The Cheniere Ronquillo:
[NOTE]: The following are notes from a suit located in the 25th Judicial District Court in Point a la Hache, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. The following background and conclusions will help in understanding the purpose, nature and details of the suit:
A certain portion of land, located in Plaquemines Parish Louisiana was at one time owned by Juan Ronquillo and his wife Graciana SolÃs Ronquillo during the Spanish colonial period of Louisiana.
Francis Newman was an officer of the United States Army sent to Louisiana after the purchase in 1803. He married Juan and Graciana Ronquilloâ€™s daughter, Barbara Ronquillo. Barbara Ronquillo died, and Newman subsequently married her cousin, Maria Manuella SolÃs (daughter of Gracianaâ€™s brother, Josef SolÃs).
The same property was recognized as the Newman-Ronquillo claim by the United States.
The State of Louisiana ultimately may have obtained the land, about 1850, under a legislative act called the Swamp Act.
The suit contends the land should be returned to the heirs, direct and collateral, of Juan Ronquillo and Graciana SolÃs. (A direct heir is from parent to child, a collateral heir may include step children, siblings, nieces and nephews, etc.)
There may be substantial oil and/or gas royalties or assets associated with the land.
A judgement was made sometime between August 2000 and February 2001. The exact nature of the judgement was not clear. (there are multiple plaintiffs, cases, and causes.) There is currently an appeal.
There is, or may be, active or concluded cases in which major oil companies have agreed to substantial sums in settlement to the plaintiffâ€™s (heirs) in this case. One such may involve Shell Oil Company in a case done at Killeen, TX in which the settlement was rumored to be $110,000,000.00. This is also rumored to have been one of at least six such settlements. (None of this is confirmed as yet.)
An expert for the plaintiffs, Dr. William Reeves seems to indicate he has lost tract of the Francis Newman succession (and hence heirs) after Francis Newman died in 1851.
Francis Newman, pÃ¨re, the son-in-law of Juan Ronquillo and Gracianna SolÃs, married for a second time after his first wife, Barbara Ronquillo died. She was Manuella Marie SolÃs, daughter of Josep SolÃs and Antonia Perez SolÃs, and niece of Graciana SolÃs Ronquillo.
Francis Newman and Maria SolÃs Newman had a son, Francis Newman, fils. Francis Newman, fils married Ezilda M. Daubert and had several children before being killed at Vicksburg in 1863.
Holles (Hollis) L. Newman was among the children of Francis Newman, fils and Ezilda M. Daubert Newman. He married Eleanor Ford-Rely.
Among the children of Hollis L. Newman and Eleanor Ford-Rely Newman was Norita Marie Newman.
In 1909 Norita Marie Newman married AndrÃ© (Andrew) Alphonse Massicot. They had three daughters.
The daughters of Massicot and Newman were; Norita Massicot (Newbrough), Nolie Massicot (Carmouche) and Ynola Massicot (Gandolfo).
Norita Newman Massicot wrote two books, (fiction, based on fact), which relate to this lineage. They are â€œThe Refugees,â€ and â€œThe Beast, The Sheep and The Chariot.â€
The New Orleans Historic Collection has an original map done in 1803 which shows the â€œSolÃsâ€ plantation in Plaquemine Parish just below English Turn. (It also shows the Massicot plantation in St. Charles Parish just opposite Destrehan in approximately what is today Boutte.)
The heirs of Francis Newman do not, at this time, appear to be represented or party to, (except in the context the class action), the suit.
The word cheniere appears in neither the French nor American dictionary. In local, (Louisiana), usage it generally refers to a type of ridge formed by trees, with their roots and adhering soil forming a rise, in an otherwise flat, or depressed swamp. The word may derive from the French word, chenille, originally meaning a hairy caterpillar and now referring to a type of fabric, or yarn, used for trim, rugs, bedspreads, etc.
The name, Ronquillo, originally Spanish, is referred to at times in the suit in its French version as Ronquille.
Docket #43218: 25th Judicial District Court, (Plaquemines Parish), State of Louisiana, In the Matter of: Members Of A Class Of Descendants Of The Former Owners Of Cheniere Ronquillo, Deanna Angelo, et al v. State Of Louisiana, Plaquemines Parish Government, and The Plaquemines Parish School Board, filed 4/17/1998.
The above case is consolidated with dockets: # 43282, # 34205 and # 39249 of the 25th Judicial District Court. Also referenced are: # 31205, # 39749, # 43218, # 43282, # 43455, # 44374, # 44546, # 44578 and # 44579.
On 7/27/1998, Docket #43282; Estelle Hingle CossÃ©, et al v. the State of Louisiana, et al was consolidated with Docket #43218, Denna Angelo, et al v. the State of Louisiana, et al. Plaintiffâ€™s Memorandum In Support Of Motion For Class Certification. (Conrad Williams, attorney)
Case was appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on 3/7/2001. Judgment was on 2/14/2001.
A motion for a new trial was filed by Patricia Fayard Barras. It was denied.
In evidence to support plaintiffâ€™s claim was an affidavit by William D. Reeves, Ph.D. (history). This items notes among other things:
Section 19 of Township 21, South Range 26 East is the property in question.
The property in question was granted by the Kingdom of Spain to Bahemin in 17990 and subsequently sold to Don Juan Ronquillo prior to his death in February 1810.
There are seven successions filled fraudulently in East Caroll Parish, Louisiana [north east Louisiana, between Monroe, La and Vicksburg, Ms.], for the purpose of obtaining Certificates of Location and referencing an Act of the Louisiana Legislature in 1858.
Claim #421 was confirmed to Francis Newman [pÃ¨re] and Manual Ronquillo by the United States Congress subsequent to the Louisiana Purchase.
Francis Newman died in 1851, no succession was located. Manual Ronquillo died in 1853 and his succession was opened in Plaquemines Parish.
Other items referenced are:
The Louisiana Swamp Lands Act and the 16th Section of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty.
Claim #421 (referenced above) is said to set the location certain for the property in question.
â€œCheniere Ronquillo,â€ is designated in an official survey, T-21-S, R-26-E, done on 12/8/1842.
Suit claims and/or states:
Ronquillo heirs are to be the sole owners of the Cheniere Ronquillo to the exclusion of the Ronquillo vendees.
â€œAs was previously stated, the various plaintiff and class members consist of those individuals who are the direct and collateral descendants of Don Juan Ronquillo and his wife, Graciana SolÃs, the present lineage of which may number in the thousands.â€
The Louisiana legislature on 5/5/1998: Buras Levee District to the presumptive heirs of Don Juan Ronquillo and/or Graciana SolÃs.
An, â€œopportunity to opt-out was communicated to all class members,â€ as follows. By notice published in the Plaquemines Gazette on 8/22/00, 9/3/00 and 9/10/00, in the Watchman on 8/24/00, 8/31/00 and 9/7/00 and in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on 8/30/00, 9/9/00 and 9/17/00.
Exhibits in a locked file: (9/1/98): Act of Sale, Newman and Ronquillo to Major Humphrey; a True Copy of Notorial Acts and Conveyances. In possession of Michael X. St. Martin (a plaintiff)
The [Louisiana] Swamp Lands Act of 1850 appear to contain provisions for the funding of schools.
RE: Docket: #39749, the case against Louisiana Land and Exploration and Zeno, Inc., was dismissed with prejudice.
Conrad P. Williams, II Plaintiff: for Estelle Hingle CossÃ©, et al
P.O. Box 2017
Houma, La 70361-2017
John D. Rancs Plaintiff: for Heirs of Cheniere Ronquillo
400 Magazine St., #400
New Orleans, LA 70130
Cesar Vasquez Plaintiff: for Heirs of Cheniere Ronquillo
909 West Esplanade Ave. #202
Kenner, LA 70065
R. Ray Ordill, Jr. Plaintiff: for William Riser, Claudette Riser Oâ€™Neill
7240 Crowder Blvd. #300 and Patricia Riser Jones
New Orleans, LA 70127
William F. Wessel Plaintiff: heirs
727 Camp Street
New Orleans, La 70130
Michael L. Mullen Defendant: Assistant District Attorney
106 Avenue G Plaquemines Parish, LA
Belle Chasse, LA 70037
504-362-6690 ext. 1216
Robert H. Carpenter, Jr. Defendant: State of Louisiana
P.O. Box 94005 Department of Justice
301 Main Street, #600
Baton Rouge, LA 70801
Note: Plaquemines Parish, LA, Clerk of Court
Sandra M. Morel