Patureau Family History Cache
A couple of months ago I found out about a collection of Patureau family memorabilia that had been donated to a library in Beaumont, Texas. (Thanks, Dana P. for the heads up.) What? I thought. Why would someone donate family history information to a library when there are so many Patureau family members out there with an interest in family history? The online information about the Pierre Ferdinand Patureau Papers at the Tyrrell Historical Library showed that it included old photos, French documents, death notices, correspondence, and much more. Old photos? I want old photos! And there were a few old Patureau family photos that I have been on the lookout for.
So I decided to add a stop in Beaumont to view this collection after a visit with family in Galveston last weekend. After two delays from Covid, my niece was having family get together for renewal of her vows. We had a great time getting together after being apart for so long. I even got to meet three of my newest family members – Max, Kate, and Jacob. The family keeps growing! So, once the weekend was over, I stopped in Beaumont on the way home to see what this Patureau collection was all about.
Now, my line of the family has been collecting Patureau information for a few generations. It started with my grandmother Erie Patureau Landry. Like I said a few weeks ago, I once thought she was one of the main persons that were exploring the Patureau line. I found out that were several people who have shown interest in the Patureau family through the years. And now I think that it is impossible for anyone to have more Patureau information than what is in the collection at the Tyrrell Historical Library for Pierre Ferdinand Patureau (ID number AC-824). Let’s call it the THLPFP Collection. It will be the source of many a Patureau posts in the future.
It is overwhelming. There are six boxes of items. I went directly to Box 3 because it had a photo album in it. Of course that would be the first one I would go to! I was not disappointed. I found the original photo of my great great grandfather Ferdinand Pierre Patureau (son of Pierre Ferdinand) that I had a copy of. I also found a photo of his wife Marie Emma Landry Patureau that I had never seen before. I’m not sharing those photos now, because I need to clean them up a bit and see if any modern day magic can improve them. I am posting a picture of the cover of the album. The other thing in Box 3 was a cigar box. I’m not sure what the significance of the cigar box is. I’ve heard stories of very small babies born into the family and the baby was kept in a cigar box. None of those stories were associated with the Patureau family.
The next box I looked into was Box 5. It included prayer books and another photo album. This album had several really old family photos. Many of them were tintypes. It is a shame that many of them were not identified. But some of them were. I found an unidentified photo that I thought was my great grandfather Vincent Maximilian Patureau (Grampa Max) wearing some type of military or band uniform. I had never seen the photo before and wasn’t sure it was him. There were several prayer books in this box. I think most of them belonged to Victorine Patureau Cropper. She was Grampa Max’s youngest sister. She is the one that started this amazing collection.
But the most exciting thing I found was the original photo of Ferdinand Pierre Patureau and Marie Emma Landry Patureau with their family from around 1864. I shared a pitiful copy of the photo back in 2018 when cousin Melwyn died. It was the only copy I had back then, but it’s the oldest photo of the Patureau family that I know of. I can’t wait to share this photo once I have cleaned it up.
The next box of goodies that I looked into was Box 6. It is an oversized box that included a few large photos in it. They were all of the old portrait of Ferdinand Patureau. He died in 1877 at the age of 51, so the photo was at some point before then. The box also had the original passports of Pierre Patureau from 1840 and 1856. There is also a document from 1863 for Ferdinand Patureau that came from Cuba. I’m not sure what it is. There are a few pieces of sheet music, some newspaper clippings, a Cropper family tree, and a few letters in there as well.
I looked at Box 4 next. It had a ledger from 1866 that Ferdinand Patureau used to keep track of his sawmill business. It’s interesting to see some of the history of their business, but what was even better were some of the letters that were pressed between the pages. The letters are undated, but many of them are from Ferdinand to Emma. Most of them end with him telling her, “I embrace you with all my heart.” So sweet! I’m posting one of the short notes he wrote. I’m not sure what it says, so I could be taking a risk. I hope it isn’t too scandalous! Beside the ledger, it has an order book from 1905 and a trial balance book from 1930. You can see that they were later used to hold newspaper clippings and to write down some family history information. The letters were the best.
Box 2 has lots of family documents in it: Cropper family photos, Crixell family photos, copies of the Emma Landry Patureau photo, a new photo of Ferdinand that I’ve never seen before, a Mexican passport for Ferdinand in 1865, and various other papers. I had been looking through this information for over 2 hours or so when I got to these last two folders. I was rushing furiously through them taking photos. I really didn’t have time to see much of the details on all of the things I photographed. I saved that for later. I finally made it to the last box, which just happened to be Box 1.
Box 1 had an assortment of family history information that had been collected by Patureau family members through the years. I already had some of it. I even saw my name in a list of some descendants! Then there were more letters written in French in folder after folder. I didn’t have time to photograph them. And really, when am I ever going to have time to read those?? I’d have to get them translated before I could even do that. I already have copies of letters that I’ve never gotten translated. So I skipped over several folders and looked through the death notices. The collection had one for Pierre Patureau, which I had never seen before. It also had one for Narcisse Landry, which I have seen before – twice. It’s amazing that I’ve seen three copies of that same document from 1876.
In Box 1 there was a folder of postcards that I almost passed over. I decided to skim through them and boy am I glad I did. In among these generic postcards was a card that looked like a graduation card or some such thing. The name on the card was V. M. Patureau. It was for Grampa Max! But not only that, it had a small photo that matched the one I saw earlier that I had suspected was him. I was correct. Now I want to know what this card was for. Any suggestions.
Before I saw this collection, I was a little miffed that someone gave all of this wonderful stuff to a library when they could have left it with someone who was really interested in the Patureau family – like me! But now that I’ve seen how extensive the collection is, I’ve changed my mind. I think it is probably in the best place for it. Sure, I would like for it to be a little closer to Plaquemine, Louisiana, where the Patureau family first settled. But there are a lot of Patureau family members who live in Texas as well. And I really wouldn’t want to take care of all of those important documents. I think there are plans for the library to digitize the collection at some point, so that would be even better. If that happens, we can all see the whole collection from our homes at a leisurely pace.
That’s a good thing. I think my back is still a little sore from standing over those items for three hours taking photos at just the right angle with just the right amount of light. It was worth the trouble. I still may have to revisit it at some point.