The Didier Family of Prairie du Rocher Illinois

Our country, which has been called the melting-pot of nations, has received citizens from every quarter of the known world. All races and peoples have sent their representatives to swell the numbers of our population. And of all these nations none has done more for America than France. Who can ever forget that it was the courageous Frenchmen who first penetrated the wilds of the new world, and, not content with a mere sailing along the coast, ascended its rivers and explored the interior of an unknown and dreaded wilderness? They settled vast areas such as the Mississippi Valley, which was for centuries a New France. Nor could the subsequent waves of emigration from the eastern states entirely obliterate this French civilization, which survives to this day in many names and customs found throughout the Middle West. Mr. Paulin Didier was one of those Frenchman who came to Illinois during the last century.

He was born in France on December 26, 1845, and emigrated with his parents in 1847. The family settled in Cahokia, then a thriving city. With the decline of importance of Cahokia, the elder Didier left that place in 1854 and secured a farm in the vicinity of Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. Here they remained, and here the parents died in 1888. The son, who had lived with his parents all this time, now came into possession of the farm, which consisted of 85 acres. Under his care the soil yielded plentifully, and as a result his prosperity increased, until he became known as one of the most successful farmers of the district. He died a wealthy man, his death occurring in 1907 on the eleventh of March.

Mrs. Didier was before her marriage, Miss Leonline Bige. Her father was the well-known Lawrence Gige 1, a farmer of Prairie du Rocher. She was born here on March 10, 1858, and had her education in the parochial school. Upon leaving school she lived in the home of her parents, where she became a master of the various household arts and learned all that must be known by the farmer’s wife, which is indeed not a little. It was her perfection in this respect which contributed much toward the success of her husband. No children were born to this couple. Since the death of her husband Mrs. Didier has continued to reside upon the farm, which has been rented. She reserves a part of the farm for the raising of chickens, which is her favorite occupation, and to which she devotes all of her time.Citations:

  1. We are uncertain as to the correct spelling of this last name, it appears as both Bige and Gige in the original manuscript[]

Bige, Didier, Gige,

Theodore P. Memoirs of a French Village: A Chronicle of Old Prairie du Rocher, 1722-1972.

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