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Document of the Month Pages

Begun in April of 2012, Document of the Month highlights interesting documents, photographs, and other images from the holdings of the Louisiana State Archives. This page features documents for the current year. To see documents for prior years, click on the links below.

2020 Documents

Pointe Coupee Tricentennial

(10/1/20) In 2021, Pointe Coupee Parish will begin a two-year-long Tricentennial celebration of its first permanent settlement by persons of European ancestry. The precise date of that first settlement is unknown, but by 1726, a census of inhabitants showed 20 persons living in the area. This month's document is a report of the French fortifications at Pointe Coupee dated 15 December 1738. It indicates that the one named Allain had repaired the fence around the fort with 200 cypress logs at a cost of 50 livres. It can be found in the Louisiana Miscellany Collection, on microfilm (Reel 1) at the Louisiana State Archives. For a guide to this collection, see Le Comité's Guide to the Louisiana Miscellany Collection, 1724-1837 (2006). A name index is available on the website.

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Henry Clay Warmoth

(9/1/20) Henry Clay Warmoth was a Republican Governor of Louisiana from 1868 to 1872, a turbulent time in Louisiana's history. According to the Louisiana Secretary of State's website, Warmoth "epitomizes the corruption of Louisiana politics during Reconstruction and at other times as well." He speculated in state bonds and treasury notes, profited from ownership in a newspaper which held the state printing contract, and created an entity to "supervise" election returns. A native of McLeansboro, Illinois, Warmoth had previously served in the Union Army. After leaving the army in early 1865, he set up a law practice in New Orleans. He married a New Jersey heiress, ran a sugar plantation, then retired to New Orleans. His death certificate, featured this month, indicates that his wife was Sallie Durand and he was the son of Isaac Warmoth and Eleanore Lane. He died at 1800 Marengo Street in New Orleans on 30 September 1931 at the age of 89 years and 4 months. The document can be found at the Louisiana State Archives (Orleans Deaths, 1930, vol. 202, p. 2307).

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Paul O. Hebert

(8/1/20) A veteran of the Mexican War, Paul Octave Hebert served as Governor of Louisiana from 1853 to 1856. Trained as a civil engineer, Hebert emphasized internal improvements during his term. Four major railroads received state charters as Hebert strived to connect New Orleans by rail with all of Louisiana. He also worked to improve education. He was born in Iberville Parish in 1818, the son of Paul Gaston Hebert of Acadian descent, and Marie Eugenie Hamilton, whose paternal ancestors came to Louisiana from Maryland in 1769. He was married twice, first to Cora Wills Vaughn and second to Penelope Lynch Adams. Hebert died in New Orleans 29 August 1880 at 144 Carondelet Street. His death certificate gives the cause of death as cancer of the tongue. The document can be found at the Louisiana State Archives (Orleans Deaths, 1880, vol. 77, p. 318).

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Kirk Douglas

(7/1/20)Born in 1916 in Amsterdam, New York, Kirk Douglas died earlier this year at the age of 103. He began his acting career in 1946 and became a major box-office star. While serving in the U.S. Navy (1941-1944) he was married to actress Diana Dill, whom he had met at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. They had two children, Michael and Joel, before divorcing in 1951. This month's document is their marriage record identifying his parents as Harry Demsky and Bertha Sanglel. The document also notes that Douglas' name was changed by court order. His paternal surname was originally Danielovilch, but the family adopted the name Demsky after moving to the U.S. Diana Dill was a native of Devonshire, Bermuda, and the daughter of Thomas M. Dill and Ruth R. Nielson. She died in 2015 at the age of 92. The couple was married at Algiers Naval Station by Chaplain, Ernest Daryl Kent. The record can be found on file at the Louisiana State Archives (Orleans Marriages, 1943, vol. 59, #757).

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Slaves Belonging to the State

(6/1/20) In March of 1860, the Louisiana Legislature authorized the Internal Improvement Department of the State to sell slaves belonging to the State and to use the proceeds to pay off debt. The Chief Engineer was to select all but eight slaves–four engineers and four firemen. The Baton Rouge Weekly Advocate of 3 June 1860 contained a legal notice listing 79 slaves belonging to the State to be sold at auction in New Orleans on the 9th of June 1860 (see the June 2020 issue of Le Raconteur for a list). This month's document is a list of slaves reserved from the sale. The eight not sold were: Hannibal, Bill Brent, Jim Turner, Isaac, Bradley, Clem, Jim Savage, and Green Prather. Additionally, the State retained seven "depot" slaves, which were slaves held by the State for unknown masters. They were: Henry Jackson, George Harris, Jim Thomas, John Lee, Daniel, and Madison. Most of these men were assigned to serve as hands on the boats Atchafalaya, Randall, Amite, and Algerine. The proceeds of the sale were $23,871.53 which were used to pay Auditor's Warrants. The original document is found at the Louisiana State Archives in the Rebel Archives Collection (Accession P2003-25), Box 1, Folder 72. A detailed finding aid for this collection is available on the Members' Page of the website.

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2020 Documents

Manchac Plantation

(5/1/20) James N. Brown died in Iberville Parish in 1859 leaving a large estate consisting mainly of two plantations–Oakland in Plaquemines Parish and Manchac in Iberville Parish (located on the east bank of the river below Bayou Manchac). Legal proceedings regarding Brown's estate resulted in voluminous records, particularly in Iberville Parish. Some of the paperwork regarding these proceedings found their way into the attic of the old courthouse and were rescued by the State Archives and microfilmed in the 1980s. This month's document is a payroll of extra hands on Manchac Plantation for May of 1870. It provides the names of 14 hands, number of days worked, and amounts. Similar payrolls exist for May of 1865, June of 1869, and July of 1870. The document can be found on microfilm at the Louisiana State Archives (Iberville Parish Civil Records: 1775-1958, Accession P1986-18, Reel 1.2). These records were abstracted and published in Iberville Parish Records, vol. 3, published by Le Comité in 2000.

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Iron Eyes Cody

(4/1/20) Often remembered as the "Crying Indian" in the Keep America Beautiful television ads of the 1970s, Iron Eyes Cody wasn't actually Native American. Born Espera Oscar di Corti on the 3rd of April 1904 in Kaplan, Louisiana, he was the first-generation American born son of Italian parents. In Hollywood, he portrayed Native Americans in hundreds of films and TV shows over a long career stretching back to the 1930s. Cody was featured in a Times-Picayune article in 1996 in which he denied his Louisiana roots to the reporter. He died in Los Angeles in 1999 at the age of 94. Although no Louisiana birth certificate could be found, his baptismal record appears in Donald Hebert's Southwest Louisiana Records. His mother's 1941 death certificate is featured as this month's document. Francesca Salpietra, wife of Alton Abshire, died the 9th of November 1941 in Church Point. After her first husband, Antonio de Corti, left her and their four children for Texas, she was married to Alton Abshire, by whom she had five more children. The record can be found on file at the Louisiana State Archives (Statewide Deaths, 1941, vol. 31, #13546). Thanks go to Larry LaBauve for help with this identification.

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Bicentennial of Franklin, 1820-2020

(3/1/20) Founded in 1808 by Joseph Carlin, Franklin became the seat of St. Mary Parish in 1811 and was incorporated in 1820. To celebrate its Bicentennial, the city plans a year-long celebration. This month's document is the Act of the Legislature dated March 11, 1820, establishing Franklin as a town. It consisted of a tract of land fronting what was then called the river Teche, now known as Bayou Teche, and running back ten acres. It was bounded by lands of John Wilkinson and Lewis and Henry Sterling. The act can be found in the 1820 Acts of the Legislature found at the Louisiana State Archives.

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Dave Bartholomew Marriage Certificate, 1942

(2/1/20) Dave Bartholomew was a New Orleans R&B musician best known for his work with Fats Domino. Born in Edgard, La., in 1918, he began his musical career paying traditional jazz with big bands, including Claiborne Williams (see October 2019 Document of the Month). In addition to playing the trumpet and vocals, his long career in the music industry included composing, arranging, and producing. Bartholomew died in Metairie in 2018 at the age of 100. This month's document is his 1942 marriage certificate to his first wife, Pearl King, who died in 1967. The document is found at the Louisiana State Archives (Orleans Marriages, 1942, vol. 55, p. 2885).

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Claude de Brueys Death Certificate, 1968

1/1/20) An article in the Times Picayune of December 11, 1954, reported that Claude C. de Brueys was the first research genealogist registered by the State of Louisiana, having received a certificate of registration from the Louisiana Secretary of State. De Brueys said that had been doing family research work for nearly 50 years and had done several big genealogical jobs for business firms when they celebrated their 100th anniversaries. In 1952, he was seeking descendants of the original officers, engineers, and builders of the Southern Pacific Railroad and in 1954, he was advertising for heirs of the Bachemin, Livaudais, and Vinot families. Earlier articles dated 1920 and 1921 identify him as a newspaper photographer and movie man. De Brueys died in New Orleans March 11, 1968. His death certificate, damaged by Hurricane Katrina flood waters, is featured as this month's document. His occupation is listed as "Genealogist" and his business or industry as "Research." DeBrueys was born in New Orleans January 31, 1888, the son of Edward de Brueys and Rose Wittington, and the husband of Honora Newman. The document is found at the Louisiana State Archives (Orleans Deaths, 1968, vol. 0, #1991). De Brueys' family papers were donated to the Louisiana State Museum and can be found in their Historical Center in New Orleans.

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