I just received the following email from Floyd Knott:
You may be of interest in an article I wrote for the Teche News about a home in Cecilia La. which was occupied by Lastrapes ( a Basque). It was part of a series of articles about the plantation. As a youngster, we purchased and still have old lumber from the old Lastrapes Lumber mills in Arnaudville.
The second owner of the Stephanie plantation in the Huron community of St. Martin Parish was Charles Henri Lastrapes, a friend of Martin Duralde. The Lastrapes genealogy dates back to 1600 in Peyrens, France. The Louisiana Lastrapes family descended from Jean Henri Lastrapes who was born in 1753 in the city of Castelenaudry in southern France, a city founded by the Romans. His wife Celeste Boisdore came to Louisiana from Mobile after the English defeated the French in Canada. Jean Henri purchased 400 acres in Washington, Louisiana, for their residence. The family members have remained owners of the property in St. Landry Parish ever since.
Charles Henri, the oldest son of Jean Henri, who was born in 1791 and died in 1852 was married to Marie Louise Catherine “Catiche” De Clouet. Marie Louise was the daughter of Chevalier Alexandre de Clouet who was the commandant and judge of both the Attakapas and Opelousas Posts.
Under the Lastrapes ownership, Charles Henri and later sons Charles Henri Jr. and Alfred Baltazar, with relatives of members of the family – the Declouet’s, the Delhomme’s, the Cretien’s, and the Fuselier’s, the plantation prospered and expanded to include most of the property between Cecilia and Arnaudville.
Charles Henri Lastrapes’ father in law, Alexandre Etienne DeClouet (1812-1890) was a sugar planter, Confederate Congressman and State Senator. His parents, Etienne Chevalier DeClouet and Aspasie Fusilier, both died in 1813, leaving Alexandre to be raised by their aunts, Mrs. Charles Lastrapes, Mrs. Chevalier Delhomme, and their grandmother Mrs. Fusilier. Alexandre's grandfather, Joseph Alexandre DeClouet, had been appointed his tutor but died in 1816. At that time Alexandre's maternal grandfather, Agricole Fusilier, became his tutor.
The plantation home was used as a hospital during the American Civil War. After the war the once prosperous Stephanie Plantation began to crumble. Charles Henri Sr. had died in 1852 and the plantation was then headed by Charles Jr., (married to Marie Odile Dusar Delacroix). Finding labor was difficult once slaves gained their freedom. A system of sharecropping was developed to replace the old system. .In addition to having a shortage of labor, several floods occurred and crops were damaged or ruined. To compound these obstacles, the price of sugar collapsed because of cheaper imports from the countries to the south. It was said by family members that the generous Lastrapes made many loans to family and friends, most of which were never repaid causing additional financial burdens on the Lastrapes.
Education for the children of the community was mostly through private tutors. One of the teachers at Stephanie Plantation was General Louis Hebert. Mrs. Andre Paul Lastrapes, Emelia Marie Dusuau ((married in 1879) is said to have provided free education to the children around 1893 in the St. Joseph Chapel and later at Cecilia High School.
Mrs. Charles Lastrapes Jr. is credited with the naming of the community of Cecilia. It is said that she was the first to deliver mail in the area. Being a devout Christian Mrs. Lastrapes selected the name in honor of Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music. The Old Latin name for Cecilia was Caecilia which meant “lily of heaven.” How appropriate!
Most farmers in the area used cypress lumber milled by the Lastrapes steam powered lumber mills. These steam powered lumber mills provided most of the rough cypress lumber used to build barns and houses during the 1900’s.
Of interest to tourists in St. Landry Parish is the "Seven Brothers Oak”. Thrilled with the birth of his seventh son in 1810, Jean Henri directed his workers to bring seven oak seedlings from the woods to be planted around the large one story Lastrapes home in Washington, Louisiana. Returning late in the afternoon, the workers placed the trees in a hastily dug hole in front of the home - to be replanted the next day. That date never came. The next morning the workers were in the fields at daylight and the chore seemed to have been forgotten. Five of the trees joined to form a single huge trunk and is quite an attraction.
In the 1890’s the plantation changes hands. The new owners were the Huron Planting Co. and Stephanie, also called the Lastrapes Plantation, and thereafter became was known as the Huron plantation. Comments about Les Vieux Temps articles are always appreciated. Please call 337-754-9980 or e-mail Floyd Knott at firstname.lastname@example.org
One web site says it is/was at 1862 Louisana Highway 347 south of Arnaudville, LA.
Robert Wilmot Williams
rwilmotw on Ancestry.com