Generation X (born 1964 - 1981)
Gabrielle Burrell was born in Beaumont, Texas, where she lived most of her life, and spent part of her childhood in Lafayette and Broussard, Louisiana. Also born in Beaumont, her mother was an elementary teacher. Her father, born in Opelousas, Louisiana, worked as a service sale routeman. She has a sister plus two siblings from her father.
In high school, Gabrielle learned archery and participated in band and track. Gabrielle started off working as a hairstylist in different salons. At 6’2’’, she is the tallest in her family. Gabrielle did some modeling and got hired as a Miller Lite girl, doing promotional modeling for events. She studied Journalism and Arts, Gabrielle Burrell attended San Antonio College, and Northwest Vista College in San Antonio and North Harris College in Houston, Texas.
Gabrielle married and stayed home with all three of her children while holding part time jobs. Most recently, she has worked for a wine company, performing demonstrations and as a property manager at a ranch. Gabrielle loves to plan parties, cook, and do family research. She considers her family her life’s most significant accomplishment.
Oral History Summary
Acadian’s towering Daughter. Braving shyness, descendants’ ties.
Gabrielle shares how towering over her family at 6’2”, she struggled to overcome nervousness about joining the Daughters of the American Revolution in which she discovered new-found black and white relatives who were members that share descendancy from her Acadian Revolutionary War patriot Pierre Richard whose descendant Telismar Richard, a Frenchman from Arnaudville, Louisiana, had a son Joseph Richard with Elizabeth John, a mulatto possibly working as a maid for family; their never marrying but Telismar having two wives; and her childhood shaping her to be committed to keeping her marriage together for her children by her being made to live with her father, after her parent’s divorce, and then having to move in with her maternal grandmother since her mother no longer wanted her to stay with him, all while her younger sister lived with her mother five hours away. She talks about being born in Beaumont, Texas and living in Lafayette and Broussard, Louisiana; learning archery and participating in band and track in school; her mother currently living with her; marrying the father of her child and their having two more children; working at a hair salon; modeling; studying Journalism and Arts in college; wanting to prove all of her paternal grandmother's stories about family photos; her grandmother meeting white great-great grandfather Telismar Richard and his siblings who would come to see them; Pierre Richard’s Revolutionary War service in the Galvez Expedition in Opelousas and him appearing on an Acadian memorial in Louisiana; DNA testing matching her with individuals on family trees of Pierre Richard; assuming in history class that she wouldn't have a Revolutionary War patriot because she was not white; approaching a DAR booth at a San Antonio, Texas genealogy conference and learning the attending Daughter knew two members whose patriot was Pierre Richard, finding out that one was a new found white cousin, who was trying to help women of color join DAR and went on to help her apply through her papers and find a chapter; proof of Telismar and Elizabeth's union from their both claiming son Joseph, on his marriage records; joining DAR as a person of color to have a place in history and provide a way for other family members or people of color to join; discovering white cousin Michael Richard, who went to a DAR school and is in Sons of the American Revolution, through meeting his wife on Ancestry; being nervous about joining DAR, going to the first meeting with a friend of the Daughter she met who belonged to a chapter in San Antonio; later, transferring to get away from opinionated members, particularly involving comments about the Obama presidential election; working in property management with the owner of a ranch, also in DAR, whose chapter was more diverse having younger and Hispanic members, getting up the nerve to walk into her first meeting alone; acquaintances wondering why she was in DAR since it is majority white and their thinking DAR represents hatred towards people of color; correcting them, encouraging them to join, and letting them know that DAR does good things; thinking that she was the only member of color in all of Texas state DAR then, on a virtual Daughters of color gathering discovering a black member that was a relative living in Houston and that a member of color just joined her chapter; feeling more relaxed having other DAR members of color; DAR is a sisterhood and a love of history; braving shyness despite being uncomfortable recording her oral history since it is important for her children and family to know their past and that someone like them descends from a patriot that fought in the American Revolution
Gabrielle Burrell's oral history was recorded on December 1, 2020
Membership State: Texas
DAR Patriot Ancestor(s)
Richard, Pierre: Louisiana
European Descent Male