Author to discuss her book, “The Girardeaus” Sunday in Cape Girardeau

CAPE GIRARDEAU – Cape Girardeau Author Charlotte Young Slinkard will make a presentation Sunday at 2 p.m. at the History Center, 102 S. High on her new book, “The Girardeaus: An Eighteenth-Century French Colonial Family in Upper Louisiana.”


Admission is free and the presentation is open to the public.


Refreshments will be served.


Slinkard is a native of Cape Girardeau, Missouri and a sixth generation Missourian.


She has a pronounced interest in history and belongs to numerous hereditary and historic societies. She has served on the Cape Girardeau Historic Preservation Commission and is presently on the Board of Directors of the Cape Girardeau Heritage Museum, serving as curator. She was national president of the National Society United States Daughters of 1812 and during her term of office, developed the society’s War of 1812 Museum in Washington, DC.

She received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts from Southeast Missouri State University. A former teacher, she taught eight years in the Missouri public schools and did substitute teaching in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

She and her husband Bill, have one son, one grandson, one granddaughter, and a newly arrived great-grandson.

French Colonials In Upper Louisiana

Between the autumn of 1717 and the spring of 1721 more than 7,000 French citizens, civilians and military personnel, were transported to France’s embryonic colonial empire known as Louisiana. 


Among them, Jean Baptiste Girardeau.


The Girardeau story, uncovered in rare, obscure, and seldom-consulted eighteenth century official records, administrative correspondence, and army muster rolls, as well as ecclesiastical documents, recounts new and startling insights drawn from two continents.


Covering two generations that span nearly a century, it is an epic account of the fortunes and misfortunes of four major characters: Jean Baptiste Girardeau, born in Moulins, France, in 1684, his Canadienne wife, Thèrése Nepveu, and their two Illinois-born sons, Jean Pierre and Pierre Girardeau.


All three men were officers in the Compagnies Franches de la Marine, France’s elite overseas army.


The older of the Girardeau sons, Jean Pierre, was born in Kaskaskia in 1723, and was a complex individual who as a fur trader skillfully interacted with the Indigenous people and was conversant in their native tongues.


Although French, he had sufficient command of the English language to maintain a strong diplomacy with the newly-arrived influx of British and Anglo-Americans.


During the fragile and often chaotic years of French colonialism in Upper Louisiana, Jean Pierre Girardeau survived the French and Indian War, endured the British and Spanish occupations of the Mississippi River Valley, and lastly witnessed the birth of the United States of America. His legacy lives on in the name of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, a city located south of St. Louis on the Mississippi River, now well into its third century of existence.