From the Dec. 31, 1972, edition of “The Houma Daily Courier & The Terrebonne Press.”
Alvin Navarre Sr., 70, died at 9:15 a.m. Saturday in Our Lady of the Sea Hospital, Galliano. He was a resident of 118 Hanley Lane, Golden Meadow. Services are slated for 3 p.m. Monday, January 1 in Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church in Golden Meadow with burial in the church mausoleum. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Julie Boudreaux Navarre; three sons, Alvin J., Philip of Larose, and Aurestile Navarre Jr.; four daughters, Mrs. Rogers Collins, Cut Off, Mrs. Harrison Curole, Mrs. Gilmer Gaudet of Gretna and Mrs. Gene Guidroz of LaRose; and six sisters Mrs. James Toups, Mrs. J.P. Moore, Mrs. O’Neil Labit, Mrs. Octavie Babin, Mrs. Warren Burgess and Miss Julia Navarre. He is also survived by 20 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents the late Aurestile and Julienne Navarre. First National Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Miss Clarice Bouzigard, 69, died Friday, December 29 in Consolata Nursing Home, New Iberia. She was a Golden Meadow native. She is survived by one son, Bobby Lee Seringe; two daughters, Mildred Lee Serigne and Eva Bouzigard; seven brothers, Leo, Edgar, Maurice, Norbert, Lorris, Harris and George; and eight sisters, Mrs. Eusta Lafort, Mrs. Norris Cheramie, Mrs. Inez Martin, Mrs. Julian Lafort, Mrs. Edison Terrebonne, Mrs. Hilton Davis and Miss Nora and Louise Bouzigard. She is also survived by four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Services are slated from First National Funeral Home of Galliano to the Cheramie Cemetery in Galliano. The time had not been set at press deadline.
McGuire Funeral Home of Vivian, La. is in charge of arrangements for Mrs. Annie Heavener, 91. She was the mother of Mrs. D. Frank Smith of 303 Sunset Blvd., Mrs. William T. Maxwell, Palms Apt., and Mrs. Claude Gray, 10 Alamo.
George Joseph Pellegrin Sr. expired at 9:10 p.m. Friday, December 29 in Terrebonne General Hospital. He was 61 years of age and a resident of Grand Caillou Rte., Box 805. Services are scheduled Monday, January 1, at 2 p.m. in Holy Family Church with interment in the church cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Josephine Marie Pellegrin, four sons George Junius, John and Perry Pellegrin, all of Grand Caillou; three daughters, Mrs. Dennis Pellegrin, Mrs. Julius White and Mrs. Michale Gautier; three brothers, Alfred, Pierre and Elie Pellegrin; and three sisters, Mrs. Vincent Scott of Dulac, Mrs. Felix Bourg of Grand Caillou Rte. and Mrs. Bernard Carrere, also of Grand Caillou. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren. Chauvin Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mrs. Louise C. LeCompte, a resident of 618 Roosevelt St., died yesterday at 9:35 a.m. She was 79 years of age. She is survived by her husband, Clarence LeCompte; two sons, Linton and Abbie LeCompte; and two sisters, Mrs. Felicie Guidry and Mrs. Velma Bergerson. She is also survived by three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Preceding her in death were her parents, the late Joseph and Cora Chauvin. Funeral services are set for 10 a.m. Tuesday January 2 in St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church with interment in Magnolia Cemetery. Visitation begins at 3 p.m. today until 10 p.m. First National Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Mrs. Clara Pitre, 89, died Friday, December 29 at Saco Nursing Home. Services are set for 2 p.m. this afternoon in St. Gregory Barbarigo Catholic church with interment in St. Francis No. 1 cemetery. She is survived by two sons, Evans and Virges Pitre; and five sisters, Mrs. Eddie Babin, Mrs. Ismay Duplantis, Mrs. Vivian Bourgeoise, Mrs. Bernard LeBoeuf, and Mrs. Lea Pitre. She is survived by 38 grandchildren, 71 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren. Preceding her in death were two brothers, the late Harris and Eustis Pitre, and her husband, the late Augustine Pitre. First National Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Donald J. Bonvillain, 71, died Wednesday, December 27. Funeral services took place yesterday at 2 p.m. from First National Funeral Home. He is survived by two sisters, Mrs. R. L. Hodges of Houma and Mrs. William J. Hoffman of Riley, North Carolina. Bonvillain was preceded in death by his wife, the late Eunice Berwick Bonvillain.
Here are the obits from the Oct. 8, 1972, edition of “The Houma Daily Courier & The Terrebonne Press.”
Mrs. Alfreda Verdin, mother of Alfred Verdin and Mrs. Orelia Verdin Williams of Houma, died Thursday, Oct. 5 at 9:15 a.m. at her residence on Big Bayou Black near Gibson. Mrs. Verdin, also survived by brother Wilmore Lee Verdin, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, was 68 years of age. Wake services are to be Sunday night, Oct. 8, with the recitation of the rosary planned for 7 p.m. at Terrebonne Funeral Home. Religious services from St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church will take place Monday, Oct. 9, at 10 am. with burial rites to follow in New Zion Cemetery in Mechanicville. Terrebonne Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Raymond Bergeron of 625 Pecan St. died Friday, Oct. 6 at Charity Hospital in New Orleans at 7:35 p.m. at the age of 56. He was the son of the late Sidney Bergeron and Louise Champagne. He was also preceded in death by brothers Sidney, Junius and Louis Bergeron as well as sisters Misses Laura and Thelma Bergeron. Survivors included brothers Ivy and Celestin Bergeron, both of Houma, and sister Miss Flavia Bergeron, also of Houma. Services are to be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 9 at St. Eloi Catholic Church. Burial will be in St. Eloi Cemetery in Theriot. Chauvin Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
The man credited with bringing the first large pipeline into Houma for the Texas Co., Frank William Courts, expired Friday, Oct. 6 at 2:30 p.m. at Lakewood Hospital in Morgan City. Mr. Courts, 83 and a resident of 107 Geist St., died following a lengthy illness. He was born in Duke Center, Penn. and worked in the oil field all his life in the Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Louisiana areas. Most of his working career was spent with the Texas Co. He was active in the Presbyterian Church, the Shriner Club and the Masonic Lodge, No. 23, F. & A.M. in Healdton, Okla. Survivors include his wife, Mrs. Alice Turner Courts of Houma, sons W. M. Courts of Houma, R.T. Courts of Houston, sister Mrs. Ruth McGahey of Pampa, Tex., three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Services are slated from the McCleary Chapel Sunday, Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. with the Rev. James L. Baker officiating, with burial rites to follow in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Gray.
Mrs. George Weidenbacher Sr., mother of Houma resident Donald Henry Weidenbacher, died Saturday, Oct. 7 at her daughter’s residence in Harvey. A former resident of New Orleans, she had been residing with Mr. and Mrs. Henry Rhiehm for the past three years. She was 65 and the wife of George Weidenbacher Sr. She was also the mother of George Weidenbacher Jr. of New Orleans. Other family survivors include six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Visitation begins tonight, Sunday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. from the House of Bultman on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Funeral services are slated from 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 9 from St. Henry’s Catholic Church in General Pershing in New Orleans. Following the 10 a.m. Requiem Mass, burial will ensue in the Carrollton Cemetery in New Orleans.
Here’s are the obituaries from the Nov. 19, 1972, edition of “The Houma Daily Courier & Terrebonne Press.”
Marie Benoit Francis, a resident of Box 818 Grand Caillou, died Friday, Nov. 17 at 6:10 p.m. at the age of 86. She was the wife of the late Frank Francis and daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Victor Benoit. She was the mother of Aldoir Parfait of Houma, Mabel Francis of Houma, Mrs. Rita Verret, the late Adam Francis, the late Mrs. Hilda Trosclair and the late Wilda Francis. She is also survived by 34 grandchildren and 75 great-grandchildren. First National Funeral Home is handling arrangements which were incomplete at press time.
Mrs. A. J. Bonvillain, wife of the late State Senator A. J. Bonvillain, who died Thursday, Nov. 16, was preceded in death by five sisters and one brother. They included the late Mrs. Leufroy Patout, Mrs. Jimmie Brown, Mrs. Frank Viguerie, Mrs. A.B. Caillouet, Mrs. J.C. Dupont and Leufroy Burguieres.
Randolph Babin, resident of 350 Carlos St., died Friday, Nov. 17 at 11:45 p.m. at the age of 61. He is survived by brothers Eddie, Sidney and Leon Babin of Houma as well as sisters Mrs. Delnott Kieffe of New Orleans and Mrs. Irene Butcher of Houma. Funeral services are set for 9:30 a.m. Monday, November 20, at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church with interment in St. Francis de Sales No. 1 Cemetery. Chauvin Funeral Home is handling the funeral arrangements.
Mrs. Emily Trahan Authement, a resident of St. Rte. Box 620, Chauvin, died Friday, Nov. 17 at 9:10 p.m. at Terrebonne General Hospital at the age of 78. She was the widow of Evest Authement and the mother of Felton, Magnus, Harry, Harvey, Andrew, Willard Authement, all of Houma, Eugene and Herman Authement of Bourg, Mrs. Leon (Bridget) LeBouef of Montegut, Mrs. Wilsey (Egnolia) Dupre of Pointe-Aux-Chenes, Mrs. Frank (Aggie) Picou of Chauvin, Mrs. Nola (Viona) Lapeyrouse of Chauvin and Mrs. Lucius (Leona) Martin of Chauvin. She is also survived by 42 grandchildren and 36 great-grandchildren. Wake services are to be held from Mrs. Authement’s resident with funeral services incomplete at press time. Burial will be in the St. Joseph Cemetery in Chauvin. Chauvin Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Mrs. Edith B. Young, 62, died Friday, November 17, at 5 p.m. She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Marvin (Loretta) Marmande; a son, Jerry Qucner; and two nieces, Hilda Williams Buyer and Stella Broussard Robichaux. Also surviving her are seven grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, the late Joseph Young. Visitation will be from 3-11 p.m. today. Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, November 20 in St. Eloi Catholic Church in Bayou Dularge with burial in St. Eloi Mausoleum. First National Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Dennis L. Trahan, a resident of 121 Westview, expired at 10 a.m. yesterday. He was 83 years old. He is survived by one brother, Levy Trahan, and three sisters, Mrs. Laura Bonvillain, Mrs. Louise Pellegrin and Mrs. Adenise Hebert. He was preceded in death by his parents, Pierre and Adolia Trahan; five brothers, Leo, Joe, J.P. Clay and Wilbert Trahan and two sisters, Elodie Hebert and May Blanchard. Funeral services are slated for Monday, Nov. 20, at 10 a.m. in St. Anthony Catholic Church with interment in St. Anthony Cemetery. Friends may call after 10:30 a.m. today. Falgout Funeral Home of Raceland is in charge of arrangements.
A Texas resident passing through Houma while on vacation suffered a heart attack several days ago and has died as a result of that illness. The man has been identified as Marvin Gay Brian of Coffman Texas, 50 years of age and the husband of Doris Shughart Brian. First National Funeral Home, which has handled local arrangements for the Brian family, said Brian died Friday, Nov. 17 at Terrebonne General Hospital, where he had been hospitalized for a few days following the attack. He was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Charles Herman Brian and the father of Anthony Charles Brian of Arlington, Tex.; Mrs. Janet Neff of Kemp, Tex. He was the stepfather of Mrs. Barbara Lynn Roberts and Thomas Brian Arrendell, both of Deer Park, Tex. Authorities at the funeral home reported Brian’s remains have been transferred to Anderson-Clay Funeral Home with funeral services planned from Kemp, Tex. Brian’s family was traveling with him and in Houma when he died.
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.
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.’
My grandmother handed me a box of old newspapers not long ago. She wanted me to do something with them.
Looking through them, I realized she’d saved issues of “The Houma Courier” and other newspapers that featured family history stories. These aren’t stories about our family. They’re stories about other people’s families.
LSU wasn’t interested in my pile of yellow, crumbling newspapers since they have so many newspapers on microfilm. So I typed up the stories (fixing a number of typos) and scanned in the photos themselves (I love looking at old photos, don’t you?). I hope someone stumbles across this blog and learns about their family tree.
Here are the Daspits:
“Today we meet the Daspits de St. Amant again – in particular, Charles Matthew Daspit Jr., another Berger Block pharmacist. He ran the Standard Drug store in the old Blahut building.
Some Houmans remember when they used to get their prescriptions filled at Charlie’s Standard drug store. You can still see the name Standard written on the side of the building.
‘The date 1905 pops into my mind,’ said Mrs. Agnes Daspit Wright when I queried her on the subject. ‘I’ve heard my late mother talk about it so often.’
One of the druggists who used to fill prescriptions in the Standard Drug store died just recently, former Clerk of Court Randolph A. Bazet, recalled. He was Randolph Theriot. He moved away from Houma many years ago.
Many more Houmans remember Charlie’s Drug store was located in Block 300 Main – on the corner of Main and Church – the Fraisse-Standard, the building destroyed in the 1970 gas explosion. That was a drug store corner for many years in Houma’s yesterday. Louis Fraisse bought the property in 1886, according to Herbert C. Wurzlow, former abstracter, and sold to Dr. Leon H. Jastremski in 1899. I could not dig up the exact date when Charlie made his move from Pharmaceutical Lane to Block 300 Main, but it was after the Fraisse-Standard Drug company was formed and the two drug stores merged. Charlie moved his drug store in the late 1930s, said Agnes, when he retired. He died in 1940.
The name Robert Daspit appears as a city official in Randolph’s little red book. He was a trustee from 1857 to 1872. He was Charlie’s grandfather, both Agnes and Mrs. Mercedes Ray Pertuit, informed me. He was their great-grandfather.
Robert was the son of Marcel Daspit de St. Amant, who fought as an adjutant major in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. He owned the Ranch plantation on Little Caillou.
Robert Daspit spent close to three score years on planet earth. He was born in 1811, according to Agnes. He departed from this world in 1870. He was the owner at one time of Honduras plantation. He married Henriette Myrthe Chauvin de la Freniere.
Robert and Myrthe were married twice, Agnes related. It was an old bayou custom down here in Terrebonne – that is before St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church came to be in 1847. They were married first in a civil ceremony and when the priest came from Thibodaux, they were married again in a religious ceremony. Their civil marriage was performed in 1837, Mercedes found in courthouse records. It was not until some years later that the priest, Father Menard, got around to Houma to perform the religious rites.
Their union was blessed with eight children: Charles Matthew (Agnes’ grandfather), Aubin Arthur, Oscar B. (Mercedes’ grandfather), Henri Joseph, Elvire (wife of Houma’s mayor, Joseph Aycock), Victoria (wife of Sylvanus Munson).
The name Daspit has been a familiar one around city hall through the years. Other Daspits followed Robert’s footsteps in the town government. Felix Daspit was Houma’s mayor in 1871. Oscar B. was city clerk and assessor in 1871 and a trustee in 1878. Charles Matthew Daspit was treasurer in 1855 and assessor from 1876 to 1881. Isaac Daspit was a Houma solon in 1900. J. Arthur Daspit was Houma’s mayor in 1924. These facts and figures are gleaned from Randolph’s little red history book.
Agnes’ father was Robert Valentine Daspit. Charles Matthew Daspit who operated the drug stores was her uncle, her father’s brother. Their brother, Joseph Robert, we will meet in another story.
This was long before the age of Woman’s Lib, but two daughters of Charles Matthew Daspit, the Elder, have left their footsteps on the sands of time in Houmas’ yesterday. They were the Misses Agnes and Elizabeth Myrthe Daspit. Miss Lizzie still lives in New Orleans. She will soon celebrate her 90th birthday, said Agnes.
Miss Agnes, as everyone called her was a volunteer nurse in World War I. Miss Lizzie left here during the first world war to serve as a Red Cross relief worker in Servia and Montenegro. She worked for the Louisiana State Department of Health until her retirement 24 years ago.
Their mother was Charles Matthew Daspit Sr.’s first wife, Elizabeth Berger, daughter of Valentine Berger and Louisiana Stoufflet. Charles Matthew’s second wife was Iniside Hotard.
It is plain to see where Charles Valentine got his romantic name. He was named after his two grandfathers – Valentine Berger and Robert Daspit.
Agnes’ father was a sugar planter. He worked on Honduras and Hollywood plantations. Later, he leased and ran Waterproof, Waubun and Ardoyne plantations, his daughter related. This was before the family moved to their place on Bayou Blue, where his daughter Katharine still makes her home.
Agnes has two other sisters – Carolyn (Mrs. E. A. McMurry of College Station, Texas), and Louise (Mrs. E.W. Geary of New Orleans). Her brother, Robert, a World War II veteran, is deceased. Her brother John was killed in action in World War II.
Agnes’ mother was Margaret Butler of Natchitoches, La. Her mother’s family, the Le Mees, Agnes related, were owners of LeMee House, Natchez showplace. The LeMees, she added, came from France. They opened one of the first banks in Louisiana Purchase.”
Sometimes you stumble across something truly surprising while researching your family tree.
I was looking through a newspaper index the other day when I saw an entry in the Thibodaux Sentinel for Alexis Benoit’s son. I figured this referred to one of the children of Alexis Celestin Benoit and Marie Adelaides Clement. I was right.
Looking up an 1868 edition of the Thibodaux Sentinel – a paper I didn’t even know existed – on microfilm in LSU’s special collections, I found a murder in the family tree. Fortunately (I guess), my ancestor’s son was the victim.
Here’s what the newspaper said:
“The village of Houma was the scene of a most unjustifiable murder on last Sunday afternoon about 5 o’clock.
Our informant states that two brothers named Conner who were working on the Opelousas Railroad rode into Houma during the day, one of whom became much intoxicated and whilst passing along the street fired wontonly of some person walking along ahead of him, but missed him. A few minutes after he met a Mr. Benoit and without any words struck at his face, and as Benoit warded off the blow he shot him, killing him instantly. Turning round, he fired at the third party without effect and mounted his horse and rode off.
The unfortunate victim of this tragedy was residing just out of town and had not spoken to his murderer and it is doubtful if the two knew each other at all.
Mr. Benoit was a son of Alexis Benoit of the Chackbay settlement and we hope the murderer may be arrested and suffer the penalty which such an unprovoked crime richly merits.”
The victim was Clairville Silvin Alexis Benoit. He died at age 36 in Terrebonne Parish, and I had just assumed that he died of the usual type of disease that killed people in the 1800s. I had no idea that he was shot dead on a city street by a drunk. Poor Silvin!
More from the New Orleans Commerical Bulletin:
“Mr. Sylvain Benoit was killed last Sunday evening on Main street, in front of Mr. Berger’s stable, by a young man name Cornelius O’Conner. The former was an industrious, hard-working Creole, in the employ of Mr. Pierre Portier and living near Houma, on the Wade plantation. He leaves a wife and four helpless orphans in an almost destitute condition. A subscription has since been gotten up for their benefit, and we are pleased to learn that our citizens have subscribed liberally.
We have also been informed that Mr. Michael O’Conner, an elder brother of Cornelius O’Connor, has contributed liberally to the relief of the family and given them assurance that they shall never want.
It is supposed that young O’Conner was laboring under a temporary fit of insanity. His actions a few minutes before the occurrence had attracted the attention of his friends as being very strange. He met Mr. Benoit for the first time, in the street, jostled him or pulled at him, when a scuffle ensued.
Mr. Benoit then struck him, or struck at him, when O’Conner drew his revolver and shot him. The shot entered in front, near the left side, ranged upwards and lodged near the region of the heart. He died immediately.
Some persons running up to interfere, he fired at John Bacon (clerk in Franis’ store) who made a narrow escape. His brother approached him, when he threatened to shoot him.
Before a writ could be made for his arrest, he made his escape and has not since been heard of.
A profound feeling of regret pervades the community. The brothers O’Conner were well thought of in the community, their deportment being courteous and gentlemanly. The elder brother is a master of a section of the Opelousas Railroad.
Cornelius O’Conner, we learn, was living with his brother and assisting him in his duties.”