de Charry et de Brazey
nobleman of the ‘Ancien Régime’, faithful to its convictions,
well known to princes and emperors, and who risked his life in all the
battle fields of Europe before returning to live out his days in his country,
in the region of St Martin de la Mer.
Also pertaining to this family see: the
genealogy of the Espiards and Espiards
and the emigration during the Revolution
was born February 4, 1771 at the Chateau of Macon at St Martin
de la Mer.
An excerpt from the Registry of Deeds of the Parish of St. Martin de
“Born and baptized Feb 4, 1771, Sebastien-Joseph-François
COMEAU, son of lord Antoine-Bernard COMEAU knight and lord of Charry
and Brazey, & of lady Francoise-Jeanne-Baptiste ESPIARD of MACON;
godfather messire Sebastien-Joseph ESPIARD lord of Meix Pinot, his maternal
great-uncle, living at Liernais; godmother: lady Francoise ESPIARD of
Colonges, dowager of messirer Claude DROUAS, lord of Joursenvaux, his
maternal great-aunt represented by Francoise-Xaviere lady of CHAMPEAUX,
dowager of messire Louis-Philibert ESPIARD of MACON, his ayeule maternal.
The descendants of Guyot COMEAU, Lord of the Manor and receiver of Pouilly
en Auxois in 1520. Three branches of the family come from his son Jean.
* That of the lords of Chozelle produced a Viscount-mayor of Dijon and
some councilllors to the Parliament of Burgundy.
* Those of the Creancey line included four lieutenants to the king in
Burgundy, governors des Nuits and a number of military soldiers.
* The branch of the Pontdevaux has accounts of nobleman of the house
of the Prince de Conde and other military men.
Antoine-Bernard COMEAU, the father of Sebastien-Joseph, lord of Charry
and Brazey in Morvan, was born in 1731. Ex-captain of the regiment of
the Sarre, he marries as written by contract on 09/29/1766, Jeanne-Francoise
Espiard de Macon, daughter of Louis-Philibert, lord of Meix-Pinot, and
the young lady Champeaux de Thoisy.
Children: Jean-Baptiste-Joseph (03/1787), Antoinette-Anne-Augustine
(01/1795), Joseph-Charles-Theodore Francoise-Alexandrine-Julie Francoise-Melchior
X Antoine-Claude de Montcrif, Sebastien-Joseph , Louis-Joseph
In November 1768, Antoine-Bernard COMEAU buys the vast estate of Brazey
from the Chevalier de Jaucourt (142 000 £).
1789: Sebastien-Joseph, artillery lieutenant, is 18 years old.
On 04/29/1790 Antoine-Bernard COMEAU criticizes the French National
Assembly at the time of a primary assembly. He is followed to the cemetery
of Marcheseuil and threatened that he will see his head at the end of
a pike. He escapes by giving several hundred louis to his pursuors.
1791: On account of the problems created for his parents, Sebastien-Joseph
emigrates and rejoins
the armee de Condé
in the Black Forest.
01/26/1794 (7 pluviose year II) Antoine-Bernard COMEAU is denounced
to the authorities by the former tutor of his children and is arrested
at his daughters, Francoise-Melchior of Montcrif at Bard-le-Regulier.
The 9 frimaire he falls on the list of émigrés for his
properties at Drevin and Vernotte-in-Varennes close to Creusot. His
request to be stricken from the list is rejected 10/12/1794.
1795: Sebastien-Joseph is named captain in the army of Conde and is
stationed in Bavaria. Noted for his feats of arms, he is transferred
alongside the new Great Elector of Bavaria, Maximilien-Joseph, Prince
of Deux-ponts, a former French officer.
07/05/1796 (17 messidor year IV) Stricken from the list definitively,
Antoine-Bernard COMEAU must divide his fortune with the Republic in
year VII. The liability has ballooned to 106 774 F, with the Nation
taking two shares on six, that is to say 12, 549 is levied on the Estate
at Brazey. The confiscation (March 9, 1799) is given over to the Registry
of Debts and to the endowment of the Legion d' Honneur.
1799: The Great Elector of Bavaria names Sebastien-Joseph Chief of Staff,
for reorganizing his troops.
03/12/1802 (12 frimaire year XI): Antoine-Bernard COMEAU dies at Bard-le-Regulier.
His fortune estimated at 130,727 f in year VII, is divided between his
surviving children. Before his death he is one of the highest taxpayers
of the Côte d' Or.
1805: Invasion of Bavaria by Austria: the prince allies himself with
France. Napoleon who had earlier relationships with the COMEAU family
and particularly with Sebastien-Joseph who was an officer of the same
rank. Napoleon asks him to be “Ambassador to Bavaria for the Great
Etat-Major”. He remains there until 1812.
1814: Sebastien-Joseph returns to his family at St Martin.
1820: The Croix de Saint-Louis is bestowed on him by Louis XVIII.
1821: Sebastien-Joseph is Mayor of St Martin de la Mer, until 1830 (assistant:
See: mayors of St Martin
1825: He refuses to serve again as colonel in the French Army and withdraws
to Brazey in Burgundy to write his memoirs.
1841: His wife,
Francoise-Xaviere ESPIARD of MACON, passes away.
02. 03.1844: Suffering a stroke, he dies on 02/05/1844 at the age of
His memoirs are published by his descendants in 1900..
The Families of C0MEAU
and ESPIARD belonged to a numerous class of the military nobility. At
least 25.000 families left their lands, if not for the service of the
king, then without any other recompense than to earn the Cross of Saint-Louis.They
also were menaced by revolutionnaires sent from Paris to their region.
In effect, they lived alongside peasants with whom they shared life,
directed in their cultural heritage, who they helped when the harvest
was bad, and who in which they took an interest in their sorrows and
joys. They liked them and were liked by them.
Their wives helped them (with the household, education of the children,
emergency medical care..).
Their houses carried the title of chateau, but the majority had neither
luxury nor comfort.
Generally the oldest son took a military career, then when he reached
the rank of captain, would marry and return to live at his fathers house.
Among the other sons, some entered the religious orders and others bought
seats in Parliament. The greatest number in this era followed some type
of military career.
of COMEAU of CHARRY wrote his memoirs under the title
MEMORIES from the WARS of GERMANY during The REVOLUTION and
EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK
My father, A. Bernard of COMEAU of CHARRY, former captain in the Regiment
of the Sarre, married Jeanne-Francoise ESPIARD of MACON in 1767.
ESPIARD family, also distinguished in the army and in the magistrature,
were very numerous. One son of my grandfather had twenty-two sons who
were all soldiers. To avoid confusion, and in keeping with custom, the
various branches bore the name of their grounds.
My parents had eight children including five girls and three sons. They
initially lived at my grandmother de MACONs, Francoise Xaviere de CHAMPEAUX,
widow of Louis Philibert ESPIARD de MACON, former musketeer of the Company
of d’Artagnan. Widowed with two children and not yet liberated,
she raised them and successfully carried out the family affairs.
Ten years after the marriage of her daughter with my father, she made
her son Jean baptist Pierre Lazare ESPIARD of MACON, a captain in the
Regiment the of cavalry of the Queen, Knight of Saint-Louis, and Lieutenant
of the Marechaux de France, marry her cousin Anne-Augustine ESPIARD
de LA COUR. They had three children whose eldest Francoise-Xaviere agreed
to become my wife.
The childhood of
Sebastien-Joseph unfolds at the Chateau de MACON at St. Martin de la
Mer. His parents reside here until the end of 1777 or beginning of 1778,
before installing themselves in Brazey, a few kilometers south of St.
See genealogy of family ESPIARD
Image: Francoise-Xaviere de Champeaux and her son Sebastien-Joseph,
brother-in-law of Sebastien-Joseph Comeau.
After the marriage of my uncle, my parents came to live on the grounds
of Brazey, which like MACON was located between Autun and Saulieu and
bought from the Chevalier de JAUCOURT.
An uncle of my mother ,the Abbot of RIOLLET of GISSEY, offered to make
me the caretaker of the Abbey at Valcroissant, and my parents then destined
me for the priesthood.
I was thirteen years old when these plans changed however, and here’s
At the end of about six months,,.at the end of the war in America, it
was the wedding visit of a cousin of my mother, François Alexandre
ESPIARD of COLONGE, who had just married Miss de GAIL. They brought
to my house several officers from different armies; two from the cavalry,
Mr de MONTCRIF, who had just married my older sister, F.Melchiorre,
and my uncle of MACON, of the Regiment of the Queen, who had a beautiful
uniform trimmed with braid And then there was the ten first- cousins
on my mothers side,-of which Mr. ESPIARD of COLONGE -who was introducing
his young lady to his family,- and his brother the Knight, both captains
in the artillery. Then there was the Chevaliers of St. Louis wearing
their blue outfits, with its scarlet red facings and red lining, There
were two ESPIARDs of MEIXPINOT of the Regiment of Auvergne, in white
dress with velvet facings, and four of their brothers from different
regiments of the infantry and the CHAMPEAUXs of THOIZY and PARPAS, of
the Regiment of Rouergue, with white uniform with facings of steel grey
It was to one of them to which happened the following adventure: (not
...... the joy of this reunion, the cheerfulness, the stories, the tactics,
the battle of Gondelour, the Hindus, the Canadians, all this noise,
all this racket made my head spin. I was crying to myself all night
thinking about it. When I awoke, my tender mother inquired about my
sadness and my pallor. I
confessed to her that I would rather be an officer than a prior. From
this declaration was held a noisy and clamouring family meeting. I was
finally consulted and then declared in front of the two officers in
blue uniforms (because they were less noisy than the others and because
when they spoke everyone seemed to approve!)…... ‘The artillery
was my calling and nothing else!’
On the eve of my departure my mother, who was suffering a great deal
came next to my bed to give me her final counsel. “Be always a
Christian, faithful to your God and your King; always be a decent and
courageous man….; We may not see each other again in this world,
but if you follow my guidance well, we will see each other in the next
In fact, I never
saw her again, since she died at the birth of my brother Theodore in
Childhood in Brazey
The goupillon or the sword?
So I left with the ESPIARDs of COLONGE. I was initially placed at the
Preparatory School of the Benedictines at Metz, where I received a type
of certificate called the “Letter for the Candidate to the Artillery".
My entrance to military service as an artillery officer would date back
to it, and a Candidates admittance to military service in the artillery
was dependant on their length of service. One had to be a nobleman of
the “fourth degree” and to be fifteen years old or sometimes
fourteen if one were the son or nephew of an officer of this branch
of the military. Therefore my military service dated from September
Thus, just after this, I entered the Military School at Metz, in 1786
as a second lieutenant. A relative of my mother, Mr. Espiard-Humbert
of ALLEREY, Adviser to the Parliament of Metz, took it upon himself
to watch over me during my stay in this city.
At the military
academy in Metz, in 1786, Sebastien-Joseph meets Napoleon Bonaparte
, who is of the same rank.
This meeting will be significant to his future career.
Winter 1792-93: With the army of CONDE in Germany. ... My uncle ESPIARD
of MACON, initially my tutor, then my mentor and finally my father-in-law
had come to join us in October 1791, having taken his wife and children
to Dijon where he thought they’d be safer than in the countryside.
No longer being able to be useful in France, he was still active enough
and hoped to be so with us. He served in the cavalry. He brought his
servant and re-created for my brother and I some kind of family life.
I found myself with my brother Louis, a student at Metz like myself
in effect, but who was also serving in both the infantry in France and
the“Chasseurs Nobles” of the army of Conde. Also there at
that time was everyone from the family gathering where I had declared
my vocation.: There was the CHAMPEAUX of PARPAS and of THOISY, the two
ESPIARDs of COLONGE, several of the brothers ESPIARD of MEIXPINOT. There
was also the VILLERS la FAYE, THY, MEDARD of PALAISEAU, SUZENNET, d’ANDELARRE,
CONYGHAM, ZOLLER. I forget a few of the names, but a better man could
not recite them all. Here are a few adventures which will portray a
hint of this era….
The organization of the Royal Army in France in 1793. After the death
of the King: the three Princes, CONDE, BOURBON, and ENGHIEN, are the
heads of the armies. All the people described above remained posted
to the army of CONDE...... (the following are various comments and anecdotes)........
One day my uncle
ESPIARD of MACON was invited to dinner by the Count of VIRIEU de LANTILLY,
with his two sons....
Battle of PFORTZ, August 21, 1793 against the Republican Army and the
batlles of BIENWALD, and BERGZABERN. On August 24 1793, my uncle from
MACON had his thigh broken by shrapnel at BERGZABERN...... -.....
During the following two years, both armees grew further apart from
each other with nothing noteworthy happening. The Austrians, prevented
from dividing up France by the Prussians and the army of Conde, held
our fervor and offered us no significant developments.
Intrigue-The life of the emigres at Constance – The return to
In Constance, apart from the war, we had to make a living as the army
of Conde was skipping subsidies….I became a Surveyor with the
help of my uncle ESPIARD de MACON who held my measuring chain. We also
sold small drawings which we did in ink pen.
Despite our clothes,
in Constance as in Augsbourg we were often reunited with the ESPIARDS
of COLOGNES, and formed a kind of aristocratic gathering that reminded
us of the ‘Old France”.
One of the ESPIARDs, an officer of Regiment of Auvergne, returned to
France to support the Chouans in Vendee, and was shot in Quiberon in
Grandor and misery
The life of the emigres fighting in the Army of the Princes.
Prince de Conde
The revolution of 9 Thermidor safe-guarded our parents and friends,
and almost found us all completely together at Bard at my sisters house,
Mrs. de MONTCRIF. Her lands, did not have noble rights so my family
was able to get out of it easily enough at the end of the Revolution..
P 121... my cousins the ESPIARDs of MACON came seeking sanctuary after
the arrest of their mother who rejoined them once she was released from
prison. We took advantage of our military leave, and had a few chances
to go back to France, although these voyages were not without their
The reaction of the 18 fructidor (09/04/1797), and the law of the19th,
threatened us with death, so we had to go back to Germany for a little
while, just as other émigrés.
A brief return to Bard-le-Regulier
in the family of Montcrif.
My uncle, thinking himself more useful in France, even if for the cause
of the King, managed to have himself struck off the list of emigres.
It was only necessary to prove by “written decree” that
one had lived in ‘such and such’ village. My uncle assembled
a cast of characters and family to attest that he had stayed in France.
His lands at Macon were sold by the State. The lands of his wife had
been confiscated while she was in prison in Dijon, and the chateau had
been occupied by various households of peasants. My Uncle first orchestrated
a series of actions to release the impoundeded property, and then when
it was certain of the return of the family, many purchasers of MACON
offered to give back their acquisitions in return for the price they
paid to the State. The principal purchaser Mr. BLANOT did not even want
to collect anything.
Return of Jean-Baptiste-Lazare-Pierre
ESPIARD OF MACON to St Martin de la Mer.
See sale of
goods of the family ESPIARD
Battle of Constance in 1799: ... It was thought I had died in a charge
like one of my ESPIARD cousins, who essentially had.( See Description
of the Ninth and final campaign of the Baron de Comeau in the Army of
One month after " Constancy ", BONAPARTE had the 18 brumaire,
and several amongst us returned to France. The Grand Elector of Bavaria
offered for me to continue my career in his artillerie, the 1st of April
The general of MANSON, the two ESPIARDs of COLONGES, ZOLLER, and myself
representing the artillery, had ourselves chosen by the Great Elector
of Bavaria, Maximilien, Joseph de Deux-ponts, who seized his crown.
First assignment to Paris. My marriage (1800-1804);
His marriage with Francoise-Xaviere ESPIARD of MACON is described on
pages 184 and following.
1814: The return
of Sebastien-Joseph to the family at St Martin.
1820: Cross of Saint-Louis bestowed by Louis XVIII.
1821: Mayor of St Martin de la Mer, until 1830 (assistant: Domenica
See: mayors of St Martin
1825: He declines to serve again as a colonel in the French Army, and
returns to Brazey in Bourgogne to write his memoirs..
1841: His wife Francoise-Xaviere ESPIARD de MACON, passes away.
03. 02.1844: He suffers a stroke and dies on 02/05/1844 at 73 years
the tomb of Sebastien-Joseph ,at the Court of Arcenay
- Genealogy of the
Espiard family (researched by Etienne and Bertrand Espiard).
- Memories of the
wars of Germany during the Revolution and the Empire - Baron Sebastien
Comeau de Charry - Plon-Nourit - Paris - 1900
- Large notable
of the 1st Empire - Côte d' Or - CNRS - School of the high studies
in social sciences - Paris - 1992