Marriage Record of François Perrotin and Catherine O’Grady

26 January 1860
Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana

This week marks the 152nd anniversary of the marriage between François Perrotin
 and Catherine O’Grady (also known as Catherine Grady), on January 26, 1860, in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Here is a copy of their Certificate of Marriage.  A transcription follows, along with a short background of a legendary Catholic priest who united the couple in Holy Matrimony.

State of Louisiana   }
Parish of Caddo      }
I hereby certify that on the 26th day of Jany 1860, I being a minister of the Gospel and authorized to celebrate the bonds of matrimony have celebrated the marriage between François Perrotin and C. Grady in the presence of the undersigned witnesses.
François Perrotin
Catherine Grady       X her Mark
Nancy Pettiss                                                                                
A Cook                                                                                                 
J P. Brinck                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Recorded 9th
(illegible) 1860
            Shreveport the 26th of January 1860, I the undersigned J. Pierre, Catholic parish of Shreveport have joined in holy and lawful wedlock after license of the Court has been obtained Mr. F. Perrotin and Wife Catherine Grady.  In testimony thereof its parties François Perrotin, Catherine O’Grady, N. (illegible)     A. G. Cook, Prof. Dr. Casiez Cte, Beaumont have hereunto affixed their names. 
                                                                                                J. Pierre
                                                                                                C. V.

What the Record Tells Us

According to this record, François and Catherine were no youngsters when they were married.  He was 42; she was 25 – a bit older than the typical brides of the time.  The priest’s  notation that Catherine signed her name with an X, “her mark”  suggests she could not read and write.  That would not be unusual for a young girl who fled dire poverty during the Great Irish Potato Famine.

There were three witnesses to the marriage: Nancy Pettiss, A. Cook, and J.P. Brinck.

A. Cook was Albert George Cook.  He was a grocery merchant in Shreveport who was a friend of François’.  He may also have been his employer, as François was a baker at the time. Martha “Nancy” Pettiss was the mother of his fiancée, Sally Gurney. 

I found J.P. Brinck in the United States 1860 Census.  He was a 34-year-old boot and shoe manufacturer from Norway, married and the father of five young children who ranged in age from six months to eight years old.  Another record lists him as Johannes Petter Brinck.  The census shows his wife’s initials were C.E.  She was a milliner, so she might have known or even worked with Catherine, a seamstress.

Father John Pierre, French Missionary

“J. Pierre” was Father John Pierre, the founding pastor of Holy Family Church, the first Catholic church in Shreveport.  As a seminarian in France, Pierre had been recruited by Bishop Augustus Martin of the then-new Diocese of Natchitoches to do missionary work.  He arrived there in 1854.  On his ordination date one year later, Bishop Martin appointed Father Pierre as pastor of the first parish of the diocese, Holy Apostles.  When he became aware that the Catholic families in the nearby city of Shreveport had no priests or places to worship,  Father Pierre persuaded the bishop to let him expand his missionary work. He bought land on the corner of Fannin and Marshall Streets in Shreveport, where he built a small wood frame church (the first in Shreveport) in 1856.  He replaced it with a larger brick church three years later.  This was Holy Family Church, where he likely married François and Catherine.

Father John Pierre, center
Thirteen years later (and long after  François and Catherine had departed Shreveport), the beloved Father Pierre died of yellow fever due to ministering tirelessly to those afflicted by the 1873 epidemic.* It was a sad day for the people of Shreveport, who had known Father Pierre as a tireless evangelizer for the Church and a devoted minister to the sick.  Another priest of the time, Father Joseph Gentille, wrote of Father Pierre, “His death was a public calamity.  He was loved and esteemed by all.”  

In a fateful coincidence, yellow fever would go on to claim the life of the Perrotin’s only son, Francisco, some 26 years later in Orizaba, Mexico.

* Because of Father Pierre’s heroic efforts and those of four other Catholic priests who gave their lives while ministering to the sick during the 1873 Yellow Fever Epidemic, the Vatican approved the path to sainthood for all five in 2020.

Copyright (C) 2023  Linda Huesca Tully

4 Thoughts to “Marriage Record of François Perrotin and Catherine O’Grady

  1. You have a fabulous blog … well written and tender. I'm not even a relative and have really enjoyed reading.
    –GiGi at

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to your blog, which I learned of through Geneabloggers. I particularly value your introduction of yourself on the sidebar, and can so relate to that–even though we have totally different family stories.

    I noticed, in your earlier posts, that you made mention of the Italian internment during WWII, an egregious event that I only recently became aware of.

    Thank you for your thoughtful presentation of your family's memories!

  3. …by the way, I just noticed your last name is Tully! My husband's line has Tully roots, too, so maybe I'm a bit too hasty in assuming we wouldn't have any connections. Let's explore that, shall we?

  4. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill 😉
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"

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