A word from Gladys DeVilliers

Welcome to my page dedicated to genealogy and a variety of related files,
pertaining to the search for, and preservation of, our heritage.

I have granted Lucie LeBlanc Consentino, owner of the Acadian Ancestral Home
permission to post my work on this site.

I published "The Opelousas Post" in 1973 following long months of research. I was living in Slidell, LA, a fair distance from Opelousas in those days, making it hard for me to find the time to come and study the church records. Included in Post are family groups assembled through the translation, abstraction and compilation of the records of St. Landry Church, the third oldest church parish in the state of Louisiana. It also represents Imperial St. Landry, mother of parishes, as it is known. So many other civil parishes were taken from her original huge physical area! Researchers who are not knowledgable with the area may be amazed to see how many of their ancestors are represented in those records -- sometimes just scribbled on a scrap of paper by a passing priest -- as the families passed through on their way west, or otherwise. They may also be delighted to see how many originated here, established themselves, then left for other places, all unbeknown to their descendants. Even some of the family of Jim Bowie is here, as are many other, perhaps less well-known, historical figures. We were never taught in American history that the only time George Washington ever surrendered in his whole career was to a Coulon de Villiers whose collateral lines are prolific in Louisiana.

Churches of Southwest Louisiana before 1900
CITY CHURCH (Civil Parish) Estab. Bapt. Mar. Fun.
Abbeville (1) St. Mary Magdalen (Vermillion) 1845 1854 1854 1854
Arnaudville St. Francis Regis (St. Landry) 1853 1854 1856 1866
Breaux Bridge St. Bernard (St. Martin) 1848 1847 1847 1848
Broussard (2) Sacred Heart (Lafayette) 1870 1870 1870 1870
Carencro St. Peter (Lafayette) 1874 1874 1874 1874
Cecilia St. Joseph (St. Martin) 1891 1891 1891 1891
Charenton (3) Immaculate Conception (St. Mary) 1843 1839 1845 1844
Chataignier(4) Mount Carmel (Evangeline) 1869 1905 1905 1905
Church Point 0. L. of Sacred Heart (Acadia) 1883 1851 1854 1853
Creole Sacred Heart (Cameron) 1889 1873 1890 1899
Crowley St. Michael (Acadia) 1895 1895 1895 1899
Delcambre 0. L. of Lake (Vermillion) 1896 1897 1897 1897
Eunice (5) St. Anthony (St. Landry) 1890 1869 1869 1869
Franklin Assumption (St. Mary) 1856 1854 1867 1896
Grand Coteau St. Charles Borromeo (St. Landry) 1819 1819 1819 1819
Henry St. John (Vermillion) 1897 1897 1897 1897
Iota St. Joseph (Acadia) 1883 1867 1883 1895
Jeanerette St. John Evangelist (Iberia) 1879 1879 1879 1879
Jennings 0. L. Help of Christians (Jeff Davis) 1892 1892 1892 1893
Kaplan 0. L. of Holy Rosary (Vermillion) 1896 1896 1896 1897
Lafayette St. John Evangelist (Lafayette) 1821 1822 1824 1822
Lake Charles(6) Immaculate Conception (Calcasieu) 18691910 1910 1911
LeBeau Immaculate Conception (St. Landry) 1896 1897 1897 1923
Leonville St. Leo the Great (St. Landry) 1896 1872 1896 1896
Loreauville St. Joseph (Iberia) 1873 1873 1873 1873
Louisa St. Helen (St. Mary) 1891 1890 1931 1890
Lydia St. Nicholas (Iberia) 1868 1868 1868 1868
Maurice St. Alphonsus (Vermillion) 1893 1893 1893 1893
Mermentau St. John Evangelist (Acadia) 1882 1905 1905 1868
New Iberia St. Peter (Iberia) 1838 1838 1838 1838
Opelousas (7) St. Landry (St. Landry) 1776 1776 1787 1787
Patterson St. Joseph (St. Mary) 1848 1848 1851 1878
Port Barre Sacred Heart(St. Landry) 1894 1873 1873 1873
Rayne St. Joseph (Acadia) 1872 1872 1872 1882
Roberts Cove St. Leo (Acadia) 1884 1883 1886 1885
St. Martinville St. Martin of Tours (St, Martin) 1765 1756 1756 1756
Ville Platte Sacred Heart (Evangeline) 1845 1854 1865 1868
Washington Immaculate Conception (St. Landry) 1854 1868 1868 1870
Youngsville St. Anne (Lafayette) 1895 1859 1860 1865
(Source: SWLR by Donald Hebert, Hebert Publishing Co.)

"The Opelousas Post" is the first genealogy book I ever published.. Included are family groups assembled through the translation, abstraction and compilation of the records of St. Landry Church, the third oldest in the state of Louisiana. It also represents Imperial St. Landry, mother of parishes, as it is known because so many other civil parishes were taken from her original huge physical area. Researchers who are not knowledgable with the area may be amazed to see how many of their ancestors are represented in those records -- sometimes just scribbled on a scrap of paper by a passing priest -- as the families passed through on their way west, or otherwise. They may also be delighted to see how many originated here, established themselves, then left for other places, all unbeknown to their descendants. Even some of the family of Jim Bowie is here, as are many other, perhaps less well-known, historical figures. We were never taught in American history that the only time George Washington ever surrendered in his whole career was to a Coulon de Villiers whose collateral lines are prolific here.

Foreword

In recent years, more and more effort has been made to bring to the historian and genealogist all possible sources for the thorough study of the colonial families of Louisiana. For the most part, however, the environs of St. Landry Parish have been virtually untapped except for the CALENDAR OF LOUISIANA COLONIAL DOCUMENTS by Winston DeVille and the MARRIAGE CONTRACTS OF THE OPELOUSAS POST, a joint venture by Mr. DeVille and Jacqueline 0. Vidrine. Bruce Ardoin's publication of Volume I of the LOUISIANA CENSUS RECORDS enabled the researcher to make use of the 1810 and 1820 Censuses.

It was with this lack in mind that this volume was prepared. Hopefully it will fill the gap which has existed.

Known as the "Mother of Parishes" because of the large number of civil parishes later carved from it, the area originally served by St. Landry Catholic Church in Opelousas was widespread. Families from the neighboring area, as well as from other posts, came to the church for services. These services administered by the priests were recorded in volumes now faded and falling apart. From these volumes, the records of the colonial period were taken and included in this account. The births and marriages were included through 1803 and deaths through 1806. Microfilms of the records as obtained from the Canadian archives were also used, but for the most part the research was done in the books themselves.

It is not unlikely that there may be errors in spelling and in dates, due to the condition of the volumes and of the microfilms and to the handwriting of some of the priests. It is hoped, however, that these will be balanced out by the value of the book in bringing this primary source to researchers.

Names have been used as they were spelled in the volumes. Sometimes, within one act, a single name was spelled as many as three different ways. They have all been left as they were. In any case, the compiler believes that these will all be recognizable. In the cases where drastic departures from the norm occur, a note has been made as to what the name is thought to be. In some instances, if the reader does not find a specific name under a customary spelling, it would behoove him to look elsewhere. Some of the letters were sometimes indistinguishable, a case in point being the S and the L.

It will also be noted that many of the names were used interchangably -- Bourg and Bourque; Andres, Andrus and Andrews; Oquin and Aucoin; Brasseur and Brasseux. Since all of these names are extant, the compiler felt it was best to leave it to the reader to determine which of the names are properly his. In the case of Brasseur and Brasseux, sometimes it was impossible to determine an "r" from an "x" and that may account for some of the differences in those two names. It must be remembered, however, that there are still two such names, one pronounced bra-sur and one bra-so. To compound the confusion, the name Brasset was also used.

A question mark is used wherever there was any doubt in the editor's mind as to a name or date and a blank line is used where a name or date was either left out altogether or torn from the page.

In an effort to facilitate the use of this book footnotes are dispensed with and editor's notes are placed at the specific points where a comment is called for.

The statistics are arranged in family groups, as they will be in future volumes. In most cases, the family group is headed by the father; in others, by the mother. In some cases, as in the instance of a "natural child," the name of the father is not given. This also happened at the baptism of several adults and it was stated that the father was unknown. These persons may have been orphaned at any early age. After it became necessary to give the names of the grandparents at baptisms, it was often noted that the grandparents were unknown. Here it probably meant only that the Godparents were not familiar enough with the family of the child to know the names of the grandparents. Even then, as is the case today, the parents may not have accompanied the Godparents to the church when the child was baptized.

Some people may object to the fact that the term "natural child" was given here as it was in the original records. For those with strong feelings about this, it should be pointed out again that the term does not necessarily mean illegitimacy. In many cases, the parents had had a civil marriage, but not a religious ceremony and all children of those unions were considered by the church as illegitimate until such time as the parents may have had their marriage rehabilitated.

The preparation of this volume has been a moving experience for the compiler. With each turn of the page, she has become more and more involved with these families until they are as well known and as well loved as are her own. For years these people have rested undisturbed and are now reborn from the fragile pages of these ancient books to be examined by those whose lives they have prologued.

For this opportunity to travel into the past, however vicariously, the compiler has many to thank -- Msgr. Olan Broussard, pastor of St. Landry Catholic Church (now deceased), without whose permission this could not have been accomplished; Miss Goldie Young, longtime friend and secretary of the church; Winston DeVille for all his ever available encouragement and counsel; Robert Fitzmorris, clerk of court of St. Tammany Parish, for the use of a microfilm reader, and to Mrs. Samuel H. Dunagam of his staff for all her aid; most of all, to my dearest friends, Misses Marian and Annette Smith whose house became my home while I am on research trips to Opelousas; and to Mary Chadbourne, who made the completion of the tedious job of indexing possible and who furnished the illustration and original poem at the beginning of this volume.

Introduction

The area called Opelousas, as described by colonial observers, extended northward to the District of Natchitoches and its dependent post of Rapides, northeast as far as the Avoyelles District, and east to Pointe Coupee. The southwest border met the Attakapas District, and the southern boundary was the Gulf of Mexico.

The western boundary of the Opelousas District had long been in dispute. Some Spanish officials claimed that the location of the Arroyo Hondo near Natchitoches indicated the natural barrier between Texas and Louisiana. Had this reasoning been accepted by United States ministers after the Louisiana Purchase in subsequent negotiations with Spain to settle boundary lines, the dons may have laid legitimate claim to much of Southwest Louisiana. Pedro Cevallos, Minister of State in Spain, was even informed in 1806, that the acquisition of Opelousas by the United States was questionable, for "its population and development were made after Louisiana come under (Spanish) control . . . . " By 1819, however, the boundary dispute with Spain was settled by the Adams-Onis Treaty, and the Sabine River was recognized as having been the western boundary of Louisiana, thus the western boundary of the Opelousas District. This district, then, included the present parishes of Cameron, Calcasieu, Beauregard, Allen, Jefferson Davis, Acadia, Evangeline, St. Landry, and portions of Vernon, Lafayette, and Vermilion. 1
(Note: Footnotes will be found at the end of the introduction.)


Penetration

The Opelousas country was known to early Frenchmen in Louisiana only as "the west" until well into the eighteenth century. Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, however, seems to have been intrigued with exploration in this direction as early as 1701, only two years after the French touched the Gulf Coast, for he was proposing to penetrate the interior to the Mer du Ouest, and to that "vast extent of land" where it was thought that the Spanish had settlements.2 By the fall of 1716 westward expansion from Dauphine Island, the seat of government, had progressed only to the four other posts in Alabama: the old Fort de la Mobile, the post on the upper Mobile River, the Poste des Alibamons and Fort Louis de la Mobile - and to the west as far as the Natchez and the Yazoo posts on the Mississippi River.3

1998-Present Gladys LaGrange de Villiers
1998-Present
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian & French Canadian Ancestral Home
2004 - Present

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