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Document of the Month - 2012 Archive

We were pleased to begin these pages in April 2012 and have presented a variety of historical documents of interest to our members and visitors.This page is an archive of documents for the year 2012 in reverse chronological order.

1783 Certificate Vouching for Joseph Carlin

(12/1/12) Louisiana's colonial period documents can be a rich source of genealogical information. Family meetings were held for the benefit of minor children and tutors, or guardians, were appointed to handle their inheritance. Tutors were required to sign oaths and provide security for the management of the minor's assets. This month's document is a certificate by the commandant of Attakapas stating that Joseph Carlin, whose conduct is without reproach, is able to manage the property of his niece, Marie Therese Carlin. It is written in French by Chevalier De Clouet and dated 29 December 1783.

St. John
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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 detailed guides, see Glenn R. Conrad's Saint-Jean Baptiste des Allemands, Abstracts of the Civil Records of St. John the Baptist Parish with Genealogy and Index, 1753-1803 (University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1972) and Judy Riffel's Abstracts of St. John the Baptist Parish Civil Records, 1757-1798 (Le Comité des Archives de la Louisiane, 2003, full-name index), which is available for purchase from the society.


Harnett T. Kane's Birth Certificate

(11/1/12) Thomas Jefferson Harnett Kane was a Louisiana author and journalist who wrote about the South. Some of his books include Louisiana Hayride (1941); The Bayous of Louisiana (1943); Deep Delta Country (1944); and Plantation Parade (1945). He died in 1984 at the age of 73. This month's document is a copy of his birth certificate. He was born 8 November 1910 at No. 113 Gaiennie Street in New Orleans and was the son of William J. Kane, a blacksmith, and Annie E. Hirt. This document can be found among the Orleans Parish birth certificates on file at the Louisiana State Archives. Thanks go to member Mary David Baker for calling attention to this document.

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Jennings Oil Field, ca. 1912

(10/1/12) In 1902, the first successful oil well in the state was drilled near Jennings, Louisiana. This month's image is one of four photographs of the Jennings Oil Field taken circa 1912. It is found in a collection entitled Photos of Jennings Oil Field: 1912 (Accession P1985-121) at the Louisiana State Archives in Baton Rouge. The digital image was graciously provided by the Louisiana Secretary of State: Archives Division.

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Yellow Fever in 1897

(9/1/12) Throughout the 19th century, yellow fever was a deadly disease in Louisiana. By the end of the century, scientists had begun to speculate that it might be transmitted by mosquitoes, a theory that was proven by the Walter Reed Commission of 1900. The last major outbreak in the United States occurred in New Orleans in 1905.

The September Document of the Month features a page from a diary of Wilbur Fisk Blackman in which he discusses a mild outbreak of yellow fever. Dated September 21, 1897, the excerpt below discusses the disruption to commerce and travel caused by the quarantine.

The yellow fever is in New Orleans, in a mild form. The whole of the adjoining states and the towns and Parishes are quarantined against that city. No mails[,] no freights, no way to get money or any thing else into this place except through by the Iron Mountain Rail Road from St. Louis. The people are very much aroused, and every one from other Parishes below, are excluded. Nell and Jeanette are in New Iberia on a visit and did not return when I telegraphed them and are quarantined out. We can get no letters to them and no money. They will remain until all is over. I had to go by buggy to Williams. It was dusty, but a pleasant drive.

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Wilbur Fisk Blackman was born in Harris County, Georgia, in 1841, the son of John Calhoun Blackman and Achsah G. Maddox. His family removed to Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, in 1851. He was educated in private schools and at Homer College, Homer, Louisiana. During the Civil War, he served as a second lieutenant in Company A, 9th Louisiana Infantry Regiment; adjutant in the 28th Louisiana Infantry Regiment; and assistant adjutant general, staff of Gen. Henry Gray. After the Civil War, he worked as a clerk in a mercantile store in Homer and studied law at the State University of Louisiana. He was elected to the state legislature in 1865 and served as state senator, 1868-1872. In 1869, he married Ellen Montfort Wells daughter of Montfort Wells and Jeannette Amelia Dent. In 1873, he removed to Alexandria, La. He served as district judge 1876-1879 and 1882-1892 and on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, 1892-1900. He was elected 13th Judicial District judge in 1900 and reelected through 1916. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1900. He died in Alexandria 28 April 1923. His four children were: Wilburn W. Blackman, who married Sallie H. Fish; Jeannette Dent Blackman, who married Julius F. Ariail; Ellen M. Blackman; and John Calhoun Blackman.

The diary is part of the Margie L. Luke Collection on Wilbur Fisk Blackman (Judge) . It can be found in the second of two diaries on the last page (page 57). The collection was purchased in 2007 by Margie Luke of Franklin, Louisiana and donated to the Louisiana State Archives (Accession N 2009-11). It was also featured on an episode of Louisiana Public Broadcasting's Louisiana Archives Roadshow in February of 2008.


Archives Building Marks 25 Years

(8/1/12) "A Home At Last" was the headline of August's Document of the Month. It had been a long struggle to get a new archives building to store the state's historical documents. The Legislature had appropriated funds to purchase the land and hire an architect in 1978, but progress slowed when funds to begin construction dried up. It took a campaign of calls, letters, and petitions by the public to get the project back on track. Ground was broken in 1984 and on Monday, August 24, 1987, the new building at 3851 Essen Lane in Baton Rouge was dedicated. This article announcing the ceremonies appeared on the cover of a special issue of Legacy, the now defunct newsletter of the Louisiana State Archives. A complete set of these newsletters, which date from 1976 to 1995, were bound by Le Comité and can be found in the periodicals section of the Research Library.

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1779 Duplessis/Rousseau Marriage

(7/1/12) July's Document of the Month proves that genealogical records can be found in unexpected places. This two-page document is an extract of a church marriage recorded in France, but filed among the civil records of the Iberville Parish Clerk of Court's office. It is a 1785 copy of the 1779 marriage between Francois Amiraute Duplessis and Marie Anne Rousseau at Jou�, Diocese of Tours, in the present-day department of Indre-et-Loire, France. It states that the groom was a merchant, the major son of Francois Amiraute Duplessis, a merchant in New Orleans, and Marie Sautier. The bride, Marie Anne Rousseau, was the minor daughter of the late Pierre Rousseau, bourgeois of the city of Orleans in France, and Anne Braquier, remarried to Paul Jousseaume, Seigneur de la Coudraye of Jou�.

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The document can be found on Reel IV 5.1 of the collection entitled Iberville Parish Civil Records: 1775-1958 (Accession P1986-18), on microfilm at the Louisiana State Archives. For a guide to the collection, see Le Comité's publication, Iberville Parish Records, Volume 3, listed on the Publications Page.


1812 Survey of Land at Grand Prairie

(6/1/12) In 1811, the United States government established three land offices in the Territory of Orleans, one of which was located at Opelousas. Numerous land surveys and related documents from this office were kept in the St. Landry Parish Clerk of Court's office and were among the earliest records transferred to the Louisiana State Archives.

This document is a copy of a survey from one of the St. Landry collections at the State Archives. It is dated June 29th, 1812, and shows the land of Francois Ardouing (i.e., Ardoin) and Madame Jean Baptiste DeLafosse (born Auzitte Lamirande). The accompanying certification indicates that Ardouing had entered a notice (No. 29) for a tract of 200 superficial arpents of land at Grand Prairie in St. Landry Parish and had received a deed from Martin Camocac. Ardoin's house is indicated on the survey by the letter A and Madame DeLafosse's by the letter B. Mrs. DeLafosse states that she was born on that same piece of land, that her mother died on it, that the paternal house was not yet existing about 25 years past, and that she and her mother were residing on the same spot before the change of government. Neighboring landowners shown on the survey are Joseph Fontenot, Michael Janisse, Joseph Aug�, Joachim Ortego, Henry Bureaud, Antoine Asline, Nicholas Simon, John Louis Fontenot, and Pierre Metoyer. The claim was confirmed April 29th, 1816.

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This document can be found on Reel 15 of the microfilm collection entitled Genealogical Society of Utah Microfilm: 1766-1929 (Accession P1985-4). For a guide to the colonial period documents in this collection, see Finding Aid P1985-4 on Le Comité's Members' Page. For a guide to a portion of the post-colonial records, see Le Comité's publication, Calendar of St. Landry Parish, La., Civil Records, Volume 1, 1803-1819, listed on the Publications Page.


The Flood of 1927

(5/1/12) The Flood of 1927 was a tragic event in Louisiana. Heavy rains in the Ohio Valley, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and North Louisiana in December of 1926 and January of 1927 caused the rivers to fill to capacity. Because of the narrow levees along the Mississippi River in lower Louisiana, the excess water could not drain rapidly enough. Starting in April of 1927, levees began collapsing in Mississippi, Arkansas, and North Louisiana. This was followed by levee breaks along other waterways in central and southern Louisiana. More rains in the south exacerbated the problem. On May 17, 1927, the west side levee along the Atchafalaya River broke at Melville.

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This month's photograph shows the railroad bridge at Melville during the flood. It is one of several photographs of the flood filed in a collection entitled Joseph Clifton Young Collection: 1912-1930 (Accession N1990-11) at the Louisiana State Archives in Baton Rouge. Also in the file is a note written in 1996 by the late William R. Bailey, who was 4� years old at the time of the 1927 flood. Referring to the photograph showing the railroad bridge at Melville with one span missing, he wrote that it was washed away by the flood and had two or three people on it who drowned. Furthermore, he believed that around 1972 the span was located when a U.S. Navy sub-hunter plane made a survey for the State Department of Public Works and discovered a very strong magnetic anomaly about four miles below the bridge. Read more about the Flood of 1927 at KnowLA.

The digital image was graciously provided by the Louisiana Secretary of State Archives Division.


Governor's Proclamation, April 6, 1912

(4/1/12) On April 30, 2012, Louisiana celebrates two hundred years of statehood. To commemorate this milestone, the April issue of Le Raconteur contains transcriptions of a number of documents from 1812 and 1912. This month's featured document is Governor J.Y. Sanders' proclamation dated April 6, 1912, calling all citizens to observe the event. A full transcription is printed in Le Raconteur in an article describing the activities held for the state's Centennial celebration in 1912. The original proclamation is housed at the Louisiana State Archives in Baton Rouge in a collection entitled Proclamations: 1900-1969 (Accession P1975-33). The digital images were graciously provided by the Louisiana Secretary of State Archives Division.

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