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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