Laure de Girardin de Montgérald, the Comtesse de la Touche
Widow of General Arthur Dillon
1700s – early 1800s
Élisabeth Françoise “Fanny” Dillon, their daughter
and wife of General Henri Gatien Bertrand (a close ally of Napoleon)
1780s – 1800s
Going to be honest, I took these pictures for the cat, but she is sitting on the tombstone of the women listed above. La Comtesse was the second wife and widow of General Arthur Dillon, a man born into English nobility who (and it’s very unclear exactly how in the wikipedia entry but I think by marriage?) ended up in the French military. In the American Revolution, he fought against the British in the Caribbean campaign.
La Comtesse was a wealthy French Creole widow from Martinique whom he met and married while governor of Tobago.
Dillon ended up returning to France at the dawn of the great upheavals that would end up in the French Revolution. Eventually, Dillon became a victim of the Reign of Terror and was executed by guillotine on 13 April 1974.
As is usual, we get all this information about General Dillon (and there is quite a bit about General Bertrand as well) and precious little about his wife and daughter.
The inscription on the shared tomb for this mother and daughter spells out the proud legacy of both their husbands. Both men were loyal to their leaders, Bertrand even going into exile with Napoleon (along with Fanny and their children) to Elba and ultimately to St. Helena, though he was eventually pardoned after Napoleon’s death and allowed to return to France.
As for Dillon, in his last moments, he shouted “Vive le roi!” to the spectators, holding fast to his honor to the bloody end.
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