Karl Yakovlevich Sicard, French merchant, and his illegitimate descendants


Sergei Reshetov
Translation Irina Komarovskaya

Karl Yakovlevich Sicard, French merchant, and his illegitimate descendants

Family name Sicard was famous in Odessa. First of all, such fame was connected to the first representative of this family, Karl Yakovlevich (Charles) Sicard.

Karl Yakovlevich became famous in several fields at once: commercial, diplomatic and literary. He was friends and knew the most outstanding people, both ruling Odessa or region, and visiting Odessa while Sicard lived there. Here are only a few of them: first mayor of Odessa Ar-mand-Jean, duke de Richelieu (1766-1822), famous «Duke», after leaving Odessa because of assignment by Luis XVIII as Premier – Minister of France (taking into consideration the fact that Sicard himself and his two brothers imported the goods from France to Russia via Odessa, friendship with such patron was not at all odd, however to Richelieu credit be it said he refused to assist Sicard in obtaining the privileges in commerce to the brother of the latter, Ludwig, while being mayor); Mikhail Semionovich Vorontsov, in the beginning of the acquaintance with Sicard yet a count, just returned from France heading the occupation troops, and later a prince and grace prince, and General – Gubernator of Novorossia; and famous poet Alexander Sergee-vich Pushkin.

Upon the evidence of I.P. Liprandi [1], «with Sicard Pushkin got acquainted or better to say only two times saw each other, in Kishinev, in 1821». According to his words, later «out of all the houses, that Pushkin visited in Odessa, especially he liked to have dinners at merchant Si-card’s». However, to all appearances, selection of place for accommodation at that time in Odessa was not large. «… In Odessa there were only two visiting houses named hotels, belong-ing to two merchants – French Sicard and Renauld» — narrated F.F. Vigel (1786-1866) [2] acquaint-ance of Pushkin from St. Petersburg who visited Odessa then. – First of them was a real mer-chant from Marseille, smart, joyful, nice person». Then comes quite impartial description of Barony Renault given by Vigel in his usual manner.

It is interesting that as Pushkin arrived in Odessa (he stayed there from July 1823 till July 1824) [3] he stayed first in «Hotel du Nord» — this being the hotel by Sicard in his house in Italian-skaya Street, and later took up his residence in Renault’s hotel.

Nowadays in the former Sicard hotel (13, Italianskaya str., in 1880 it was renamed into Pushkinskaya str.) Odessa museum of A.S. Pushkin is located, which is a branch of Odessa Lit-erature Museum.

Sicard’s hotel was one of the first hotels in the young city, with the rooms for visitors, and coach-houses with stables. Arrived in Odessa on 3 July 1823, Pushkin stayed in this hotel for a month. Within the period of stay in Odessa he wrote poem “Gipsy”, completed poem “Bakhchisaray Fountain”, wrote thirty lyrics and two and a half chapters of “Eugeniy Onegin”. Having described Odessa in chapter “Onegin’s Travel” Pushkin, as poet V.I. Tumansky (1800-1860) said, presented to the city a «charter for immortality».

What is known about the biography of Karl Sicard? He was born in 1773 in Marseille, in 1804 he came to Odessa and based on words of А.М. de Ribas [4], he was one of the closest advi-sors of Duke de Richelieu. In State Archive of Odessa Region their correspondence is kept for the later period (1818-1822).

K.Ya. Sicard was the author of the essay written and published in French language — «Lettres sur Odessa», released in St. Petersburg in 1812 [5]. In 1818 in St. Petersburg the Russian translation of this essay by Nikolay Tregubov was published (K. Sicard. Letters about Odessa). In this essay Sicard sang praises to Odessa, and mainly its mayor Duke de Richelieu, with the personality of whom he connected the blooming of Odessa. In the opinion of the Odessa students of local lore [6], essay “Memoirs about Kerch” came from Sicard’s pen [7]; these were written at the same period also in French in the similar manner, less enthusiastic though, however these were not signed by the author.

On 08.02.1807 Sicard became Russian citizen [8]. In times of invasion of Napoleon’s troops to Russia he made logistics to the Russian forces, located in Bessarabia. In 1816 he founded Black Sea Company with the headquarters in Paris and branches in Marseille, Constantinople and Odessa [9]. In 1817-1829 he occupied the position of Russian Consul General in Livorno. For his service he was rewarded with St. Vladimir order of 4th grade (1818) and St. Anna order of 2nd grade (1826) [10].

At the beginning of 1830 Karl Yakovlevich Sicard left for Constantinople on business and was lost shipwreck, the circumstances of which are veiled in obscurity. Contemporary pre-sented two alternative versions of the event. V.A. Charnetsky, Odessa student of local lore, believed [11], that Sicard imitated his death, since he went into hiding from creditors. Ship «Bison», according to the official data, missed in February 1830. His very thorough will Sicard wrote on 4th of May 1829, and supplement to it on 15th of February 1830. What did make Sicard to write a will while preparing to exactly this travel (the event quite ordinary for a merchant running his trade on sea), to write supplement to the will right before departure? In the prime of life, being 57 years old he composed the will, pathetic with the feeling of a man in a deathbed or, in any case, expecting a near death. He also considered the possibility of the second marriage for his wife who was 32 at that time, and concluded the will with the words: «»And this is my last will»».

M.S. Vorontsov’s personal doctor, Erast Stepanovich Andreevskiy described in his memoirs [12] K.Ya. Sicard disappearance in the following way: «They contended then that he was lost not unintentionally since his trade business took a bad turn for him. Desolate widow and the en-tire family of the consul – merchant remained in Odessa».

Karl Yakovlevich Sicard married in 1814 Laura de Tich (or de Tis) (1797-1864), who gave birth to his seven children: Jean-Ludwig-Theodore (b.10.03.1819), Karl-Christopher-Nikolai (b. 30.04.1820), Michael (b. 28.10.1830), Elizabeth (b. 04.04.1818), married Lisakovskaya, Susanna-Laura-Georgetta (b. 01.03.1822, married Soron), Laura-Sophia-Elizabeth (b. 08.05.1824, married Sicard), Karolina-Elizabeth (b. 08.04.1826, married Vassal).

In 1841 Laura, widow of K.Ya. Sicard petitioned the Emperor referring the decoration of her husband with orders of St. Vladimir and St. Anna, on issuance to her and her children diplo-mas on title of nobility. The positive decision in this respect was made on 10.02.1845 [13].

In State Archive of Odessa Region there is a document kept on receipt by the chancellery of Odessa Military Governor D.D. Akhlestyshev and further delivery of eight diplomas on title of nobility to Laura Sicard and her children [14]. Later on the Sicards entered the genealogy records of Bessarabskaya province .

It is known that in 1847-1850 noble Ludwig Sicard was Bendery uyezd delegate for sur-veillance over the correct sale of drinks [15].

The purpose of this article is the illegitimate children of K.Ya. Sicard. Besides legitimate children he had illegitimate son, Charles (Karl Karlovich) Sicard, who was born in Odessa ap-proximately in 1809 and died in July 1885 in Taipol near Vyborg (grand duchy of Finland).

In addition to his testament [16] ,the father K.Ya.Sicard, left to his son «to love and respect wife of mine, and to her the love and leniency to Charles» and identified his age, allowing defini-tion of his approximate date of birth.

In accordance with father’s will, he was provided with the annuity of two thousand rubles till 30th birthday. Besides, in the will his father wrote regarding him: «…hope that immediately upon completion of the course of polytechnic college he will come back to the depths of his fam-ily in Odessa to assist in any manner possible to executors of my will and increase of the family happiness, and more for serving my wife and bringing up his brothers and sisters …».

K.Ya. Sicard assigns his brother Jean Baptist (Ivan Batist) as executor of his will. How-ever, he specified in the will that: «in case of death of my brother Ivan Batits before full age of my sons Ludwig and Christopher I assign my son Charles instead».

In 6 years, in 1837 we can find his name in «Novorussia calendar» as merchant of 1st guild and member of commercial court [17]. Then, he served in expedition of steamship communi-cation (1847), in 1850 he reached the position of provincial secretary, and from 1851 he was a senior member of commercial court and college secretary. He was a city –councilor of Odessa within two decades — from 1863 till his death in 1885 [18].

It is known that Ch.Ch. Sicard lived in the house in 17, Kanatnaya Street. This address is identified in “Address-calendars of Odessa Mayor Office” right up to his death [19]. The site for this house was allocated yet to his father, K.Ya. Sicard in 1820 after the construction of the house the entire family lived there. The fact of the permanent mentioning of this address as the place of accommodation for Ch.Ch. Sicard allows speaking not only on the fact that he had no house of his own, and lived together with his father’s widow his step brothers and sisters, but also on the healthy internal family situation and absence of property claims. In second half of XX century the house was demolished, nowadays there is neglected land site in this place.

Already mentioned E.S. Andreevskiy in his memoirs [20], written in 1867, presented the characteristics to Ch.Ch. Sicard and in general to the whole family of Sicard: «… The common opinion … now highly respects such personalities as, for example, Mr. Charles Sicard, who never did a thing for it, but who always importantly asserted his <...> virtues that nevercame to light». Further in the notes to memoirs Andreevskiy wrote: «It is remarkable that Charles Sicad yet from his youth always hovered about in the highest ranks of Odessa society, whereas legiti-mate children played quite unenviable role. Sicard, who in contrast to Charles Philibert Sicard [21] always name Charles Sicard, is illegitimate son of Odessa merchant and together with that French consul Sicard … . The Sicards from Jews of southern France – I was at a loss for a long time whether it was true or not, but once, about 35 years ago, I borrowed money from Jean Bap-tist Sicard, their uncle, known in the town money-lender, and easily from his accent, typical manners and the entire décor I came to conclusion that he was not only of Jewish origin, but most likely in his youth he was of Jewish religion».

Today, I failed to find in archive data any notes of Ch.Ch. Sicard spouse. In the Mormon’s database available for users in www.familysearch.org, which is collected on the basis of records obtained from the archives of various countries, some Trumpi is names as his spouse (the only surname Trumpi without any name gives J. Ferrand in Kantakuzen genealogy) [22]. It shall be noted that this family name never was talked about much by Odessa citizens of the time and has not been found in the memoirs. Besides, long experience of work with the above database allows concluding that in cases when the data on spouses of certain families are presented, they are imperfect, and sometimes incorrect. The dates of lives of the parents to a wife the data-base creators present very conditionally, having calculated them approximately following the scheme: basing on the known date of birth of a person, they accept that the father of this person was born about 26 years earlier, and mother – 22 years.

It is interesting that in this database one may discover a whole family named Sicard, that lived in the same time period in Marseille, i.e. exactly in the city that Sicard left for Odessa. However it is impossible to trace the connection of Charles (Karl Yakovlevich) Sicard with these Sicards.

For certain it is known that couple had daughter Elizaveta Karlovna Sicard, who was born in Odessa on 11.03.1848 (it is worth to note here that according to the above Mormon method, they date the birth of Ch.Ch. Sicard as 1822). Elizaveta Karlovna died according one of the Mormon versions on 03.03.1923 in Vanduzy, Mozambique [23] , according to another version – 03.03.1934. From 12.04.1874 (Odessa) Prince Michail Rodionovich Kantakuzen [24] (05.10.1847, St.Petersburg, Russia -25.03.1894, Arcachon, France) [25] became spouse of Elizaveta Karlovna.

He graduated Novorossijsk University, juridical faculty; in his master’s thesis «Experi-ence of determination of notion of military contraband» (Odessa, 1875) he appeared adherent of timeliness of codification of the international right and follower of international court. Later, he was active civil councilor, possessed the position of Director of Department of Clerical Affairs of Foreign Confessions, he was Master of the Horse of the Highest Court. According to the Высочайшему Decree dated 19.05.1872 he was allowed to add the family name and title of his great-grandfather on mother’s line, count М.М. Speranskiy, and be hereditarily named prince Kantakuzen count Speranskiy. The joint family names and titles are inherited by the oldest in the generation.

In two main newspapers of Odessa of that period – «Odessa Herald» and «Odessa Paper» in July 1885 there was a press accounts of the following: «Prince and princes Kantakuzen — Speranskiy with children announce to relatives, friends and acquaintance with deep regret the death of Karl Karlovich Sicard, their father, father-in-law and grandfather, died in Taipol near Vyborg (grand duchy Finland)». Thus, one may suppose that out of the closest relatives (wife or other children, if any) at the moment of death Charles Sicard had only Elizaveta Karlovna, her spouse and children.

The family of М.М. Kantakuzen — Speranskiy and E.K. Sicard had three sons and a daughter, whose issue happily live today (princes Kantakuzen counts Speranskiy and princes Kantakuzen, counts Nirod, barons von Korff and others).

The notes.

[1] I.I. Liprandi. From the diary of memoirs. – Russian archive, 1866, #10, P. 1475-1476.

[2] F.F. Vigel. Memoirs. Part 6. Moscow, 1892, P. 89.

[3] M.A. Tsyavlovskiy. Chronicles of life and creative work of A.S. Pushkin. M., 1951, Vol. I, P. 323, 392.

[4] A.M. de Ribas. Old Odessa. Odessa, 1913.

[5] Sicard aine. Lettres sur Odessa. S-Petersbourg, 1812.

[6] D.G. Atlas. Old Odessa, its friends and enemies. Odessa, 1913.

[7] Lettres sur la Crimee, Odessa, et la mer d’Azof. Moscou, 1810.

[8] Russian State History Archive Fund 1343 list 2 case 3004.

[9] Same source.

[10] Same source.

[11] V.A. Charnetsky. Sicard’s enigma. “Vechernyaya Odessa” (Odessa Night). 21.10.1989.

[12] Memoirs of Erast Stapnovich Andreevskiy. Vol. 3. — Odessa, 1914. — P. 157 (the note).

[13] Russian State History Archive Fund 1343 list 2 case 3004.

[14] State Archive of Odessa Region Fund 457 list 1 case 159.

[15] Complete list of persons elected by Bessarabia nobility for regional, provincial and uyezd positions from the time of annexation of Bessarabia to Russian Empire till 1912. With historical foreword by A.N. Krupenskiy. StP., 1912. — P. 39.

[16] State Archive of Odessa Region Fund 18 list 3 case 18.

[17] «»Novorussia calendar for 1838″». Odessa, 1837. — P. 84.

[18] Address-calendar of Odessa Mayor Office for 1884 – Odessa. 1884. P. 61.

[19] Same source.

[20] Memoirs of Erast Stapnovich Andreevskiy. Vol. 3. — Odessa, 1914. — P. 157 (the note).

[21] Charles-Philibert Sicard (D. 1905) – husband of K.Ya. Sicard junior daughter, Laura. By hypothesis, he is namesake of the above Sicards.

[22] Jacques Ferrand. Les famillies Princieres de L’Ancien Empire de Russie. V. 1. — Montreuil, 1978. P. 210.

[23] Both Ferrand, and www.familysearch.org result as a place of death Mozambik, though such state was formed only in 1975, before is Portuguese possession.

[24] Rummel and Golubtsov. Genealogy collection of Russian noble families. Vol. 1. P. 361.

[25] Jacques Ferrand. Les famillies Princieres de L’Ancien Empire de Russie. V. 1. — Montreuil, 1978. P. 210.


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