Arcene PICHEREAU is a well-known citizen of
Marshall county, and is now living a retired life in
the city of Lacon.
He was one of a colony of fifteen persons who left Leman, France,
in 1833, for the new world. This colony was fitted out by one of
Napoleon’s old captains, a nobleman of
France, named Louis De GUILBERT, and sailed
from Havre for New Orleans.
It was the intention of the colony to locate in
Tennessee, but the promises held out by the
Tennessee agents were not fulfilled, and hearing of
the condition of Illinois after the Black Hawk war, it was
decided to try that favored country. Arriving at
St. Louis, the colony secured passage on the steamer
“Bee” up the Illinois river to Pekin. De GUILBERT
selected a site at Black Partridge, where he erected a saw and
grist mill that he had brought from
Paris, and set his little colony to work.
Some seven years later the colony scattered and De GUILBERT
himself settled in Tazewell county, and became an industrious
farmer, where he died some fifteen years later, and was soon
followed by his wife. Their son, Louis D GUILBERT, now resides
on Richland creek, Woodford county, and with our
subject is the only survivor of that little colony.
The mill at Black Partridge furnished Lumber for the
market. That place was then known as
Clark, and was not much like the Peoria of to-day. The mill
did a good business, people hauling their logs to it for
twenty-five or thirty miles around. It was known as the French
Another well-known person who came to
on the same vessel bringing the colony was John B. DUCHESNE. He
had been educated for the priesthood, but was married in St. Louis, and reared a family, of whom three
sons served in the army during the civil war. He also located
near Black Partridge, abut later came to
county, finally locating on Coon creek, but spending his last
days in Lacon, dying in 1893.
Jaque PICHEREAN, the father of our subject, was a day
laborer. His wife and daughter died of cholera at New Orleans soon after
landing from the vessel. He subsequently married Mrs. ROCK, who
resided near Metamora, and surviving her, late in life married
another estimable lady. He first located at Black Partridge,
where he resided until advanced in years, when he removed to
Lacon, and there died in 1875, in his ninety-third year. The
only surviving member of the family is our subject.
Mr. PICHEREAU, of whom we now write, was a lad of eleven
years when the colony came to the Untied States. When twelve
years old he commenced work at the carpenter’s trade. He scored
and hewed timber, helped put up log cabins, and made clapboards
for the roof. When no work was to be had at his trade he made
rails, and was an expert at the business. In 1836, he says, he
had all the work that he could do in fencing gardens with
palings, that kind of work being in great demand. In winter he
would make ox bows and sleds, which had a ready sale. In 1838
there was a great demand for shingles, the people but then
commencing to use shingle roofs. He would hew the rafters and
rim out the slats on which to nail the shingles. About this time
the people also began to use clapboard siding, and in due time
to have frame houses. Mr. PICHEREAU, with other carpenters, was
obliged to hew all the framing timbers, and it can be surmised
the frames would be strong. He remained with his father at Black
Partridge until 1839, when he came to Marshall county. He left
the colony because of a desire to become better acquainted with
the English language. He liked the Americans and their ways and
wished for a time to live among them.
On coming to Marshall county, he secured work with Colonel
John STRAWN, who paid “clean cash,” about the only man in the
county that did so. He made forty-five thousand shingles for him
and helped frame the large barn on his place, which is one
hundred and twenty feet long and forty feet wide. He made the
greater part of the siding used and helped nail on the
clapboards. The barn was erected under the superintendency of
Deusel HOLLAND, who was a good carpenter. The shingles used on
this barn stood the wind and weather for fifty-two years, the
south side being re-shingled in 1896. After working for Mr.
STRAWN for nearly seven years, he married his youngest daughter.
Levicia STRAWN, the first white child born in Marshall county; the wedding ceremony was
performed October 8, 1846. He then commenced farming on his own
account, and soon had his place cleared, which yet remains in
his possession. It is located near the old Strawn farm, in
township, and is regarded as one of the best in that locality.
Here he lived from 1846 until 1865, when he removed to Lacon.
While residing there for some years he engaged in the grain
trade with fair success, also in the grocery business for about
twelve years. In 1874 his wife died, leaving the following
children: Victorine, now the wife of Joseph WALLACE, of
Kansas; Arcene J., of
Iowa; Josephine, now the wife of Gus MOATZ, of
Kansas City, Missouri;
Acil, an attorney, of Chicago,
Illinois; Frank, of Fort Worth,
Texas, and Hortense, wife of Kenyon LEVOUS, of
Kansas City, Missouri.
For his second wife, Mr. PICHEREAU married Mrs. Maggie D.
ARNOLD, a native of Lacon, and a daughter of Henry L. CRANE, and
widow of Frank ARNOLD. By this union there is one daughter, May.
By her first marriage, Mrs. PICHEREAU had one daughter, Laura,
wife of James HOWARD, of Lacon. Mr. CRANE, the father of our
subject’s wife, was a native of New Jersey, but came to
this county at a very early day – he was a popular and much
respected citizen, and served two terms as sheriff; he was one
of the best masons and builders in this section of the county.
After residing in Lacon a few years, Mr. PICHEREAU returned
to the farm, where he remained until 1885, when he again took up
his home in Lacon, where he has since continued to reside. His
career has been somewhat remarkable. Coming to this country a
very poor boy, he has worked hard and been rewarded with much of
this world’s goods. As a boy he was quick with tools, and for a
time was engaged as clerk in a furniture store. As a man his
strength was tremendous. At one time he lifted thirteen hundred
pounds on a pair of scales. In height he is full six feet, and
his weight has varied from two hundred to two hundred and
Mr. PICHEREAU has ever been a lover of liberty. Even as a
boy he rebelled against the demands of the Catholic church and
the priesthood, and has always been an admirer of Tom Paine and
Voltaire, and for what they stood in liberty and freedom from
priestly domination. The United States
has always been to him the home of the free, and he has ever had
an unbounded faith in its possibilities. He has been a man of
peace, and many quarrels have been settled by his intervention.
Powerful in physique, his blow would have felled an ox. He was a
dangerous enemy and outspoken in his views. A fluent
conversationalist, he could at any time entertain a crowd of
Extracted April 2011 by Norma Hass from
The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois,
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