Pee Paw Was in World War I

Robert Joseph “Rob” Landry, Sr. at Camp Humphreys in Virginia in 1918.

I’ve shared several photos of my paternal grandfather before.  I haven’t shared this one before and that kind of surprises me.  When I think of old photos of my grandfather during World War I, this is the first photo I think of.  Not because it is the best photo of him from that time period, but because it was the one that I was most familiar with when I was a kid.

My dad had this in his collection of old photos.  So when I put together a family photo album when I was in junior high school, this photo was one of the first ones to go into it.  My dad’s father was named Robert Joseph Landry when he was born on January 9, 1893.  His parents were Alcide Landry and Marie Celeste Leveque. 

We’ve looked at the Landry household during the 1900 Census.  That year, Rob was the youngest member of the household at 7 years old.  It also included his parents and his five older siblings – Elie, Seb, Joe, Louie, and Marie Therese.  There was an older sister named Lily that was born in 1870, but she had died in 1889.  That was before Rob was born, so he didn’t know her.  In a sad twist of fate, his sister Marie Therese also died at about the same age.  She was closest to Pee Paw in age, so he would have been close to her.  He later named his first daughter after her.

But before all of that came to pass, Rob Landry grew up in the Landry household with four older brothers.  I don’t know if any of his brothers were in the military, but his father Alcide had been in the Civil War along with his brother Trasimond.  And even though Rob was interested in baseball and was pretty involved in the sport, he registered for the military on June 5, 1917.  He was stationed at Camp Lee in Virginia according to some of the photos I’ve seen.  I know that he ended up having some hearing loss because of the training with munitions.  I also know that he was at Camp Humphreys in August of 1918.  The war ended not long after that, but I don’t know if Pee Paw was let go because of the loss of hearing or if it was because of the war being over.

Discharge information from 1918.

Oh, look, I found the discharge papers.  There is no mention of any disability, though I know I’ve heard that he had hearing loss as a result of military training.  It also says that he was at Camp Humphreys  in Virginia.  Camp Lee was another camp in Virginia during the Great War, and he may have been at both of them.  I’ve also seen a date of 1919 on some of the photos, but from this document that seems unlikely.  It says that he was discharged in December of 1918.

There’s one more thing.  Have you been able to figure out which one of the soldiers was my Pee Paw?  I probably should have told you from the beginning.  He is the soldier standing on the front row on the far right.  If you don’t know your left from your right, he’s the guy in the front with a smile on his face.

Bucklin Brothers Coming and Going in 1925

Clarence Bucklin, Myrtle Moon, unknown, and Fred Bucklin circa 1925 in southern Louisiana.

I like this pair of photos.  I got them from cousin Carla in 2019.  She let me borrow a whole stack of these old photos so I could scan them.  I’ve shared a few of them with you before.  Many of those photos had my grandfather Fred Bucklin and his identical twin brother Clarence Bucklin – father of Carla – in them.  In many of them I am unable to tell who is who since they were identical.  I keep thinking that at some point I’ll be able to tell them apart.  Because in some of the photos – like this one – you can tell which twin is which by who they are standing next to.

The person that is recognizable in those photos is Myrtle Moon.  Do not confuse her with my grandmother who was also a Myrtle.  My grandmother was Myrtle Phenice.  I have always found it interesting that both of the twins dated and married a woman named Myrtle.  So when I see a photo of the twins with Myrtle Moon, I’m pretty sure that she was likely standing next to Clarence in the photo.  That’s how I identified Clarence and Fred in this photo.  Myrtle Moon had a thin frame and curly hair and I recognize her standing with her arms crossed in front of her.

The other woman who is standing closer to my grandfather Fred is not my grandmother Myrtle.  I don’t know her name and I don’t know if it was a girlfriend or just a friend of the twins.  They took several photos with different friends and family members.  So it could be a friend of Myrtle Moon or a friend of one of their sisters.  At this point it’s not likely to be found out, though  I have found out things about photos from unlikely sources at unexpected times.  I post these photos and never know what kind of information I can get in return.

The foursome suddenly found something really interesting behind them.

The other part of this pair of photos is this one with the same four people with their backs turned toward the camera.  It’s an unusual pose to see in an old photo, yet it shows a playfulness that they must have had.  I really don’t think they were distracted by anything behind them.  And the photo only makes sense if you have the first photo.  If you only found this old photo, it would leave you mostly puzzled.  It might even leave you frustrated because you know they’ll never turn around to show you their faces.

Now that I look at these photos more, I am getting a bit puzzled and frustrated.  It’s like there is an inside joke and somehow I’m missing something.  And why are they hugging those pine branches?  Is that a clue?  Perhaps I am overthinking it.  It’s just a fun front and back set of photos.  Like a before and after photo.

Fred Bucklin with unidentified female in 1925 in southern Louisiana.

While I’m at it, I might as well post this other photo of my grandfather Fred on the same day.  I’m pretty sure it is the same day.  He is wearing the same thing, he is with the unidentified female from the other  photos, and she is wearing the same thing as well.  I’m not exactly sure where the photo was taken.  My grandfather and his brother lived in Hathaway, Louisiana, which is a small town in southern Louisiana in Jefferson Davis Parish.  When we visited my grandparents in Hathaway, we used to go the “Myrie” and play.  That was actually the Bayou Grand Marais, but it was more of a drainage ditch.  It looks like they were near a more substantial body of water.  It could be the Mermentau River near Jennings, but that didn’t have a beach like you see in the third photo.  I’m thinking it is most likely the Ouiska Chitto Creek.  It’s a waterway a few miles west of Hathaway where you can canoe and swim.

Or you can just go there with friends and take fun photos for people to think about 100 years later.  That’s what my grandfather did.  I, for one, am glad he did.

The Real Photo of Ferdinand Patureau Circa 1875

I’m pretty sure this is a drawing of the original photo that was taken around 1875.

For the longest time I’ve been aware of a “photo” of my great great grandfather Ferdinand Pierre Patureau.  A horrible version of the photo was used back in the 1990s as an invitation to Patureau family members to come together for a reunion.  The image was a Xerox copy of a copy of a drawing of a photo.  At least that’s what it looked like to me.  But it didn’t stop people from coming to the reunion and claiming that they were related to old Ferdinand.  The scan of the the image I have here is not as bad as the one used for the reunion.  In fact, I cleaned it up and restored it as best I could.  It was better than nothing.

Then a few years ago I got a better copy of the image from my dad’s first cousin Sis of the Patureau line.  I don’t know where she got her version, because it was definitely better than the one I had.  That one had already been edited.  I think some of the programs that restore photos use some type of algorithm that makes an image look more like a photographic image.  I think that’s what happened to this one.  I was thinking that it was a photo.  It was close enough to his likeness that I was able to recognize him in other photos.

Ferdinand Pierre Patureau in a photo from around 1875 in southern Louisiana.

Last November I went to the Pierre Ferdinand Patureau Collection (AC-824) at the Tyrrell Historical Library in Beaumont, Texas.  I’ve shared some of the photos from that collection already.  My favorite photo from that collection is the Patureau family photo from 1864.  There is no question about that.  It is a definite favorite.  It is a photo of Ferdinand Pierre Patureau with his wife Marie Emma Landry Patureau and their children up to that point in time.  Even though it was before my great grandfather Vincent Maximilian Patureau (Grampa Max) had been born, it’s still my favorite.  Then there are runner-ups to that photo.  The real photo of Ferdinand Patureau is one of them.

As you can see in the photo, he looks a bit different.  Yet you can still tell that it is the same person.  He’s got the high forehead, the thin goatee, and the curly hair around his ears.  Another thing that makes me think the other image is a drawing is the detail shown in the clothes.  The lapel of the jacket is outlined, and the white tie outline keeps it from blending in with the shirt he was wearing.  I wondered if it might have been a crayon treatment of an old photo.

Mirror versions of the two sides of Ferdinand’s face. A very different look from one side to the other.

But then I realized what the main difference is.  His face is very asymmetrical in the photo.  Most people have slight differences on the two sides of their faces.  You’ll notice it more when you look at mirrored images.  There is even an app that will show you what you’d look like with one side or the other.  There’s an app for everything!  So it looks like the old drawing was almost an idealized version of the better looking side of his face.  You’d think that while they were at it, they could have drawn him with a hint of a smile on his face!

I’m not exactly sure of when the photo was taken.  He was born in LaRoche Chalais, France, on October  27, 1826.  He died in Plaquemine, Louisiana, on February 25, 1877, after having a terrible accident in his sawmill.  He looks older than he did in the 1864 photo, so I estimate that the photo was taken in 1875.  It was probably taken in Plaquemine.

I’m glad this old photo is being preserved in the collection in Beaumont.  Even though it’s not my favorite, I still like it a lot.

Meeting the Parents in 1952

Betty Lou Buckling and Bob Landry at the Landry home in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in May of 1952.

Later this year we will honor the 70th anniversary of my parents’ first wedding.   It was their one and only wedding, so don’t think you’ve  missed out on some information.  My mom talked about how they went on a few dates when she first started school.  Then my dad broke it off for a while because they weren’t the same religion.  My mom was a English/Irish/German Methodist and my dad was a Cajun Catholic.  But when Bob Landry realized he couldn’t get Miss Betty Lou Bucklin out of his head, they started dating again.  By the spring semester of 1952 at McNeese State College, they had decided that they were going to get married.

Betty Lou Bucklin in May 1952 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She turned 19 on the 20th of that month.

One of the things that couples usually do is got back to the their childhood homes and meet their partner’s parent or parents.  In their case, all of their parents were alive at that time.  They even took a few photos with some family members at the Landry home.  This must have been when Mama met Mee Maw and Pee Paw.  For those not in the know, that would be Betty Lou Bucklin meeting Erie Patureau Landry and Robert Joseph “Rob” Landry, Sr. at their home in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  I don’t remember these photos when I was growing up.  My mom may have told me that they were from that fateful visit, but I probably wasn’t paying attention.  It’s a good thing she realized this and wrote the information on the back of the photos.  Thanks, Mom.

But I do remember the story she told me about the first time she met the Landry family.  The thing that was the most striking to my mom was the affection that his parents had toward their children.  Her family was a little more staid.  The English culture is more known for having a more reserved manner.  But it was more than that.  When Pee Paw came home from work, he greeted each member of his family with a kiss.  And it was not just the womenfolk. He also greeted his sons with a kiss.  On the lips. 

Marie Therese “Sis” Schafer (my dad’s maternal cousin), Wana Lydwin Landry (my dad’s younger sister), and Betty Lou Bucklin at the Landry home in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in May of 1952.

Now there was nothing wrong with this action, but my mom was definitely not used to it.  Like she would say to me, “I don’t want anyone kissing my lips but my honey!”  Of course her honey was my dad.  I must have heard this story when I was quite young, because I think it might have influenced my own behavior.  I remember discreetly avoiding my Landry aunts who would kiss us kids in greeting.  And we definitely avoided those dreaded kisses from our cousin Tez – she of the bumps.  As I’ve gotten older and have lost those aunts, I sometimes miss those sweet greetings. 

It’s interesting that this was the day that my mom met her future in-laws, but there is not a photo of her with them or of the two couples together.  At least we have the one of mom and dad.  I’ve shared the photo of my mom before, but it is worth sharing again.  It is such a striking photo of her.  I also like the photo of her with Dad’s cousin Sis and his sister Wana.   I asked Sis about the day of the meeting, but she didn’t remember it.  It wasn’t as monumental as it was for my mom.

Sadly, we don’t have any photos of the visit to my mom’s parents.  Her parents were Fred Bucklin and Myrtle Phenice Bucklin and they lived in Hathaway, Louisiana.  And again with this story, it is from my mom’s point of view.  The only thing I remember her telling me about was the meal that they had.  I don’t remember what it was that was served.  My grandmother cooked things like chicken-fried steak with white gravy or red beans and sausage.  It was probably something like that.  Something that my mom never fixed because my dad didn’t like them.  I like that kind of food, but we would only have it when Daddy was out of town.

So what happened was this.  When it was time for dinner, my grandmother probably called the family to the table.  I imagine she had tried her best to provide a good meal for her future son-in-law.  But when Bob Landry sat down at the dinner table and looked at the food provided, all he said was, “I can’t eat that.”  He didn’t make up up some story about being allergic or something, he just matter of factly said he wasn’t going to eat it.  And he didn’t.  I don’t know what he did for dinner that night.  It was a bit shocking to my mom at the time.  Otherwise you wouldn’t be hearing the story. 

My dad always stood by his behavior and was glad he wasn’t stuck eating something he didn’t like for years to come.  I never heard my grandmother’s view of the story.  It must not have been a deal breaker, because they always seemed to get along fine.  She cooked things he liked from time to time.  She even let him have some of her divinity.

Mary Ann Writes to Her Son Louie in 1893

Letter from Mary Ann McGrath Bucklin to her son Louis Charles Bucklin in 1893. Louis Bucklin was in school in Ada, Ohio, during this time.

I can’t remember when I took this photo.  I was visiting with my mom’s Bucklin cousin Louise in Hathaway and we were talking about family history and looking at old family photos.  I tend to do that from time to time, so I can’t remember the exact date.  I should be able to tell, because I keep such good track of all of the photos I take.  At least I thought I did.  I’ve found many photos I took when I was younger that don’t have a date on them.  Why would anyone listen to my recommendation to label all of their photos when I don’t do so myself?  Because they shouldn’t follow my bad example!  Do as I say, not as I do.  Label all of your photos!!

Ok.  I got that out of my system.  That wasn’t planned, but none of this post was planned.  I just knew I was going to write something and it was likely going to be about my mom’s side of the family because it’s their turn.  So this old letter caught my attention when I was looking through the folders on my computer about my maternal side.

As you can see from the letter itself, it was written on April 11, 1893.  What you probably do not know is that it was written by my great great grandmother Mary Ann McGrath.   She was the mother of Louis Bucklin.  He was the father of Fred Bucklin, who was my maternal grandfather.

Mary Ann is my closest link to Ireland.  She was born in 1834 in Roscommon, Ireland.  Her youngest sibling was born in Ireland in 1838.  That would mean that Mary Ann was 11 years old when the Great Famine began in Ireland in  1845.  That’s when a blight caused the destruction of a large majority of the potato crop in the country. Since potatoes were a large part of the Irish diet, it caused widespread famine.

James Bucklin and Mary Ann McGrath were married in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1854.

During the six years of the Great Potato Famine an estimated million people died from starvation and hunger-related diseases.  Mary Ann and her family were part of the million Irish people who emigrated during that time.  I have not been able to identify the date of their move to the United States, but know that they settled in Palmer, Massachusetts.  Mary Ann met a local man named James Bucklin and they were married in 1854 in Springfield, Massachusetts.  So we know they were in the US by 1854, but they probably came over around 1850 or so.  I hope to be able to find that information one day.  I will definitely let you all know when I do.

So Mary Ann and James went on to have Jennie in 1855 and Joseph in 1861.  Those two were born in Massachusetts.  The family then moved to Iowa at some point, because they had Edd in 1864 in Sand Springs, Iowa.  They were still in Iowa when our Louis was born in 1873.  But the family moved south to Louisiana and began homesteading in Hathaway, Louisiana, in 1884.  Then in 1893, it was decided that Louis needed a good education and that was going to be done in Ada, Ohio.  So he went off to Ohio Normal University.  He kept a journal about some of the things that were happening when he was there.  He must have also kept some of the letters that he got from home, because the family still has some of them.

In this one, his mother Mary Ann talks about a dream that she had.  In the dream her son “Louie” came to her crying because he had broken his arm.  This caused Mary Ann to worry about her son and she says, “I cannot wrest untile I hear from you that you are alright.”  I’m sure she was missing her youngest son and was concerned about his well being.  I wonder how Louis took this.  He was 19 years old and probably didn’t want to see himself as a child who goes crying to his mother when he gets hurt.  And yet he probably appreciated his mother’s concern and he still kept the letter all through the years.

The big Cry Baby!

 

Baby Bobbie Landry

A few weeks ago I posted a photo of my mom as a child.  In that post I said that I couldn’t believe that I had never posted a photo of her as a child before.  The same could be said about my dad.  I’ve posted a few photos of an unidentified  Landry infant where it might have been him.  I usually say that I think it might be him, but the photos do represent the Landry children of that generation.  But I do have a photo – actually there are two of them – that is definitely of my dad.

Robert Joseph Landry, Jr. in 1929 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

This is Robert Joseph Landry, Jr. in 1929.  He was born on January 31, 1929, in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and I don’t think he is older than a year in this photo.  Before you say anything, just know that this photo has been edited to make it look as good as I am capable at this time.  The photo is not in very good shape.

Actually I don’t even think that what I had to copy it from was a photo print.  I think it may have been photographic paper that had been exposed to light to capture the image, but it was somehow never processed to set the image for a print.  All I know is that there were these two ‘photos’ of my dad as a child in an envelop in the top dresser drawer in my parents’ room when we were growing up.  I remember looking at them from time to time, but my mom always warned me about exposing them to bright light or they would fade more.

As you can see the image has been damaged by the exposure to light.  Somehow it looks like there is a double image on it.  Thankfully that line does not go across my dad’s face in the photo.  His face is actually the clearest part of the photo, so you can see little Bobbie’s face with his pale eyes showing.  My dad had light blue eyes.  He was known as Bobbie when he was a kid.  As he got older, he acquired more names to identify himself – Bob, Pluto, Mr. Landry, Daddy, or Pappy.

But of course I went with Baby Bobbie for the name of the post.  It is a photo of my dad as a child, after all, and there is a ring to the title.  There is also a sense of mystery to the photo.  I wonder what he was peering at so intently all of those years ago?  For many mysteries I come across, I go searching for an answer.  This is not one of those mysteries.

Our Myrtle the Student: Year One

I thought I’d follow up last week’s post about my paternal grandmother in school with the same kind of post about my maternal grandmother.  After I found those photos of my paternal grandmother Erie Patureau at SLI (Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette), I decided to look for something similar for my maternal grandmother Myrtle Phenice. That’s because I knew that they had both gone to the same school and became teachers after they graduated.  They were not there at the same time, because Erie Patureau was eleven years older than Myrtle Phenice.

First year class of SLI in 1926 includes my grandmother Myrtle Phenice.

So I looked and I found.  There was a scanned copy of the 1926 yearbook from SLI, or L’Acadien as it was called.  On page 54 of the book was a photo of the first year class.  I’ve looked through the photo and have not been able to pick her out of the group of students.  The class membership certainly increased since the time that Erie was a student!  I know she is in the class, because she is listed in the class a few pages later.

When I was looking through these yearbooks, I found it interesting to see other names that I recognize.   In the first year class Myrtle Phenice is listed on page 58.  In the same class, but on the previous page, is listed Thornwell Fay Landry.  You probably don’t recognize the name, but I do.  I’ve shared a photo of him before, because he is my father’s first cousin.  Their fathers were brothers (Robert Joseph Landry AKA Pee Paw & Louis Joseph Landry AKA Uncle Louie).  He was also Erie’s half first cousin because their mothers were half sisters (Marie Therese Landry & Clemence Babin AKA Aunt Clem).

Naomi “Sis” Landry on bottom right.

Too bad they didn’t do individual photos for the freshman class.  I would have been excited to see a photo of my Grandma that I haven’t seen before.  They did have individual photos of the upperclassmen.  And who was in the class above them?  None other that our Landry cousin Sis.  I have mentioned her before.  She made a video about Landry family history with my dad in about 1990.  She identifies a lot of family members in some of those old family photos she had.  But her name in the book is shown as her real name Naomi Landry.  She looks pretty stylish in the photo of her.  Not the much older lady I know from the video.  She was the sister of Thornwell Fay.   So even though they were more than twenty years older than my dad, they were still first cousins.  That’s because Pee Paw was the youngest of all of his siblings.

The other person of interest that I found in the yearbook wasn’t a family member.  That’s not entirely accurate.  The person I’m talking about is Paul Edwin Marionneaux.  He was also in the sophomore class, but more importantly he is my 7th cousin.  While that seems like a pretty distant relative, his daughter is a friend of mine and we have common DNA according to 23andMe.  And even though her father is about the same age as my grandmother, she is younger than I am.

When I was growing up, I never imagined all of the connections that the older generations might have had.  Just this yearbook shows that my grandmother’s path crossed some of my dad’s cousins’ paths.  And one of those distant cousins had a daughter that I am friends with now.  Things like this make you say, “It’s a small world.”  I’m sure I’ll find more connections like this as I continue to explore my family’s history.

Our Erie the Student: Year Three

Page 54 of the SLI yearbook from 1913 shows the third year class. My grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau is on the front row, furthest to the right. This was taken in front of the SLI main building in Lafayette, Louisiana.

It’s always exciting to me when I discover another photo of my grandmother that I have never seen before.  This one was taken over 100 years ago, so that makes it even more special.  The grandmother I’m talking about is my dad’s mother.  She was born in Crescent (near Plaquemine), Louisiana, on August 6, 1895.  Her parents were Vincent Maximilian Patureau and Marie Therese Landry.    I knew her as Mee Maw.

I wasn’t planning on writing another post with the title “Our Erie the Student,” because I didn’t know there were any other photos of Mee Maw as a student during her years at SLI in Lafayette.  The first one I posted was just called “Our Erie the Student.”  I thought it was from 1915 because it said that it was a fourth year class photo and that’s the year I thought she graduated.  But the yearbook for her fourth year photo is from 1914.  So, I went back and changed that post to reflect the correct year.  The yearbook also had a better version of the photo for that year.  I’ll have to replace the photo as well.

Page 55 from the 1913 SLI yearbook shows the names of the members of the third year class.

The second post about Mee Maw’s school years was called “Our Erie the Student Revisited.”  Both of those previous posts were written in 2019.  In the revisitation version, the photo was of the graduating class of 1915.  That one is an even better photo, because it came from an original photo that my cousin Tricia has in her Tin Can Collection. 

The photo I’m using this week is definitely the worst quality photo of the three.  But it’s a photo of our dearly beloved Mee Maw from over 100 years ago.  I can’t really complain about that!  And who knows, maybe there is a better copy of it out there that I can discover.  I’m kinda confused at how 1913 could be the photo of her third year class.  But that’s what the information on the next page says and our Erie is on the list of the members.  Other information shows that she finished high school in 1912, so how could she be in the third year already after just one year?

That’s probably because she was so smart.  She was probably one of the smartest people you’d ever likely meet.  She was just Mee Maw to me!

Baby Betty Lou

Betty Lou Bucklin lived in Hathaway, Louisiana, in 1933.

I can’t believe  I’ve never posted a photo of my mom as an young child before.  There aren’t that many of them, but it seems like I would have posted one before.  I know I have mentioned photos of my mom as a baby before.   In 2017 I posted a photo of my grandmother Myrtle Phenice – my mom’s mom.  I mentioned a baby photo of my mom that was from a contest she won.  Then in 2019 I mentioned in a post about her mom that they had both been cute babies and that Mama had won a Gerber’s Cutest Baby Contest. 

My mom used to say that she won a cutest baby contest, and this is the photo that she would show.  But on the back of this photo it says that this is the photo that she won honorable mention in a national Sears contest.  What?  Did she or did she not win the Gerber’s Cutest Baby award?   That would have been in 1933, and the first contest was just two years earlier.  I looked up that information just now and realized that the first winner of that contest died this week.  What a coincidence!

But I don’t think my mom was the winner in 1933.  Maybe she got honorable mention in that.  Or maybe she just got honorable mention in the Sears contest.  Either way, she did pretty well for a national contest for cute babies.  But really, just look at that cute little face of hers.  She was adorable.

I Say This Is Pierre Patureau

Pierre Ferdinand Patureau circa 1855.  This is an edited and enhanced image that I produced with the use of two other images.

That’s right!  You heard me!  I say this is Pierre Ferdinand Patureau, who was born in France just over 222 years ago.  When he was 40 years old, he and his wife Anne Rose Machet brought their family to America.  The place they chose to settle in was Louisiana.  Maybe that was due to the presence of other French families in the area.  Tragedy struck in 1842 when both Anne Rose and their youngest daughter Elisa died from yellow fever during an epidemic.  Then I’m thinking that around 1855-1858 he decided that he needed to have a portrait of himself made.  But he didn’t want to go with the old traditional painted portrait.  No, sir.  He wanted the newly introduced photographic portrait that was the rage at the time.  So I’m saying that that’s what he did.

But when I first saw a copy of this photo, the person in the photo was identified as Abel Patureau.  Abel was one of the two sons of Pierre Patureau.  I descend from the older brother Ferdinand, as do most of my Patureau cousins.  All of my cousins with the Patureau last name descend from Ferdinand, because Abel was never married and had no children.  There was a sister named Victorine.  Her descendants have the Laulom and Crixell last names.  Of course with all of the daughters born through the years, there are a variety of last names for cousins on both sides.  But since I did not descend from Abel, I was not really that interested in the photo at first.  I think cousin Sis has a copy of the photo and I didn’t even bother to scan it.

Postcard photo from the Pierre Ferdinand Patureau collection in the Tyrrell Historical Library in Beaumont, Texas.

Then I went to the Pierre Ferdinand Patureau collection at the Tyrrell Historical Library in Beaumont, Texas, last November.  As I was furiously taking photos of as many of the documents that I could, I came across the photo again.  It was on card stock and on the back of it is written “This is uncle Able.  Great uncle to us.  Able Patureau from France.”  So again it was identified as Abel Patureau.  There was also some writing on the front of it, but I was rushing through and didn’t really have time to make out what it said.

But after I got home I looked at the writing on many of the photos.  As you can see, along the right edge is written “Miss E. Zulma Patureau.”  That would be Elizabeth Zulma Patureau, who was the oldest child of Ferdinand Pierre Patureau and Marie Emma Landry Patureau.  She wrote her name on many of those old photos.  She would not have been the one who wrote the words on the back of the photo, because Abel Patureau was her uncle.  He was not her grand uncle or great uncle, which ever generation that wrote the identifying info on the back of the photo.

More importantly, along the bottom of this photo is written something like “My grand Pedro” or “My grand Patur…” in the same writing as Zulma’s.  And who was Zulma’s grandfather?  Pierre was.  She was living in Mexico as a 16-year-old girl, so she could have used the Spanish version of the name Pierre on the card – Pedro.  Her grandfather Pierre died in 1860 when Zulma was 12, so she would have known him and knew what he looked like.  He was the only grandfather she knew.  Her other grandfather Elie Onezime Landry died twelve years before she was born.  Photography wasn’t as available in 1837 as it became in the 1850s. 

Cased photo from cousin Jo Ann

While the person in the photo looks to be in his late 50s, I wasn’t really sure about the postcard type of photo for this image.  I would have thought that those earlier photos would be in those fancy frames or cases.  So you can imagine my excitement when a Patureau cousin sent me a photo of her version of the photo.  I have to thank Jo Ann for sending me that digital copy of the photo and another photo of Ferdinand I had never seen.  Not only that, she gave me an original photo from 1894 of some Patureau family musicians.  She has given me something else really amazing, but I’m not ready to share that yet.  But the original photo she has is a cased photo with velvet and pearl with gold framing.  The face on the photo is really clear.  The cased photo and the clothing in the photo point to a date of the photo around 1857.

I know that Pierre had money to buy such a thing, because at that time he took a trip back to France.  Who knows?  He might have even had the photo taken in France while he was there.  It’s a great old photo that has made its way down to this time in various forms.  That also makes me think that it was Pierre.  Wouldn’t a photo of your ancestor more likely survive throughout a family rather than a photo of an uncle?  I’m glad that I had both photos to work with.  I used the face and the colors from the cased photo, while I used the hairline and the coat features from the card photo.  I am really pleased with the combined photo.

Isn’t this a great image of Pierre Ferdinand Patureau?

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