of Francis German/Germain, Mexico, NY
Courbat, Hastings, NY
By Esther Rancier
In 1804 Francis German/Germain was born in France. He immigrated
to Mexico, NY before 1842. He likely came north on the Erie Canal
to Syracuse, NY where he probably was approached by a French-speaking agent
for George Parish, the large landowner of Oswego County, NY. He was
encouraged to buy land at Colosse, an area of Mexico with a sizeable French
Catholic population. There were few Catholics in the county with
which to make common cause. He may have brought his wife Sophie with
him to the US.
On 23 September 1846 Francis was naturalized a US citizen. His witnesses
were Frederick Baldwin and Francis LeClare, both of Mexico. LeClare
was the leader of the French Protestants in Colosse. With LeClare
as his friend, the suggestion was strong that German/Germain had made friends
with the larger community and was adjusting into his new country.
A French Catholic church St. Ann’s was erected in the mid-1840’s on French
Street atop lot 156. This church operates to this day. In the
summers it offers mass on Sundays. There are still some burials in
The spelling German was used for Francis in his naturalization papers and
in the 1850 census. The enumeration for his family:
This spelling of the name seemed not
to have been used further.
German, Francis 46
farmer $2000 France
All the tombstones at the St. Ann’s churchyard were transcribed using the
spelling Germain. Selina/Celenie married ca. 1866 Joseph Larobardiere,
another large French Catholic family, but their life together was brief.
They had one child born in 1867, Selina Larobardiere. The mother
Selina died in 1867. Her father Francis died in 1869. They
were both buried at St. Ann’s. Francis’s wife Sophia was destined
to live a much longer life.
Daughter Eliza Germain wed Alexis Courbat born in Switzerland of Swiss
parents in August 1840. He was the son of Anthony Courbat, a weaver.
Anthony and his family came to the US in 1845, settling in West Monroe
with his wife Margaret Purgrey. Their children were Alexis, Joseph,
John M. and Mary. This family removed to Hastings in 1865 onto a
In 1861 Alexis and Eliza Germain married on the farm on which the family
lived to 1895. Their children were Frank, born in 1863; Otis, born
in 1870 and Emma, born in 1880.
Joseph Courbat, Alexis’ brother, born in May 1842, lived at first in West
Monroe. In 1886 he moved to Mallory near his married sister Mary
(Courbat) Piquett. Joseph erected a saw, grist and planning mill.
He became the area’s largest manufacturer and dealer in lumber. In
1862 he had wed Mary Ann Piquett, daughter of Peter Piquett of Cicero.
Their children were Charles, George, Frank and Octavia. Charles still
lived at West Monroe in 1895.
By 1880 Alexis Courbat still resided in Hastings, NY. The Hasting
Sophia Germain died at age 79 in 1891. Anthony Courbat died in 1889,
age 83. Eliza (Germain) Courbat passed away in 1904, age 62.
Alexis died in 1908, age 60. They were all interred at St. Ann’s.
40 Switzerland farmer
Jerman [sic] Sophia
65 France mother-in-law
Selina Larobardiere wed James
Tackley from another French Catholic family. Their children were
Lulu Tackley who wed John Carl Miller; Ethel Tackley; Hazel Tackley who
wed Adrian Leon Bourlier; Frances Tackley who married Clayton C. Rio; Marion
Tackley who married Carl Larrabee; and George Tackley who wed Raymond Nellis.
Georgie died in 9 May 1981.
Joseph Courbat was still alive in 1920 at age 77. In 1930 another Courbat,
Otis, son of Alexis and Eliza resided at Jefferson, Butler Co., Iowa.
He was 60 years old, a farmer. The 1930 Jefferson census said:
Courbat, Otis F. 60 farmer NY
The 1895 Iowa State Census listed Otis, age 25 in Albion, Butler Co., Iowa.
His wife was called Ida, age 25, born in NY. They traveled west through
Illinois where they had a daughter Zellie, age 2 in 1895, living in Albion.
Otis died in 1938. He was buried in the Riverside Cemetery at Shell
*Rita likely was a second wife.
Special thanks are due to Carol
Gass who so kindly shared some of her research.
Cemetery Census of the Town of Mexico,
Oswego County, New York. Mexico: Mexico Historical Society, 1984.
Churchill, John C. Landmarks of
Oswego County, New York. Syracuse: Mason, 1895.
Iowa. Secretary of State.
State Census, 1895. (LDS microfilm #1020336).
Iowa Cemetery Records. Available
[online] http://ancestry.com [16
N.Y. Oswego Co. Card File
Naturalization Papers. (LDS microfilm #1010069).
U.S. Census, Jefferson, Butler Co.,
U.S. Census, Hastings, Oswego
Co., NY 1880 & 1920.
U.S. Census, Mexico, Oswego
Co., NY 1850.
WorldConnect Project. Available
[16 December 2003].
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Dec. 2003 Esther Rancier
Dec. 2003 Carol Gass
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