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BESIDE BOLIVAR: The Edecán Demarquet


Demarquet left numerous descendants, including most people of that name in Latin America. But tracing his genealogy is complicated by several factors, starting with his exact name.

He is often referred to as “Charles Eloi Demarquet” and himself signed certain letters as “C. E. Demarquet”. Yet on the marriage certificate for his daughter Petrona he notes that “it is by mistake that he was named Carlos Eloi on his daughter's birth certificate instead of his only first name Eloi”. This raises the question of his possibly being confused with one of his sons, Eloi. But not only does the same person identify himself as Bolivar's former aide, the family tombstone is titled “Family of Colonel Eloy Demarquet.” Also, Boussingault, as quoted at the start, refers to him as "Demarquet (Eloi)" (bearing in mind that he was writing in Paris, well after Demarquet's return there.) Too, it would have been unusual for a Frenchman of his time not to have had a middle name, and more likely one related to a near ancestor.

Absent an explanation of this documented discrepancy, only speculation remains. One possibility is that, in arriving in South America, he was somehow nicknamed Charles and that the name became his while he was there. Or that, as a Frenchman fighting for another country, he himself adopted it to throw off the French authorities? Another – less likely in a time without mass communications – might be that he was avoiding creditors late in life. At any rate, there is strong evidence in his earlier life for his being named “Charles Eloi” (with all variants) and equally strong evidence later in life for his being named, simply, “Eloy”.

Then there is the difference between records both within Ecuador and with those in France. Several Ecuadorian sources list only three children: Charles, Eloi, and Sofia. This would correspond to his two first names (as known in Ecuador) and his mother's name. Birthdays are not given for these three, though in a time of limited contraception one might very tentatively guess that the first births followed the wedding in 1823 or 1924. But the baptismal records of the cathedral in Quito list three other daughters: Petrona Mercedes Clara Paulina Hipolita (July 4, 1827), Maria Genoveva Eloisa (July 29, 1829) and Joséfina Felicidad Eloisa Isabel (November 19, 1831). These dates would allow for three other children to have been born between 1823 and 1827 – that is, again, within the few years following the marriage (say, in 1824, 1825, and 1826).

During those years, he passed through various cities including Lima, Bogotá and Otovalo and, even if his wife was not always with him, his oldest children might have been born in a number of places other than Quito. But it is curious that the same sources that list them never mention their younger siblings (though the two youngest daughters very probably died at young ages; they are not mentioned again in either country.)

These same records, by the way, list the godparents for the three girls: for Petrona, her own grandmother, Carmen Gomez de la Torres; for Maria, her maternal aunt Mercedes (her mother's youngest sister); and for Josefina, her maternal uncle by marriage, José Maria Saenz – who apparently was reintegrated into the family's good graces after having been arrested the year before (if indeed Demarquet was unhappy at all with his attempts to disrupt the accession of Florès).

The children's names also reflect several of those on their mother's side. Her older siblings were: Daniel, Josefa, Virginia, Amalia, Ignacia, Juana, and Alegria; Mercedes was the youngest Boletin de la Academia Nacional de Historia, 1920 March-April IV:298. Some no doubt reflect the father's relations (most as yet unknown) as well. Note that the three oldest children probably also had multiple middle names, even if these seem to have fallen away in second-hand records.

In France, matters are complicated right off by the fact that many records were burned under the Commune and had to be recovered in the most minimal form (which may be why, for instance, the date of the death of Demarquet's wife remains uncertain.) It is also true that there is no reason birth information would have been recorded there for children born in Ecuador. It is not surprising then that in France Petrona's marriage certificate (August 14, 1860) and the death certificates for her and a third brother are the only records to be found.

This leaves the slight mystery of where the last brother was born. Eloi Daniel Joséph Isidore Demarquet is noted at his first son's birth (November 16, 1872) as being 34, the death of his wife's grandfather (April 27, 1874) and at his daughter's birth (August 18, 1874) as being 36, at his sister's death (August 8, 1876) as being 37, at his last son's birth (August 17, 1881) and at his own death (December 3, 1881) as being 44. By these dates he seems to have been born in either 1837 or 1838. Thecouple had probably moved to France at that point and so the youngest son may have been born in France (and his birth record destroyed by the Communards). He may well have shared a first name with his older brother; this is not unheard of in older families (especially with the father's name). But did the older brother have other, distinguishing first names? Or is this – less probably – the same Eloi mentioned in Ecuadorian records (and said to have died – unlike this person – a bachelor)?

The most probable hypothesis is that Charles, Eloi, Sofia, Petrona, Genoveva and Joséfina were born (in that order) in Ecuador and that a last son, Eloi Daniel, was born in France. If the parents did indeed move to France before 1837, then the first six children – ranging from roughly thirteen down to six – would (if all survived long enough) have had both Ecuadorian and French childhoods. Eloi Daniel would have been brought up purely French.

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