Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dr. Jean Burel - From Ollioules, France to Germantown, PA

Jean Baptiste Elzear Burel was born in France, the son of Jacques Burel, born circa 1732, and Madeleine Francoise Portalis Burel, born May 1731. Baptized on November 1, 1757, in the Church of St. Laurent, likely just a few days after his birth, Jean was the only one of his parents' children to survive infancy. Present at his baptism and named as his godparents were Elzeard de Flotte, son of Jean Baptiste de Flotte, and his father’s sister, Marie Anne Burel. Although there is no evidence to prove the fact, Jean was likely given his third name of "Elzear" at the time of his baptism to honor Elzeard de Flotte, his godfather.

By family tradition, Jean was destined to be trained in the medical field. For five generations, his Burel paternal ancestors had been apothecaries, and several of his cousins had been medical students at the University of Montpelier, approximately 100 miles west of Ollioules. Living near Toulon, on the Mediterranean coast, some of Jean's male relatives had also been involved in the merchant trade for years. At the time of Jean's birth, his own father was the commander of a merchant ship.

Jean Buel followed tradition and enrolled in the University of Montpellier, Section of Medicine, in France, where he graduated in 1770. In 1775, Dr. Burel was licensed by the Masters of Surgery at Marseilles to serve as a physician on merchant ships. According to some accounts, Dr. Burel sailed to the colonies with Lafayette as a member of the French Royale Marines and served in some medical capacity, allegedly at Yorktown, during the Revolutionary War. Years later, when Dr. Burel's widow filed for a pension based on her husband's service in the war, no records of his service were found, and her application was denied.

After the war, Dr. Burel settled in Philadelphia, where he was counted in the census taken in 1780, living in the Germantown area with the occupation of "
physician." According to “Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia,” available on Google Books, “John Burelle a native of France” married Patience Hannah Bird, on February 22, 1785, without publication of the banns. Witnesses: Luke Pea and Catharine Boudrot." In 1790, in the census taken that same year, Dr. Burel was again enumerated in the Germantown area of Philadelphia.
Available records reviewed by family historians who have written about Jean Burel and Patience Bird establish that her parents were Jonathan Bird and Marie-Blanche (Ebair) Hebert. Blanche was Acadian and had been deported to Philadelphia from Nova Scotia by the British in 1755, with her first husband Jacques Cellier, and their children. Jacques died, and on July 1, 1761, she married Jonathan Bird. Interestingly, records show that Patience Bird and Jean Burel were married by Father Farmer, rector at St. Joseph's Church, the same rector who had performed the marriage ceremony between her parents years earlier.

Marie-Blanche Hebert's parents were Louis Hebert dit Baguette and Anne-Marie Labauve. They were married May 18, 1722 in Port-Royal, Acadia, now known as Nova Scotia. Louis Hebert's parents were Antoine Hebert and Jeanne Corporon, who married about 1691. Antoine Hebert's parents were Etienne Hebert and Marie Gaudet, who married about 1650 in Port-Royal, Acadia.

The Burel/Burell/Burrell story will continue here tomorrow with "
Dr. John Burel Moves His Family to South Carolina."


E. D. Sloan,
privately published paper: "Jean Baptiste Elzeard Burel (Dr. John Burel): His Life, Ancestry, and Descendants."
Paquet, Bertrand: "Burel-Burrel-Burrell," published 2005
Consentino, Lucie LeBlanc: Information received from Stephen White, Genealogist, Center for Acadian Studies, Moncton University, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, supplied by to GenWeb Forum in message dated 09/27/07.

Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia," available on
Google Books, accessed March 24, 2009.

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