The Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center provides resources to keep the Tribe’s history safe and accessible for generations to come. One key way the Nation does this is through the CHC’s archives and video interviews.
To highlight some of the archive’s holdings, the Hownikan is featuring photographs and family history of every founding Citizen Potawatomi family. If interested in assisting preservation efforts by providing copies of Citizen Potawatomi family photographs, documents and more, and to schedule family interviews, please contact the CHC at 405-878-5830.
Antoine (Anthony) Tescier, Sr., was born about 1820 in Canada. He married Catherine Bourbonnais in about 1844 in St. Joseph, Missouri, or possibly Council Bluffs, Iowa. Catherine was born in 1827 in Illinois. She was the daughter of Francois Bourbonnais and Catherine (Catish) Chevalier.
After the 1833 Treaty of Chicago, the family relocated to lands between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Eventually, treaty terms dictated their move to Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Anthony Sr. and Catherine were the parents of Ella, Louis and Anthony, Jr.
Again the U.S. government broke their promises and Potawatomi families like the Tesciers were eventually moved to the new Potawatomi reservation in Kansas. Catherine died in July of 1860 in Louisville, Kansas.
Various U.S. government records reflect several alternate spellings of the family’s last name, including Tessier, Tascier, Tascia, Tasee and many others.
A document within the CHC archives states early settlers in Kansas included Anthony “Tacier.” Joined by many other Potawatomi families, the Tesciers settled in the vicinity of Cross Creek in 1847-1848. Soon after this, Anthony Tescier, Francis Bergeron and Joseph Laughton (Lawton) “built a bridge across the creek, at a point above the present site of the village of Rossville, on what is now Harrison Street,” the document said.
Anthony Sr. was 40 years of age in the 1860 Pottawatomie County, Kansas, census. He later married Elizabeth Catherine Bourbonnais Vasseur, his first wife’s niece. They were the parents of John, Harriet, Rose Ann, Clara, Christena, Sarah, Eli, Louisa and Sophia. Elizabeth also had a son named Peter (Pete) Vasseur from her first marriage. Peter was also known as Pete Tescier.
Tescier family members eventually moved to Indian Territory and established farms on their allotments near Harjo, Oklahoma, and present-day Choctaw, Oklahoma. CHC documents reveal they had come to Indian Territory from St. Marys, Kansas.
It is believed that at some point, Anthony Sr. and Elizabeth divorced, but records do not reveal when. Elizabeth later married Peter Plomondon and accepted her allotment under that name.
Anthony Sr. died Dec. 24, 1891. He is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Choctaw, Oklahoma. Elizabeth died in 1920 and is buried in the Plomondon family plot in the Calvary Cemetery in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
Anthony Sr. and Catherine’s children
The children of Anthony Tescier, Sr. and Catherine Bourbonnais Tescier would help establish many of the communities of what would become eastern Oklahoma County.
Their son, Anthony Tescier, Jr., was born in Kansas in October 1848. He married Clarissa Greemore, a Citizen Band Potawatomi woman in about 1874. Anthony Jr. died April 14, 1925, near Choctaw, Oklahoma. Clarissa was born July 4, 1854, in Kansas. She died Dec. 10, 1892, in Choctaw.
Anthony Jr. and Clarissa’s daughters were Katherine (Kate), Rosalie (Rose), Louisa (Lulu), Minnie and Nellie. Their sons were Joseph, Charles and Robert.
Anthony Sr. and Catherine’s daughter, Kate was born about 1875 in Kansas. She married Frank Nearn and their children were Elzie (Chief), Grace Margeurite and Clara. Kate was later married to John Pitts. They had a son, Johnny Lee.
Daughter Rose Tescier was born April 16, 1877, in Kansas. She married Rufus Goyer about 1900 and they had David Clay, Hugh Allen, Minnie Anthony, Rufus Lee and Jolly James (Jim). Rose died Dec. 18, 1918, near Choctaw. Her descendants include Charles (Chuck) Goyer, and his son, Ron Goyer, who would both go on to serve in CPN government.
Joseph Clay was born Nov. 11, 1879, and died June 4, 1905.
Charles W. was born Aug. 20, 1891, but sadly, died as an infant on Aug. 30, 1891.
Louisa Josephine (Lula) was born Feb. 16, 1883, and sadly, died at age 8 on Sept. 27, 1891.
Anthony Sr. and Catherine’s daughter Minnie Philemon was born in 1890. She married Dale Gardom and together they had James, Zula, Hester, J. Wayne, Charles, Paul and Dale, Jr., James Marshall, Floyd and Francis. Minnie died on April 22, 1984, in El Paso, Texas.
Nellie was born Dec. 17, 1895, in Choctaw and married Frank Schmidlkofer on Aug. 22, 1911. They had Frank, Bernie, Vincent, Leo, Rita, Mary, Paul, Joe, Theresa and Rosemary. Paul Sr. served as CPN chairman for three terms in the 1970s. Paul Jr. has served as a CPN legislator since 2008.
Robert Anthony was born June 16, 1886. He was married in June of 1910. Sadly, he died on Aug. 26, 1910. His marriage announcement stated he had been under a physician’s care and was hopeful that he would soon return to good health.
Anthony Sr. and Elizabeth’s children
Elizabeth Tescier Plomondon accepted allotments in then-Indian Territory. She and her children were witnesses to the Land Run of 1889 as reservations were broken up and Indigenous people were pushed from lands promised to them by the U.S. government.
Anthony Sr. and Elizabeth were the parents of Sarah Catherine, Clarissa (Clara), Harriet, John Isadore, Christena Sena, Eli William and Rose Ann.
John Isadore was born Jan. 16, 1860, in Wamego, Kansas. He married Alice Smith, a descendant of the Wilmette and Darling families, on July 13, 1889. They had Clara Louise, Lelia F., Pauline, May Violet, Agnes May, Hattie Margarette, Catherine Elizabeth, John William, Celestine Senora, George Anthony and Eliza Marie.
They had three children who died very young and were buried in the Choctaw Cemetery: Lilia, May and Agnes.
The family enjoyed large informal dances in the loft of their barn. Other family members were proficient in the fiddle, banjo and piano and provided music as well. John’s sister Sarah also hosted dances, sometimes charging ten cents admission, in her family’s red barn. To this day, Tescier descendants have found old dimes in the barn’s yard.
John Sr. died on Oct. 15, 1937, in Choctaw, Oklahoma.
Daughter Harriet Tescier married James Mitchell. Their children were James, Fred, Matilda, Viola, Edna, Rose (Rosie) Lee, Mamie, Edward, David, Thomas and Benjamin (Benny). Sadly, Benny died as an infant. Harriet died on Nov. 4, 1958.
John and Elizabeth Tescier’s daughter Rose Ann’s birth certificate lists her date of birth in 1860. She is listed on the 1863 roll as a 1-year-old child. Very little information exists. Sadly, it is possible she died as a child.
Clara Tescier was born in 1867 and married Bill Edwards. They had Thelma Elizabeth, Carl T., Truman Harry, Cetiul Tilman and John Clorin. Clara died in 1920 and is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
Christena (Sena) Tescier was born in 1865 in Kansas. She married George Helms and had a son named Joe.
Sarah Catherine Tescier was born in Kansas on Feb. 8, 1872. She married Joseph Nadeau on Jan. 7, 1894. They cleared Sarah’s allotment for farming and had two oxen that they used to pull the wagon, pull stumps and for plowing. Their children were Vincent H., Lillian, William Troy, Ray Aloysias, Joseph (Frank) Francis and Nila Cecilla.
Elias (Eli) Tasier spelled his last name differently. It is not certain when or why the change was made. Eli and his first wife, Cleo Belle Gunreth, had two children named Glen Theodore and Minerva Cornelia. Sadly, Cleo Belle passed away shortly after the birth of Minerva, who also passed a short time after her mother. Eli later married Virginia Gaddy and they had three children named William (Buck) Anthony, Jackson and Catherine (Betty) E.
With incredible fortitude, the Tascier family ancestors were front row witnesses to history and the birth of what would become Oklahoma. They lived through the Land Run, endured the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Without their devotion to family and hard work, the landscape of eastern Oklahoma County would look very different. The Nation would benefit from the family’s leadership as elected officials of the CPN government and holder of cultural teachings over many generations.
If interested in assisting preservation efforts by providing copies of Citizen Potawatomi family photographs, documents and more, and to schedule family interviews, please contact the CHC at 405-878-5830. Schedule interviews online at portal.potawatomi.org. Learn more about the Family Reunion Festival at cpn.news/festival, and find research resources online at potawatomiheritage.com.