More from my grandmother’s attic.
This comes from the “Houma Daily Courier” on Oct. 8, 1972. It’s an interesting look at small schools of yesteryear.
I’ll include the article at the very end. It’s long and not terribly interesting. It’s more fun to look at the pictures.
Here’s the article:
“Did you know .. that these pictures are some of the one room schools that dotted our parish landscape on the plantations about 75 to 100 years ago and produced some Terrebonnians to be proud of?
That Henry J. Ellender taught in one of these plantation cabins on Hope Farm Plantation until a larger building was built which served a dual purpose: school room in the day time and a dance hall on the weekends?
The young Henry J. had just finished his course of study at Soule Business College in New Orleans in 1902, when he started teaching at Hope Farm. He taught there 15 years. Then during the depression in the late 1920s, he taught again on lower Terrebonne. Dr. Henry T. Ellender – the dentist, boat builder and great fisherman – and his famous brother, Dr. Rudolphe Ellender – for whom the Eye Clinic was named – are some of this early teacher’s illustrious children of which there were eight or nine.
The late Senator Allen J. Ellender, a cousin to the above mentioned family, and his late brother Claude, the brilliant attorney, went to school to Professor Henry as did Nelo Hebert, who is still hale and hearty and one of Bourg’s most successful businessmen.
Mr. Nelo told of an earlier one room schoolhouse at Canal Belanger, now called Bourg, that was just across the street from where Stanley Boudreaux’s filling station is today. The little house has been remodeled and restored to the extent that one cannot recognize it as the former little schoolhouse. It is occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Collins today.
In those early days some of the teachers were Mrs. Willie Hebert; a Mrs. Hornsby; Mrs. Zie Glyn, who taught Nelo Hebert and others; and Miss Ella Trahan, who had come home to Houma from school in Mississippi after the death of her father in 1890, taught school at Canal Belanger (Bourg), then married Allen A. Sanders, a young sugar planter from Montegut. His father, James Monroe Sanders, had come from Canton, Mississippi, just before the Civil War.
Lotti, Mrs. John Gazzo, and Mae, Mrs. Randolph A. Bazet, were born of this union and raised on the beautiful shores of Bayou Terrebonne at Magenta Plantation.
Pointe-aux-Chien, a winding and small bayou just before one reaches Montegut, had for one of its first teachers another Ellender cousin, Thomas Ellender. Many other teachers followed; eventually so did a larger school.
At this time, Montegut had a three room, public school, private tutors and governesses. Then came John “Bud” Wallis, who taught at the Indian school at Point au-Barre’ from about 1900 to 1915, when a storm practically wiped out the Indian settlement. Mr. Wallis was a cousin of Mr. Claude “Skipper” Wallis, Terrebonne’s oldest living Republican.
We are not at the end of the one room schools on Bayou Terrebonne yet. At Madison Canal on the lower bayou, E. Clarence Wurzlow, father of E. C. Wurzlow Jr., taught school during the 1880s and in addition to becoming Clerk of the District Court was a recognized natural scientist, particularly as relates to botany, ornithology and entomology.
That Mr. and Mrs. Emile J. Naquin had a beautiful young daughter, Leah Naquin, who taught in one of the most famous of these one room schoolhouses (I think it was called Babin School). It was on a dusty road between Ellendale and Bull Run Plantations on Bayou Black. She later married Felix J. Hebert, and they became the parents of none other than our much loved and admired U.S. Congressman F. Edward Hebert.
You know Miss Maude LeBlanc rode up to Bayou Cane with the mailman every morning, then walked home in the afternoon. She also has many school stories to tell of the one room schoolhouses. This year Miss Maude received the most coveted award of “Louisiana’s Teacher of the Year” for she taught for many years all over the parish.
In the following paragraphs are listed a few names I gathered from the Chacahoula area. Miss Marie Daigle and Mrs. Henry Bernard were teachers at the Cedar Grove School.
The name of Miss Kattie Quinian seems linked with the Maduse School where Kader and Ringold Cocke, Emile Daigle and Freddie Louviere went to school. It was in the cane fields, just across the road from the Ringold W. Cocke plantation home.
Mr. Alcide Lasseigne taught at the Daigle school. Miss Mabel Roussell and Miss Sydney Watthus and Mr. O. J. Pellegrin were Forest Grove teachers.
Miss Marie Lajaunie and Miss Marie LeBlanc also were connected with the Daigle School. Miss Aline Lirette and Mrs. Ezelle Wallace Dillard taught either on the railroad or on Schriever Route.
Miss Georgia Connely took the train in Houma every morning from 1908-1920 to Central which was about halfway up the railroad between Houma and Schriever. Later she was transferred to Ashland Plantation’s “one room,” but commuted every day at an easier pace because Mr. Jean Caillouett, the plantation owner, gave her a car for her own transportation.
Did you know? She taught the Buquet boys among many others. The president of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. A. J. Buquet Jr., has fond memories of Miss Georgia as his teacher.
That Miss Margerite Moody, today known as Mrs. Jules Daigle, taught at Sunrise in 1912. She then went on to Ashland for one year in 1913, when E. T. Brady Sr. attended that school. It is noted that Brady’s favorite pastime was climbing the flag pole. Miss Moody returned then to Chacahoula in 1914, and she then married Jules Daigle.
That Miss Ada Munson started teaching by riding a bicycle to the Residence Plantation, south of Houma every morning. Later she rode the train daily to the Bertilot one roomer near Ardoyne Plantation. It is noted that she changed schools several times: Dug Road, LaCache, where she had to board in, then her last years in Ashland.
Miss Lolita Theriot, a pretty little teacher, came onto the scene at Ashland at this time. She later married Leon Gary and became “Houma’s First Lady” during her husband’s administration of 1948 to 1962.
Way across the cane fields of Ashland, the Rauch Plantation on Little Caillou had a schoolmaster named Mr. Elfert, and the school was named the Elfert School. Boys from miles around rode their ponies to the school. Some names to remember were the Maginess boys, the Connely boys, the Edmund boy who later became a surgeon, the Gaynar boys, and so on and son on.
Way back were the days when Miss Mable Kelly got up early in the mornings and hitched up her buggy to go to the country school near Houma. Her brother, Irvin Kelly, taught at Chacahoula and then at Little Caillou, where boarding in for three weeks at a time was common practice. Miss Lillian Atkins was another teacher of this time.
That Willow Wood School on Upper Coteau had Miss Mildred Pontiff as its teacher for 21 years. For years she rode the New Orleans bus as far as the Coteau Road, and then walked the last mile to the one room schoolhouse. Later the school furnished transportation means of school buses.
When asked who were some of the children she could be most proud of, her answer was Father Jules Robichaux, who was ordained in Houma only a few years ago, Miss Valerie Duplantis, Mrs. Emile Charpentier, Miss Inez Lirette. Mrs. Johnny Stevens also went to the Upper Coteau School.
That another pretty young schoolteacher from Mississippi came to Terrebonne and later became Mrs. Stanwood Duval. She was Mamie Richardson, and she taught at Rebecca. State Senator Claude Duval and Catherine – Mrs. Harold Dean – are her Terrebonne children.
Did you know that Dr. C. F. Breaux, father of Henry Breaux (present superintendent of the Terrebonne Parish School Board), was born on Mandalay Plantation on Bayou Black. In his childhood he attended a one room plantation school known as Bonvillain School on Bonvillain Plantation. His teachers were Miss Cecilia Bonvillain and Miss Emma Bourgeois.
This little school building, which was built before the Civil War, still stands today.
Another genealogy story from the Oct. 8, 1972, issue of “The Houma Daily Courier”
“Dr. and Mrs. Price and daughter Mary Howard of Natchez, Miss., came to Terrebonne to make their home. After Dr. Price died, Mrs. Price had her daughter move to Philadelphia, Penn., to live with an aunt there. Mrs. Price wanted her daughter to finish her education there.
While in Philadelphia, she met Dr. Hugh Maxwell Wallis, who had studied and received his degree as doctor of medicine there.
They were married in Kent County, Chestertown, Maryland, Jan. 17, 1870 (THIS IS PROBABLY SUPPOSED TO READ 1860). A son Morley Howard was born there in Nov. of 1860.
Because of the Civil War, Dr. and Mrs. Wallis decided to come to La. Another son, Hugh Maxwell, who was born here in 1862, lived only one year.
On July 30, 1863, a third son was born and was given the name Hugh Maxwell.
The first daughter, Rosalie, was born on Jan. 11, 1866. She died ten years later of small pox.
When the Civil War was over, Dr. Wallis thought of returning to Maryland but learned that everything they had once owned there had been destroyed during the war.
Their fifth child, Ida, was born July 11, 1868. She never married but made her home here in Houma.
Granville, the sixth child, was born on the 22nd of Nov. 1870. He married Amelia and lived in New Orleans most of his life. They had two sons, Norman and Mitchell, and a daughter, Ruth.
The seventh child was Ellersley, born Nov. 27, 1872. He married Marie Clement and lived here in Houma all their lives. They had three children, Reginald (deceased), Audry and Mary Margaret.
Mary Helen Wallis, the eighth child, was born Nov. 27, 1875. She married Theophile Bazet and had four children, Hugh, Norma (deceased), Ione and Helen.
Claude H. Wallis (Skipper), the ninth child, was born Oct. 24, 1877. He married Birdie Labit and they had four children – Ouida, Meredith, Maxwell (deceased) and Claudia.
The tenth child was a daughter, Ethel Rosalie. She was born on Feb. 16, 1880. Ethel married Allen Munson and they had a son Allen and a daughter Margaret.
Percy, the 11th and last child of the Wallis’, was born Sept. 20, 1885.
Dr. Wallis lived with his family in an antebellum, while columned home on School St. where the Houma Courier Building now stands. The doctor’s office was on the corner of School and Church. Skipper can recall the days when he would go with his father on his calls throughout the parish. In those days, you didn’t go to the doctor; he went to you. The doctor had a certain day of the week to visit different sections of the parish. When he went to Gibson, the people on Bayou Black, Chacahoula and that section, would meet him in Gibson. Claude said he would tend to the horse all day. They had three horses and would alternate each day.
The favorite of the horses was Shoo Fly, the family horse. The trips were long and tiresome. The roads were dirt, and the weather, at times, very bad but Skipper can recall interesting and exciting days.
Dr. Wallis was not only M.D. but also Houma’s 11th mayor, from 1878-1882. The town was reincorporated during his administration. He was also a newspaper publisher. ‘The Terrebonne Times’ born on Church St. sometime during the McKinley era was the Republican voice of Terrebonne.
Dr. Wallis died in 1904, his son Ellersley who had been working for his father went with Joseph Menville to publish the ‘Houma Times’ on Main Street. His son Percy ran the commercial printing shop. Morley and Claude had also helped to publish the ‘Terrebonne Times.’ The editorials in the paper were written by Dr. Wallis.
Dr. Wallis’ brother-in-law, I. M. Price, was the 14th mayor of Houma. His son Hugh Maxwell Wallis Jr. was the city’s 18th and 20th mayor and later became a district judge.
Hugh Maxwell Wallis Jr., a local attorney, married Sylvia Briant. They had one daughter, Juanita, who is married to Madison Funderburk.
Morley, the eldest child, was married to Laura Moody. After her death, he married Eloise Theriot. They had one son Morley who now lives in Houston. Morley was postmaster of Houma from 1889-1895.
Claude Wallis, ‘Skipper,’ the only living child of Dr. and Mrs. Wallis was postmaster under Pres. Teddy Roosevelt and Taft from May 14, 1908, to 1916. He was the first mail delivery man in Houma. That was in 1917.
A person had to have sidewalks (wooden) in the front of his home and a number on his house in order to receive mail. Calvin Wurzlow, who was then mayor, helped greatly to get this all set up.
Claude was married to Birdie Labit on Sept. 8, 1902. Skipper and his wife, Birdie, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this year. He will be 95 on Oct. 24th and his wife was 90 in June. They have been living at 423 Goode St. for the last 60 years. Skipper is the last of the Dr. Wallis family in Terrebonne bearing the name Wallis.
From “The Houma Daily Courier” in 1972:
“The earliest record of the Wright family in this area dates back to 1829 – a conveyance record. Holden Wright purchased property in the Schriever area. This is a Lafourche Interior record. Terrebonne Parish was not created until 1832.
Although many Wright members knew the names of Holden Wright and his wife, Nancy Griffen, not one of us had been able to locate their marriage record. This was located in early 1971 by Mrs. Mercedes Ray Pertuit. Holden Wright (age 31) and Nancy Griffen (age 15) were married Sept. 22, 1822, in Wilkinson County, Mississippi. The certificate does not mention the parents’ names of either of the contracting parties. However, when Nancy Griffen Wright’s mother, Ms. Elizabeth Hampton Orrel Griffen (Mrs. Abraham Griffen), died in October 1847, her will was recorded in Lafourche Parish. In this document, all of her children are named – including ‘Nancy, wife of Holden Wright of Terrebonne Parish.’
Holden Wright and Nancy Griffen were the parents of eleven children:
Elisha Wright, born Dec. 23, 1824, died March 25, 1871, unmarried.
John Wright, born Jan. 29, 1827, died Oct. 3, 1844, married Florence America Watkins.
Maria Elizabeth Wright, born Jan. 28, 1829, died April 15, 1858, married James Blahurst.
Abraham Wright, born Feb. 3, 1831, died April 16, 1903, married Mary Ann Callahan.
Martha Wright, born Nov. 3, 1832, died Feb. 10, 1845, unmarried.
Holden Wright II, born Nov. 22, 1834, died Sept. 12, 1861, unmarried.
Thomas Wright, born Nov. 12, 1836, died Aug. 1861, unmarried.
William Wright, born Aug. 22, 1839, died Dec. 22, 1904, married Sarah Elizabeth Field.
Mary Jane Wright, born Nov. 17, 1842, died March 22, 1857, unmarried.
George Wright, born June 24, 1845, died Dec. 24, 1845.
Laura Johanna Wright, born June 28, 1849, died Feb. 5, 1923, married James H. Davis.
The Holden Wright family Bible remained in the possession of Mrs. William Wright Sr. until her death. Then it became the property of her eldest child, Mary Juanita Wright, who married Charles Edgar Thomas. (Juanita was named at the request of her father for the Juanita River in Pennsylvania). When Mrs. Thomas died in 1956, her daughter Vivian (Mrs. Van A. Williams) of Lafayette had it as a cherished family heirloom. In 1971, she very generously gave it to Mrs. Marion LaRose Dupont, eldest grandchild of William Wright Sr.’s youngest son, Thomas Elward Wright I.
At present, two of the Holden-Wright grandchildren survive: Mrs. Elia Wright Barrios, over 90 years of age, of New Orleans, La. (daughter of Abraham Wright), and Miss Xenia Olga Davis, 87 years young of Bayou Dularge (daughter of Mrs. Laura Johanna Wright Davis).
Holden Wright bought Concord Plantation on Bayou Black and resided there until his death on Aug. 14, 1868. His wife died there Oct. 14, 1852. Both were buried on the plantation as were the children who preceded them in death. In the 1930s, five bodies in metallic caskets were reinterred in the cemetery at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church on Bayou Black. In late 1970, Mr. Mardis Breaux was kind enough to meet Miss Xenia Davis, Mrs. F. G. LaRose Sr. and Mrs. T. Baker Smith Sr. (granddaughters of Holden Wright) at the cemetery and point out the family tomb.
Mr. J.K. Wright remembers the old Wright home at Concord but only as a deserted place. J. K. Wright also owns an original tintype of Holden Wright on his horse, Boston. He has kindly allowed family members to copy this picture.
According to information given by older family members, we know that Holden Wright came from Pennsylvania to Natchez, Miss., on horseback. From there he came by raft to Terrebonne with a Mr. Shaffer and a Mr. Grinage. Another family story tells that Holden Wright was a relative of Governor Silas Wright of New York (This information is included in William Wright Sr.’s obituary notice). It has not yet been proven, although John Wright (Holden’s son) did name a son Silas Wright.
According to the 1840 census, Holden Wright was born in New Jersey and his wife Nancy Griffen was born in North Carolina. Holden Wright’s children and grandchildren remembered that he spoke with a ‘Dutch’ accent. Since Louisiana did not have a Bureau of Vital Statistics until 1910, the only way we had of checking Holden Wright’s place of birth was by applying for a copy of Laura Johanna Wright Davis’ death record. On this record, the mother Nancy Griffen’s place of birth is given as Corinth, Miss., and the father Holden Wright’s place of birth is given as Norway.
Five of Holden Wright’s sons fought in the Civil War: Elisha; Abraham; Holden Jr.; Thomas and William. All were far from home in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Holden Jr. died in the Yankee prison at Yorktown and is buried there. Tom was also a prisoner at Yorktown but was released because of poor health and died a few weeks after he returned home.
Holden Wright’s great grandson, Thomas Elward Wright II, was mayor of Houma for eighteen years. He and his brother Connelly Elisha Joseph Wright reside in the family home which is only a block away from the site of the Wright Livery Stable.
The family members in Terrebonne bearing the surname Wright are all descendants of William Wright Sr. There are also a large number of descendants of Laura Wright Davis (she was the mother of eleven children, as was her mother). There are also descendants of Abraham Wright and John Wright in Terrebonne Parish.
The article which follows was taken from an old newspaper clipping found in Holden Wright’s Bible:
The following letter, written to a gentleman of this town, is sad, sad indeed! The writer was for a long time a resident of this parish, and his many friends here will be pained to hear of his sad misfortunes.
Nov 2., 1878
Yours of the 20th of October received this day, and I take the opportunity – 3 a.m. – at night off watch over the dead and dying to answer your kind inquiries about me. I am still in the land of the living – but for how long I know not. Since the 28th of September I have passed through one of the most trying ordeal that man can live through: I have been down with the Plague myself and all of the family – eight sick and dying in one house at the same time, not one able to give the other a drink of water. A few noble young men and girls stood to us until they were stricken down with the fever themselves. I had to see four of my children – John, Abe, Ida and Otis – dying without human help and buried in the same manner. I have just returned home from burying the poor woman that closed Ida’s eyes last evening – Mrs. Dusin Lusk.
I have but two hired hands – one man and a boy – the man digging graves night and day, the boy hauling the dead with cart and mule. My crop all in the field and no prospects to save it that I see.
Your miserable friend,
From the Oct. 8, 1972 “The Houma Daily Courier”
“The story of Bayou Dularge is truly the story of its residents. In this story, therefore, a glimpse of the type of life spent on the banks of Bayou Dularge will be sketched through the memories and tales of some of the folk of that community.
Mr. Ellis Brunet Sr. was born in 1897. He started school in a one-room schoolhouse where Andrew Pere’s house now stands. In 1904, Mrs. Emile Marmande was the schoolteacher. In 1906, the school was transferred across the bayou to the Marmande’s low-by field, on the south side of Lily Porche’s present property. The Brunet family lived nearby.
That year, Ellis’ teachers was Miss Julie. Miss Kate Hennesy taught him the following year, she was succeeded by Miss Fanny Knowblack.
Automobiles were very scarce then. One day the children were startled when they heard a strange noise coming down the road. The teacher, Miss Fanny, said ‘Automobile’ and the children ran to the road to watch the contraption drive by.
It was the children’s lunch time when the automobile made its return trip. Just then a fan belt broke on the car right in front of the school. Instead of going home for lunch, Ellis remembers watching the driver, a Mr. Bocarge, who was a surveyor from Houma, as he repaired the car. Ellis had never seen anyone fix a car before and was very interested. The bell rang when lunch time was supposed to be over, but since he lived so close to the school, he ran home for a bite to eat and then ran back to school.
Not too long after this incident, Ellis’ family moved to Grande Caillou, where they lived for three years. Mr. Cletus Brunet was a sharecropper for Jean Caillouet, the owner of Ashland Plantation. The Brunets were a family of 8 children: Elodie Brunet Hebert, Ellis Brunet, Stanley Brunet (deceased), Victoria Brunet Vidal, Aglaya Brunet Champagne, Ernest Brunet, Adelie Brunet Fanguy (deceased) and Morris Brunet.
Olympe Theriot was three years old when her family settled on Dularge. Her parents moved from Grande Caillou with a wagon drawn by horses, going across a dirt road on Bayou Guion. They used to hold dances in their house, tear down the partitions and invite all their neighbors who knew how to play instruments. They would dance all night until everybody would get tired. Those who lived too far away were invited to spend the night.
To clean their floors (before brooms and mops and such were on the market) they would break up bricks and scrub their floors with the pieces.
One of the games they used to play was Pain-Pe-Po, in which they had to sit in a ring and put their fingers in the center of the circle. They would then give the password. Other folks might remember this game.
Charles Bourg, who is now deceased, and his brother Sylvere operated a general merchandise store in Houma. They would go down Bayou Dularge on Monday in their horse-drawn buggy to make deliveries and to take orders for big items, such as washtubs, hats, shoes and whatever else the people might need. They would have to sleep down the bayou and come back to Houma the next day. On Wednesday, Charles would fill the orders for the bayou residents and on Thursday he would make the deliveries from the beginning of the week. The brothers kept this route for a number of years. Charles died at an early age in 1931.
Horace Theriot was born on February 4, 1894, on Bayou Dularge. He went to a one room school, where Andrew Pere lives now. Horace started school in 1900. For the seven years of his schooling, he had to walk a mile bare-footed in the mud. Each day he carried his lunch and a bottle of water.
At the age of 15, he got out of school and went to work in the field with his pair of mules. He was then drafted for World War I, but had a medical discharge. He then went back to farming and raised corn, sugar cane and cotton.
In 1923, he married. For 22 years he worked as a clerk in a store for C. X. Henry at Folgout’s Canal. He also worked for Bishop Caillouet for 3 years and 3 months. He used to serve people their groceries in his freight boat. Later he went to work at a shrimp factory.
He retired at the age of 65, but remains very active. Each year he plants a small garden, cuts his own grass and has some beautiful orange trees.
Joseph Dover Sr., better known as Papa Joe, is 98 years old. He was born March 12, 1874.
Joseph’s father, James, was an Englishman from around Liverpool. James came to the Dularge area when he was around the age of 21. He had volunteered in Virginia to serve in the Civil War. It seems that the reason he decided to stay down here was that he was searching for something better. James married and had two sons, Joseph and John. John never married and died as a bachelor at the age of 88.
Joseph married Eva Toups (now deceased) and they had 8 children: 6 boys and 2 girls: Stanley, Georgeanna (deceased), Joseph Jr. (deceased), Elmer, James ‘Bob,’ John and Margaret.
Papa Joe never served in the war, but 14 or 15 of his descendants have served in the service.
Growing up, Joseph Dover experienced such magnificent arrivals as the invention of the match (yes, that stick that makes fire!). He worked on the railroad which brought the first train to Houma. He was one of the first to see electric lights lit in Houma. He remembers seeing everyone in Houma gathering to see the smudgepots go out and the lights go on.
Joseph saw the first automobile to arrive at the depot and watched it demonstrated on Canal Street. People lined up to see the car unloaded and then driven up and down the street. He remembers when the first train came to Houma; the people had all come in their buggies to witness this great invention. They had unhitched their horses because they knew the animals would be scared. Still it was the people who became scared when they saw the huge machine coming toward them.
Papa Joe saw the first steamboat that came to Terrebonne Parish; he saw the first sawmills, where he used to whipsaw the logs. He also witnessed the wooden roller sugar mill turned by 2 oxen (sugar was made in open kettles at that time). He witnessed the changing of the musselloaders to firearms, to pin guns, and then to breach loaders.
He remembers when mules went down to meet the barges and freight boats; the mules pulled the barges into Houma. This was called Cardel. The trail of the buffalo still remained in his days. He remembers the beaten buffalo paths. History says that the buffalo used to come out west to feed out on the coastland at a certain season. Three of four months later they would all go back at the same time.
Papa Joe and his father got their start in life by running a mule freight. Their land was bought in 1901. Joe’s house still stands along with some other property and his sons’ homes.
They hauled all the sugar from the country mills to the depot in Houma. At that time Papa Joe worked for Haley Minor, the man who used to own Southdown. Papa Joe then worked for the Lottingers who lived below Dulac; he worked there as a sharecropper. He later worked for C.P. Smith in the lumber business. Joe had his own nail maker; before that they used pegs.
Papa Joe saw the first store in Houma – Dupont’s, at that time a one room store. He saw the first bank, which was a hole in the Davidson’s store on Main Street. Papa Joe was the first person to make a loan at the bank when he borrowed $65.00.
He was one of the first children taught by a parish paid teacher, Mr. Larpentier. Just recently, Joe saw the sixth generation of the Larpentier family when Carroll Larpentier was then doing the family tree and went to see Papa Joe for some information.
One more of his growing up memories was that at one time people couldn’t grow corn next to the woods or timberland, because the bears would come out at night and eat it. When folks would go for a day in the woods to get lumber, they would have to tie their lunches to trees because alligators would carry away whatever wasn’t high enough out of their reach.
For entertainment, when he was still a young boy, every night after supper, Joe would go to any of the neighbors and have a corn husking party. They believed in helping one another. They would husk corn for anybody for a cup of coffee; in those days, money wasn’t much good for anything.
On Sunday evenings, folk would pass time by shooting (pat-go). After paying a small fee, a person would have his choice of a target. If he were a good shot, he would aim for the center; if not, he could choose another mark. The prize was usually 35 pounds of choice meat. Contestants had to sit in a chair and use a crossbar to rest the muzzelgun on to aim.
Papa Joe lived through all the big storms, through the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878-1906, and through the small pox epidemic.
He was born when Grant was president and lived to see the terms of office for 19 of the 37 presidents.
After his wife died in 1947, Papa Joe stayed for a while with his son John and his family on Dularge. Then he lived alone in the house next door to that of his son. There he lived alone for 10 or 12 years, doing his own cooking, washing and housekeeping. He also made a big garden until the age of 95, when he had a slight stroke and had to discontinue his big garden.
He recently left his home on Dularge to visit with some of his family and to be around the younger generation. He is still young in mind and spirit and has the memory of a much younger man. He has 20 grandchildren, 19 living and one deceased; 30 great grandchildren and 2 adopted great grandchildren; 6 great-great grandchildren. He says his remedy for living so long is that whenever he doesn’t feel well, he takes 3 drops of kerosine (koal-oil) in 1 teaspoon of honey.
Here’s a family tree story from the 1972 issue of the “Houma Daily Courier.” This has been at my grandmother’s house since it hit her driveway. I got a little lost in the story of Nolan Gane, who went from Houma to Broadway to Hollywood before dying at age 22 (really age 23).
The article itself: “A congressman’s mother, a Louisiana legislator, a Civil War soldier, an actor, an actress and a grandmother of a famed television star.
It all happens in the Emile Joseph Naquin family, the immediate family of which formed April 20, 1857, when Emile and Azema Boudreaux pledged a life-time of love in a brief wedding ceremony.
Granddaughters Mrs. Lloyd Autin and Mrs. Alvin White claim they have always been interested in the family tree of Grandpa Naquin, and the two were able to compile information and gather old photographs to have their story reproduced in the Courier Sesquicentennial souvenir issue.
The first known member of the family was Pierre Naquin. Little is available on his marriage, but the girls were able to tell us about his son Joseph Naquin, who married Marie Josephe Arseman, daughter of Pierre and Marie Hebert.
That union resulted in the birth of Joseph Ambroise Naquin II, who married Celeste Prejean. The date of that marriage is not definite, but Alice and Inez claim it was on or near August 3, 1833.
Joseph and Celeste gave birth to ten children, one of whom was named Maxmillian Naquin. Maxmillion married the daughter of Victor and Clemence Bergeron, Azelie Richard, Nov. 5, 1836.
Maxmillian died Sept. 16, 1855, leaving behind twelve offspring, including Emile, Inez and Alice’s granddad.
Emile Joseph was born Sept. 16, 1838, and died Feb. 24, 1909. He met and married Azema Boudreaux April 30, 1857.
Azema was born Sept. 3, 1840, and she died May 10, 1888, preceeding her husband in death by 17 years.
Emile’s siblings included Mathilde, Melvina, Alfred, Ozeme, Odile, Anatole, Emeline, Mathilde, Myrtile, Edgar and Ourestile.
Emile and Azema became parents of Emile or ‘Nac,’ Henry, Alice, Lydia, Joseph Clay, Lea, Alida Marie and Leila.
Grandpa Emile was apparently an active man in the community. Inez and Alice stated he was a sugar boiler in the winter and by summer a brick layer. The two say he helped to build part of the original parish jailhouse.
They reported he even worked out of Cuba during the height of the sugar cane season there.
He served in the Civil War, and the family has preserved a portrait of Grandpa Emile in his war uniform.
Inez and Alice talked more on their aunts and uncles and their families.
Emile Joseph or Uncle Nac married Edna and they had no children.
Henry married Mamie Gautier and they had two children, John Harris and Liola.
Alice married Sidney Gagne and had a son Nolan Sidney, according to a souvenir newspaper clipping, was active and prominent in Terrebonne Parish politics during his day, having served as a Louisiana legislator while his wife and son became associated with the entertainment world.
Other newspaper clippings Inez and Alice have saved on their aunt and first cousin indicated Nolan appeared on stage at five and in his last performance in a motion picture he and his mother were said to have starred opposite each other.
Nolan died at 22, his future ‘aglow with the fire of hope and reward.’ An account of his death continued, ‘Few are there in Houma today (February 1915) who do not remember little Nolan Gagne, the handsome, bright-eyed little boy who attended St. Francis de Sales Academy.
NOTE: IT APPEARS NOLAN DIED OF TYPHOID AND PNEUMONIA
‘Fifteen years ago, his mother who idolized him, took him to New Orleans and there put him in charge of the Jesuits. He was then but eight years old. His talent for elocution and acting became noticeable, and in the school plays he always won praise for his work.
‘When he was but 11 years old, Mrs. Gagne took him to Chicago and there he went upon the vaudeville stage; but this class of acting did not suit his taste and soon after he left for New York where he secured a position with a leading Broadway Co. which was then playing From Rags To Riches.
‘At the same time he was attending the Jesuits College in New York, and won the gold medal for elocution. His reputation as an actor soon got him into a larger field and in less than a year from the time he graduated from the Jesuit College, he was sought by some of the biggest theatrical companies in the Metropolis.
‘Gane (the name he used for stage purposes) went on to star in Billy the Kid, The Great Divide, Ninety and Nine, Madame X and Forty Five Minutes to Broadway.’
His mother’s sister, Lydia Naquin, married Prosper Rideau and they reared four children, including Bernice, Walter Eddie, Frank and Sidney. Sidney and the former Annette Moore were wed in April 1922 and they became parents of two boys and a girl, who in turn produced eight grandchildren.
Joseph Clay was the husband of the former Louise Marie Bergeron. Married January 14, 1882, they became the parents of two boys who each fathered two children. One of the granddaughters, Lelia Graves, bore a great-grandson Philip Joseph.
Lea, the mother of Congressman F. Edward Hebert, was born Oct. 7, 1870, and died Dec. 3, 1952. Her husband, Felix J. Hebert, died 27 years before.
The couple also had a son Gordon. He married Heloise Robichaux and they reared Renee. The congressman married Gladys Bofill and a little girl named Dawn soon joined their family unit. Dawn in turn married J. M. Duhe Jr. and they gave Congressman and Mrs. Hebert four grandchildren.
Inez and Alice’s mother, Alida Marie Naquin, was born in February 1876 and died in February 1965. She and Albert Theophile Fanguy were wed May 27, 1901. Mr. Fanguy, also born in February of 1876, died four years before Mrs. Fanguy.
Together they reared eight children, two of whom are deceased. From eight children sprang 14 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
Inez explained that the family tree gets a little complicated in parts, but she’s figured out that her parents, the Fanguys, were the sixth generation. That makes she and her five sisters the seventh generation, their children the eighth and their grandchildren the ninth generation of the Naquin family.
Mr. Fanguy, along with John J. Kleiner, Claude Wallis and Joseph A. Gagne formed a committee of invitation for the parish’s first carnival ball, held the evening of February 22, 1898.
Fanguy’s wife was cited in a past issue of the Courier carrying details of the Mardi Gras masquerade ball as the woman attired ‘in a pretty evening costume, greatly admired by all.’
The ball was held at the Opera House, the site of the present post office on East Main St. It was interesting to note that soon the parish will gain a new post office facility fronting Lafayette St., and the current post office site will come to be known also as the site of the old Houma post office.
Children of the Albert Fanguys include Inez, widow of Alvin Joseph White who died in 1967. Their son David Lawrence married Connie Jean Rogers and that union produced granddaughter Toby Ann White, now two years old.
Inez’s brother Alvon Vincent died in July of 1971. He married the former Theresa Gross and their two daughters blessed them with three grandsons and two granddaughters.
Dorothy Mae married Sebert J. Haynes in 1928. They are parents of two boys and a girl. A son has two children and their daughter one girl.
Thelma Rita and the late Frederick Joseph Daigle were wed in 1939. Her husband died in 1963. The couple had no children.
Wenonah Katherine is the wife of Houma Airport Commission president Butley Joseph Mahler. They were married in 1933 and are parents of two girls and a boy. The Mahlers have five grandchildren.
A second brother Nolan Anthony, born in 1916, was killed in an accident in Meridan, Miss. in 1942. A bachelor, he served as a 2nd Lt. in the 27th Bombardier AAF during the Second World War.
Alice Evelyn Cecile is the wife of Lloyd Joseph Autin, owner of a meat packing company. Married in 1936, the Autins are parents of a boy and a girl.
Son Michael is married and has given the Autins a granddaughter and a grandson; Anne Marie became Mrs. John McDougal Lankford in 1957. They have one daughter.
The eighth of Azema and Emile Naquin’s children was Lelia, who died in 1903. She was married to Alcee (Elsie) Comeaux, who died in 1939.
The Comeauxs reared two daughters, one of whom bore four children. These four gave the Comeaus ten grandchildren.
The family tree of the Emile J. Naquins dates back to approximately 1700, and like the stately oak, is destined for an unpredictable growth pattern. A salute from the Courier on this, the 150th anniversary of Terrebonne Parish, goes out to the Naquin family, one of many who help in its own way to make Terrebonne a better place to live.’