Bobbie Landry as a Young Teenager

Hubert, AJ, and Bobbie Landry in Lake Charles, Louisiana, circa 1943

I thought I would share a photo of my dad tonight.  This picture caught my interest when I saw it.  I got it in 2019 when some of the cousins got together to share photos and dinner.  I can’t believe it’s been four years already.  Time sure does fly.  There were lots of great photos that I saw then that I had never seen before.  This is one of them.  It was in the Secret Collection that my cousin Daphne is the curator of.  Thanks, Daphne, for sharing those treasures with us.

What’s interesting about this photo is how it shows the changes that a few years can make when you look at photos of a family.  My dad was part of the Landry family in Lake Charles, Louisiana, during the early thirties and forties.  His father was Robert Joseph “Rob” Landry, Sr. who had grown up in Westlake, Louisiana.  His mother was Germaine Erie Patureau, and she had grown up in Crescent (Plaquemine), Louisiana.  Erie’s mother was Marie Therese Landry Patureau.  She had died when Erie was just a young girl of 14.  That’s about the same age as my dad in this photo.  Marie Therese was also the first cousin of Rob Landry.

So, yes, my dad’s parents were first cousins once removed.  But that was a long time ago, and that’s what everyone did back then.  In fact, all four of my dad’s grandparents were related to each other through the Landry family.  That’s probably why I feel so connected to the Landry name.  That, and it is my last name!  So Rob and Erie were married and they started a family.

My dad and I were both the fifth child of our families and the third son, as well.  We both had two older brothers and two older sisters.  But his older brothers were only a year apart in age, and they were 3 and 4 years older than he was.  That bit of difference is very noticeable in this photo.  Hubert on the far left and AJ in the middle look almost like adults while Bobbie (Robert Joseph Landry, Jr., my dad) still looks like a kid.  I think it’s one of a few that shows this time period.  Before long, he would catch up and become the tallest of the four brothers.  He remained the tallest even when younger brother Johnny reached his full height.  I was not like my dad in this.  My dad was 6’1 and I was only 6′.  My older brothers are taller, or at least I always thought so.  I’ve measured lately and found that I’m 6’1, so I may not be the shortest after all.  Either way is fine with me.

So there you have it.  A photo of my dad as a young teen.  A discussion of family make-up.  And a discussion of growing up.  I thought about saying something about how pleased my dad looked or how handsome they were, but I didn’t.  If you would like to address that, feel free.  I’m pretty sure the photo was taken around 1943 at my grandparents’ house in Lake Charles.

My Family’s Early American Immigrants

It’s Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d write a family history post related to that topic.  The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Thanksgiving and history is the Puritans and the Mayflower.  I don’t know of any ancestors that were on the Mayflower, but I had lots of early American immigrants.  I am not an expert on that period of history (or any other period of history), so many times I rely on research done by others.  The website that brings that all together and tries to encourage accuracy is WIKItree.

I’ve been involved with the site for several years.  It’s one big tree that everyone works on and tries to connect people together.  It has its drawbacks, but I like it most of the time!  They have categories for different family lines and such.  There are projects for German, English, French, Acadian, Irish, and so one.  The one I’m concerned with right now is the one called the Puritan Great Migration (1621-1640).  It is for people who immigrated to what is the United States during that period, whether they were Puritans or any other religion.  There are lots of ancestors in my mom’s Bucklin family line that fit into that timeframe.

James Bucklin family tree

I’ve talked about the actual Bucklin line in a previous post (James Bucklin and His Forebears).  It traced back to William Bucklin (1609-1683) and Mary Bosworth (1611-1687).  There are no confirmed records for his parents.  William and Mary were married in England around 1630.  Their son Joseph (our ancestor) was born in England in 1634.  Mary’s parents were Edward Bosworth (1586-1634) and Mary (1589-1648).  They were the ones that brought this group to North America in 1634 when their grandson Joseph Bucklin was just an infant.  In the spring of 1634, they boarded the Elizabeth and Dorcas.  It was a difficult journey and especially sad for this family because the patriarch Edward died as they reached the Boston harbor.

Joseph Bucklin would grow up and marry Deborah Allen (1637-1690) in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.  She was the daughter of John Allen (1610-1690) and Christian (1611-1690).  John and Christian were from England, and they were in Weymouth, Massachusetts, by 1643.  No record of the exact date of the family’s immigration has been found. John was the son of George Allen (1585-1648) and his first wife who is unknown.  George was one of 106 followers of the Rev. Joseph Hull Congregation of Crewkerne, England, who immigrated to the New World.  They were considered Puritan Anabaptists and they arrived in the harbor of Boston on May 6, 1635.  George was one of the earliest settlers of Sandwich, Massachusetts, which is the oldest town on Cape Cod.  His son John was one of the founders of Swansea and an early member of the Baptist church.

I descend from Joseph Bucklin and Deborah Allen’s son James Bucklin (1669-1738).  He was married to Mary Yeales (Yields) (1674-1738) on October 2, 1708, in Rehoboth.  She was the daughter of Timothy Yeales and Naomi Frye.  Naomi was the daughter of George Frye (1616-1678) and Mary (1605-1653).  They were from Combe St. Nicholas, Somerset, England.  George immigrated to Weymouth with his sister’s Torrey family in 1640 on the ship “Samson.”  He was a weaver by trade.  We know some of his history because he was deposed in Boston about his origins for some reason.  He made a will in 1676 and left one-third of his estate to his daughter Naomi Yeales.  He also named Timothy Yeales as executor. 

I wonder if he did that because he knew his son-in-law was familiar with the law from all of the lawsuits he filed?!  Timothy filed a number of civil lawsuits, one which accused someone of stealing some of his lumber from a wharf in Boston.  Timothy was a carpenter and dealt with lots of lumber.  But he filed so many lawsuits that he was convicted of barratry in 1683.  He was also cited for “not frequenting the publick worship of god upon the lords day.”  Without all of those legal records, we wouldn’t know much about him.

Amey Bucklin family tree

In another line of the Bucklin family that I descend from, there was an Isaac Bucklin (1699-1764), also of Rehoboth, who was married to Sarah Whipple (1701-1763).  Sarah was the granddaughter of David Whipple (1656-1710) and Hannah Tower (1652-1722).  David was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts Bay, to English immigrants John Whipple and Sarah.  John and Sarah came to America separately.  John was 15 years old when he came to Dorchester in 1632.  He was in service to Israel Stoughton, a carpenter.  After five years of service, he obtained a land grant of 8 acres.  In 1640 he married Sarah, whose origins are unknown.  They had eleven children together.

Plaque for John Tower, my 9X great grandfather.

Hanna Tower was the daughter of John Tower (1609-1702) and Margaret Ibrook (1620-1700).  John was from Hingham, England, and immigrated in 1637 to Hingham, Massachusetts Bay.  His parents Robert Tower and Dorothy Damon remained in England.  Margaret, on the other hand, was from Southwold, Suffolk, England.  Her parents were Richard Ibrook (1580-1651) and Margaret Gentleman (1587-1664).  Richard and Margaret were the parents of nine children, with four daughters living to adulthood.  The family immigrated to the New World and Richard was listed as an early settler of Hingham in 1635.  He had personal troubles and was brought to court for “tempting 2 or more maids to uncleanness.”  He had to pay fines to the country and to the maids.  One of their names was Mary Marsh, a name similar to one on my family tree, but from a later time.

I’d better stop here.  When you get that far back in your family tree, there are so many people!  I keep finding more and more immigrants who fit into this period of immigration.  Maybe I’ll do a follow-up.  I’m sure you all will be waiting expectantly.  Just let me know when you are ready for more!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We Had a Pony!

The Landry family in 1964 in Jennings, Louisiana.  Bob, Rob, Jamie, Al, Van, Jodie, and Karen.

That’s right! In 1964 the Landry family had a pony.  Actually, it wasn’t a pony and there was more than one.  What we had were two horses when we lived out in the country.  For the longest time I thought that the horses were just on the property that we rented in 1963 when we first moved to Jennings.  I didn’t think that we actually owned two horses.  That’s what rich kids had and we were definitely not rich.

It always reminds me of a Seinfeld episode.  In the episode Jerry and Elaine are with Jerry’s parents and they’re eating at an older Polish woman’s home.  They both are a little uncomfortable, so they’re talking to keep the conversation going.  Somehow the topic of horses comes up.  Elaine then said that ponies reminded her of overgrown dogs.  She goes on to say, “and those kids who had their own ponies.”  “I know,” Jerry chimed in, “I hated those kids.  In fact, I hate anyone that ever had a pony when they were growing up.”  The Polish woman gives a stern, startled look and says, “I had a pony!  When I was a little girl in Poland, we all had ponies.”  I find the scene hilarious, but I never thought of myself as one of those kids who had their own pony.

But I didn’t really.  There were two horses for our family of eight.  And they certainly weren’t thoroughbreds!  One of them was in pretty good shape.  Her name was Topsy.  The other one was rather old and had a sway back.  We called that one Old Bald.  When we were living in that location, there was a two-story house that we lived in.  In the back of the property (which was next to a canal) there was an old red barn.  There was a fenced-in area around the barn where there were some cows and I’m pretty sure that’s where the horses were kept as well.  One day after what must have been a rainy period, Old Bald fell and broke a hip or something and got stuck in the mud behind the barn.  Somebody came by to try to get him out, but I don’t think it was successful.  They were going to have to put him down.  I remember looking out the back kitchen window toward the barn and asking my mom if I could go out to see what was going on.  She told me that I didn’t want to see all that.  But I DID want to see what was going on.  I minded my Mama.

Rob on Topsy in 1965 with our dog Princess and one of the cats that were around.

In a previous post “The Old Swing Set” that I wrote in 2019, I talked about an old sand box that we had.  I described it as a round brick building with a ceiling, and it seemed like a favorite place for wasps to build their nests.  I thought it was an unusual sand box from my memory and asked my siblings if they remembered the same thing.  Obviously I did not have access to this second photo at the time.  It’s the only photo that shows that old sand box, and sure enough it is a round brick building behind our two-story house. 

That house, which we rented from a Mr. Sonnier, was situated just north of the I-10 in Jennings, Louisiana.  It is no longer there.  The only way I know to tell where it used to be is by looking for the canal that ran along the north property line.  That’s my brother Rob on the horse.  I think I got the photo from him.  I colorized it.  You can see our old van in the driveway and on the right side of the photo, you can see the eaves of the old barn that I talked about.  It had a framework of a plane in it.  We would peek in on it from time to time.  The photo must have been taken in the fenced-in area that I talked about.  There was a separate fenced-in area on the other side of the barn for the cows.  That’s where I recall them being when Al reached through the fence and attempted to touch one.  “I almost touched a cow feather!” he excitedly exclaimed.  

It’s amazing to think that all of this happened 60 years ago.  I have memories from 60 years ago!  And I have photos that verify that some of those memories are accurate!  But I’m still just that kid in the first photo who is too busy playing with the dog to notice that my mom was taking a photo.  I was probably trying to make her bark!  It’s what I do.

Update:  My brother Rob informed me that Topsy, in fact, was a female horse.  It’s funny how you can know something (Topsy was a male.) ever since you were a child and never stop to question if it is accurate.  So I went back to the story and corrected the pronouns so no one will be offended.  He also informed me that she was a quarter horse with good lines.  The person we sold (or gave) Topsy to entered her into several competitions, which she won.  She became more valuable, and her offspring were desirable as well.  Our Topsy did good.


Marie Therese Landry Was a Schoolgirl

My great grandmother Marie Therese Landry Patureau circa 1888 in Louisiana.

I suppose my title isn’t really very informative.  Most of my recent ancestors have attended school, so the same thing could be said of them.  I thought about putting the word “Here” at the end of the title, but I decided against it.  You may not be here, and you may not know where my here is.  So, just to make sure that you do know, I am here in Baton Rouge.  And, yes, my great grandmother Marie Therese Landry was a schoolgirl here.

I’ve known that she came to school in Baton Rouge for a while.  Two years ago I wrote a post titled “Death of a Noble Woman.”  I shared her death notice and the obituary that was written up in the newspaper.  The title of the post came from the newspaper article.  But in that article, it talked about Marie Therese having attended St. Joseph’s Academy of Baton Rouge.  I remember thinking it was interesting that she went to school here.  I’m familiar with the present location of the Academy and wondered if she had gone there.  I was curious to know if the students at that time would live on the campus.  

I thought maybe I’d go by the school and see if they had any records from back then.  But I didn’t.  I have no excuse.  It’s not that far from here.  But come to find out, the old location of the school is even closer to where I live.  I could walk there from here.  In fact, I have been walking there every day when I go to work for the past six years!

I work at GIS, an engineering firm that is presently located in II Rivermark Centre.  When I first started working there, it was the north tower of the Chase buildings.  But the buildings changed ownership and the names changed.  For the past year or two, I Rivermark Centre has been undergoing renovations.  I’ve had to change my path to work a few times to find the safest and most manageable way to the building I work in.  I’ve seen all the progress along the way.  They’ve done a nice job.

Plaque located in I Rivermark Centre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

When they had a grand opening the other day, we thought we’d go.  So we walked there and stood around waiting for the ceremonies to begin.  As I stood there, I read a plaque that was on the wall of the lobby.  And look what it said!  The location of the building was the original location of St. Joseph’s Academy from 1869 to 1941.  The plaque was to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the opening of the school.  So the school opened around October 22, 1868.  And now it has been 155 years since that date.

And how does that date compare to the life of my great grandmother?  Well, Marie Therese Landry was the first child of Trasimond Landry and Marie Amelie “Belite” Bujol.  She was born on September 25, 1868.  The school was started less than a month after she was born.  The family lived in Brusly, Louisiana, which is just across the river from Baton Rouge.  I still don’t know when she started attending school there or whether she boarded there.

But just a few weeks ago, my post was about her father Trasimond’s death.  He died in 1879 when Marie Therese was just eleven years old.  According to family history, this left the family destitute.  How did they afford to send her to a private school in Baton Rouge?  Her Landry grandfather Narcisse Landry had died in 1876.  He had been living with the family because he had lost everything after the Civil War.  Marie Carmelite Hebert Landry (his wife) had died before the Civil War.  Belite’s father Joseph Hubert Amedee Bujol had died before that, so Anna Adele Landry Bujol (his wife) was a widow for over 40 years.  But she was a planter with a Leveque cousin, so maybe she had some money to help the family out.

1880 Census with Marie Amelie “Belite” Bujol Landry Babin and her family.

 After Trasimond died, Belite remarried not much later.  She was married to Pierre Magloire Babin within the year.  They show up on the 1880 Census in Brusly with all five of her Landry children and a new little Babin daughter.  The daughter was only three days old, and they hadn’t even named her yet.  I don’t know how long she lived, because there is no further record of her.  Also living in the household was Belite’s mother Adele.  It shows for Marie Therese that she was “at school.”  I think this just means she was attending school.  It doesn’t specifically state that she was going away for school.

Maybe she didn’t start going to the Academy until after her father’s death.  There are still a lot of unanswered questions.  Maybe this plaque will give me the motivation to look into it a bit more.  I’m glad I found out about this location for the school at this time.  I can still enjoy knowing that I’m walking the paths that my great grandmother did.  Our work is relocating, so I won’t be walking to work beginning next year.  But I’ll still be able to walk by from time to time and think about my great grandmother when she was just a schoolgirl.

The Bucklin Sisters in 1937

The Bucklin Sisters of Hathaway, Louisiana, circa 1937.

It’s getting more and more difficult to find great old family photos that I haven’t used before!  I’ve written over 400 posts in the last eight years of writing these posts.  Can it really be eight years?  Actually it will be eight years in the middle of this month.  Back in 2015 I fixed up a photo of my mom’s mom and shared it with everyone on my Facebook page.  I call them my Throwback Thursdays on there.  I came up with that name myself!  I suppose I should really say that I copied the trend that was started by someone else.  The posts became more wordy and once I started, I just haven’t been able to stop.

I’ve found lots more photos through the years and found more stories, but the best photos are the ones I’m more likely to share.  I guess I’ll just have to look a little harder so I can keep it going longer.  I found this photo as I was scouring through photos of my mom’s family.  It’s a photo that I scanned at a very high resolution.  I don’t know why, because it’s a very blurry photo.  I just have lots more pixels of blurriness!  So I reduced the number of pixels, cleaned it up a bit, and enhanced it.  Alma’s left eye was whited out, so I had to clone her other eye and manipulated it a bit.  It looks pretty good to the casual observer.

The title is a little misleading, because not all of these little girls are Bucklin sisters.  One of these is not like the others.  My mom was Betty Lou Bucklin and she was born on May 20, 1933, in Hathaway, Louisiana.  Her parents were Fred D. Bucklin and Myrtle Phenice Bucklin.  Little Betty Lou is the second one from the left in this photo.  She had almost white hair when she was younger.  She always referred to it as towheaded.  Her father had whitish blond hair like that as a child also.  As you can see, little sister Alma also had that trait.  Alma was born in 1935.  If you haven’t figured it out yet, Alma is the one on the far left.  Older sister Sylvia had darker hair.  She is the one on the far right and she was born in 1931.

The youngest Bucklin sister in this photo is the little baby in the front of the others.  I’m pretty sure that is my Aunt Loris.  She was born in 1937 and that date is what I used to determine when this photo was taken.  Loris has darker hair like her older sister had.  And that leaves us with one more little girl in the photo.  Or maybe it’s a boy.  It can be difficult to tell with children at that age.  I don’t recognize the person.  I wasn’t around back then!  But I’m thinking that the child was likely a cousin of my mom.  So hopefully some of my cousins can help me to identify the mystery child.

I like this photo.  It’s kind of odd because of the different looks on all of their faces.  Only Aunt Sylvia is smiling, but the rest of them look like they’re trying to figure out what is going on.  Surely they knew what a camera was.  I don’t think my mom was still mad about getting a “little boy haircut” the year before.  But that’s okay.  I’ve always liked candid photos, and this one has a candid look.

Mee Maw: Gone for 50 Years

I can’t believe I missed this 50th anniversary in my life.  How did none of my cousins help me out and remind me of this important milestone?  I can’t give them a hard time, because last week and previously they helped me out in identifying people in my photos.  But they are fortunate that I’m posting another photo of our beloved Mee Maw for the second week in a row.  I don’t normally do that, but I can’t let this anniversary pass by unnoticed.

This is the only photo that I have of both of my grandmothers. This was taken on August 10, 1973, in Jennings, Louisiana. Germaine Erie Patureau Landry is in the center of the photo, and to her right is my maternal grandmother Myrtle Sylvia Phenice Bucklin.

The anniversary I’m talking about is the death of my paternal grandmother when I was 12 years old.   I hadn’t really thought about it until tonight.  I was looking for something to post about my maternal grandmother and thought I’d look for something in the early 70s.  When I saw this photo, I remembered that it was the last photo of Mee Maw that I know of.  (I don’t count the ones of her in her coffin.  I’m just talking about ones when she was still upright and breathing!)  I knew that Jodie got married in the summer of 1973, so Mee Maw died shortly after that. 

I looked it up and my records show that Germaine Erie Patureau Landry died on September 2, 1973.  I always intended to use this photo to commemorate the death of Mee Maw.  It’s not the best quality photo.  It came from a cheap Instamatic (probably the Kodak X-15) camera, and it was printed with a matte finish.  That finish is the worst one for scanning photos.  You’re better off taking a photo of it with another camera in diffused light.  I cleaned it up as best I could.

But the photo is so good in other ways.  It’s a nice photo of my sister Jodie on her wedding day with her grandmothers.  My younger sister Jamie is on the left in the photo, and she is smiling nicely as well.  It’s a cute photo of my cousin Charla when she was just 7 years old.  Charla’s mother Alma was the sister of my mother Betty Lou.  Alma and Betty Lou were two of the daughters of Myrtle Phenice Bucklin.  Grandma is standing behind Charla.  Mee Maw is the one in the center of the photo with the white hair.  I don’t know who the guy on the far left is.

One of the things I remember about my grandmother’s death is that she died in her sleep.  It seems like I knew that that was one of her wishes before she died.  She wanted to die in her sleep and that’s how it happened.  That was a comfort.  I’m pretty sure she died in her daughter Marie’s house.  It was definitely in the house of one of her daughters.  The other thing I remember about her death was that her funeral was the first time we ever saw our dad cry.  This is something my sister Karen used to always remind me of.   

Fifty years gone.  I have fond memories of her.  Teaching me to play Solitaire.  Teaching all of us kids how to play Canasta.  Watching baseball with me. Telling me a white lie.  Being a loving grandmother.  Telling me that I was her favorite!  She will continue to be missed.

The Bunch of Landrys in 1959

The Landry cousins getting together for a birthday party in December of 1959 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Boy, there are a bunch of people in this photo!  Of course, that was always the case when the Landry family got together for holidays and such.  This was back in the 1950s in Lake Charles, Louisiana, at the home of paternal grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau Landry.  She went by her middle name Erie, but of course we grandkids only knew her as Mee Maw.

It’s interesting that this is a photo of the Landry cousins, because there are only two people in this photo that are still Landrys.  That would be my two older brothers – Rob and Al.  And the ones who carried the Landry name forward – my dad Robert Joseph “Bob” or “Pluto” Landry, Jr. and my grandfather Robert Joseph “Rob” or “Pappy” Landry, Sr. – aren’t even in the photo.

I’m estimating that this photo was taken in December of 1959.  That is based on the blonde girl holding a dollar bill and my mom holding a baby that looks like my brother Al.  The blonde is my cousin Patricia Winn and her birthday is in December.  My mom is the woman on the left with the cute saddle oxford shoes.  Her name was Betty Lou Bucklin Landry and she gave birth to my brother Al in July of 1959.  He looks five months old, right?

Our family was living in Lake Charles at the time.  My parents and my two oldest siblings – Jodie and Rob – moved to Lake Charles in 1956.  Later that year Karen was born there.  My dad had a job as the band director at LaGrange High School.  He grew up in Lake Charles and most of his immediate family lived there.  His dad – my Pee Paw – died in August of 1957, which is why he is not in this photo.  I have a different reason that I’m not in the photo.  I wasn’t born yet!  But when I was born in 1960 and my younger sister Jamie was born in 1962, the family still lived in Lake Charles.  It wasn’t until 1963 that we moved away from Lake Charles.

But move away we did.  But not that far.  We moved to Jennings, Louisiana, which is only 35 miles away.  I always thought it seemed so far away.  It took 40 minutes to get there.  That was forever when I was a kid.  I live in Baton Rouge now, and it can take longer than that just to get across town sometimes.  But I think that living that far away when we were kids made a difference.  I always thought that the other Landry cousins seemed closer to each other because they lived in the same town and could see each other more often.  When I was growing up, I always thought I’d end up living in Lake Charles where my cousins lived.  

That didn’t happen.  I live in Baton Rouge, but there are still lots of cousins around.  Though they are not as closely related.  When you spend a lot of time looking at family history and DNA, you find lots of cousins.  Plus my somewhat recent ancestors were from this part of the state.  They lived just across the river from where I live now.  The family has spread out all over the country.

But back when this photo was taken, the only family we knew was right there in Lake Charles.  I think it’s time to identify the people in the photo.  How bad can that be?  It’s only 18 people after all.  I’ll start with my immediate family that I’ve mentioned already.  Like I said earlier, that’s my mom holding my brother Al on the far left.  If Al kicked his foot, he’d hit my sister Jodie in the head.  In front of her in the very front of the photo is my sister Karen in the striped top.  Sitting directly across the table from Jodie is my brother Rob who is looking at her.  Standing behind Rob is my Mee Maw.  She’s the one reaching to hand the birthday girl another dollar bill.

My Mee Maw was 64 years old in this photo.  I was curious to know which of my cousins is the same age now as she was then.  I did some ciphering and determined that my brother Al is closest to that age now.  He was her most recent grandchild at that point.  Slightly older than Al was cousin Jeanne Raley.  She is not in the photo, but she was born earlier that year.  Maybe she had just been put down for a nap.  Her mother was my dad’s sister Frances Landry Raley.  Aunt Frances was holding Jeanne’s big brother Scott Raley.  They are the woman and young boy to the right of my mom and my brother Al.  Another sister of my dad was the mother of the birthday girl.  Her name was Germaine Landry Winn.  She is the other adult woman who was wearing white and standing in front of the refrigerator.

Aunt Germaine has all three of her children present.  Of course, she did.  They had all been born at this point and it was the celebration of Phyllis’s birthday.  Her oldest child was Douglas, who can be seen directly in front of Aunt Frances.  He’s got a big smile on his face and he’s sitting next to the birthday girl.  Their sister is Daphne, who is sitting next to Rob.  You can see her legs under the table.  Aunt Wana is on the far right.  She has four children in this photo.  She is holding her youngest son at the time – Tim Duffy.  

Wana’s oldest child Tricia is in the photo.  She’s on the left between Karen and Jodie.  She also has a big smile on her face.  The next oldest Duffy is Stephen.  He’s sitting in the front on the left and he’s looking right at us.  I think Gene Duffy is the one on his older cousin’s shoulders with his arms spread out.  So that just leaves the older cousin to identify.  He was the son of my dad’s oldest sister Marie Landry Reeves.  She is not in the picture, but her son Mark is.

Ok, I’m done.  If there are any corrections, please let me know.  I count on my cousins to point out any mistakes I make.  That’s what family is for, right?  

70th Anniversary of Becoming Parents

Bob and Betty Landry with daughter Jodie on June 19, 1954, in California.

Last year I wrote a few posts about the 70th anniversary of some of the events in my parents’ lives.  I talked about them meeting each other’s parents, getting engaged, and getting married.  When I wrote those posts, I also planned to write the post I’m writing tonight that celebrates the anniversary of them becoming parents.  The reminder I had was the realization that my older sister Jodie would have turned 70 in two days.  She was born on October 14, 1953, in California at Edward’s Air Force Base.

That’s the day that my parents became parents.  Before that, they were just Bob and Betty Landry.  My dad was Robert Joseph Landry, Jr. and he was born on January 31, 1929, in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  My mom was Betty Lou Bucklin and she was born on May 20, 1933, in Hathaway, Louisiana.  They were married on November 1, 1952, in Lake Charles.

So when Bob and Betty welcomed little Jodie Lou into the world all those years ago, they were 24 years old and 20 years old, respectively.  It’s so weird that I’ve always thought about the age they were when they had their first child.  I’ve never paid as much attention to their ages when they were married.  I guess I’ve always placed more importance on the time that they became parents. 

I think it was a special day for my parents as well.  When I think about why I say this, it brings up sad memories.  Sad, but very sweet.  In 1989, when Jodie was dying, Mama and Daddy went to be with her at the end.  When all Jodie could do was lie there in bed, my dad would just gently run his fingers over her forehead to soothe her.  For my mom, it brought back memories from when they were first parents.  My dad would do the same thing to try to help Jodie fall asleep.  It was such a difficult thing to lose a child.  I’m glad my mom was able to share that with me.  She also told me that it was particularly hard because Jodie was the one that made her a mom.  

Well, I wasn’t expecting all of that.  I was planning on writing a sweet little story.  But sometimes really good memories are associated with really painful ones.  The photo of the three of them in 1954 is particularly sweet.  Such a happy new family.  I’m pretty sure that this photo was hand-tinted by my mom from a black and white print.  I have the photo on my shelf here in my house, but I’m thinking it really needs to go to one of Jodie’s sons.  

It’s the only photo I thought of using when I thought of writing about the 70th anniversary of my parents’ big day.  I hope you like it.

Grandpa Phenice in the Yard Circa 1949

Harry Clifton Phenice in Hathaway, Louisiana, circa 1949.

I thought it was time for a Phenice post today.  For those of you who may not know, my maternal grandmother was a Phenice.  It is not a common last name.  From what I can tell, any time you see that last name in the United States, you can assume that the person is related to me.  And most of the time, you would be correct.  It’s pronounced like Fee-niss, with the accent on the first syllable.  

But I don’t think it was always pronounced or spelled that way.  I can see how the spelling would change through the years.  Even though my Grandma Myrtle (Phenice Bucklin) was a stickler for spelling, I don’t think her ancestors were.  Lots of names changed spelling because of Americanizing the names.  That’s what we do here in America – we assimilate.  Resistance is futile!

But it seems odd to me that the pronunciation would change so much.  In the mid 1800s, it must have been pronounced to rhyme with Tennessee, with the accent on the first syllable.  The Census workers would write the name as Finnessy.  In some documents it was written as Phenicy.  Those people writing it were most likely spelling it phonetically.  And if they had pronounced the name like I’ve heard our family pronounce it, you wouldn’t write it as Finnessy.

When I have DNA matches that are distant cousins, most of them spell the name as Phenicie.  So it looks like they most likely pronounce it with three syllables.  In the picture you see my great grandfather Harry Clifton Phenice.  We always refer to him as Grandpa Phenice or H. C.  He was my mom’s maternal grandfather, and she was quite fond of him.  He seemed like a very pleasant person.  I’ve always seen his name spelled as Phenice.  But his father was Samuel Charles Phenice.  I think he was the one who made the changes for some reason.  Early on, he signed his name as Phenicie.  I guess I should explain that back in those earlier years, the Phenice/Phenicie family lived in Pennsylvania.  My line was in Mercer County, but other Phenicie cousins were in Bedford and Franklin counties.  I’m not sure where the family immigrated from, or even when they came to the USA.  I don’t know the origin of the name.

Maybe Samuel changed the spelling for a reason from Phenicie to Phenice.  Maybe our group pronounced it with two syllables (no long E at the end of the name), so he dropped the second ‘i’ from the spelling.  If there was a reason or not, it didn’t help at all with getting people to pronounce the name correctly.  People are a little afraid to attempt to say it without hearing it said beforehand.

But now that I’ve explained it, you don’t have that problem.  And you may be able to understand why I always refer to him as H. C. and not Harry.  It’s what he preferred to be called.

Trasimond Landry Died in 1879

1879 letter, top of page 1

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.

1879 letter, bottom of page 1

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.

1879 letter, top of page 2

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.

1879 letter, bottom of page 2

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.


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