A Patureau Letter 1876

This post is about a very sad letter concerning Patureau family members from 1876.  The Patureau family came from France in 1840.  The family that came over at the time consisted of Pierre Patureau (born 1800) and his wife Anne Rose Machet (b. 1801), with their children Victorine (b. 1824), Ferdinand (b. 1826), Abel (b. 1827), and Elisa (b. 1828).  The family first settled in Opelousas, Louisiana.  In October of 1842 first Anne Rose, then Elisa died during a yellow fever epidemic.  They were buried near each other in the old Catholic cemetery in Opelousas.  It is believed that they are in unmarked graves, because they have not been located.

A year or two later, Pierre brought his three remaining children with him to Donaldsonville.  On September 3, 1846, daughter Victorine married Pierre Emile Laulom and they settled in Smoke Bend, which is near Donaldsonville.  Pierre Laulom was a French immigrant also.  Five months later, on February 10, 1847, Ferdinand married Emma Landry of Brusly.  Supposedly, they lived in Brusly for a few years after their marriage. 

Pierre Patureau circa 1857

In the 1850 Census, both Ferdinand’s and Victorine’s families were living in Baton Rouge.  No other family writings mention that, and Pierre and Abel are not found in the 1850 Census.  According to family lore, Abel remained a single man and lived with his father.  They were both bakers.  Wait!!  I just found them in the 1850 Census!  Pierre and Abrille Patuar lived in Baton Rouge.  I think the Census taker wrote Paturo, and the transcriber wrote Patuar.  I only looked for him in Baton Rouge because Ferdinand and Victorine were both here.  I went through every page looking at those individuals born in France.  And there he was – Pierre Patureau, caterer.  That means that all of his belongings were in Baton Rouge, including the bed that I now have in my home in Baton Rouge.  I wonder where he lived. 

This doesn’t match what family records say about Ferdinand and Emma.  That shows that their first three children were born in Brusly in 1848, 1849, and 1851.  It doesn’t seem like they would be moving back and forth across the Mississippi River back then.  They next moved to Plaquemine in 1852 or 53 and stayed there for a while as their family grew.  Father Pierre went to live with Ferdinand’s family in Plaquemine and stayed there until his death in 1860.  I think Abel stayed in Baton Rouge.

Ferdinand Patureau and Emma Landry with their family in 1864.

Victorine and Emile had two children, Eliza and Louis.  Their family moved to Brownsville, Texas, around the time of the death of the elder Patureau.  In 1864 Eliza got married at the age of 17.  She married Vicente Crixell, an immigrant from Cataluna, Spain.  They lived in Bagdad, Matamoros, Mexico, which was just across the border from Brownsville, Texas.  So when things got a little hectic in Louisiana during the Civil War, Ferdinand and his family went to Bagdad to get away from it all.  That is where my great grandfather Vincent Maximilian Patureau was born in 1865.  Eliza Laulom Crixell had a son around the same time.  It seems like the families were pretty close.

Cousin Eliza

Soon after Grampa Max was born, Ferdinand and Emma brought their family back to Plaquemine, which is where they lived out the rest of their lives.  Emma gave birth to fifteen children, though only ten of them grew to adulthood.  When his youngest child (a daughter named Victorine after his sister) was about three years old, Ferdinand must have heard some news about his sister Victorine being ill.  He was probably worried about her and thought about her yet continued on with his family and work.

Then he received a letter from his niece Eliza Laulom Crixell in mid-February 1876 that told him about his sister’s condition.  The news was not good.  Here is a copy of that letter:

Letter from 1876 from Eliza Crixell in Corpus Christi, Texas, written to Ferdinand Pierre Patureau in Plaquemine, Louisiana.

I got this letter from the Pierre Patureau Collection at the Tyrrell Historical Library in Beaumont, Texas.  I recently joined a group on Facebook that does translations for people.  I am learning French but don’t have the skills to translate everything in the letter.  But I received a wonderful translation from a fellow group member Marie-Helene, who lives in southern France.  Thanks, Helene.  Here is the translation that was provided:


Corpus Christi, February 15th, 1876

Dear Uncle.

It is with pain that I take up my pen to tell you about Mom’s illness. Doctors say they can’t do anything to save her. She has cancer in the womb, she has been in the hands of the doctors for 8 months. There is no hope, we are in desperate pain. She says she is very sorry to die without seeing you and my Uncle Abel. If it were possible to give her this satisfaction, she would be more serene. She always talks about Zulma, she would like to see her. Doctors say she can live two or three months, or she can die when we least expect it. She continuously loses blood. It is a cruel suffering day and night. We don’t give her any medicine at all, only opium to make her sleep, but it doesn’t help much. Dear Uncle, I no longer have the courage to write any more. Write to me, kiss the whole family for all of us as well as Aunt and Uncle Abel.

Goodbye dear Uncle, your niece who loves you and embraces you.

Eliza Crixell.

{on the side of the sheet:}

If it were possible for you and Uncle Abel to come and see Mom.  [End of Translation]

Isn’t that the most heartbreaking letter?  I can imagine what my great great grandfather felt when he read this letter about his sister.  I remember hearing the news about my own sister’s terminal prognosis with lymphoma.  But I don’t know his or his brother’s reaction.  I’m sure they were saddened by the news, but I have no way of knowing whether or not they were able to go visit their sister before she passed away.  It didn’t sound like she had long to live.

This is the only evidence I’ve found that provides a clue about when she died.  I have not seen any records, nor estimates for when she died.  But from the information in the letter, I’m sure she couldn’t have survived for more than a month or two at most.  She was only about 52 years old.  Ferdinand wasn’t far behind.  He suffered an accident in his sawmill and died the following year.  He was only 51.  Then Abel died in 1881 at the age of 53.  So the last three of the Patureau immigrants died within five years of this letter. 

Long live the Patureaus!

Grampa Max: Veterinarian at Work

Vincent Maximilian Patureau was a veterinarian in Lafayette, Louisiana. This photo circa 1915.

This photo was part of a group of photos that I believe came from my grandmother.  To me now, that seems rather obvious.  The photo is of her father, after all.  Where else would it come from?  But some old photos that I have do not have any information about who is in the photo.  Therefore, I don’t know where the photos came from.  If I did know where they came from, I’d have a better idea of who was in those unidentified photos.  I’ve been thinking about posting some of these photos to see if any cousins might know who the subjects of the photos might be.  In the meantime, make sure to label all of the photos you have with the names of the people you know are in them.  Maybe one day someone will thank you.

So today I’ll be thanking my dad for writing some information under these photos that he had collected.  My dad’s name was Robert Joseph “Bob” Landry, Jr.  He was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Robert Joseph Landry, Sr.  This leaves you with the question, “Who was Mrs. Robert Joseph Landry, Sr.?”  And the answer would be, “Why, the wife of Mr. R. J. Landry, Sr., of course.”  So if you follow my advice to label your photos, don’t use the logic I just used.  Use a person’s full name!  My wonderful Mee Maw was Germaine Erie Patureau Landry.  She was the daughter of Vincent Maximilian Patureau, the subject of this post.

Actually my dad labeled these photos with just a “VMP.”  But being that the photos included a photo of Grampa Max with a business sign that shows his name, it was more than acceptable and deserving of a mention of gratitude.  Thanks, Daddy!  I’ve estimated that this photo was taken around 1915 based on the age of Grampa Max.  That would mean that it was taken in Lafayette, Louisiana.  He had worked for a while as a self-taught veterinarian in Plaquemine, Louisiana.  According to newspaper articles, Dr. Patureau moved to Lafayette and set up a practice in October of 1911 on Pinhook Road.  He brought his family to Lafayette six months later in April of 1912.  He rented the “Boze house on the east side of the railroad.”  I have no clue where that would be.  Somewhere in Lafayette.

The photo shows Grampa Max at work with two dogs, though you only see one dog in this photo.  Between him and the dog, you can see a young girl with flowers on her top.  Even less conspicuous is a young boy reaching through the wooden fence to the dog’s collar.  I’m thinking that they are part of the family that owned the dogs, and Grampa Max was there in the capacity of Dr. Patureau.  The photos look like promotional photos to be used to advertise his veterinarian services.  

I just like having this photo of my great grandfather on the job.  Dr. Patureau, at your service.

Patureau Brothers Circa 1917

Germaine Erie Patureau Landry circa 1913. She was my paternal grandmother, and this post is about her two brothers.

Getting a late start tonight.  I just had an opportunity that I didn’t want to pass up.  But I still wanted to write this post.  I even thought about it off and on today.  Someone posted an article about one of the Patureau brothers on the Plaquemine Facebook group page and that’s what got me thinking about this topic.  I’ve written about Patureau brothers before.  I wrote one post called Patureau Brothers.  It would have been Part I if I had thought about it.  Then there are two other posts that could have been parts II and III.  But really, there are lots of stories about Patureau brothers – there have been so many of them through the years!  

But this one is about the brothers of my grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau Landry.  I knew her as my dear sweet Mee Maw.  I didn’t know either of them, because they died before I was born.  I’ve mentioned them in posts before, but I thought they deserved a post of their own.  Plus, I have a photo of each of them from the same year.  And in both photos, they are wearing a uniform.  

Max Patureau and Marie Therese Landry were married in 1888 and set up their home in Plaquemine, Louisiana.  They had nine children that lived to adulthood, including my grandmother Erie.  Their second of nine children was Romuald who was born on December 27, 1891.  He was called Rome (rhymes with homey).  Erie was number four of nine.  Number eight was Vincent Maximilian Patureau, Jr.  He was called Vincent and he was born on November 4, 1901.

Vincent Patureau in 1918.

The major event going on in 1917 was World War I.  That’s not what it was called at the time, though.  It wasn’t like they were planning on having the second World War twenty or so years later.  But there was conflict going on in Europe, and America joined in on the fight on April 7, 1917.  That meant that Americans would soon be going to military engagements in Europe.  Men between the ages of 21 and 31 were required to register for the draft.  Vincent was not required to register since he was only 15 at the time.  

But I do have this photo of him in what looks like a World War I uniform.  I saw somewhere that some young men could sign up for the military at the age of 16 with their parents’ permission.  That would have been Grampa Max at the time.  Their mother had died in 1909.  Some boys also lied about their age so they could go to war.  I don’t know the story behind this photo.  It says that it was taken on Dec. 4, 1918, when Vincent was almost 17 years old.  According to the birthdate that I told you, he would already be 17 on that Dec. 4.  Not only that, but the war would have been over by that time.  It ended on November 11, 1918, a day known as Armistice Day.

That brings us to the other Patureau brother.  Rome would have been in that first group of young men required to register for the draft.  He was the perfect age for war!  So off he went.  There is a very interesting article that was written by a Patureau cousin.  It was written by Mona Mel Mouton.  She was the daughter of Erie’s oldest sister Emma Patureau Mouton.  I actually edited this newspaper article.  It was longer than what I wanted and it had a picture of somebody else she talked about.  I wanted a photo of Rome to go with the article, so I found one and grouped it together with the part of the article about Rome.  

This is an edited version of a newspaper article. I shortened the title, removed a few paragraphs, and changed the photo. My focus was on the Patureau family.

The topic of the complete article was Armistice Day, but I wanted this post to be about Patureau family history.  And this article says something really interesting about that.  Something that I haven’t been able to confirm or find anywhere else.

The part about Rome says that she (Mona Mel) first heard Taps at Uncle Rome’s funeral in Baton Rouge.  (He died in 1937 when Mona Mel was 15.)  I was listening to my brother Rob play that just the other day online.  He participated in Taps Across America on Memorial Day.  Mona Mel talks about how her Uncle Rome would tell stories about his war days in France in 1917 and 1918.

He was a motorcycle courier who delivered messages across the French countryside to military members.  Since the Patureau family originated in France, Rome decided to see if he could connect with some of the Patureau family.  His grandparents Pierre Ferdinand Patureau and Anne Rose Machet brought their family to America in 1840.

When Rome was in the Bordeaux area, it is reported that he was able to make contact with Patureau family members.  But the most intriguing part is that he stated that he visited the ancestral home of the Patureau family – a castle overlooking an expanse of land.  This made Rome wonder why the family moved away from that rich countryside.  He never found out more, because he had to get back to soldiering.  Fortunately for us, he told that story to someone who liked to listen and to write.

The article encourages me to explore the Patureau family even further.  Ou est le chateau de famille?


Three Quarter View Portrait of Ferdinand Patureau

Ferdinand Pierre Patureau circa 1867

Here is the photo of Ferdinand Patureau that all of my Patureau cousins have been waiting for.  Actually, they didn’t know anything about it.  I didn’t know anything about it before sixteen months ago.  I had only seen one photo of Great Great Grandpa Ferdinand through the years.  Well, there really were two that I knew of.  One was a portrait of him by himself and the other one was a group family portrait from 1864.   Both of them were really terrible versions of the photos that I was able to improve upon by visiting the Pierre Patureau Collection at the Tyrrell Historical Library in Beaumont, Texas.

I’ve shared the improved versions of those two photos already.  I shared early versions of those photos with Patureau cousin Jo Ann.  She’s the one that had the Patureau bed that is now in my home.  As we were texting, she sent me this new photo that I had never seen before.  But I could tell right away that it was Ferdinand Patureau.  It looks like an old tintype photo in a cased frame.  It’s amazing that these old photos have survived through the years in our family.  

And yet again, this photo comes down through the Victorine Patureau Cropper line.  The Patureau bed and the Pierre Patureau Collection in Beaumont both come from that line.  That Victorine was a collector who cherished and protected those old treasures.  And by her example, her offspring followed in her footsteps.  I do not come from that line.  Victorine was the youngest child of Ferdinand Patureau and Emma Landry.  She had an older brother named Vincent Maximilian Patureau.  I descend from Grampa Max.  His daughter Germaine Erie Patureau Landry was my Mee Maw.  She was the mother of Robert Joseph “Bob” Landry, Jr., my father.  My dad and my grandmother spent many years researching the family.  They passed down an amazing amount of information that I am grateful for.  But they didn’t have nearly the number of artifacts or keepsakes that Max’s sister Victorine had.

But I definitely can’t complain – I’ve got the Patureau bed that came from France with my immigrant ancestors in 1840!  And this wonderful photo was generously shared with me as well.  I estimate it to be from around 1867.  It would probably have been taken in Baton Rouge.  Ferdinand was born in LaRoche-Chalais, Dordogne, France, on October 27, 1826.  If my estimated date for the photo is correct, he would be around 40 years old in this photo.  The family was living in Plaquemine, Louisiana, at this time after a short time spent in Mexico.  His large family was still growing, and he was probably busy getting his own sawmill operational and productive.  

It’s nice to have a glimpse into the past of one of our ancestors from over 150 years ago.  Thanks, Jo Ann, for sharing your treasures.

The Pierre Patureau Collection – Ferdinand and Emma’s Children

Beginning of the list of the children of Ferdinand Patureau and Emma Landry.

Sometimes, after I have decided on a topic for some of my posts, I’m tempted to apologize for not having something glamorous or exciting to post.  But then I tell myself that if they don’t want to read it, they don’t have to.  There is information that I come across that I find important, so I want to share it.  When I find myself referring back to different documents or pages of information often, I figure other people may find it beneficial as well.  And who knows, they may notice something in it that I skim right over.  

That thing this week is a list of the children of Ferdinand and Emma Patureau in the back of an old work ledger.  The pages come from the Pierre Patureau Collection at the Tyrrell Historical Library in Beaumont, Texas.  The collection reference number is AC-824. I visited it over a year ago and took hundreds of photos of the pages, letters, and photos.  The photos are my favorite things from the collection.  How could they not be?  I’ve shared a few of those amazing old photos of various family members from over 100 years ago.

But I’ve scoured this list for as many details as I can figure out.  It’s a bit tricky for me, because it is in French.  The list includes my great great grandparents Ferdinand Patureau and Marie Emma Landry Patureau and all of their children.  And they had a lot of children!  I thought all of them had been born in Plaquemine, Louisiana, except for my great grandfather Vincent Maximilian “Max” Patureau.  I’ve always known that Grampa Max was born in Mexico.  He was born there during the Civil War when the Patureau family went there to get away from the fighting in Louisiana.  Well, the list showed that a few of their other children were born other places as well.  Nothing as exotic as Mexico, mind you, but they were not all born in Plaquemine.

If you look at the very first line on the page, you’ll see what I’m talking about.  “Zulma Patureau est nee le 5 mai 1848 a 3 1/2 heure du matais. A Brule Landing W. B. Rouge, Louisiane.”  See?  She was born in West Baton Rouge Parish, not Iberville.  So she was born in Brusly on May 5, 1848, at 3:30 in the morning.  So when Ferdinand and Emma first got married, they lived in Emma’s hometown.  She was born in St. Gabriel, but the family moved to West Baton Rouge Parish shortly after.  The next two children of Ferdinand and Emma – Aline and Leobon – were also born in Brusly.

Leobon was born on August 20, 1851, and the family moved to Plaquemine before the birth of their next child Marie Valentine in July of 1853.  There is an entry for her death as well and it was just over a year later.  Elizabeth Palmyre is listed next.  She was born in 1855 and died in 1870.  This entry makes me think this list was written over the years of when the children were born (and died).  I say this because the ink color is different, and it looks like they went back to it 15 years later when she died.  Marie Valentine was born and had died before the next one came along.  It all looks like one entry.  It’s not the same for Elizabeth Palmyre.  It must have been either Ferdinand or Emma writing this information.

The list continues with the entries of Marie Zelica in 1857 and Ferdinand Pierre Jr. in 1858.  F.P. Jr. has a footnote that shows his death on June 25, 1862.  Yes, it says 1862, while the tombstone in Plaquemine shows 1860.  If you want to know which one is correct, look at what one of his parents wrote.  It is written as 1862.  And not only that, the year is underlined to emphasize that year.  I just changed it on my family tree.  

At the bottom of the page is the entry for Anne Emma born in 1860.  I’ve seen her name written as Anna Emma as well.  She died in 1874 after a jump-roping incident.  I don’t see that listed.  There is something about Chalet and July 23 written below her entry, but I don’t know what it is about.  In the left margin, reading from bottom to top, there is an entry for Ferdinand Pierre Patureau who was born in LaRoche Chalais in France in 1826.  Above that is listed the birth date for Emma Landry in Iberville Parish (St. Gabriel) in 1829.  Between their entries is a smaller entry for Emma’s mother Zerbine Dupuy in W. Baton Rouge Parish in 1807.

Second page of the list of the children of Ferdinand Patureau and Emma Landry.

On the second page of the list, the children continue.  Surely you didn’t think eight children would be enough!  We haven’t even gotten to Grampa Max yet.  Ignore the first few lines on the page.  That’s just a reference to an uncle of our Pierre Patureau (1800-1860).  Uncle Pierre Patureau (1774-1827) fought under Napoleon in the late 1790s and received a Legion of Honor Award in 1814.  The list continues with more children born in Plaquemine.  Joseph Onesime was born in January of 1862 and died six months later.  According to this list, Ferdinand Pierre, Jr. and Joseph Onesime died only eight days apart.  It must have been a sad time for the household of Ferdinand and Emma.  I wonder if there was some disease going around at that time?

The last of the pre-Mexico Plaquemine births was next.  Rose Elisa was born in 1863.  She lived to be almost 77 years old.  Only her older sister Aline lived longer.  She made it a month past her 77th birthday.  I don’t know the exact details of why or when the family moved to Mexico.  Some family researchers said it was to get away from the fighting of the Civil War.  Others say it was to pursue a business venture connected to the French ruling in Mexico at the time.  Ferdinand’s sister Victorine Patureau Laulom is said to have moved to a border town in Texas at the time.  Victorine’s daughter Eliza Laulom married Vicente Crixell (rhymes with Michelle) in Texas in 1864.  She gave birth to a son in 1865 in the same area of Mexico where Grampa Max was born that same year.  I do know that the family moved back to Plaquemine later that year.  

And still the children kept appearing.  Pierre Oscar was born in 1866.  Joseph Alcide was born in 1868.  Omer Abel was born in 1870.  The last child was born in 1873.  Her name was Marie Victorine and she was the one that started collecting all of the family information that ended up in the Pierre Patureau Collection.  Ferdinand and Emma were pretty prolific.  Many of their children were as well.  There were over 70 grandchildren of Ferdinand and Emma.  Large families seem to have been a family tradition.  There are over 1000 descendants of Ferdinand and Emma at this point.

And it all started from this little list of children.

The Mystery Of V. M. Patureau

V. M. Patureau circa 1885 in Plaquemine, Louisiana

Just what is that outfit that my great grandfather Vincent Maximilian Patureau is wearing?  I posted a smaller version of this photo last year.  The photo comes from the phenomenal collection of Patureau memorabilia that I perused last year.  That would be the Pierre Pautureau Collection at the Tyrrell Historical Library in Beaumont, Texas.  (The identifier for this collection is AC-824.)  Pierre Patureau was the grandfather of Vincent Maximilian, thus making him my great great great grandfather.   Pierre and his wife Rose Machet immigrated from France in 1840 and there are now over a thousand descendants of them in Louisiana, Texas, and a few other states.

I descend from Pierre and Rose’s son Ferdinand.  He was married to Marie Emma Landry, and they were the parents of Vincent Maximilian, who I usually refer to as Grampa Max.  But look at him in this photo.  He doesn’t look like a grandfather.  The photo was taken around 1885.  Max was a young man of 20 in 1885.  He was born in Mexico, but the family returned to Louisiana that same year and settled in the Plaquemine area.

1876 newspaper article in Plaquemine, Louisiana

When the family came back to Louisiana, one of the things that Ferdinand did to make money was install and repair lightning rods.  It seems such an unusual thing to do, but I suppose you can make money doing that, especially if you overcharge!  The only reason I say that is because of a newspaper article from 1876 claiming that about F. P. Patureau.  The article was talking about parish government overspending.  Surely, they didn’t know what they were talking about!  Our forefather would do no such thing!

Ferdinand also had his own sawmill, so I don’t know why he would still be going around installing lightning rods.  Tragedy struck in 1877 when Ferdinand had a terrible accident in his sawmill and died the next day.  I believe Emma and their oldest son Leobon kept the sawmill going for a while after that.  Later it was co-owned with someone named Bixler.  At some point Max was involved in the sawmill, but he also did a variety of other things.  In a newspaper article from 1885, it says that Max accidently cut himself on his right knee while he was shaving barrel hoops.  But don’t be concerned – it was a “painful but not dangerous wound.”

1887 news article from the Iberville South newspaper in Plaquemine, Louisiana.

Then in 1887, Max set himself up with a local grocer to deliver groceries to customer’s homes.  An article says that there is no charge for delivery.  He must have had a deal with that grocer.  The person writing the article thought highly of Max and said that he “can be relied upon to do what he says.” In 1888 VMP advertised in the local paper.  He stated that he was available for installing or repairing lightning rods after a recent storm caused damage to existing ones.  So two generations of Patureau men were involved with the business of lightning rods.  Later that year he was married to Marie Therese Landry.

The following year he advertised for both grocery-related work and lightning rod related work.  I know the grocery or retail business involvement continued for a while, because he co-owned a store on Patureau Lane from 1904 to around 1909.  After that he was mostly known as a veterinarian.  He was also involved with the group Woodsmen of the World.

While I find it interesting to see what Grampa Max was up to in those early years of his life, none of it helps me to solve this mystery.  I don’t think there’s a uniform for grocery workers that calls for epaulets on the shoulders of the outfit.  Even more so in the case of a lightning rod installer!  There might be a uniform related to the Woodsmen of the World group, but I haven’t seen such a thing.

When I searched for Woodsmen of the World uniforms, I clicked on a few links and found some uniforms very similar to the one worn by VMP in this photo.  I don’t think they were WOW uniforms, because most of those had the initials W.O.W. embroidered on the collar.  It looked like they were for military colleges.  I don’t know of any military colleges in or around Plaquemine, so I don’t know what this uniform is for.

I hope I will be able to figure it out.  In the meantime, we continue with the mystery.  If you are able to help in solving this mystery, I would appreciate any help I can get.  I’ll even give credit to anyone who can help me out.  Is that good enough motivation?  I hope so.

Pee Paw and Uncle Sidney

Robert Joseph “Rob” Landry, Sr. and Sidney Cary circa 1930.

I decided to write about my paternal grandfather today.  I thought about posting a photo of him from World War I, but only one of those photos caught my eye and it will take more editing than I have time for.   As I was scrolling through the old photos from the Tin Can Collection, this photo called my name.  So Thanks, Tricia, for sharing the contents of that wonderful tin can found in the attic.  I’m so glad Aunt Wana treasured these items and didn’t destroy them or throw them away.  (I’ve heard horror stories.  Not about Aunt Wana!  Heavens, no.  The horror stories were about people throwing away old family photos.)

This is a photo of my dad’s dad.  My dad was Robert Joseph “Bob” Landry, Jr. and as you might suspect, his father’s name was Robert Joseph Landry, Sr.  He was known as Rob or Pappy by his family and friends.  His eight children called him Papa and his multitude of grandchildren called him Pee Paw.  He was born on January 9, 1893, in Westlake, Louisiana.  He died on August 28, 1957, in Lake Charles.

The great thing about this photo is that the name of the two individuals was written on the back – “Robt. Landry + Sidney Cary.” The main connection between the two of them is that they were married to two Patureau sisters from Plaquemine.  My grandmother was Germaine Erie Patureau and the sister in question was Frances Lorena Patureau.  They both went by their middle names.  Actually “Sidney” was Uncle Sidney’s middle name as well.  His first name was Samuel.

Lorena Patureau & Sidney Cary circa 1920.  We can thank cousin Sis for this old photo of her aunt and uncle.

Sidney and Lorena were married in 1916.  They had a daughter named Marie Therese in 1917 who I think died in infancy.  I don’t have any information about her except for her name.  They didn’t have any other children.  Rob and Erie got married in 1921 and the first of their eight kids was born in 1923.  So the photo of Rob and Sidney was taken some time between 1921 and 1936.  1936 was the year that Sidney died at the age of 47.  The photo was taken in the back of Pee Paw and Mee Maw’s house.  It looks like it was taken around the time of 1930 or so.  I kinda like this photo of the two brothers-in-law.

I don’t really know much about Uncle Sidney.  That’s probably because he died when my dad was just a kid.  I don’t remember hearing any stories about him.  But I do remember Aunt Lorena.  I remember going to her house in Opelousas and I have some vivid memories of going to her funeral in 1972.  Remember?  I’ve told y’all about that before!  I somewhat regret that I didn’t post a remembrance of her on the 50th anniversary of her death on August 17, 2022.  But if you remember, I was busy recalling the events leading up to the 70th anniversary of my parents’ wedding.

When you start looking into the history of your family, you come across many dates that are important in the lives of so many people.  I can’t comment on all of them, but sometimes I see some that I try to remember.  Just tonight in looking through the information about the people I’ve been talking about, I came across two important dates.  I’ve mentioned both of them.  The one concerning the 50th anniversary of Aunt Lorena’s death was overlooked by me.  I’m hoping I won’t forget the other one.  It’s just a month away.  You may have noticed the date when I mentioned it earlier.  The 130th anniversary of my grandfather’s birth will be on January 9th.

So be patient.  It will be here before you know it.  In the meantime, I plan to have three other posts for you to read.  Aren’t you the lucky ones?!

Erie Giving Haircut

Two years ago I wrote a post about homemade haircuts and in that post I featured my maternal grandmother Myrtle Phenice Bucklin (known to my generation as Grandma).  It was partly an encouragement to people that even if they had to have a homemade haircut during the pandemic, they would survive.  I do my duty when needs call.  The name of that post was “Myrtle Giving Haircut.”  I even followed it up with a photo of myself cutting one of my cousins’ hair.

Last year I was going to write a followup to that post with a photo of my paternal grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau Landry (known to my generation as Mee Maw).  I decided against it at the time because another photo called my name.  But I always planned on posting a photo or two of Mee Maw showing off her scissor skills.  And now I’m following through with that plan.

My cousin was fortunate enough to have our Mee Maw (Germaine Erie Patureau Landry) give him a haircut.

This is a  photo of Mee Maw cutting the hair of one of her grandchildren.  If I had to guess, I would say this is my cousin Kenny.  He looks pretty young in the photo, so it could be his first haircut.  That would be a particularly photo-worthy event.  And even though it looks like he is the center of attention for this photo, the central figure in this story is our dear sweet Mee Maw. 

The photo was taken in Lake Charles, Louisiana, out the back door at my grandparents’ home.  If you could see a little further to the left on this photo, you’d see the rest of the steps and the corner of the house.  Around that corner you would find a ladder leaning up against the house going up to the second floor.  I’m not sure why it was there, but you can see it in many photos.  I need to post one of those photos soon.  I don’t think I’ve shared one of that ladder yet.

My cousin is sitting in a highchair with some artwork on the back of it.  It looks like a little person with wings, but it doesn’t look like an angel.  I don’t recognize it from anything. Then on the tray part of the highchair is a box or a book with some writing on it.  I’m not sure what that is either.  Oh, wait!  I just found out what it is.  I did an online search for Drene Diapers.  That’s what it looked like to me.  But what came up from the search was Drene Shampoo, which makes much more sense!  It also showed an ad for Drene from 1954 that says that this new synthetic shampoo had silkening magic!  Wow, Mee Maw wanted to make sure her grandchildren had the best!  Silky, shiny hair for everyone.

My Mee Maw was the best!  I think I was her favorite!

The Patureau Family After 1864

Grampa Max – Vincent Maximilian Patureau circa 1890.

Don’t worry, this is not a detailed history of the Patureau family since 1864.  That would take way too long and way too much space.  This is just a continuation of a post that I wrote at the end of last year called The Patureau Family Photo Circa 1864.  I’m actually surprised that it was that long ago that I posted the photo.  It seems like I just recently posted it.  In that post I talked about the Ferdinand and Emma Landry Patureau family in 1864.  That’s who was in the photo.  It was before they had my great grandfather Vincent Maximilian – AKA Grampa Max. 

Pierre Oscar Patureau on Sept. 11, 1888

But he wasn’t the only one that hadn’t been born yet.  They had five more children and they all lived into adulthood.  The first one was our Max, followed by Pierre Oscar, Joseph Alcide, Abel Omer, and Marie Victorine.  They all went by their middle names.  Almost all of their children did.  What’s up with that?  That 1864 photo of the family came from the Pierre Patureau Collection at the Tyrrell Historical Library in Beaumont, Texas.  That collection originated from the youngest daughter of Ferdinand and Emma – Victorine. 

Joseph Alcide Patureau circa 1890

Victorine must have started that collection early.  I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that she started in the 1890s.  She got married in May of 1892 when she was 18 years old.  She was married just a few months after the death of  Emma. (Ferdinand had died in 1877.) One of the things she must have gotten around this time was the bed that I am now in the possession of.  When she and Willie Cropper first got married, they lived in Plaquemine – possibly at the old Patureau home.  They moved to White Castle around 1899 and lived there for a few years.  She must have had some of these old photos and the bed with her then, because if she hadn’t, they would have been destroyed by a fire. On March 18, 1900, there was a large fire that destroyed all of the buildings on the Patureau property.  I wonder if there was other furniture that had come from France with the family?  I only know about the bed and I’ve only known about it for about four years.

Abel Omer Patureau circa 1890.

That collection of photos, letters, and such was passed down to Victorine’s daughter and then to her granddaughter.  Then it was donated to the Tyrrell Historical Library.  Besides having the photo of the Patureau family in 1864, there were several individual photos of the family members.  I already had the photo of Grampa Max, but I did get these other photos of his brothers Pierre Oscar, Joseph Alcide, and Abel Omer.  You may recognize Alcide and Omer from the old photos of Kelly’s String Band.  They were both members.  I like these photos of the younger Patureau brothers.  I can definitely detect a family resemblance.  The oldest brother Louis Leobon was fifteen to twenty years older than these brothers.

The ironic thing is that in that wonderful collection of family photos that was started by Victorine, I was not able to find one good photo of Victorine herself.  I should clarify that and say that I didn’t find any photos that were identified as Victorine.  There were some unidentified photos that could have been her.  Oh, yeah, and then there is the one of her when she was no longer alive.  There is a photo of her in her casket. It’s actually a nice, clear photo.  It’s an open casket with several sprays of flowers surrounding it and a gleaming cross beside it.  I’m just not a fan of postmortem photos.  Call it a quirk of mine.

So I would appreciate it if someone could share a photo of Victorine with me if you have one.  Preferably young and alive.  Old and alive would acceptable.  The only prerequisite is that it was taken when she was upright and breathing.

Star Social Club Initial Ball of 1902

That title seems like a mouthful, but it says what the topic of this post is pretty well.  The only thing it doesn’t tell you is that the event took place in Plaquemine, Louisiana.  To be a bit more accurate, it was in Crescent, Louisiana, a small community down the bayou from Plaquemine.  Someone posted some information about the Star Social Club on the Plaquemine Facebook group a few weeks ago.  I had to make a comment about it because my great grandfather Vincent Maximilian “Max” Patureau was one of the founding members of the club about 120 years ago.  My paternal grandmother Erie Patureau was just a young girl at the time.  She was one of Grampa Max and Gramma Marie Therese’s ten children at the time.

Invitation from 1902 to the home of Mr. V. M. Patureau

I wasn’t the only one who commented.  There were a few comments that were kind of interesting, but then I came across an amazing one.  It had this old invitation or ticket to the event from the initial ball for the Star Social Club in 1902.  That’s what you see here.  Of course I commented on this old piece of memorabilia with a reference to my very own Mr. V. M. Patureau.

Surprisingly, I heard back from the person in possession of the card and he said that he wanted to give it to me.  I told him I’d happily accept it!  He got it from a friend who found it in some of his old family papers.  I suppose the name V. M. Patureau didn’t mean as much to them as it does to me.  So I told him my address and now the invitation is mine.  Thanks, Mike C!

Article from the May 24, 1902, Weekly Iberville South.

Of course I had to look to see if I could find out the date of this “initial” ball.  Tommy Landry was my grandmother’s first cousin, and in his book about the Landry family, he had an invitation from a December 27, 1902, ball for the club.  So I figured the initial ball was probably from the year before.  After looking through that book, I looked at some old newspaper clippings that I had saved.  It didn’t take me long to find out the date.

In this newspaper article from the Iberville South in May 1902, it gives the date of the initial ball as May 24, 1902.  It, too, mentions that the event took place at the home of my great grandfather.  So it looks like there were two balls in 1902.  I don’t know if they had two balls every year or not.  I suppose it could be that they decided to have two that year because they had actually built the Star Club Hall during that year.  The invitation for the December ball says that it was in the hall.  I’m thinking it was newly completed and they wanted to celebrate that with a ball.  Why not?

But that first ball must have been special.  There probably was a bit of excitement in the air at the Patureau household that third week in May of 1902.  I’m pretty sure their house wasn’t very old at the time.  I saw some writing recently that talked about a large fire that destroyed all of the buildings on the Patureau homestead on March 18, 1900.  It’s a good thing the Patureau bed was with Max’s younger sister Victorine, or it might have been destroyed as well.

So the Patureau home was a newish two years old at most.  I wonder if little 7-year-old Erie Patureau was excited about having a ball occur at her childhood home?  It seems likely that she would have.  The event was the talk of the community.  It was in the local paper after all!  Besides the piece of the newspaper you see here, there was another reference to it on the same page.  It said that the Club would be entertaining that night and that  “No doubt the affair will be a pleasant one.”  I’m sure the family was making sure their home looked the very best for the event.  There was to be dancing and eating and socializing and much merriment.

It makes me think about the scene of the ball from “The Sound of Music.”  Not that the ball in little Crescent would be as grand as that one.  The main part I think about is when the children in the movie sing “So Long, Farewell” as they head off to bed.  I picture little Erie singing, “Adieu, to you, and you and you and you…”  I’m sure that did not happen, but I still think it must have been a memorable event from her childhood.

On left is the Patureau home and on the right is the Star Social Club Hall. I’m not sure who all the people are. This is looking south down Patureau Lane.

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