A History of city of Vincennes, Indiana, from 1702-1901
JOHN F. BAYARD.
He was born in Grenoble, France, September 11, 1786. He enlisted in the French army and became an officer in the Grand Army of the Empire under Bonaparte. He participated in the various campaigns and battles in which the Grand Army took part. He fortunately passed through the ordeal unhurt. When the Emperor abdicated in 1815, he resigned his commission in the army and received an honorable discharge. He then determined to leave France and come to the United States. He applied for and received permission from the authorities to emigrate. He came to this country and settled for brief periods in different places. He finally came to Vincennes about 1820, and permanently located. He married here, Mary Ann Boneau in 1823, and became the father of a large family, six daughters and three sons. The children all married. Susan married M. A. Pilard, Mary Louise married Prosper Eluere, Adelia married Marcelle D. Lacroix, Eleanor P. married Charles A. Weisert, Mary Elizabeth married Henry V. Somes and Margaret Clotilda married Henry S. Cauthorn. The three sons all became prominent and influential bank men. Samuel was president of the largest bank in Evansville at the time of his death. John Francis was a prominent bank man here until his death and Joseph L. Bayard is now president of the First National Bank of Vincennes, Indiana.
Mr. John F. Bayard was a successful business man and left a large estate. He was an exemplary and practical Catholic. He died February 13, 1853, and was buried in the Catholic cemetery.
Historical Sketches of Old Vincennes, founded in 1732
JOHN FRANCIS BAYARD.
Among the elder citizens living in Vincennes when the writer came here, more than half a century ago, was a French officer once counted among hosts the great Napoleon marshaled in battle array. John Francis Bayard was born under military environments at Grenoble, France, September 11, 1786, where there was an arm of the army. He was one of the soldiers who led the attack on Moscow, Russia, when the French army met a signal disaster. On the retreat he became so exhausted he fell by the wayside and but for following comrades would have perished there. Upon the downfall of his great commander he resigned his commission, emigrated to America in 1817, and finally settled in Vincennes. On July 7, 1823, he married Miss Mary Ann Boneau, a member of a prominent Pioneer family, which emigrated here from Canada. He engaged in merchandizing and during most of his life lived in a frame house on the corner of Main and Third streets. His wife having inherited much land acquired under the commandant, St. Ange, during his reign here, he raised much produce, which, with pelfry taken in his store, he sold in New Orleans and at other points on the Mississippi river. He was successful in business. He was unobtrusive and kindest in manner, but proved a good financier, a faculty that seems to have been bequeathed to his sons. He died rather prematurely, on February 14, 1853, leaving his beloved consort to care for and raise nine children; but she proved equal to the task imposed by Providence. Mrs. Bayard was a remarkable personage, modest, gentle, yet assertive when occasion required; petite in stature, but was fairly active, though afflicted with heart disease for many years, at the age of ninety, at her demise. The impress she and her husband made upon their children, and the town for good, has been quite notable. All of their sons became bankers. The eldest, Samuel, commencing as deputy clerk in the Knox County Circuit Court; but he soon relinquished that office to become a clerk in the Evansville branch of the Old State Bank of Indiana in 1851, and so proficient did he prove,in November of the same year he was promoted to be teller and held the position until the bank went into final liquidation. The old bank having lived its appointed time he was made cashier of the Bank of the State of Indiana, and in 1865, when the national banking system was inaugurated, that bank was reorganized under the name of the Evansville National Bank, which continued under that name until 1885, when it assumed the name of the Old National Bank. Upon the reorganization of this Bank Mr. Bayard was promoted to the presidency of it.
Although Mr. Bayard was a self-made man he became one of the most influential citizens of his city. He was a generous donor to all charities and proved a wise counselor and promoter of all public enterprises inaugurated to benefit the town's interest, and when he died, September 3, 1898, he was sincerely mourned and has been since held in remembrance by the general public.
The second son, John F., was a successful banker, but died early in life. Joseph L., now a resident of the city, is the successful President of the prosperous First National Bank of Vincennes.
Of the daughters, Susan married M. A. Pilard ; Mary Louise, Prosper Eluere ; Adelia, Marcelle D. Lacroix; Eleanor P., Charles Weisert ; Mary Elizabeth, Ex-Mayor H. V. Somes, Sr. ; Margaret Clotilda, H. S. Cauthorn, Esq., all yet living in this city.