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Document of the Month - 2013 Archive

We were pleased to begin this page in April 2012 and have presented a variety of historical documents of interest to our members and visitors. This page is an archive of documents beginning in 2013 in reverse chronological order.

Jefferson Davis

(12/1/13) Jefferson Davis is best known as the first and only President of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865. A native of Kentucky, he grew up in Mississippi and Louisiana and died in New Orleans on the 6th of December 1889 at the age of 81. One of his doctors, Stanford E. Chaillé (1830-1911), is noted as saying that there is "no heart nobler and no hands braver than those of Jefferson Davis." Davis' death certificate shown here indicates that he was married, a resident of Beauvoir, Mississippi, and was ex-President of the late Confederate States of America, Secretary of War of the United States under Franklin Pierce, and a U.S. Senator from Mississippi. It can be found in the Orleans Death Certificates on file at the Louisiana State Archives (1889, vol. 96, p. 263).

Jefferson Davis document
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Veterans Day

(11/1/13) Veterans Day honors people who have served in the U.S. armed forces. Originally known as Armistice Day, it is observed on November 11th, the date in 1918 marking the end of World War I. The Louisiana State Archives has a little known collection of World War I discharge papers for the State of Louisiana. Unlike the federal draft registration cards, these records are for those who actually served during WWI.

Chennault document
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This month's document is the record for Claire Lee Chennault (1893-1958), an officer who would later rise to the rank of Lieutenant General. This record indicates that he resided in Gilbert (Franklin Parish), had been in training camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison (Indiana), and his principal stations were Camp Travis (Texas), Kelly Field (Texas), Garden City (New York), and Hampton (Virginia). The record can be found at the State Archives in a collection entitled World War I Records (P1988-182). It has been digitized and is accessible on DVD. Chennault's record is on Disk 003-01, file LA-0001D-WWI-Service-Record-Franklin-Parish-00008.

Pierre Hacker's Death Certificate – 1835

(10/1/13) This month's document is the death certificate of Pierre Hacker, who died the 13th of April 1835. It states that he was a native of the "Island of St. Domingo" (present-day Haiti), aged about 52, a merchant, and died at 10 a.m. in a house on Levee Street, between Toulouse and St. Louis Streets. By his first wife, Marie Josephine Fortunee Louise Mahe-Desportes, Pierre Hacker was the father of Dr. J.B. Hacker, who perished in 1854 on the steamboat Gypsy when it caught on fire on the Mississippi River. Dr. J.B. Hacker is the 3X great grandfather of actor Jim Parsons who was featured recently on an episode of TLC's genealogy show, Who Do You Think You Are?. A copy of Pierre Hacker's death certificate can be found in the Orleans Death Certificates (vol. 5, p. 291) on file at the Louisiana State Archives.

Pierre Hacker's death certificate
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Huey Long's Death Certificate – 1935

(9/1/13) On the night of September 8, 1935, U.S. Senator and former Louisiana Governor Huey Pierce Long, Jr., was shot in a corridor of the State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge. The generally accepted belief is that he was struck by a bullet fired by Dr. Carl Weiss and not by a bullet fired by one of his bodyguards, who returned fire and killed Weiss. Long died the morning of September 10th. His death certificate indicates he died of a pistol wound to the abdomen (homicidal). A copy can be found in the Statewide Death Certificates (1935, vol. 26, #10587) on file at the Louisiana State Archives.

death certificate
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Death of Acadian Boy at Opelousas in 1778

(8/1/13) National Acadian Day is observed in Canada every August 15th. In recognition, this month's document concerns the death of an Acadian boy at Opelousas in 1778. Written in French, it is a statement by De Lamorandier that Joseph Cormier informed him that he had found the body of the son of Mr. Como near a marsh. The boy had left his home in the night to go hunting. The two men, along with two others, went to investigate and found the body about 40 arpents from his home. He had been shot in the chest, apparently when he arose to shoot some game. The boy's name is not given and no burial record in the Opelousas church records could be found, but he may have been a son of Michel Comeaux. The document is found in the collection of St. Landry Parish civil records entitled Genealogical Society of Utah Microfilm: 1766-1929 (Accession P1985-4), Reel 1, on microfilm at the Louisiana State Archives. A guide to a portion of this collection is available on the Members' Page.

document
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Homer Plessy's 1888 Marriage Certificate

(7/1/13) In 1892, Homer Plessy boarded a New Orleans train car reserved for whites. After revealing to the conductor that he was 7/8ths white, he refused to sit in the segregated "blacks-only" car. His actions would ultimately lead to the U.S. Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson which formed the basis of the "Separate but Equal" doctrine of segregation. This month's document is the marriage certificate between Homer Plessy, aged 27, son of Adolphe Plessy and Rosa Debergue, to Miss Louise Bordenave, aged 19. They were married in New Orleans the 14th of July 1888. It can be found in the Orleans Parish marriage certificates on file at the Louisiana State Archives (vol. 13, p. 258).

Plessy Certificate
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1897 Direct Tax Claim

(6/1/13) In August of 1861, the United States Congress levied a "direct tax" on each state on lands, their improvements, and dwelling houses. The tax was assessed in 1864 and collected in 1865. Between 1892 and 1900, the tax was to be refunded upon the filing of a claim by the original taxpayer or his legal representative. The claim papers for Louisiana are available at the Louisiana State Archives in a collection called Genealogical Society of Utah Microfilm: 1766-1929 (Accession P1985-4, Series B). This month's document is a claim from that collection. It was filed in 1897 by the children of John Killen of Winn Parish who, they stated, died in 1876. No index to the claim papers is available, however, the list of the original taxpayers can be found in The Civil War Tax in Louisiana: 1865 (Polyanthos, 1975).

image
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Bozeman Family Bible From Confederate Pension File

(5/1/13) Louisiana Confederate Pension files are a rich source of family information. Some files contain only an application form, which in itself can prove useful, while others are filled with documents not found elsewhere. Former soldiers and their widows sometimes submitted original documents or copies of them to support their applications. The application of Mary Ida Bozeman, widow of Elias Edward George and resident of DeSoto Parish, is a good example. It includes correspondence, affidavits, a newspaper article, an 1861 letter, a funeral poster, a confirmation record, and a number of other documents regarding her late husband's service in the Confederate Army. Although his application had been rejected, after his death in 1922, she filed three applications of her own trying to obtain a widow's pension. She was finally successful in 1932.

Bozeman image
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This Document of the Month is a two-page transcription she made from her old family Bible, which had been mislaid. A transcription was published in the December 1999 issue of Le Raconteur and is available on Le Comité's Members' Page (file fam020). The original document is archived at the Louisiana State Archives as Confederate Pension Applications: 1898- (Accession P1985-101). The collection has also been digitized by FamilySearch and is available on their website as "Louisiana, Confederate Pensions, 1898-1950." This document is found in the file for Gary, Alzire - George, Nicolis I., images 1425 and 1426. Mary Ida Bozeman's entire application is found on images 1405 through 1459.

Arthur Chevrolet's Death Certificate

(4/1/13) Arthur Emile Chevrolet was a Swiss American race car driver and automobile manufacturer. He was the middle brother of Louis Chevrolet, founder of the Chevrolet car company. After coming to the United Staes, he worked with his brother in the automobile industry and in racing. He retired to Slidell, Louisiana, where he committed suicide by hanging on the 16th of April 1946, just a few days shy of his 62nd birthday. He was buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Slidell, but his body was later moved to Indianapolis. His death certificate can be found among the Statewide death certificates (1946, vol. 6, #253) on file at the Louisiana State Archives. Thanks go to 1st Vice President Louis Altazan for calling attention to this document.

certificate
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Certificate to Practice Medicine for Gertrude Wilcox

(3/1/13) March is Women's History Month and to commemorate the event, this month's image is a certificate to practice medicine in the State of Louisiana granted the 20th of August 1908 to Gertrude Louise Wilcox. Wilcox was born in Michigan and moved to New Orleans between 1900 and 1908. She married George A. Newmark, a minister, and died in 1944 at the age of 65. Wilcox is one of only two women whose certificates can be found in this collection, State Board of Medical Examiners: 1902-1908 (Accession P1978-141), on file at the Louisiana State Archives. An index to this collection was published in Le Raconteur (December 2007).

certificate
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The Tangipahoa Parish Training School for the Colored

(2/1/13) To mark Black History Month, February's image is a postcard of the Tangipahoa Parish Training School for the Colored in Kentwood, La. Founded in 1911, it was the first "county training school" in the South and one of the first rural public schools providing secondary education for blacks in the nation. In 1919, the school board appropriated money to construct this two-story, five classroom building. It was destroyed by fire in 1935, but new buildings were constructed on the site. In 1952, the school was renamed the O.W. Dillon High School for Negroes. This postcard is from the James P. Britton Collection: 1920-1940 (Accession N1991-16) at the Louisiana State Archives. The digital image was graciously provided by the Louisiana Secretary of State: Archives Division.

Tangipahoa Parish Training School for the Colored
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Dr. Tichenor's Death Certificate

(1/1/13) Born in Kentucky in 1837, George Humphrey Tichenor was a physician who is said to have introduced antiseptic surgery while in the Confederate Army. While in Canton, Mississippi, he married Margaret Drane. He practiced medicine in Canton and later in Baton Rouge. In 1889, he moved to New Orleans. He developed his antiseptic formula and started bottling Dr. Tichenor's Patent Medicine. The formula consisted of alcohol, oil of peppermint, and arnica, and was originally marketed as useful for a wide variety of complaints. Dr. Tichenor died in New Orleans the 14th of January 1923 at the age of 86. He is buried in Roselawn Memorial Park in Baton Rouge. His death certificate can be found among the Orleans Parish death certificates (vol. 186, p. 428) on file at the Louisiana State Archives. Thanks go to member Mary David Baker for calling attention to this document.

certificate
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