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History of Vermilion Parish, La., Volume 2

History of Vermilion Parish, Louisiana
Volume 2.

View the index (450KB, Adobe PDF file)

History of Vermilion Parish, La., Volume 2, (2003) is still available.  It adds all new material to the 1983 book of the same name—it is not merely a revision of Volume 1.

Like Volume 1, Volume 2 contains many family stories submitted by people having roots in Vermilion Parish.  The remainder of the book is filled with different kinds of history, including local historical topics written by historians and scholars, histories of schools, churches, and organizations, and many old photographs.

A major part of the second volume is "History by Newspaper."  Vermilion Parish was fortunate to have had the Abbeville Meridional as its newspaper of record beginning in 1856.  Although only scattered issues exist between 1856 and 1877, from that point on almost all of the issues have been preserved on microfilm.  The Meridional is still thriving today, after almost a century and a half.  Interesting articles from the Meridional for the period 1877-1900 (translated from the French when necessary) have been extracted and categorized into subjects and names.  The reader will be able to learn what the Meridional had to say about people such as:

Granville B. Shaw, the sheriff who killed Paulin Fontelieu in a midnight duel.

Doctors Francis deVillier Young, Francis F. Young, and Robert J. Young, and their contributions to the development of Abbeville.

Lastie Broussard, the extremely popular clerk of court turned attorney.

James Henry Putnam, the owner of the huge Rose Hill sugar plantation.

Martin Bagley, the Irish owner of the Ramsey and Lyons sugar plantations, who was accused of murder.

Solomon Wise, the Russian Jew who immigrated to Abbeville and became a successful merchant, steamboat owner, and highly trusted and respected public servant.

Eli Wise, son of Solomon Wise, who took over his father's business and was probably the most popular and well-loved person in Abbeville in his time.

Gustave Godchaux, the successful merchant and jack of all trades, and his son Frank, who was destined to become the rice king of Louisiana.

Ophelias Bourque, the successful State Street merchant and real estate developer.

Eugene Isidore Addison, the editor and publisher of the Meridional for almost the entire period covered, a man of immense journalistic talent and wit.

W.  W. Edwards, the prestigious attorney, judge, musician, and astronomer, whose descendants are still prominent in the parish.

Clarence Edwards, son of W. W. Edwards, doctor and sometimes editor of the Meridional, a man of great talent, versatility and charm.

Judge William Kibbe, who fought under Gen. Sam Houston at San Jacinto, then moved to Perry's Bridge, where he notarized the deed from Joseph LeBlanc to Abbeville founder Father A. D. Megret, and became the first parish judge of Vermilion Parish.

William G. Kibbe, doctor, son of Judge William Kibbe, who fathered eight children; two of them, Mary Lou and Payne, both brilliant individuals who died young.

Ophelia Cook Jones, the Abbeville authoress who probably wrote the incomparable poem, "What My Lover Said," but was robbed of the credit after an ugly controversy.

And many, many others, as well as articles on education, fraternal organizations, businesses, obituaries, churches, marriages, births, entertainment, accidents, steamboats, the coming of the railroad, poetry, and other topics too numerous to mention.




Right on the money. Everyone did a spectacular job on this volume. It's hard to put down.

Tasha Leger


Yesterday afternoon THE BOOK arrived! Wow!

By 7:00 Bill had the audacity to ask about dinner. I directed him to the box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes, and continued reading.

I knew this volume was going to be larger than Volume I, but this is just remarkable. What a fantastic job by both of you. Can't begin to envision the time and effort put into this one.

Naturally, I particularly like all the Martin Bagley articles along with the Meridional excerpts. But there is so much in it and I've barely skimmed the surface. Especially enjoyed the editorial regarding kissing in the church door. The newspaper writings of the 1800's were so descriptive.

I've got lots more reading to do! Thanks so much.

  Lynn Bagley King


After "browsing" through volume II for the past hour and a half, Gary, it's clearly evident that your invaluable time and effort toward this publication has produced a holding that far exceeds any compilation that I could have imagined on Vermilion Parish. What a jewel to have in my personal library. I think it's worth noting that while we're celebrating this new volume, Gary and Ken are at work compiling more articles from the Meridional and categorizing them for reading and historical use. These efforts are a true measure of your appreciation of our parish history. We're lucky to have both of you working on this behalf.

Wishing you both a life that extends (at least) until the publication of volume III

Patricia Saltzman Heard


I received my book today, and it’s wonderful! Thank you and everyone who worked on it. Among other things, I found a write-up of my grandparents wedding (Damas J. & Olive M. Hebert).

Best wishes—Carol Noack


Bravo! Bravo!

Totally awesome.

What a work of love. Gary, you are truly inspirational, and have created your own monument to Ozymandias.

Such a concerted effort made by you and Ken to create this accomplishment.....

There must be an addictive ingredient in that Vermilion bayou water. Maybe, "Hadacol".

Dudley must have bottled whatever well water you two have imbibed.

Thanks for the generosity of valuable life-time dedicated by both of you to this undertaking.

  Michael F. Bradford


Below is my assessment of this volume. I believe that others will agree with me, not only about the book, but also about Gary Theall's involvement in its production.

Volume II of the History of Vermilion Parish is great, for want of a better word! Anyone who enjoys learning about our history will not go wanting for relevant reading material. This volume is well worth the money. It contains 620 pages, including the index. It has several divisions such as family histories, churches, organizations, topics in history, etc. A huge portion—more than 400 pages—
of the book is composed of alphabetized and chronologically arranged topics that Gary Theall transferred from newspapers—letter by letter, word by word—mainly from the Meridional. If someone would want to read about a particular individual, for example, Martin Bagley, one would locate Martin's name in this section of the book and then read most, if not all, articles on him as printed in the newspaper, in chronological order up to 1901. Gary's efforts, and this section of the book will make it unnecessary for others to search through all of the issues of the Meridional beginning in December 1877 until 1901 to find data on so many subjects. Additionally, Gary translated many news items that appeared in French, something I didn't do when I went through those same issues of the Meridional.

Gary Theall must be given most of the credit for the completion of, and design of the book. He entered all of the data on his computer, worked with the publishers, and used their program to put the book in order. At times he had to fight a glitch in their program that caused newly entered data to disappear if he didn't save it often enough. Thus, he'd have to reenter the information.

I am proud to have had a part in the publication of this book.

  Ken Dupuy.


Received Vol. 2 yesterday and am totally fascinated with it. Loved reading about my great-grandfather Lastie Broussard, my grandparent's wedding, and my father's birth announcement (I think page 249 under William Cade, last paragraph 11/19/1898). Did not know Grandfather Cade was such a scrapper, but that little tidbit about the guest Republican speaker was novel. Thanks to you and the entire committee that spent years compiling this glorious reference book. It's wonderful!

Kathryn Cade Hollinger