A Dealer in Wives: An Unlucky French Commoner or a Henry VIII?

Bluebeard – Gustav Dore (1862)

An account of a Frenchman who made a sport of marrying and dispatching–or was tragically unlucky.  He took seven wives in 36 years.  Busy man!  They had the misfortune of being widows and, after marrying him, lived 5, 13 , 5 , 2, 4,  2, and (at least) 8 years respectively.  

Source:  My Grandfather’s Pocketbook, From A.D. 1701-1796.

“There never existed in the world such an admirer of widows as a poor French labouring man who, after having buried so many women who had buried their husbands, is to the astonishment of the world, in the full enjoyment of his life and health at this moment in the 66th year of his age.

The name of this singular man is Leonard Coudert; he is a native and an inhabitant of the parish of St Martin de Vicq, in the province of Limousin in France. On the 19th of January 1745 he married Leonarda Dumont, widow of John Mouret; she died on the 3rd of February 1750. He took to his second wife on the 3rd of April of the same year, Mary Bayle, widow of Blaize Pauliat. She died on the second of February 1763. On the 14th of June following, he married his third wife, Jane Noaillet, widow of Malesond, and she died the 12th of May 1768. On the 6th of February 1769, he took for his fourth wife Catharine Valade, widow of Pradeau; she lived with him till the 25th of October 1771 when she died. He entered for the fifth time into the holy state of wedlock on the 1st of July 1773 with Anne Barget, widow of Lajoie. She died on the 11th of January 1777; and on the 27th of May following he married his sixth wife Frances Belarbre, widow of Albin, and buried her on the 16th of July 1779. But he did not remain long a widower, for on the 3rd of July 1781, being then 58 years of age, he took to his seventh wife Frances Lapeyre, widow of Leonard Faure.

Whether he has buried her or not we cannot tell as we have not had any tidings of her since her marriage, but we know that she has not buried him, as by a letter which was lately received from Limorges, we understand that he is alive and in good health.”

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