This letter from Grandpa to his sister, Elsie May Guion, included news of the death and funeral of a close family friend which I will not include, and the very interesting Biography of their Grandmother, Clara Maria de los Delores Marina de Beck Guion. The story begins with Clara’s Grandmother, Juana Cadoret and will fill the entire week.
The original Journal compiled by Florence Gay Osborne
The following bit of family history concerning our grandmother, Clara de Beck Guion, was compiled by my first cousin, Mrs. Florence Gay Osborne, daughter of my Father’s sister, Clara Guion Gay, about 1893. Since then, cousin Florence has died.
Alfred D. Guion
July 8, 1940
BIOGRAPHY OF CLARA MARIA DE LOS DOLORES MARINA DE BECK GUION
Clara Maria de los Dolores Marina de Beck Guion was a descendent of Mons. Jean Cadoret, a wealthy French nobleman who, about the middle of the 18th century, married Mademoiselle Juana _____________, a widow, whose parents belonged to the nobility of Spain. She (Juana) was probably born in Castile, and when she was seven years of age was betrothed to a Spanish nobleman, many years her senior.
Juana took no pains to conceal the dislike she entertained for her future husband, in spite of his many gifts to her.
On one occasion, she prepared for his next visit to her by filling the seat of the cushioned chair with pins, pointing upward. When he called, the little Juana received him with unusual cordiality – to his great gratification – ushered him into the drawing room and offered him a chair, running quickly away without waiting for him to seat himself, which he did, rising with the utmost haste and with an angry protest to his perspective mother-in-law. The mortified lady ordered the child to be brought into the room, but she was not to be found until a prolonged search revealed her hiding place under a heap of charcoal. To be obliged to appear with face, hands and once white dress in a pitiable plight, was sufficient punishment for the dainty lady who no doubt repented of her misdoings.
Her married life with this gentleman was none too happy, and his early death left her a childless widow.
Mons. Jean Cadoret had been sent into Spain, probably as the Minister from France, where he married Juana and took her to France. Six children were born to them: Katrine, Lorenzo, Francis, Jeanne, Frederick and Josephine, the youngest, who was born in Brittany on June 13, 1780.
Her three sons had been sent to England to be educated. Lorenzo, the eldest, was studying for the ministry in the Church of England. Francis began the study of medicine, but the sight of blood always caused him to faint and he was obliged to give up his studies.
The page with the story of Jean Cadoret’s death
Close-up of the drawing of a guillotine in the original journal
During the French Revolution, Jean Cadoret, who was an ardent Royalist, while at a public dinner, expressed himself in strong terms in favor of the King. Upon leaving the banquet hall he was met by a gendarme, who, saying “Monsieur est mon prisonier”, hurried him off to prison. He never saw his home again, but after lying in prison for several months, was guillotined. His wife and daughters made several visits to him but they were in danger of arrest and were secreted by friends in a sort of tower near Paris. As soon as possible, arrangements were made for Mme. Juana Cadoret to flee from France. She was concealed in a Cracker Barrel, cushioned and lined, let down secretly from a window and hurried on board a vessel bound for Cuba, where she would be safe under the flag of her native land. She had in Havana, a cousin, the wife of Tacon, a wealthy slave owner, and afterward Governor of Cuba. Mme. Juana Cadoret made a home for herself and in a year sent for her children.
Tomorrow and for the rest of the week, I will continue to post the fascinating story of three very strong women, my Great-Great Grandmother, Clara Maria de los Delores Marina de Beck Guion, her Mother, Josephine (Cadoret) de Beck, and her Grandmother, Juana Cadoret.