December 5, 1913
Courtesy of John Martin
In the month of July, 1854, my father and all of his children that were with him, and his wife, Marcelite Hebert, moved to St. Martinville, then the county seat of St. Martin Parish, now a thriving town. My family moved to that place in a flat-bottomed boat, well fitted up for family accommodation. We had our slaves on the boat with us, 8 in number, and our family consisted of four boys and five girls. I must state that I met the family at Plaquemine on the flat boat. The boat was on the town side. I remained behind with Eugene, our oldest Negro boy, then 16 years old, and met the family at Plaquemine.
We boasted a good deal then of our close relationship to the family of Zenon LaBauve, residing in Plaquemine, and at the zenith of his career as a lawyer of notional renown, who, latterly was to become Judge Associate of the Supreme Court of Louisiana. My father, as is often the case in our sojourns through life, was not content with the monotonous life of the humble plodder of this life and he extended his visions in the past infinite that separated his family from the great State of Texas; therefore, in August 1858, we wended our way to New Iberia, then a small hamlet, took passage on a steam boat “S. M. Darby”, and landed at Morgan City, just twelve hours before the steam ship “Orizaba” steamed for Indianola, Texas. Our family took passage aboard her, and twenty-four hours later, we were at Indianola, Texas. Here father put me, and Shelby, one of our Negro boys, in charge of his buggy. We traveled all day and stopped for the night in Port Lavaca, on Lavaca Bay. The next morning, we started off again to go join our family, who taken passage on Peter Omelio’s sailboat for Texana, the county seat of Jackson County. Before getting out of Port Lavaca, we stuck in a hole right in the middle of the street and broke the shafts of our vehicle. We, with some outside help, got the contrivance out of the mud hole, and we rode all that bareback on our mule toward Texana.
At dusk we crossed Dry Creek, about one mile from Texana, and in full view of the town. We had left our buggy in Port Lavaca for repairs. At our arrival in Texana, the curious gaze of the people was upon us.
Nobility is only in the human heart; there is the place for true nobility. Royalty and nobility of title are now tottering and the universe is asking in a tone not to be mistaken for a wider scope of freedom, for pure democracy. It is true that the United States Republic was founded on broad principles; but it can be perfected considerably. It has been drifting, since the establishment of big trusts, toward capitalism, and class legislation, and it will take very serious measures to bring peace. There is wide spread discontent among the working class, such as had never been known, before the advent of trusts.
Indians: What do I know about Indians? I remember well, when the Choctaw Indians lived back of Baton Rouge, at a place called Texas. Why do I know? The men would hunt in the back woods, and the women would sell baskets weaved by themselves, in exchange for sweet potatoes; the little boys would make blow guns from cane reeds and they would sell them for five cents apiece. They must have been blanket Indians, for the women and girls were wrapped up in blankets. They did not appear to feel the cold from the winter. They would build their wigwams in the thick part of the canebrake. We boys would visit their camp and took to hunting birds with blowguns, after their fashion. They must have moved away whilst I was still young, for all at once, the whole tribe disappeared, and I never saw them afterwards.
I have failed to state that I was born on the 20th day of January, 1840, which makes my age 73 years, 11 months and 2 days, and which would give 14 years of age when we left our native place to take our place among the rovers of this globe.
At the age of 15, I was out on a farm with all of my father’s family and our slaves. I worked hard along side of our slaves on a farm rented from the heirs of, and the representatives of, Drozin Judice. The land where I worked, and where the family resided, was called by name “L’anse des Judices”. Here, we raised a big crop of corn and sweet potatoes. After raising one crop on that place, father, who was on very good terms with the Peeples family, was offered, by Henry Peeples, a large farm situated on Spanish Lake, about three miles from New Iberia, on the Lafayette road, free of rent, whither we moved the winter of 1855, and prepared to plant a big crop of cotton, corn and potatoes.
I must say that this place approached nearer to fiction and romance than any place I had ever visited; all the wild fancies of thought found here, free access. The babbling rill, becs a l’ancette, the wild ducks, the turkey buzzard, all seemed to have united there, a fit abode for all of them, without calling into account hundreds of alligators of all size and length.
As for the finney tribe, suffice it to say that a variety of the most attractive and palatable sported in the limpid water of Spanish Lake. In winter it was the sportsman paradise. Thousands of ducks made this their resting place in the fall and winter months, while transforming that vicinity into a huntsman paradise equal to none. The myriads of voices mingling together on the vast sheet of water that composed the body of Spanish Lake – I mean the voices of wild ducks of all sizes and structures of those feathered tribe made a strange amalgamation or mixture of tones; for here on the bosom of the lake floated that vast raft of aquatic bird, seemingly content with themselves. Here, at a distance from the shore of the lake, inaccessible to hunters, on account of distance, they rested at perfect ease, each quacking when his turn appeared to have arrived.
Well do I remember that my father would board his little push canoe, put his dog in the far end, and push off for a hunt, in the tall grass surrounding the lake, North, East and South, and on his return home, he would always be well paid for his days hunt, by a heavy load of plump ducks, and often, Sacelles, a small duck of the size of a young spring chicken.
I want to write a concise narrative and simple statement of events as they come to mind and my statement will be incomplete without mentioning several facts connected with my narrative of events the way they occurred then. I failed to state that when my father’s family located on Spanish Lake, it had walked into a regular Spanish Colony. Those we met were the direct descendants of a colony that had migrated to America in the early days, and had settled in a zone comprising New Iberia, Spanish Lake and Petite Anse. It is not to be wondered at that we became acquainted with the Segura’s, the Domingue’s, the Romero’s, the Victor’s. the Migues’, and other families bearing the ancient names of Andalusia and Estremaduro. I must state that I have read an account of the transmigration of these people. They are said to be direct from a colony that sailed to this continent from the island of Majorca, a dependency of Spain, but, of course, the name borne by the families are to be found in Spain and in Mexico. Whilst in this section, I bought, at the Montagne Store in New Iberia, the novel “Count of Monte Cristo”, and I was, in my mind, transported to Catlonis, the province where Mercedes, the heroine of the plot, was born and reared. I found a Mercedes here, and found Dangler, Count de Moncerf. I played the role of Edmond Dantes in miniature. Here was enacted a portion of the comedy depicted by Alexandre Dumas in the “Count of Monte Cristo”. The jealously described in that novel was vividly re-produced by a certain swain; and he succeeded in gaining his Mercedes, as Dangler did in “Monte Cristo”, but his story has not the same dramatic close, both for Dangler and Mercedes, here both ended their career without any hitch; as often, in later years, I passed by the Iberia Church Yard, on the train or on foot, I noticed among the monuments erected to the memory of the death, within the precinct of this sacred ground, one to the memory of the once regretted Mercedes, figuratively. Here she lies amongst her kindred, awaiting the resurrection of the flesh.
I must state here that in the year 1856, whilst we were at the lake, on the 10th day of August, happened a storm that submerged Lost Island, and where over three hundred persons were engulfed into a watery grave, including one of my woman cousins, by name, Althie LaBauve. This storm raged nearly three days and completely devastated our crop of cotton and corn. In 1857, we raised another crop of cotton and corn, and were very fortunate. We also raised a good number of hogs, which papa sold for a good, sound sum, in New Orleans. It was in this year that my uncle, Victor LaBauve, and father, agreed to move to the State of Texas, father to take the lead. Both my uncle and my father took the trip of inspection to Texas in the winter of 1857. Landing at Indianola, they visited Calhoun, Jackson, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Houston, and embarked, with their ponies, at Galveston, on their way back home. The way was paved for our emigration to Texas.
In the month of August 1858, we embarked on the steamer “Darby” at Iberia, as I stated before, for the famed State of Texas. Texas was a slave state, and, as my father moved over before the emancipation of the Negroes, our Negroes were slaves; so it was easy enough for my father to earn a good living by renting land ready fenced in. After spending 24 hours at Indianola, as I stated before, the family sailed to Texana, the county seat of Jackson County.
For a while, the family occupied the old tavern, a log house structure near the place called the Plaza, or center of the town of Texana. I had forgotten to state that Texana was located at the head navigation of the Navidad River, a river which forms a junction with the Lavaca River, below Texana, about three miles from town, therefore, all boats of light draft could come up to that place, and did so, even steam ships.
I was then 18 years of age and commenced thinking about improving my mind by attending school under good tutorship. One teacher, by the name of Kindrick, and, the other, by the name of Dulin, from the State of Ohio. I was said to be an apt learner, and therefore progressed pretty fast. I became acquainted with many new principles, till then unknown to me, in sciences. About this time I became a member of a debating society and it’s vice-president. I talked pretty well, and I also joined Branch 36, Sons of Temperance.
Everything seemed to be smiling, and I thought, indeed, that I was on the road to distinction, when, all at once, the muttering of discordant sounds brought to our ears that, in Kansas, the warring elements were at work. The disruption of the Union appeared imminent. There the people were divided into two camps, one composed of free-soilers and the other of slave owners. They were pretty well divided, too. Each adopted its separate Constitutions, as representatives of their views. About this time flourished a certain figues by the name of John Brown, who, as a free-soiler, with a little over a dozen men, invaded Harper’s Ferry Arsenal, and James Lane, besides John Brown, was another conspicuous figure in the border warfare. The State of Kansas was about to be brought into the folds of the Union. The free-soilers and the slave holding elements were pretty well divided up, equally. There were wild elements on both sides of the issue. The Southerners were working for slavery and the free-soilers for freedom. One side was applying for admittance in the galaxy of states as a slave holding state, whilst the free-soilers wanted a free state, where slavery should not exist. Thus the matter stood. I am of the opinion that the warring elements adopted each a separate State Constitution. The slaveholders adopted the Leavenworth Constitution and the free-soilers that of Lecompte, thus the U. S. Government was brought face to face with this dilemma.
The above statement is erroneous. Hawthorns history of the United States says that Missouri, a slave state, bordered upon Kansas and the South had a chance there, and that roving about the borders were numbers of rough characters with a whiskey bottle in one pocket and a revolver in the other, who were ripe for any enterprise. It is said that Chief Justice Lecompte decided all questions in favor of the Southerners, and that the Legislature met at Shawnee, instead of at Pawnee, as the Governor had directed, and the Territorial Governor was recalled by President F. Pierce.
The free-soilers met at Lawrence, repudiated the Shawnee mission assembly and it’s work, and summoned two other conventions at Big Spring and, finally, at Topeka, and, after much bloodshed, the State was admitted as a free-soil State.
I have forgotten to state that my children are named Gabriel, Gilbert, Isidor, Raphael, Lucia, Fernand and Adonia, who, being insane, is at the Pineville Asylum. Lucia is married to B. Bernard and has no children. Gilbert is not married. All of the rest are married and have children, or offspring. Gabriel has 3, Isidor 2, Raphael 3, and Fernand 3. Lucia has no children.
I am determined to work for this firm, as their representative here. It looks like money in it. I have come to find out that without money, a person is not shown much friendship or distinction amongst the living. So, money is the go; politics, religion, social intercourse, all is reckoned by the almighty dollar. Let us then work for it. It is a GOD on earth. I know ignorant persons in Abbeville, Louisiana, who are very ignorant, but their ignorance is not a bar to their distinction amongst the population of elite. They are always candidates to offices of trust and of pay, and they get there when they ask for any position in the gift of the good people of the place.
Zenon Lejeune was here today, only about a half hour, he having come by train from Gueydan by train 9o’clock a.m. Zenon Lejeune is married to my first cousin, by name, Regina LaBauve, daughter of Jean Baptiste LaBauve.
I forgot to state that my father was married three times, 1st wife was a Dupuy, the second was Josephine Chiasson, 1st cousin to my mother, and the third was Marcelite Hebert, my mother.
I forgot to state that Fernand is the father of a boy, now three weeks old. He is to be named Fernand.
I wrote the following note: I enclose clippings of the set of resolutions, adopted by our Camp #607, expressive of the feelings of regret of our Camp on the passing away of our comrade, your father, Joseph T. Labit, from this earth. Please allow me to state that your father’s standing with us old veterans of the Civil War was above reproach. We had reason to admire his many sterling qualities, as man and as comrade, and we mourn with you the loss, and I will say here that you, his children, should be thankful to be the representatives, and the scions, of a father who filled so well, to its fullest extent, the requirements of this life. Hoping that these feeble tributes may be a comfort to you, his children. I remain, respectfully, your humble servant.
Fernand LaBauve, my son, was here today, and his two little daughters, Madge and Juanita, were here. They had driven in their buggy.
Ralph and I took a toddy together at Algiers Saloon. Anatole Perret, my brother-in-law, brought a bag of shucks for cow and calf. Adonia, my last daughter, and the youngest child of the family, has been an inmate of the Pineville Asylum for the Insane since July 1910, or about that time. I have very little news of her. She is, apparently, dead to me and to the family. As soon as practicable, I shall certainly go and see her. I am sure she is better off there than she would be here. Everything is given her there free and without any price. It would not be the case here. Her mind would be crowded with the thoughts of providing for her subsistence. The only difference is that she is away from her relatives.
Marriages of my children; Gabriel is married to Emilie Suir, daughter of Anilse Suir, Isidor is married to Emma Breaux, daughter of Emile Breaux and Josephine Sigur, Lucia is married to Ben Bernard, son of Jules Bernard, dead. Fernand is married to Aureline LaBauve, daughter of Theodore LaBauve. Gilbert and Adonia are not married. Mabel and Courtney, Gabriel’s children, are attending school regularly, and they are learning very fast. Mabel reads like a parrot, as well as anybody, in high books. Those are smart children, sure. Now, next year, Ida, the youngest of Gabi’s children, will commence school. She will be of school age.
I do not know what this day will bring. I am not reckoned a back number in school matters. I have quit teaching school by force. I have been left out by superintendent St. Williams. I am glad of it, as I have become more independent. Teaching is akin to slavery. My health has improved considerably, since I was turned out by the superintendent.
I have a scheme to make money. I will soon start same. All I have to do is to pay $4.50 for an outfit to start with. I guess I shall have to command about $50.00 in order to run the business. I can have the money. I have the money made. I may be able to help others. If possible, I will certainly do it. There are some around me, close to me, who need assistance. I have, thus far in life, been able to provide for myself, and to help others, to a certain extent.
I expect to include with my journal “The Linville Massacre”, which I wrote about some years ago. The facts of the narrative were told to me by one of my fellow schoolmates in Jackson County, Texas, whilst I was at school in Texana, Texas. This fellow scholar was named William Coleman, a pretty smart young man, and a better-disposed boy than myself, and, I judged, purer in thought. I may be mistaken, though, for appearances are deceiving, sometimes. In my case, I am always ready to condemn myself for all the shortcomings of my youth, and of my life in general, up to the present time.
On the 8th of January, 1815, the Battle of New Orleans, between the American forces, under Gen. Andrew Jackson, and the British forces, under Gen. Packingham, now Chalmette, below New Orleans, a short distance from the American refinery. My grandfather, Isidoe LaBauve, was present there on that ever-memorable occasion. My father, Dominique LaBauve, was then 15 years of age, and he was placed in the Home Guard, an organization whose business was to remain home, for the purpose of protecting the families of those who were called to the front in defense of the Country.
The Battle of New Orleans was the most memorable battle of the War of 1812 – 1815, the British being worsted, having nearly 3,000 dead on the field. Anyone going to New Orleans ought to visit the battlefield of Chalmette, which can easily be reached from streetcars, direct. The 8th of January 1913 will soon be at hand and the New Orleans press will teem with a recital of those events characteristic of that eventful day.
Gilbert L., Jr. comes here every morning to make his coffee and drink. I generally drink one cup of coffee of his, after he is through. Emilie Suir, Gabi’s wife, brings me my coffee to my bed and I drink the first coffee in bed. She likes to do that. She makes the coffee, or, in other words, drips it nearly every morning and takes it around, first to Gabi, then to me, and then to the children. She has three children, Mabel, Courtney and Ida. Mabel is 12 years old, Courtney is 9, and Ida is 5. Mabel and Courtney are now, 9 o’clock a.m., at the Catholic Church, attending services.
I had forgotten to mention that Indianola, when we went to Texas, was the town where the Vanderbilt Line of steamships anchored. Indianola was then a thriving place on Matagorda Bay. It was built of timbers from houses. It was a very busy place. On the west was an immense country. North, about 12 miles on Lavaca Bay, was Port Lavaca, also a fine little town on higher ground that Indianola. It was too high to be affected by the water rise, as was the case with Indianola. It was too high to be affected by the rise of water during a storm, which often pervades here at certain seasons of the year.
Port Lavaca was the scene of a bombardment from a flotilla of yankee gunboats in the fall of 1862, during the Civil War. Company “A”, Hobby’s Regiment (Texas 8th Infantry), was at Port Lavaca then, defending the place with cannon. Vernon was Captain of Co. “A” then. He afterwards became Major of our Regiment, 8th Texas Infantry. Texana was the County seat of Jackson County, Texas then. Now, it is Edna.
The Lavaca River has the reputation of being the river where LaSalle landed on his voyage of discovery. There is a place called LaSalle on that river.
In the fall of 1860, my parrain (Godfather) and cousin, Vilias Landry, paid us a visit. The family was then occupying a place called Egypt, 3 miles below Texana, at the junction of the Lavaca and Navidad Rivers. I was pretty well advanced then, and agreed to go to Bayou LaFourche, teach school; we embarked on Dupri LaBauve’s boat, the “Fanny Fern”, a schooner, and we landed at Indianola, and the next morning embarked on the steamship “Matagorda”, bound for Morgan City, Louisiana. We made the trip in 48 hours, with a rough sea. I was seasick all the time, from the time we got in the open gulf till we reached the Atchafalaya River, Louisiana. As we arrived at Morgan City, early in the day, we found parties that were going to Pierre Part Bayou and we took passage with them, getting before sunset, Assumption Parish.
The next day I went with my parrain and after standing an examination, I was granted a certificate of qualification and was assigned to teach the Brusly, St. Martin School. I was then 20 years old.
In 1861, war was declared and the 1st gun of the war was fired at Fort Sumpter, South Carolina. In quick succession happened the battles of Manassas and other noted battles. I was then made Captain of an Infantry Company of Militia and attended on Bayou LaFourche in Hernandez pasture, a general muster of all the Assumption Companies under the command of Colonel Pugh, of Napoleonville. About this time there were companies organizing everywhere, and young men flocked to be enrolled and sworn in to go to the camp of instruction, Camp Moor, ready for the seat of war. Captain Larre Nichols and his brother, Francois T. Nichols, were drilling their men at Napoleonville and at Donaldsonville; finally, when ready, they went to the seat of war and took part in the Battle of Manassas and remained in Virginia till the end of the war. Larre Nichols was killed in battle and Francois T. Nichols lost one leg, one arm and one eye.
Eventually, in 1862, New Orleans fell into the hands of the Federals, and Gen. Banks took command of the City. Soon after it’s fall, my parrain called on me and made me agree to go back to Texas to my family. So we started in a large dugout manned by the Crochet boys and down Pierre Part, across Lake Verret, down Belle Boviere, across Lake Platte and into the Atchafalaya past Ile du Cypress. We arrived at Morgan City, a little after daybreak. The ports were blockaded by Federal gunboats, so we looked around for a conveyance to New Iberia. Fortunately, there was thus tied up and making steam, a flatbottomed propeller called the “Southern Merchant”, aboard of which Valcour Landry and I took passage. Eduard Landry, Valcour’s brother, had gone down Bayou LaFourche on horseback, and it happened he met us here, after coming on a train from Bayou LaFourche or riding, I have forgotten exactly how. We made for Franklin on his horse. Our boat arrived at New Iberia the next day. I have quite forgotten how we managed it, but we went from New Iberia to Fausse Pointe, to uncle Hebert’s, where we were well received and here my partners bought a horse and an old barouche of 4 seats and, in a few days, we were on our way to Texas, overland, in our barouche and two horses. Those were days of expansive prairies. There was no railroad communication, as we have today. The first day our travel brought us to Bayou Blanc, at Courville’s, the next to Dugas, next to a place way beyond Grand Marais, and the next to Clendening’s, on the Calcasieu and the next to Niblet’s Bluff, on the Sabine River. Here we found a steamer ready to haul in her stage plank for Beaumont on the Neches River, Texas. On her we took passage all, horses, carriage and men. We went down the Sabine River and up the Neches River to Beaumont, where we arrived safe and sound.
The next day we concluded that we would take passage on the “Beaumont & Western Line” road, so the horses, the carriage and the men embarked aboard of the train flat car for carriage, box car for the horses and we took passage in the coaches. That was slow traveling. We arrived at midnight in Houston, our point of destination. Disembarking in Houston, we crowded up in a kind of garret, as hot as an oven and the next morning we were again on our way to my home. We drove to Richmond on the Brazos River this day, stayed the night there and the next morning hitched again and traveled due West towards Jackson County. I believe that we slept the next night at Capt. Heard’s, on the Colorado River, and the next day we arrived on Mustang Creek, about 20 miles from home, and the last day was our arrival at Texana, where we found my family awaiting, for our arrival had been heralded by the postman. We had quite an ovation in the bottom before arriving home, along the public thoroughfares. It appeared as though all the young folks of the town had come to meet us on the way, about ½ mile from the town.
Here we stayed until fall, going and coming from East Carancahua, where our hands were working, and where Eugene, now a man, was splitting rails to fence in a field. It was whilst we were going and coming from East Carancahua that my mother was attacked by a disease of the bowels named “flux”, and, in the course of six weeks or so, she died. At the same time, Valcour Landry, my parrain, was taken sick also, but recovered.
The War was then fairly on. Volunteer companies had gone to the front. Many had been killed and it became a question to commence thinking what could be done. The two brothers Landry concluded that the most plausible plan was to decide in favor of quitting Texas, and moving to Mexico, so, about one week after mother’s death, they developed their plan to me and asked me to follow them to that country. I declined to do so, and they started with some horses that had taken us to Texas, and wended their way toward that country. About a month or so after their departure, Dupri LaBauve and I joined the Army at Port Lavaca, enrolling in Capt. Vernon’s Company of Heavy Artillery. Thus, I was to serve under the Confederate Flag till the end of the Civil War, which happened to close April or May 1865. I was discharged at a little town called Alleyton, North of Eagle Lake, Texas, but my discharge is dated Columbus, Texas, a town on the Colorado River about one or two miles West of Alleyton.
It was a long time after the close of the War before I heard anything about the Landry brothers. Finally, my parrain returned and worked at Emile Gassie’s, Josephine’s husband. My oldest sister, who, after spending ten years in Jackson County, Texas, returned to West Baton Rouge, and married Emile Gassie, one of my infancy friends. Isidor, my oldest brother, was never married, Edgard, the next, was drowned in the Mississippi River at Brusly Landing. I was married in September 1872 to Ida, the oldest daughter of Zenon Perret. Gabriel, my oldest boy, is married to Emilie Suir and has three children, Mabel, Courtney and Ida. Next one, Gilbert, is not married. Isidor in married to Emma Breaux and has two children, Myrth and Hilton. Raphael is married to Irene Eisele of Franklin, Louisiana, and has three children, Irene, Eloise and Lucille. Fernand is married to Aurelene LaBauve of St. Mary Parish and has three children, Madge, Juanita and Fernand, Jr. Lucia is married to Ben Bernard and has no children. Adonia, the youngest child, has been insane now going on four years and is at the Pineville Asylum for the Insane. My next sister, Lizama, was married in Texas after the War was over, to William Stayton, of Carancahua, Jackson County, Texas, and, after Stayton’s death, she was married to John Logan, also of that place. Adonia, my next sister, married Robert Fleury of West Carancahua, Jackson County, Texas, and has left several children, at her death this year of cancer. Ordalie, who left Texas soon after Josephine died, married Numa Landry and left one boy and two daughters. She is dead too. Thilesmar, the next on of the family, was married in Jackson County, Texas, moved to Fort Worth, Texas, died there and left one boy. Aristide, the next, died unmarried at the age of 15. Lucia (Ulyssia), the youngest of the family, married Valcour LaBauve, her cousin, both are alive. They have daughters Edna, Elina and one boy.
Leo LaBauve was here today. He had come with Gabi. He is coming again next week to make his application for relief as a Choctaw-Chickasaw descendant. He is the son of Theogene LaBauve, cousin of the Thibadeaux’ of Prairie Grigg and Landry’s of Grosse Ile.
The Landry brothers then, did not serve in the Confederate Army. Eduard, one of them, worked in a silver mine. My parrain was, a good portion of the time, on a large country farm belonging to a rich family in Mexico, with whom he resided, whilst there.
I did service whilst in the Army in the Artillery, the Infantry, and in the Navy. I was in the Navy in February 1864, when my father died. I got unlimited furlough home, and after spending about two weeks at home, I returned to my command in Galveston, Texas, where I soldiered the rest of the War with my Company. I was quartered during the summer of 1864 at Redoubt #7, nearly opposite the Galveston Bridge. We then moved to Galveston and my Regiment did duty there, till the end of the War, when we were ordered to Virginia Point, where we stayed till ordered to Alleyton, above Eagle Lake, and were discharged.
Fernand came here today. He is teaching the Comeaux School, Prairie Grigg, and resides with his family at Erath, Louisiana.
I believe that I have stated that it was in the year 1858 that my family moved to Texas, several months before my uncle Victor LaBauve’s family moved out in the fall of the same year, and moved into the Roger’s house, near Texana, and father’s family moved out on the William Gayle’s farm on the Lavaca River, about three miles West of Texana. This was a cotton farm, and father, with his and uncle’s hands, set in a crop of cotton and corn, but as often happens in that particular climate of alternate drought and fair weather, it being a very dry summer, our corn crop was a failure, and in the fall a big rise in the Lavaca River overflowed our cotton crop and it was a failure, too. The next year father moved to Egypt, a place already described, and made a good crop, those of cotton, corn and potatoes. This farm belonged to Dr. Hills. Here we had a good lodging house, and out houses for the Negroes. This same year uncle Victor had rented the William Gayle’s farm and his family occupied that house we had occupied the previous year. His venture this year was a success. He bought the schooner “Fanny Fern” that fall for $450, and Dupri LaBauve, his son, then 19 years old, and Francois, my uncle’s Negro man, commenced making regular trips to Port Lavaca and Indianola, taking wood and passengers. The schooner carried about 5 cords of wood per load. About this time, my uncle bought the Moor tract of land on the East Carancahua and would carry on the wood trade, from that tract. This tract was all wooded. There was about 600 acres of noi (sic) land. All but an inside prairie containing about 75 acres was wood. Uncle Victor LaBauve had sold about 200 acres of the tract to father, who was to have paid him later, but when father died in February 1864, the place was still unpaid for, and returned to uncle Victor. I was serving in the Confederate Army when father died. I was stationed at Matagorda, as a marine on the gun boat “John F. Carr”, in Confederate service.
After my return to Texas, with the Landry brothers, we busied our time taking trips to East Carancahua from Texana, having a good time, free and happy, as could be. We would hunt wild hogs on that creek. The first summer that I was in Texas we organized a deer hunt one day, with Fred Armstrong as our head leader and hunter. He was the only one that carried a rifle, all the rest rode. The hunting party was composed of Henry Simone, George Flayer, Fred Armstrong and myself. We directed our course East, crossing the bottom on the East side of the Navidad River and coursing on the open prairie, traveled about 5 miles South East, when, all at once, we spied a herd of about 10 deer. Circling around them so as to have the herd between us and the wind, Fred passed the reins of his horses bridle over the horses head and gave the reins to Henry Simons to hold, and Fred dropped to the ground into the tall grass and we kept on circling around the deer until we were between the wind and them. As soon as the deer scented us they took the opposite direction, toward Fred Armstrong, who was waiting for them, flat on his belly, in the tall grass. As soon as the herd arrived at shooting distance from him, he selected a plump, fat buck and, after taking accurate aim, he touched his rifle’s trigger and a sharp report was heard, the buck aimed at made a jump in the air and fell, dead. All we had to do was to bleed him, take out his entrails and hang him up on the limb of a sapling near a running brook not far away from the place the deer was shot. We remained at that brook a while and then circled around, but, unfortunately, we were not as fortunate as, at first. Perhaps our first shot had scared any deer that might be in hearing, or we were not as lucky as we had been at first. Anyhow, be it as it may, we returned to Texana with one deer only, as a trophy. This Fred Armstrong was reputed to be the most accurate shot of Texana. So accurate was he that one dismal winter day as he strolled through the leafless bottom, near, and East of Texana, he heard what sounded like the voice of a wild turkey hen. He gradually advanced until there stood between him and the – what appeared to be a turkey. A patch of black berry thorns, very thick and denuded, as he advanced on one side, the voice, apparently of a turkey on the other side, would answer his calls on this side, finally, he got to the berry patch and, looking through the dry, denuded stems of the briar patch, he could distinguish what appeared to be the gray plumage of the turkey hen. He took deliberate aim at the object, for fear of being detected and fired. What was his surprise, when, instead of a turkey, there jumped up one of his friends, a young man from town, who had been hunting, like him, and, who probably was ready to shoot at him where he was fired at from the opposite side of the briar patch. I believe his name was Tom Hollis. The boy died almost instantly, after being shot. All this happened a while before we moved to Texas. Vast herds of deer roamed at large between the Navidad River and West Carancahua Creek. The prairie was miles wide, without any timber, between the two streams.
December 25, 1913
Myrth, my grand daughter, and my sister-in-law, Alice Perret (Sigur), each sent me a Christmas postal card, which I received yesterday, with pleasure. We had a quiet dinner at home. Chicken gumbo, roasted chicken, fricasseed chicken, rice, Irish potato salad and wine enough for a decent family.
The 20th of next month I shall be 74 years old. That is, indeed, old age, or in other words, advanced age. There are not many in this neighborhood or in this Parish who have attained that age. If the State of Louisiana wants to thank her Confederate veterans by an advance in the pension she allows them, do it before they have died. Now is the time to do it, not next year or year after that. I see that they are dropping off one by one around me. Why wait to allow what is coming them by right? Our next Legislature ought to see to it that they be allowed more than is paid them now.
President Wilson, his wife and his two daughters, arrived at Pass Christian yesterday morning to make a stay of three weeks.
Anatole Perret, my brother-in-law, who has been residing at Raphael’s at least 9 months, slept here last night and night before last. Ralph, his wife and children, and Mrs. Eisele, are at Franklin, St. Mary Parish, during Christmas, and Anatole sleeps here during their absence from home. Gilbert was here this morning, making and drinking coffee. Mabel, who was at the exhibition of the tightrope walkers at the Victor Hall, was elated with it. She thought it to be a great feat.
January 2, 1914
Fernand, Aurelene and the children were at Abbeville yesterday. They drove down in their buggy. Fernand and his two little girls were here, but Aurelene did not come. She passed the day at Lucia’s.
Tuesday, January 20, 1914
Aurelene and her three children slept here last night. Fernand slept at Ralph’s, and Alice at Lucia’s. They had a soiree at Ed Lampman’s. Alice went. Lucia was here yesterday. She paid half and we drank beer. I paid the other half.
Gabi’s wife is of a very quarrelsome nature. This property here is mine, still I am at home like a stranger. I have a mind to sell all my property, put the money securely in a bank or in my pocket and go to a Soldier’s Home in New Orleans or in Austin, Texas, where I will have good care and no worry.
A sickness like the disease called cerebral spinal meningitis is raging in Abbeville, in certain families. The twins of Dr. Elridge died last week, people say, of an unknown disease to, by the same said to be the aforementioned disease.
Ida was out early today to look at the snow, so also was Mabel and Courtney. It was a new scene for them. Ida was trying to eat it with a small teaspoon. The milk cow and my horse appeared amazed at the sight of snow this morning.
Freedom is the greatest blessing human nature ought to ask and require. The time of autocracy has passed. Jefferson enunciated and published to the world the celebrated Declaration of Independence since proclaiming that all men are born free. He makes no exceptions.
In mixed anarchy, confusion and war still exist. The British Government, through her accredited agents, is trying to force the United States to interfere, but this is a subterfuge of perfidious albion (sic) to have her mines (sic) protected. President Wilson sees through that scheme. The Socialistic influence is holding back President Wilson’s hand in the interference business. So, the socialists are gaining ground every day. It is self evident that all men are created equal. There should be no privileged class or classes. That is the foundation of the Great American Republic, which now dominates the whole world sending its influence to the confines of the earth. Until our Republic was founded, the ignorant class thought that there were classes. Man is clamoring for more liberty. Our government did very well in ancient times and ancient customs and it had to bend considerably to do the whims of European potentates who were acting as having been commissioned by a Devine and invisible right to govern the ignorant peasantry. But after the Thirteen American Colonies had had the hardihood to pledge their fortunes to uphold the doctrine that all men are created equal and independent. Then, and only then, the common people awakened to the great truth that kings were only men like themselves, only more corrupted, more immoral. It can well be imagined that the church, then weak and in it’s infancy, bowed to the decrees of monarchs and proclaimed them, as of Devine nature.
Received this morning the obituary of Emile Gassie, husband of Josephine LaBauve, my sister. He died Friday, the 13 of March, 1914, at his residence above Brusly Landing, West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana.
I am thinking of the tin cup of coffee I drank in Texas, on the broad prairie between Texana and Victoria, one summer morning at early dawn. I had slept on the prairie and, at dawn, I arose and drove on towards Victoria, meeting two Negroes who were dripping coffee. I alighted and asked to partake of their coffee and they assented and gave me the coffee in a tin cup, sweetened with molasses.
Monday, June 22, 1914
I am thinking now of Alice Sigur. I think of her often, also of Fedora Desonmeaux. Both are married and are raising each a family. All for the lust, that I did not pass my seed with either of them. I was sincere, but I had to reflect too much, to walk into marriage, again. My experience forbade me from marrying again.
Monday, June 29, 1914
July 1, 1914
Of the Socialist Party, of this there is no doubt.
We are today the 4th of July. Just 138 years ago the Declaration of Independence of the 13 American Colonies was signed in Philadelphia, Pa., by the delegated of the 13 American Colonies, assembled there for that purpose.
Friday, August 7, 1914
I became acquainted with Albert Lauve at Paincourtville, Assumption Parish, Louisiana in the year 1860. He was a lawyer, and had a military education. I had occasion, at the residence of Dupuy, in Jackson County, Texas, near the Navidad River, to speak to Miss Dupuy there, who afterwards became the wife of Tom Brackenridge, about Albert Lauve and Major Avigno, of New Orleans, killed in Virginia during the Civil War. She told me that Albert Lauve and Major Avigno were smart enough to graduate at the Military School of Lexington, Kentucky, of which they were alumni, but that the faculty would not issue them their graduating papers, and that it created quite a row there, at the time. Bat Dupuy was also a student at that school and was well advanced, but he did not graduate either. Bat was a brother of Miss Dupuy, a niece of Dupuy who had moved to Jackson County long before we moved there, and, who owns a large stock of cattle and horses, which he, I believe, sold to Dutart. There were very small boys in Texana, also men. The country then was full of wolves or coyotes and wild turkeys. As for prairie chickens, they were everywhere to be seen flying in big bunches.
Whilst I am writing about Texas, I might as well state that the population of Jackson County was comprised, par excellence, of choice people. The Owens, The Wells, the Billips, the Dutart, the McDowell’s, the Gayle’s, the White’s, the Menefee’s, the Dodd’s, the Stayton’s, Armstrong’s, the Logan’s, the Woolfolk’s, the Randolph’s, and many others were of choice families of the old State. Texas was a State of promise before the war. Col. Owen had a stock of 15,000 cattle and branded 5,000 calves. It was a large stock raising country. There were no paupers there. All were well to do. Dupri LaBauve, my 1st cousin, married Emily Garret, of Lavaca River. She has been dead a good while.
I remember an account of a preacher who spent one night on the Texas prairie of Jackson County, Texas, and pictured it an awful night. I passed one summer night at about the same spot he describes, so vehemently, and with so much emphasis as to scare the life out of the innocent reader. I was not afraid a bit that whilst the night was made hideous by the howling of the wolves all around the spot I was occupying, because I knew there was no danger at all. I had some chunks of meat in a bag and their smell attracted these marauders, and also a lot of ants. I paid no attention to the wolves, only the ants woke me up.
Monday, August 10, 1914
By reading the Item of New Orleans, I see that there were missing, killed, wounded and taken prisoners 25,000 German soldiers and officers at the assault on Liege, Belgium, three days ago.
Tuesday, August 11, 1914
I am firmly of the opinion that the Emperor of Germany will have to flee from Berlin before the end of the present war. There will be established Republican forms of government in Belgium, Austro-Hungary and Germany at the treaty of peace of those countries, and they will be partitioned from getting the lion’s share of the spoils. The Socialists are playing a big hand in the European War. They will see that the poor working man shall be recognized at the hour of reckoning.
It would be frightful if the U.S. were to take part in the European War now going on. I am of the opinion that President Wilson will keep out of it, and let Europe fight her battles. Our Government has kept out of the Mexican Revolution in good shape and why should we be influenced to meddle with matters on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Germany is boasting that she has the billions paid her by France in 1870 and, also, full grainaries to feed her armies, but France and Belgium are also well provided for, and prepared for this war.
Germans are sure of winning the day against the Allied Powers. Having invaded Belgium and partly France, her Emperor says that it is only a matter of time to accomplish the entire subjugation of France, Belgium and the other Allied Powers. Let us see, it that happens, look out for the United States, and South America. But that will not happen. That would be setting back the hand of the time clock of progress and universal freedom of humanity. The Socialists of all countries will smite and drag to the ground the Crown Heads of Europe. The German Emperor’s arrogance ought to be checked. He is of the opinion that his army is invincible and that he can conquer the world, being well prepared in money and victuals.
These are very dull days for me. I feel lonesome. There is nothing in store for me. Still, I am in splendid health. My left leg is not any better. I may remain crippled the rest of my career. I read the first part of the Declaration of Independence this morning and read law all day. Also added by 2 figures a while only. My mind soon gets tired of studying now.
Saturday, August 18, 1914
The Pope died day before yesterday-at home. The Germans and the Belgians are still fighting, also the French, against the Germans, especially in Alsace and Loraine, and the Russians are fighting against the Austrians on the frontiers of the two countries. The English troops have landed on the Continent and are on their way to Belgium to form a junction with the French and Belgian troops there. The trouble with the present European War is that if Germany wins, she will be arrogant, and, inflated by her victories, and watch; the first movement after she has dominated France and Belgium will be an attempt to the dismemberment of those two countries and the establishment of a kingdom for both countries. Then she will test the efficacy of the Monroe Doctrine by invading South America, involving the United States into a sanguinary war of defense against that power. Germany believes now, that she can subjugate the entire Universe.
The question now, which is presented us for solution, is; Can our Country, with the present insufficiency of her naval armament, keep Germany off with her superior navy. Can our Government maintain the Monroe Doctrine on the Western Continent, especially in South America, where there is already a large preponderance of influence, by virtue of the large German settlements there?
Monday, August 31, 1914
The latest War news is that the Germans are gradually pushing the Allies towards Paris, France, and that the Russians are pushing the Germans and Austrians in Eastern Germany.
Monday, December 7, 1914
January 22, 1916
I am a true Republican in principles. That is, I am in favor of Republican forms of government. I say that, when a person is born a Republican, he is a Democrat in principles, as the two terms are synonymous. Sovereignty of the people is what these two terms mean. I am looking ahead to the time when all the universe will be Republican. The outcome of the great European War now going on will be the establishment of Republican forms of Government where the dynasties now exist. The sovereignty of the people is what the world is now tending to, not the sovereignty of the monarchs.
January 23, 1916
February 10, 1916
Whilst on my last trip at Bayou DuLarge, Gabriel, my boy, proposed a trip to Lost Island. I was not much taken with the idea, but still, I agreed to go along with the party, which were to go on the venture; so, we all got ready. Mr. Louis Frederick, agreeing to go along if I went. One early morning we embarked on the gasoline boat which was to convey us to Bayou DuLarge, and there, to use the gasoline boat of Augustin Billot, and proceed to Lost Island, from this place. Our trip there was interesting in many ways, for we had to cross the Lac Merchant and go through the pass, which connects it to the outside portion of the Gulf of Mexico, lying between this place and Lost Island, 12 miles out and directly South. We passed through the places laid aside by the State for oyster beds and we saw the place where Bayou DuLarge flows out and meets the waters of the Gulf. We made a stop at a stone, at the angle formed by Bayou DuLarge and the pass from Lac Merchant, and we went on our left as we proceeded outside towards Lost Island. The coast, all along the left of us, and about three miles off, was dotted with trapper’s camps. The backcountry away from thence was a waste of marsh reeds, in all probability with a watery foundation. The probability id, that there was a low ridge of land on the near portion of the bay, formed by the opening of wide expanse into the Gulf of Mexico. Our boat glided splendidly, plowing the water of brine and leaving a long shaft of churned, salty water in it’s wake. The chuck, chuck, chuck of the escape of the gasoline gas, and the merry making of our passengers helped to make the time less tedious. Once in a while we would see a school of porpoises disporting themselves, not far from our boat. A black cloud appeared on the horizon, which we were thus traveling towards Lost Island, and to make sure of not being exposed to the chops of the sea, which were apt to follow the wind, which, in all cases, precede a summer shower. We made for a cove, which was formed by an indentation on the left of the coast, and here sat idly at anchor, inside this inlet. We awaited the result of what appeared to be a summer shower. We were not long awaiting the prelude, as, all at once, big drops of rain commenced falling, and following this, a shower. We happened to enter a flat bottomed bay, protected from the outside, which was the open Gulf, by a strip of land, upon which was a growth of tall sea weed marsh, the long length of the sea weed affording us a protection against the wind from the Gulf. By actual test, it was found that there were only about two feet of water with the bottom studded with the finest quality of salty oysters.
The young men forming part of our company jumped into the water and, with their hands, filled our skiff several times with oysters and, after they had exhausted the supply of oysters, they quit gathering them and took a good swim in the little bay. The water, by the by, happened to be of a warm temperature.
I now resume the publication of the Lost Island trip of two days and two nights there. The supply of oysters we got here was well tucked in the inside of our boats cabin, and with these, we proceeded on our course towards Lost Island. I will say that the oysters we fished from that bay were the biggest and saltiest that I ever ate. The first intimation I had of Lost Island was the sight of tall masts South of us, but way off. At first, they were scarcely discernable, but, after getting nearer to the island, they became more and more developed, and finally, we saw the body of two gasoline boats at anchor in Lost Island Bayou.
As we neared, I could form a conception of the extent and the conformation of this island. It is a very low and flat island, on which seaweed have grown. After landing, we could, with our own eyes, judge this body of land twelve miles off the bosom of the Gulf of Mexico. The two gasoline boats anchored in the bayou happened to belong the brothers Chiasson, of Morgan City, who carry on the fish commerce.
Major A. B. Fleury must have been a young man when he migrated to Texas from New York City. He often told me that he had first located at Matagorda, Texas, and, that there, he had opened a tobacco store, and, that the Mexicans would come to that place with pack mules and trade with him, but, finally, when the Texan Revolution broke out, the Mexicans ransacked his store and that he had to quit store keeping. He told me that all the Fleury’s were lawyers, and that they resided at a place called Jamaica, on Long Island Sound. I have often thought he was related to the Fleury’s of Jefferson Parish, near New Orleans. In fact, I saw a signboard in New Orleans with the name of John Fleury, and I am sure that this is a close relative of Major A. B. Fleury of Texas.
Many are the sad wants attached to the Lost Island. Here August 10, 1856, the storm commenced blowing, on a Sunday morning, and for three days the occupants of the island battled with the elements. There were erected here stately buildings, and all that riches could bestow were lavishly poured here. This was the place for the frivolous and the gay. Balls were frequent. On the very same night that the weather became threatening there was a ball. All along the beach on the South about 50 feet from the edge of the Gulf water there are two rows of dunes formed, I suppose, by the high tides or storm. It is a perfect barrier here about ten feet high and, all along the beach they are visible. There are a great variety of shells on the edge of the water and also in the interior of the island.
Speaking about politicians, I would state that Ernest Montagne has changed his allegiance from, first, the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, to the Democratic Party. He is now, March 29,1916, a rabid Democrat, dyed-in-the-wool, for the time being. I remember we held a meeting the evening before the elections, in one of my rooms. Ernest Montagne, Jules Melebeck and Leo Landry were present. I called the meeting to order and told those who were present, the object of the meeting. This meeting was almost altogether composed of colored voters. In order to harmonize the matter, I proposed to them that half should sacrifice their votes and vote the Democratic ticket and half the Republican ticket. Ernest Montagne proposed that the Republican votes of the 3rd Ward be given solid for Minos T. Gordy, who was running for Judge of the District Court, but the colored voters turned that down, also, as a Democratic candidate. They were indignant that their manhood should be thus tampered with. They answered me that they would do anything for me but change their ticket, that, as a body, they were Republicans, and, that they were determined to cast a Republican vote. I asked them to divide their suffrage, half Democrat and half Republican. They turned that down also.
Those were stirring days. They were bent on getting me out of office. I voted against Minos T. Gordy the next day. The Negroes were not allowed to vote, and they have never voted since. Jim Williams was a candidate for Sheriff. He would have gotten the solid Negro vote. Gabriel, my son, was anxious to escort the Negro voters to the pole. So was Jimmy Williams, but I advised them to not try the experiment, as Gov. Foster, who was the Democratic Candidate, had sent Grandville Shaw, whose son, John Shaw, was a candidate against me for Justice of the Peace. A number of rifles and ammunition for some to shoot down any Negro who attempted to vote. This squad of men appointed by Grandville Shaw, was put under the command of Desplanet Lige, and they were in the upper second story of the Courthouse, in the room facing the West. I saw them myself. I was told that Minos T. Gordy sat on the steps leading to the second story, or the Courtroom, with a rifle across his knees, defying any Negro to come to vote, by his attitude.
I will not forget the myriads of mosquitoes that made life intolerable outside of our bars, after night had set in, and these we had to tuck in well under our mattress to keep this pest out. We lived high whilst there, having fresh fish every meal, and good wine. We also had a supply of fresh water. Intermixed with the coarse sand of the island, there are an inexhaustible number of shells of all shapes and colors. We saw but very few birds. A few trees without limbs were found on the beach. I surmised that these were trees from the coast of Mexico, driven here by storms.
This island was once the summer resort of some of the wealthy families of Louisiana. It was also the rendezvous of the professional gamblers of our state. The 10th of August 1856, a storm entirely submerged the island, carrying death in its wake. Nearly 400 persons perished there. Many were carried 12 miles inland and deposited on sea marshes of Terrebonne Parish. Many were never found.
March 31, 1916
One moonshine night at about 11 o’clock Negroes held a prayer meeting at their Church in Abbeville, and they were returning home when they met Martial Duhon and his company at a place called Lampman Lane. The Negroes, getting scared from the appearance of these mounted regulators, retreated back to town and the news of the appearance of these night marauders spread like wildfire in town. Immediately, Alphonse LeBlanc, who was Sheriff, and Minos Landry, who was District Attorney, hastened toward Lampman Lane, where they came upon the company and put them under arrest and took the lead back to town, with men in tow. Arriving at the corner of the lane and a gap in the Cherokee hedge on the North side of the road. A gun, from the Western hedge, was fired and two of the horsemen fell, one dead, the other in dying condition. At the firing, Gordy called out to the gunman to not fire again, that he and Alphonse had charge of the men. The person who fired at them answered “All right” and not more firing was done. Newt Jones, whom the regulators were aiming to whip that night, was charged with killing the two boys who were killed. After being put through the formalities of a trial, was sentenced to the State Penitentiary for 11 years, upon circumstantial evidence.
May 11, 1916
Note: pages 164 & 165 missing.
July 17, 1917
He was my first cousin, uncle Victor LaBauve being his father. There was not a lazy bone in that boy, fear was an unknown quantity in him. He was always ready to do his part in everything. I knew the boy well, for we split boards together in the Fausse Pointe swamps on Bayou Crocodile that empties into Lake Rond. For nearly two month we were encamped near that Bayou. I was then 15 years old and Gustave was about two years older than myself. The Company must have been the center Company of the Regiment, as it was entrusted with the Regimental Colors. The regiment got to the rail fence, anyhow.
All at once the Battery which had been pouring grape shot and canisters into the ranks of the 18th Regiment, ceased firing, and the whole Battery, with it’s support of Infantry, were captured, about 5,000 men in all. To accomplish this, Gen. Dick Taylor had sacrificed nearly one whole Regiment. Gustave LaBauve was every inch a man. To prove his sense of honor, it is only necessary to relate about his furlough at his home at Fausse Pointe. He was on furlough home at the time the Yankees went up the (Bayou) Teche to the Red River. His wife and wife’s relatives begged him to remain home while his company would be exposed to the enemies on the battlefield. So, eluding the yankee army by a flanking movement, he left his home and arrived at the Headquarters just in time to enter into action.
July 23, 1917
July 5, 1917
The war was brought on by the German submarines sinking diverse boats belonging to the United States, in violation of the most sacred rules of war. Now the war has come down to the struggle between Democracy and Autocracy. Our liberties are at stake. We are preparing to fight the battles of freedom of oppression. We are to free the whole Universe or become a colony of Germany.
Brazil and Argentine Republics do not seem to realize the danger which encompasses them. Germany seems to have hypnotized them entirely. They are on the fence, when, in order to maintain their sovereignty, they should hence embark into the worldwide war. They are apparently under the German spell. Germany has a strong colony in Brazil and naturally, a strong influence is brought to bear upon the general government of those two Republics. The pressure is so great that they are afraid of acting in the present emergency.
The United States is bound to win the present war. The world cannot return to ancient feudalism, that epoch is played out entirely and Democracy and progress must go on, hand in hand, reigning by Devine right. The sovereign people will no more be enticed by such fraud. There was a time when such doctrines were swallowed by the common people, but that time is no more. We are fighting today to dethrone the Kaiser of Germany and to enfranchise the German people and to make the whole world Democratic and sovereign.
July 25, 1917
I will never forget my trip from Texas to Louisiana, near the fall of the year 1879. Dr. Kuykendall, of Wharton County, got ready to move a drove of mixed cattle consisting of long horn Texas steers, cows and their calves, young beeves and heifers. An overland trip, with a drove of cattle, offer a great inducement to a person anxious to see the great panorama of nature unfold before his eyes. At last we started on our trip, spending the first night on Blue Creek, a stream that emptied into the Colorado River. It would not be out of reason to say we camped on the side of that creek till nighttime. At night, all of us hands congregated into a shanty about ten yards off, with the advanced notion to spend the night in slumber, but somehow or the other, it was to have been otherwise, for, as soon as we had comfortably steeled for a good nights sleep, a swarm of fleas attacked us, making the night all but agreeable. Early that night a September storm sprang up and a deluge of water fell from the clouds. All night long it poured down. By next morning, the creek had overflowed and spread out of its bank, making it a roaring flood. Everything that could float was carried off down the stream, old tubs, and even a 5- gallon pot was carried down the rushing stream. Our men, myself included, took refuge on a neighbor’s house gallery, whilst the storm was raging, for the floor of the outhouse was under water and we had been, perforce, constrained to leave our quarters.
The weather having cleared off, we made a start with our drove of cattle and slept at Willow Bar, on the Colorado River. The next morning we crossed some timbered land and debouched into a lane traversing a large cotton farm. Here I saw my first and last stampede of a drove of horned cattle. The lane happened to be flanked on each side with a rail fence and the largest steers of our drove were, as a matter of course, always the lead ones. I remember well one of the front steers running his horn under the top rail of the left side of the fence, jerked it up and it fell amongst the drove of cattle and immediately they commenced piling up on one another and turning back upon us who were behind the drove. All the hands, except Dr. Kuykendall and myself, left ahead of the running cattle, which were making for the timber. We ought to have followed the hands back towards the timber, but no. The doctor and myself stood on the road, one on each side, and we would scare the cattle, as they would pass us on their way back.
The other hands had more experience that myself and, in order to keep clear of those long horned Texas steers, they kept loping in front of the stampeding drove, keeping at a respectable distance ahead of the fleeing drove. Dr. Kuykendall, who was the only interested party of the bunch, as the stock were his, asked me to take a stand with him and keep back as many head of cattle as possible. I made the stand of one side of the lane, whilst he took the other side, as his vantage ground. There we were, hitting the noses of the big steers, the horned and the muley cows, and the calves, as they came to striking distance. By thus exerting ourselves with our hats on each side of our steeds, we finally made the drove halt in front of us.
I have often thought since then of the imminent danger in which I had placed myself, by so attempting to obstruct the passage of long horned cattle, on each side of me.
Finally, after a heap of about five feet of cattle had formed a sort of breastwork in front of us, we stood, aghast, looking at the pile of stock, heaped up in front of us. Finally that pile began to loosen up, and, one by one, the old cows would leave the group, and walk off, leaving uncovered the top of the bunch, when another and then another pick itself up, shake off the dust accumulated on them and walk off as leisurely as the first one had done.
Our point of destination was Bayard’s, below New Iberia, Louisiana, the time of the years, about the middle of August. I often tremble when thinking of this episode, how near death I had been, in front of long horned beasts, which might have unsaddled me, and thrown me amongst the stampeding stock, to be trodden to death under the hoof of the fleeing cattle, but fortunately, nothing unusual happened, all remained quiet after the halting of the drove.
As the pile of cattle in our front diminished gradually, we saw the extent of the injury wrought on old cows and young calves, as they unrolled from their cramped positions, mashed by the weight of the heavier ones that helped to mash them down. One of the last creatures to rise was our old pack mule, which appeared to be in a pitiable predicament after her experience of being mashed down by several hundredweight of pressure.
Dr. Kuykendall, owner of the drove, concluded to leave her here, in charge of some Negroes who had come out, at sight of the drove. There was a Negro School, in full blast, on the plantation, a white man being the teacher. From the noise that reached our ears, we surmised that the pedagogue was teaching some unruly urchin to obey the rules of the school, that pick-a-ninny had a very strong voice, judging from the distance that separated us from the schoolhouse. Once in a while we could distinctly hear the howls as they administered to the recalcitrant scholar. One of our men made the remark that he had a mind to go forth and administer to the worthy pedagogue a good thrashing, as this teacher was said to be a northerner, or a “Yankee” teacher. But, however, we were saved the trouble of interference, as we would not have allowed the school to be tampered with should it be “white or colored”. Thus, we were satisfied that nothing could happen to mar our peregrination on our way to New Iberia, Louisiana. We got to Debotaud’s, finally, and stayed there one night. The next night we camped near Beaumont, Texas, within a few miles of town, which, was a small place.
It was cold and chilly that night. We realized that winter was near at hand. The next day we traversed the piney woods stretch, between the Neches and the Sabine Rivers, and the second day we were in Louisiana. In about one week hence, we could expect to be in New Iberia, our point of destination. We arrived at Iberia in due time and there I left Dr. Kuykendall and the drove, to go to Fausse Pointe, where my uncle, Gilbert Hebert, resided. There I found the family all alive, and, to my surprise, I met Isidor, my older brother, whom my mother had given up for dead. He was there, at uncle Hebert’s, well and alive.
Abbeville, January 1, 1918
The mule rabbit of Western and Central Texas has a particular way of abiding on the prairie roads, between the Navidad and West Carancahua Rivers. I have often seen them. No dog can catch them on the run. We often would sic the dogs after them, but they would outdistance the dogs, running along the road. The horned toad is another animal found in Central and Western Texas. There are also found the tarantula, the scorpion and the centipede. Texas abounds with wild turkeys and prairie chickens.
Whilst I am at it, I may as well write about a turkey hunt I had in company with Fred Armstrong, in Loma Creek woods. Fred Armstrong had come for the purpose of having that hunt. It was in the dead of winter and all the trees were bare of leaves. The denuded branches were a good roost for wild turkeys. As we glided through the woods, it was in the dead of night, we stopped under a large post oak and Fred pointed to a dry limb, where stood a turkey, asking me whether I could distinguish it. I answered “No”. He took deliberate aim and let loose, and a big, fat turkey fell down from the tree. Fred made me notice that dry stuff from the limb occupied by the turkey had fallen to the ground. At the firing of his rifle, a large gang of turkeys from the surrounding trees commenced flying off.
January 4, 1918
I was reading today that the Country is getting short of corn. A great deal of our corn crop is expected to spoil before it can be divided amongst the Allied Forces in France. The European War is getting to be a matter of serious import. Many of our boys are at the different camps of instruction and will be sent off to France to fight the Central Army.
This is the anniversary of the birthday of Washington, but little attention was paid to the celebration of the occasion. The only noticeable feature, which distinguished today from other ordinary days was, that the banks and offices of public officials were closed. I am very glad to be on the road to recovery from my ailment.
March 18, 1918
Sunday, March 24, 1918
Thursday, April 11, 1918
Monday, April 22, 1918
October 4, 1918
October 16, 1918
To counteract the good news from the war center, there is an epidemic of Spanish Influenza, a disease which is often fatal.
President Wilson has laid down 14 conditions to be accepted by the Central Powers, before peace can be obtained. No peace can obtain before those 14 conditions are fulfilled. In the first place, all territories now occupied by the Central Powers must be evacuated. France and Belgium are to be indemnified for their loss during the War, Alsace and Loraine are to be returned to France, etc., etc.
The Allied Army and the Americans are now driving back the Germans. I am looking for an invasion of Germany by the Allied Army.
October 17, 1918
I cannot understand how the Americans and the Allied Powers are to obtain a durable peace without dictating same, under the walls of Berlin, and I am firmly of the opinion that our Army means to do so. As far as concerns the Kaiser, he must abdicate before any treaty of peace can be dreamt of. I am of the opinion that the Army of the Allied Powers, and the Americans, are preparing to invade Germany. Theodore Roosevelt believes that our Army will invade Germany and he does not think that anything short of that ought to be done. But, let us see, will the Kaiser agree to the loss of his crown? Oh, no! He will, along with his generals, hold out as long as possible.
November 4, 1918
November 11, 1918
Saturday, November 30, 1918
January 1, 1920
January 24, 1920
January 30, 1920
Wednesday, February 4, 1920
February 6, 1920
April 13, 1920
FINAL ENTRY IN GILBERT’S JOURNAL, UNDATED
Gabriel is to do the necessary repairs to the house.
Gilbert LaBauve is to share equally in the garden produce. Gabriel’s
wife is asked to do the washing and ironing of Gilbert LaBauve’s
clothes. Gilbert LaBauve is to get his necessary milk and also his milk
and coffee for breakfast. He is also to have ???? ?????? every day,
once before noon and once after noon. Gilbert LaBauve’s will is in a
large envelope and can be easily found. In payment for the rent of his
house, Gilbert LaBauve and his wife agree to board him, thus said