctly, then we’re very distantly related. I have had a DNA test done on Ancestry.com. It has really been helping in piecing the story together. I’ve for a long time speculated that my ancestry goes back to a William Tatman 1710-1762 of Delaware. The new DNA test has shown traces that I may be correct. My research isn’t yet complete, and probably won’t be for a few years yet, but the story is a big one.
    You may reach me at my email. tatman_tower@yahoo.com
    Alexander Tatman


    1. Thank you for stopping by! I beleve I am kin to Tatmn offsprings but. I don’t think I am a direct descendant. I would be open to see if our DNA match. Have you, by chance,have you uncover any slave record in your search?

      Thanks for your comments.


  9. Hello Tatmans – I’m the great, great granddaughter of Godfrey Tatman Sr. His son was David Tatman. His daughter was Ezetter Tatman (Sams / Harper) and that’s my grandmother. We’re having a family reunion in Beaumont, Texas in a couple weeks. Typically we’ve held a reunion for all of David Tatman’s descendants. The last reunion had 350 attendees. But it’s been a while since our last reunion (15 years) so this year we are looking to connect with ALL Tatmans. Find more information about the reunion here: http://tatmanfamilyreunion.weebly.com. There is also a photo of Godfrey Tatman Sr. on the front page of that website. I also have a photo of his father (C.D. Tatman) and can send it to anyone that’s interested.


    1. Hi:

      Thank you for stopping by! I pray that you all have a great reunion. We speculate that Godfrey Tatman was the son of Hannah Jason and that he was named after Hannah’s father, Godfrey Jason.

      I would be curious to know if that Hannah Jason connection has be substantiated? Also, have there been any DNA connections made of the Godfrey Tatman descendants to the Godfrey Jason’s family and to CD Tatman’s family? I would love hear about any of these connections. I can also share my DNA kits to some who want to do a comparison.

      Take Care,

      Cousin Tammy


  10. Hello Cousin Tammy, thanks for your reply. To my knowledge, no one has done a DNA test yet. I will check with everyone during the reunion. But we definitely should do this. Most of my life, our family thought that Godfrey Taman came from Wales or England because he showed up on the Census record there. If Godfrey Tatman is Godfrey Jason, then it makes sense because it looks like Godfrey Jason was taken to Wales or England when he lived in South Carolina. And that’s why we couldn’t locate him on the Census records before he settled in Louisiana. I’ll be in touch!!


    1. Godfrey Jason, born about 1797, I believe is Godfrey Tatman’s grandfather. Now, on the 1870 census, there was a “Godfrey Jason” living in the household of Moses Jason. He is about 11 years old, with an estimated birth in 1859. It is possible that this is Godfrey Tatman. 1870 is the first census Godfrey Jason can be found. Something else to look at. 😀


  11. I stumbled across your blog today while doing research on the Ferguson branch of my family tree. The Daniel Ferguson that sold Godfrey in 1833 was my 5x great uncle. I hope you don’t mind that I saved some of your items to my Ancestry tree and included the link to your blog. I think it’s important for family trees to have complete information, whether they’re pleasant to remember or not.

    Your blog is wonderfully written. I wish you much success in the remainder of your research.


    1. I appreciate your comments and your patronage. I agree – family trees should be as complete as possible. I would be open to any additional information on my family that you may come across.

      Thank you for stopping by; happy searching!


  12. […] On a document dated April 18, 1848 document in Saint Landry Parish, Henry and his enslaved family’s ownership are being transferred.  Mary Ann Ferguson, the wife of Isaac Griffith is donating this enslaved family to her daughter, Hester Griffith, the wife of C. D. Tatman.  At the time of this transaction Henry is four-years old.  You can read more about this story and the connection to my family in this previous post>>> Jason Family of Ville Platte, LA –  Brick wall knockdown. […]

    Liked by 1 person

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