Haitian Slave Historical Story Book
Pages from book with Bordeaux

History of Modeste Testas

*(Written In French ONLY. English version coming soon.)*

Notes from the author: Lorraine Manuel Steed

This book is not a novel or a history book, it is the narrative of an investigation that I conducted for 15 years to follow the path of my ancestors; those who arrived in the 18th century in Saint Domingue, now Haiti. My interest was on a young Abyssinian slave named Al Pouessi, later baptized Marthe Adelaïde Modeste Testas by her french master from Bordeaux, François Testas.

With the clues left to us by my grandmother Simone Boucard Rouzier and the writings of her grandfather, General President François Denys Légitime, himself the grandson of Modeste Testas, I was able to go back in time and better understand our history. I share with the reader my journey as an investigator through family papers, archives, meetings with historians, researchers, and professors, and how I brought my ancestor’s story to light.

Notes from Dr. Carole Lemee, anthropologist, lecturer, and professor at Bordeaux University, France.

Lorraine Manuel Steed, a Haitian designer, was born in Haiti where she lives today with her family. She presents in this book the result of a meticulous work of investigation and research: the reconstitution of the story of her East African ancestor known as Modeste Testas, based on oral and written history from her family, and her own research. According to Manuel Steed’s family story, Modeste Testas was born in 1765 in East Africa and died in 1870 in Jérémie, at the age of 105. Modeste Testas, originally Al Pouessi (or Al Bouessi ) according to the phonetic transcription related by her grandson, was torn as a young girl from her native land and her family to be sold, bought, and enslaved at the end of the 18th century. She was sent to Saint Domingue, now Haiti, to a French colonist, François Testas, owner of a plantation in Jérémie, where they produced sugar and cotton which they shipped to Bordeaux for their trade.

 

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