The Strange History and Legend of the Moran Moor
(Transcribed directly from the notebooks of Heather and Glen Strider)
Having spent much time during last twenty years researching in both the United Kingdom and The United States this wondrously harrowing and inspiring story both Heather and I are now most happy to present the results in this long form. The documents, ledgers and files all remain secure and intact in their numerous original registries and museums for those with a willingness to research the matter further on their own behalf.
We do hope our short but well-meaning monograph inspires you to look beneath the murky waters for the love and meaning so oft trapped below by circumstances beyond mere human control. May the vortices of Indian Island inspire and guide your efforts towards truly inspiring truths. Particular thanks to the longtime resident families willing to divulge their ancestors part in the erasing of the original recorded documentation, especially the remaining descendants of the Moran clan.
Heather and Glen Strider
Extract One. Out of Egypt
28th July 1798, six days after the battle of Embabeh, better known as the battle of the Pyramids, Antoine Lasalle entered Cairo at the head of a detachment of the 22nd horse Chasseur brigade. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel at the insistence of Napoleon Bonaparte for his brilliant maneuvering against the Janissary cavalry, Antoine was feeling very full of himself indeed. The palace of the defeated Mamaluk commander Murad Bey Mohammed would no doubt provide both suitable recreation and rest.
Murad Bey, a Georgian by birth, was made captive and sold into slavery to another Caucasian of Georgian origin, Mohammed Bey Abu al-Dhahab in the year 1768. Proving himself to be a more than adequate horseman and field commander Murad took command of the mamaluk cavalry upon the death of his master. It is important to understand that all elite Ottoman troops were made up of captured or indentured Caucasian slaves, from the lowest foot soldier to the loftiest commander, all under the direct command and in service of the Sultan.
Having fled from Embabeh to Cairo, Murad Bey collected what treasure could be easily carried in a fast-moving camel train and headed towards upper Egypt to attempt some form of guerilla resistance to the now victorious French invaders. His palace, menagerie, kitchens, wives and courtesans were left to the mercy of the conquerors, perhaps in the hope that their sacrifice might ensure a sufficient delay to facilitate his complete escape.
Evedne Bargossa was a twenty-year-old blonde blue eyed descendent of a minor house of the Rumanian ruling family. Given in tribute to the Ottoman empire at the age of thirteen she had found her way through various political trades firstly into the harem of Mohammed Bey, to be inherited upon his death by Murad Bey. Although a pretty and well-formed girl she had never caught either of her master’s eyes and although a well trained and content courtesan had remained whole and unpolluted. Antoine Lassalle’s taste differed greatly to the Mamaluk Beys and having once seen Evedne, even from a distance through ornate railings was immediately besotted. The dashing Chasseur had no difficulty pressing his suite and within a few days they had become lovers and sure enough Evedne was with child within two months.
Lassalle was obliged to return to France with his commander, events in Paris having taken a rather serious turn, but promised to arrange transport of his now very heavily pregnant mistress to what would be their new home at the earliest possibility. It was on this voyage to reunion that the baby boy Julien Lasalle-Bargossa was born, in a small whitewashed surgery a deck below the waterline of the frigate ‘la Resistance’.
For the following week all things seemed well till poor Evedne caught fever and died, her son passing into the care of a cantiniére returning to Toulon with her husband a sergeant of voltigeurs.
Young Julien proved to be a healthy and robust child, managing to survive both the numerous infections and bad humors prevalent on the harsh sea journeys of that age and the sudden and devasting loss of his mother. The cantiniére Madam Cecile Devout proved both considerate and kind, treating the boy as if he were her own, even to the point of suckling the babe at her own plentiful teats. The baby was physically of rude construct, well-formed and strong from an early age, with a mop of dark brown, almost black curls and eyes of a the most sensuous brown. Considering his mother’s eastern European heritage and his fathers northern Frankish linage this almost swarthy appearance was of great surprise to all. Cecile Devout took to calling the lad ‘mon garçon maure’, and the name stuck fast.
‘Marshal Antoine Lasalle’ George Roubeau 1953
‘The Egyptian Campaign and the Victory of the Pyramids’ Colonel Raymond Schuster DSO 1978
‘Journal de la Revolution’ Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
“The Mediterranean Fleet, 1792 -1805’ Melville Berwick 1935
‘Alexandria to Cairo, March or Die’ Marshal the Viscount St Claire 1824
Various Archives, Toulon National Maritime Museum