CAJUNS, CREOLES, PIRATES AND PLANTERS
Your New Louisiana Ancestors Format
Volume 2, Number 22
By Damon Veach
DESOTO PLUME: The latest issue of the DeSoto Historical Society’s “DeSoto Plume” is really one of the best I’ve seen from this group. It’s a color edition which makes it stand out. The excellence of the pictures and the articles is really a nice way to spotlight the work that continues to be done by everyone involved.
The first article in this issue is about the Val Verde Cannons, named for the battery of which it was a part on April 8, 1864. These cannons and the determined Confederates stopped the advance of General Banks across Louisiana. This was the Battle of Mansfield.
There was also an oil boom in DeSoto Parish in the 1920s, and this part of the early history of DeSoto is covered with reprints of articles from the “Mansfield Enterprise.” Along with these, the beginnings of Keatchi are discussed in a very informative article.
There is so much to appreciate in this publication. Perhaps for me, it’s all about memories of a childhood I spent here. My family home was a farm located five miles north of Logansport on the Marshall Road, and the family cemetery is a mile further on up the road which comes out west of Shreveport. I still own the property.
Because of my connection to this parish, I decided to donate my life-long collection of genealogical books to the society. The Veach-Foshee Memorial Library Collection is located in the Mansfield Female College Main Building and is available to researchers. It is one of the largest collections in the state.
Membership in the DeSoto Historical Society is only $10 per year, due in February of each year. Foreign memberships are $18. Liz Chrysler of Shreveport is the current editor of the “DeSoto Plume,” and Emilia Gay Griffith Means and Nathaniel Griffith Means are assistant editors. Officers are: President – Johnny May; Vice-President – Raymond Powell; Secretary – Sudie Marie Ritter; and Treasurer – George Meriwether Gilmer Jr.
The society meets quarterly on the Sunday nearest the 22nd, during the months of February, May, August, and November. Meetings begin at 3 p.m. at a different location and announced when each issue is published. The meeting places are usually spotlighted in the issue just released during the meeting months. The August 22, 2010 meeting will take place at the Mansfield Battle Park Museum, located on Highway 175 South, about three miles below Mansfield. The speaker at this meeting will be Dr. Gary Joiner, who will discuss his latest book called Lost Shreveport.
MARRIAGE CONTRACTS: Another book from Winston De Ville has just been released by Claitor’s Publishing. It was edited by noted historian, the late Reverend Donald J. Hebert, with contributions by Jane Guillory Bulliard and Jacqueline Olivier Vidrine and an introduction by Robert de Bernardinis. It is entitled Marriage Contracts of Colonial Louisiana: 1736-1803.
Marriage contracts are quintessentially valuable for genealogical research. When the initial collection of these colonial marriage contracts was published in 1960, it was hailed by reviewers as a milestone in reference works relating to the Mississippi Valley and the Gulf Coast. Now, after many years of being out-of- print, the first five volumes published for colonial Louisiana studies are available by arrangement with Hebert Publications. The special imprint of collated volumes is limited and covers the posts of Opelousas, Natchitoches, Pointe Coupee, Avoyelles, and Attakapas. The one-alphabet index contains approximately 2,000 names of early Louisiana pioneers. Principal parties appear alphabetically.
Of the data gathered in this book, Dr. Hans W. Baade, Professor of Civil Law at the University of Texas wrote that “historians and genealogists are becoming increasingly aware of the potential of marriage contracts for research in family and population, and to a considerable extent, this awareness is due to the pioneering efforts of Winston De Ville.”
This volume sells for $48.50, is soft cover, and needs to be in every large genealogical research collection. It is a thorough look at this period through marriage records and is well documented.
VEITCHIAN NURSERIES: When doing genealogical research, be sure to check out any book or document that might hold clues to your ancestry. I saw a listing for The Veitchian Nurseries on Amazon, and I knew that there had to be some connection here since Veitch is the original spelling of my surname when my ancestor came over from Scotland. That ancestor would be James Veitch, the first sheriff of Maryland. I also have a Veitchii gardenia in my garden, and I have wondered for years how this plant might have come to be named.
This wonderful book is now a part of my library and is a history of all the nurseries that carry the family history back in Scotland and England. It was amazing not only to see the pictures of the nurseries, but the first few pages are a family lineage chart with pictures that I had no idea would be available in any book. What a remarkable discovery this is for me and those interested in the Veach, Veatch, Veitch, La Vache heritage.
Now this is not my direct lineage, but I can easily see the connections when I get back into Scotland where the Veitch family castle is located. My own personal research carries our lineage back to Normandy, France to 1066, and I can see now that I have lots more work to do.
In the lineage in this fascinating book, it all started with John Veitch of Jedburgh, Scotland, one-time steward to Sr. Thomas Acland, Bart, of Killerton near Exeter. He was born in 1752 and died in 1839. The pictures are really great, and now the challenge is to learn exactly who was responsible for naming the Veitchii gardenia. The book is a reproduction of an original work published before 1923, and even with some of the blurred images and imperfections in type, it is such a wonderful book. The author is James Herbert Veitch, who also is the author of A Traveller’s Notes. The nurseries were all located in Scotland and England.
Isn’t genealogical research fascinating?
FREE SERVICE: Correspondence to this column should be directed to Damon Veach, Cajuns, Creoles, Pirates and Planters, 709 Bungalow Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5337. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Queries and book reviews are printed as space permits, and you are encouraged to take advantage of this free service. Claitor’s Publishing can serve as a distributor for self-published genealogy titles. Go to their homepage for details on how you can obtain this excellent service.
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