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Friday, February 18, 2011

Horace Rondeau, a Rouster Remembered

     The above paragraph is from the Pope County Illinois, Herald Enterprise, 22 August 1901, article,'City of Golconda Sunk'.
     Horace Rondeau was a deckhand on the steamboat, City of Golconda when it was caught in straight line winds, or possibly a tornado on the evening of August 19, 1901. She flipped, submerging cabin and deck in the waters of the Ohio River near Paducah, Kentucky.   
     The other three colored men that drowned were Dee Jackson, George Washington, and George Stansbury. Possibly twenty-two persons of the estimated sixty aboard lost their lives when the steamship City of Golconda capsized in the furious storm. It was a tragedy that echoed across the nation. 
     Horace Rondeau was born about 1865 to Chess Rondeau and Cynthia Skelton. He was survived by his second wife Mary Hughes Rondeau. They were married November 8, 1889 in Hardin County, Illinois
The 1900 Census of Pope County, Illinois lists Horace Rondeau, age 33 born March 1867, Mary, his wife, age 23 born June 1876, Willie born July 1894, Mary L born June 1896, and Gracie born March 1899.
The widow, Mary Hughes Rondeau married secondly, John Collins 14 June 1904 in Hardin County Illinois. 
      Siblings of Horace Rondeau were Ann Rondeau McCallister, Jesse Rondeau,  Jefferson Davis Rondeau, also known as J.D.,  and Fannie Rondeau Barnett. J. D. Rondeau lived to the age of 91. He and his wife, Alice Fort are buried in the Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F) Cemetery in Golconda, Illinois. Descendants of this family migrated to Michigan. 
     Amidst the waters of the Ohio, and a part of Livingston County Kentucky is Rondeau Island, formerly owned by the Reverend William Rondeau (b.1779) and his wife, Ann Arkenstall of England. William Rondeau was a slave owner, and lived some years in New Orleans, Louisiana, while his wife managed the Rondeau estate. In correspondence with his wife, William Rondeau named two slaves, Philip and Patience. Ann Rondeau named five slaves, Toby, Peter, Sam, Eliza and July in her will, dated 5 June 1860, recorded 1 Aug 1866 Livingston County, Kentucky.  Local history and personal research suggests that Horace Rondeau, a rouster, was a descendent of the Rondeau slaves.

The New York Times, August 21, 1901
The Herald Enterprise, August 22, 1901
Hopkinsville, Kentuckian, Friday, Aug 23, 1901
Abstracts of Livingston County Kentucky Will Book A-B (1799-1873)
The Life and Times of William Rondeau: A backwoods preacher by Ron Nelson, 1979
1880, 1900 US Census record images (
Hardin County Illinois Marriage Register 1 (1884-1891, vol 1, page 58
Hardin County Illinois Marriages, Vol IV, page 128
Descendants of Chess Rondeau, a genealogy report by Valerie Thompson, 2010

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