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Document of the Month Page

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.

1762 Land Sale on the German Coast

(4/1/17) Researchers of Louisiana's colonial period are accustomed to dealing with documents written in French and Spanish, however, a few a written in German can also be found. Germans were among the earliest settlers in South Louisiana, settling in the 1720s in an area along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The German Coast, as it would be called, comprised the present-day parishes of St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. James. This month's document is an April 1762 land sale from Johannes Adam Wicgner (today Vicknair) to Johannes Michael Bauch, written entirely in German. Wicgner states that he sold four morgans (a German unit of measurement) of cleared land for 250 frankens. The declaration was done at Carlesburg (sometimes Karlstein, located near present-day Killona in St. Charles Parish). The document can be found at the Louisiana State Archives in a collection entitled St. John the Baptist Parish Original Acts: 1753-1798 (S2003-27). For a detailed guide, see Abstracts of St. John the Baptist Parish Civil Records, 1757-1798, which is available for purchase from the society (www.lecomite.org/publications.html)

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Dr. John Harvey Lowery Death Certificate

(3/1/17) One of the first black physicians in Louisiana, Dr. John Harvey Lowery received his medical degree from New Orleans University in 1894 and practiced medicine in Donaldsonville for more than 40 years. He also helped fund the Lowery Training School in Donaldsonville for black youth. In 1895, he acquired a large home in Donaldsonville, which he later sold to his daughter. The home, now known as the Lowery-Brazier House, is owned by the city and was the recipient of a grant from the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation that was used to stabilize the house. It is currently up for sale. This month's document is the death certificate of Dr. Lowery. He died 25 September 1941 at Flint Goodridge Hospital in New Orleans and his remains were shipped to Donaldsonville. It can be found at the Louisiana State Archives (Orleans Deaths, 1941, vol. 217, p. 10).

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Baton Rouge and St. Martinville Bicentennials

(2/1/17) Baton Rouge and St. Martinville were Louisiana's second and third incorporated cities, after New Orleans. On January 17, 1817, Governor Jacques Viller� signed an act of the Louisiana Legislature setting up the government of the town of Baton Rouge. Nearly two weeks later, on January 30th, he signed an act according certain privileges to the town of St. Martinville. Both cities have planned numerous bicentennial activities throughout the year. This month's document features the first pages of the Acts of the Legislature incorporating the two towns in January of 1817.

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Krotz Springs Centennial

(1/1/17) The establishment of Krotz Springs serves as an example of how to make lemonade out of lemons. Seeking oil, Charles W. Krotz came to the area on the west bank of the Atchafalaya River and drilled the first oil well in St. Landry Parish in 1900. Instead of striking oil, he struck an artesian well of terrific pressure. Krotz bottled the water and marketed it for its medicinal properties. He also formed the Krotz Springs Hotel Co., Ltd., and began selling lots. A community soon sprung up, attracted by free water if the settlers supplied their own pipes. In 1915, Krotz attempted to incorporate under the name Latanier, but a community in Rapides Parish already had that name. On January 6, 1917, Krotz Springs was incorporated as a village by proclamation of Governor Ruffin G. Pleasant. Krotz Springs is also the birth place of Le Comit� Board Member Ann DeVillier Riffel. Her father, Charles DeVillier, was Town Marshal from 1934 to 1950. The town is planning to hold its centennial celebration over the Fourth of July weekend. This month's document is the death certificate of Charles W. Krotz, a native of Defiance, Ohio, who died in Krotz Springs December 17, 1925. He is buried in St. Anthony Catholic Cemetery. The document can be found in the Louisiana State Archives, Statewide Deaths, 1925, vol. 38, #16469.

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