I haven’t written very many posts about Trasimond. That’s mainly because I only have one solitary photo of him. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great photo from 1861. He is young and handsome in the photo and he’s wearing a Civil War uniform for the Confederacy. Of course, he was. He was from the South! I can only say so much about one photo. I will share it again today, but it’s not the main topic of the post today.
The main topic is about his death in 1879. To be more precise, it is about a letter that was sent to his wife Marie Amelie “Belite” Bujol Landry on March 17, 1879. Trasimond had died the month before at the young age of 39. He died from yellow fever. I found this letter recently at the West Baton Rouge Museum. There was a presentation there the other day for people who are interested in their family history. It was about finding information from maps and land ownership. It showed me how much I had to learn about all that is and can be family history.
After the presentation, a fellow enthusiast showed me some of the files available in one of the rooms I had been to several times. I really need to pay attention to my surroundings more often! There were all kinds of interesting documents in those files. But I was just quickly browsing through them, because I hadn’t planned on staying long. I was on the lookout for anything that was related to my family, though. So I was kind of excited to find this original letter that was sent to my great great grandma Belite. I’ve written much more about her, because she lived a full life and there are many photos of her in her later years.
The letter is in pretty good shape, considering how old it is. It looks like it has been laminated in some way. It’s a thin lamination, so it’s still pretty flexible and feels almost like regular paper. But it does reflect the light and made it tricky to photograph. It’s still relatively easy to read. It looks like three different people wrote different parts of the letter. Their handwriting is different, but all three are easily legible for those that can read script writing.
The first person writing has some calligraphy features to it. The capital C has a heaviness about it that makes it stand out, as you can see in the words “Capt Trasimond Landry.” He talks about the Court of West Baton Rouge Parish finding out about the sad event of the death of a recent clerk of the Court. The decided to draft a resolution in honor of said deceased. The second hand writing begins with “In Memorium” and talks about the death of Capt Landry on February 25, 1879. I have his death identified as the week earlier (Feb. 18). They point out the fact that he fought during the entire duration of the Civil War as part of the West Baton Rouge Tirailleurs. They also note that he left his wife and five young children in “destitute circumstances.”
I was kind of surprised to see their condition spelled out so blatantly. I had seen references to the family being left in a difficult financial situation before, so it wasn’t a shock to see it. It made me wonder what they were going to do about it. Offer assistance? Provide a gift? Nope, they just offered her condolences. Plus they “resolved that we tender to his widow + children the heartfelt sorrow of the members of the Bar.” They also made sure that they would publish this resolution in the local paper The Sugar Planter. They also gave themselves some time off to mourn their departed “brother.”
“Wait! Wait!” I was thinking. “What about those debts? What about his starving children?” My great grandmother Marie Therese Landry – his oldest child – was only ten years old at the time. I kept reading. A third hand continued the letter on the back (page 2) of it. This person was deputy clerk C. W. Pope and he dutifully closed out the official copy of the minutes of the meeting. I wonder if it was him that put the official Louisiana state seal that is stamped on the margin of this letter? It looks like his handwriting that added the personal note to Grandma Belite. He addresses her as Mrs. Landry and expresses his sympathy for her “great affliction.” He could have at least included a gift card for the local A&P or Walmart!
I wonder how this ended up in the museum. In some ways it is a letter and in other ways it is the minutes of an official meeting. It must have gone to Grandma Belite, since it has that part addressed to her. You can also see the words “For my dear Mose” written across the top of the first page in pencil. Trasimond and Belite’s fourth child was Moses Joseph Landry. I’ve heard him referred to as Uncle Mose. The only thing that makes sense is that those words were written to Mose by his mother Belite. She must have wanted her son to know the respect that his father had garnered from the officials of West Baton Rouge Parish.
And now some of her descendants know that as well. Thanks, Grandma Belite, for passing that down to us.