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.’