7.3) Teresa Caroline Wills, daughter of Frederick Wills, was born in Maryland around 1810/1815. Her ages are given as 29 in the 1850 census, 38 in 1860, 70 in 1880, 80 at death in 1889. In the 1830 census, there are two young women in the house (one aged 15-19, one 20-29). Whichever one Theresa Caroline is, she would have been born before 1815. Also in 1830, she was already the godmother for a son of George and Sophie Miller. Furthermore her name Teresa suggests that Teresa Hamilton Wills (Frederick’s first wife) was her mother. A date before 1815 would also explain why she had only one child (born 1850) after her late marriage.
In 1832, Mary H. Wills in Maryland bequeathed $200 to her niece “Caroline Wills of Louisiana”.
In 1848, “Terese Caroline Wills, of Grand Coteau, Louisiana” married “Peter Follain of France” in Washington City, on Wednesday 27th Sept. by Rev. Thomas Foley” (Nat. Intell. 9/28/1848). Fr. Foley was then associated with St. Patrick’s Church in Washington; he is famous for later being the bishop in Chicago during the great fire there.
Pierre Follain had been born in France around 1825. He went to Louisiana to the seminary on Bayou LaFourche (now Plattenville) in 1846 or 1847 with the intention of being a priest. (There is a bill dated July 1847 to Fr. Stephen Rousselon in Paris for the cash Follain was given in France, probably for travel costs; at the Univ. Notre Dame Archives). But something must have quickly gone wrong because a few months later he was forced to stop his preparation for the priesthood, as we learn from a letter he wrote to Bishop Anthony Blanc in New Orleans from the Assumption Seminary in Louisiana (Sept 7, 1847; letter in the Univ. Notre Dame Archives). The letter in French explains the following: Follain thanks the bishop for his kindness and asking for help. He is entering a world he scarcely knows. He has no friends or acquaintances except the bishop and the Superior of the Seminary. Where will he go on leaving the seminary? What can he do? He has two francs and six sous in French money. Cannot the bishop help him? He has committed faults but he is not depraved. He likes to teach and could have a class in Latin or French, anything except mathematics. If he could enter a college or good boarding school he could teach while learning. It is impossible for him to decide to give up the idea of the ecclesiastical state.
Apparently, Bishop Blanc agreed to let him teach, because on Sept. 18, the seminary superior Fr. Masnou wrote to the bishop that Mr. Follain is applying himself well. On Oct. 21, the superior wrote to the bishop as follows: Mr. Follain left today from the seminary to go down to the city. Fr. Masnou told him that it was not prudent and that he would do better to stay until next month. He replied that his position was too uncertain. He has been ill almost always since he came to the seminary, with an unpleasant illness. Everyone else is well at the seminary. Masnou believes it would be better if the young man did not return to the seminary; however he has nothing to say against him.
A few months later, P. Follain wrote to Fr. Stephen Rousselon of New Orleans (Jan. 1848?) stating that he made a retreat at Spring Hill and put his affairs in order. Although he is going through New Orleans, he is sorry he cannot see Rousselon and asks Rousselon to tell the Bishop of his gratitude toward him (Univ. Notre Dame Archives). Later in 1848, Pierre Follain and Jean Bellocq, were merchants operating under the name Follain and Bellocq (contract).
In only a few years, Follain had gone from being a Frenchman intent on the priesthood, to a seminary in rural Louisiana, to wandering for help, to marriage in Washington DC, then back to Louisiana as a teacher. And his adventures were hardly over.
After their marriage, the couple went back to Grand Coteau and took up residence next to her brothers Justin and Stanislaus. Soon a son was born: Ernest Justinien Follain in 1850.
But a decade later, they had moved again — this time to Galveston, Texas. Starting in May 1860, issues of the Union, the Galveston German newspaper, ran an advertisement for “Doctor P. Follain — From Paris, late of Louisiana— Office: Tremont street, two doors north of Hannay’s Drugstore, upstairs.” How he had obtained medical training is not clear, but he had some clients, as a receipt paid to Dr. P. Follain from Fred Delabarre, Aug. 14, 1860 survives (Rosenberg Library folder 4946). The couple P. “Forley” (36, physician born in France) and his wife Caroline (38, born in Maryland) are recorded in the 1860 census in Galveston, Texas, living beside a few other Frenchmen. There were no children in the household, so Ernest was probably at school somewhere in Louisiana.
But we know they maintained property in Louisiana during the civil war (perhaps they returned home when the war broke out), because in 1883 Caroline won compensation from the French and American Claims Commission, which handled claims made by French citizens living in Southern states (like Pierre Follain) for damages done by Federal troops:
Claim 252: Caroline Follain, “Cotton, horses etc, taken by order of Lieut. Col. Sargent and Lieut. Conlin, April & May1863, St. Landry Parish, La.”, amount claimed $93,400 with interest. Award made Oct. 14,1884; principal $11,274.74 at 5 percent from April 1, 1864; interest: $11,270.74; total: $22,542.48 [FACC Report, 1885, Exec. Order 235. p. 166-167]
It is not clear when Pierre Follain died, but already in 1880, the widowed Caroline Follain was living with her brother Justin Wills back in St. Landry Parish. The church registers record that Caroline Wills died at Grand Coteau on 19 Oct. 1889 aged 80, but the court records give 17 Oct 1889. However, her estate was only closed in 1904 (which should be looked into).
Theresa Caroline Wills and Pierre Follain had only one known child:
7.3.1) Ernest Justinien Follain, b. 21 November 1850. [Died 3 August 1877 -? Check]. His middle name Justinian had a long history in the Wills family, including his mother’s brother Justin.