Friday, September 23, 2011


Bolden Taylor was the ninth child of Harris and Susie Taylor. He was born on November 27, 1927. He shared the following commonalities with his father, Harris:

    *Both men were born on November 27.
    *Both men were wise gentle souls who treasured the importance of traditional family values.
    *Both men educated in Louisiana Public Schools.
    *Both men possessed a strong and solid work ethic.

During the era of De jure racial segregation of the Deep South, Harris Taylor maintained employment at the U.S. Veterans Hospital in New Orleans, LA. For over twenty years, Bolden worked at Alan Industries located in Detroit, MI. Fellow employees remember him as a fun loving guy who was always available for new challenges.

Bolden was electrified and excited by the events following WWII. The allies victory inspired him to join the U.S. military. At the age of 17.5 years, he embarked on a worldwide journey of diligence and adventure. It began at his cousin's home, Harold Bayonne, who resided in New Orleans, Louisiana. In this city, he enlisted in the Army. Throughout his two-year military career, he traveled throughout Europe. He was stationed in Landsburg, Germany. The different cultures and languages on the continent fascinated him. During his service to our nation, he received an Army of Occupation Medal and a WWII Victory Medal.

Upon returning to the states in 1947, he decided to settle in the "Big Easy." In this year, he married Grace Farris. Shortly afterward, they relocated to Detroit, MI. Four children were born to this union: Helen, Ellen, DeAnn  and Bolden, Jr.  Bolden, Jr. preceded him in death. Bolden succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 51. He was gone too soon.

Courtesy of Helen Hutchins

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Funeral Program for Augusta Hicks Bayonne

I decided to visit my mother on June 23rd before I left for Northern Ecuador. As I was leaving Spokane on a 6:30 AM flight, my husband received the news that Mom had passed in her sleep. I found out at the New Orleans International Airport when I called to tell my husband that I had arrived safely around 2 PM. Mom had Alzheimer's but I  didn't know that she was critically ill.

The funeral was on June 28th, the day I initially planned to leave for Ecuador. My flight was rescheduled and I was able to catch my group before they left Quito on June 23rd.

The church was packed. I did not know that Mom knew so many people. When I thought about it later, I realized that Mom knew a lot of people because she worked as a teacher, a social worker and volunteered at her church and in the community.

I noted in Mom's biography that she attended the canonization of Blessed Katherine Drexel in Rome in 2000. When she was a young student at St. Monica Catholic School, she had the opportunity to read her composition, "Building for Eternity," to Mother Drexel. The pastor of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church was not able to officiate at Mom's funeral because he was in Uganda. The substitute celebrant was Father John Cisewski, the principal of St. Katherine Catholic School! We could not have planned this because we did not know there was a St. Katherine Drexel Catholic School.

Gussie The Educator



Order of Service

Order of Service


Funeral Program - Pallbearers

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Eugene and Marcellite LeDoux

                                  Eugene LeDoux       Marcellite LeDoux

Jules Bayonne, my great-grandfather, was a witness at the wedding of Eugene LeDoux and Marcellite Marcellin on February 19, 1879 at St. Francis of Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Eugene was born in August 1855 and died on March 23, 1928. Marcellite was born in May 1856 and died January 11,1915.

Photos courtesy of Michelle LeDoux


                                                                      Onita & Gussie

Gussie's younger sister, Dr. Onita Estes Hicks, gave her a trip to Rome for the canonization of Blessed Katherine Drexel as early 80th birthday present. They are pictured here at Old Westbury College in New York where a bon voyage party was held in Mom's honor.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Aunt Eugenia, Gussie, Uncle Edward        Gussie  

Augusta Hicks Bayonne, also known as Gussie, was born in Fullerton, Louisiana to Nace and Willie Estes Hicks. The oldest daughter of an oldest daughter, Gussie has six sisters and one brother, named in order of birth: Wilma, Marion, Gladys, Nace, Jr., Robertine, Onita and Elois. Gussie is my mother.

Gussie was about four or five when she visited her grandparents in Bayou Maringuoin, Louisiana and was photographed with her Aunt Eugenia and Uncle Edward.

Augusta was enrolled as a first grade student in the newly constructed St. Monica Catholic Church School in 1926.  She was a good student and graduated in 1934. During the summer, she was a member of St. Monica's softball team.  Gussie enrolled in Xavier Prep in the fall of 1934 and joined the CYO basketball team and played for four years. She was on the Letter Squad and in two operettas.  Her favorite subject was Latin and she graduated in 1938. She met Harold, my father, her first and only boy friend, and together they enrolled in Xavier University.

Harold and Gussie finished their freshman year at Xavier and enrolled as sophomores when they dropped out of school for financial reasons. They were married in 1940 and had five children between 1941 and 1949, namely Patricia, Jacqueline, Annette, Carol, and Harold, Jr. The Bayonne family lived in Portsmouth, Virginia during WWII.  Dad was a welder and was hired to work on war-bombed ships at the Norfolk Shipyard. After the war, we moved back to New Orleans and lived with  Grandmother Carrie at 3212 Dixie Court. In 1950, we were evicted from Dixie Court to make room for a school. 

We had trouble finding a place to live. No one wanted to rent to a family with five young kids. With financial assistance from Grandmother Carrie, a lot was purchased in Jefferson Parish. The area was undeveloped - no water, gas or electricity. Trees had to be cut down before the house could be built. As soon as the house was framed, we moved in. Although we were living like pioneers, we were happy.

Mom was hired as a second grade teacher at Kenner Elementary in 1957. We all attended Kenner Elementary but only my brother, Juney, was currently a student. Gussie enrolled in Xavier University to work toward a degree in education. She also enrolled in a German class at  Southern University in New Orleans where I was a student. At the end of the semester, Mom,  my friends, Barbara and Maxine, and I were the only ones to earn the grade of B.

In 1967, Gussie was hired as an Outreach Worker for Jefferson Parish Community Action Program, President Johnson's War on Poverty Program.  She worked with the needy in every aspect of their lives. Gussie loved her job and was the first employee to received the  Employee of the Year Award.  In December 1985, she retired with 18 years of service. Dad had retired the year before due to poor health.

After retirement, Mom was very busy caring for Dad who died in 1994 and Big Mama, her mother, in 1998. She continue to do community work with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Program - 18 years on the job and 14 years after retirement.

In 2000 Gussie made her 80th birthday. It was a banner year and a year of first experiences: first passport, first airplane ride, first trip out of the country and first birthday party. Onita, a younger sister, gave her the gift of a lifetime; she took Mom to Rome for the canonization of Blessed Kathrine Drexel. Mom felt eternally blessed to attend the canonization of Mother Katherine Drexel because she met her when she was a student at St. Monica Catholic School. Gussie was chosen to read her composition, "Building for Eternity" to Mother Katherine, something that she will never forget.

Now, Mom is in the final stages of Alzheimer's; she is no longer able to care for herself and she has forgotten her sisters, her brother, my sister Jackie and me. She only knows the people she sees everyday- my sisters Annette and Carol, grandkids Carla, Cameron and Marcus. To paraphase Nancy Reagan whose husband, President Ronald Reagan died of Alzheimer's, It is a long, slow goodbye. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I am honored to received the One Lovely Blog Award from Mavis Jones of Georgia Black Crackers at :

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


 On November 10, 1838 64 slaves were sold by Rev.Thomas Mulledy of Georgetown, District of Columbia to Jesse Batey of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Among those slaves were my great-great-great grandparents, Nace, 50 years old and Biby Butler, 45 years and their children: infant, 1/12 years; Caroline,16 years; Basil, 14 years; Martha Anne , 12 years; Ann, 10 years; Gabe, 9 years; Biby, 8 years; Henry, 7 years; Tom, 5 years: Mary, 3 years. 

The Butler family were on St. Inigoes Plantation in St. Mary's County, Maryland and transported to Louisiana on Ship # 2.  Nace, Jr. ran away and did not board the ship.

We are a big Louisiana family of Roman Catholics. My paternal and maternal grandfathers were Catholic men married to Baptist women. Interfaith marriages where one spouse is Catholic, in accordance with Church doctrine, all of the children must be baptized Catholics. So everybody in my family began life as a Catholic and many members are still practicing Catholics. We attended Catholic schools and made our First Communions and Confirmations. In all of the years of our Catholic education, including cathecism and history classes, no one ever mentioned that Catholic priests were big time slaveholders. To say that our entire family was appalled to discover that our ancestors were enslaved by Jesuits of Maryland, would be an understatement.

The Butlers were discovered as we prepared family history presentations for the Hicks/Estes Family Reunion in 2004. My aunt, Dr. Onita Estes Hicks, and I co-chaired the reunion planning committee. Given the shortage of information and time, Judy Riffel, a professional genealogist, was hired to assist me in my research.

On March 19, 2004, I mailed ten documents to Ms. Riffel for examination. A notation of the birthplace of my maternal great-grandmother, Rachel Scott Hicks, on the 1910 U.S. Census schedule, led to the discovery of her mother, grandparents, aunts and uncles and their last slave owner. When Ms. Riffel noticed that Rachel's parents were from Maryland on the census, she decided to research the records of Jesse Batey of Terrebonne Parish who owned a plantation in Bayou Maringouin. She knew from prior research that in 1838 Batey had purchased a large number of slaves from Maryland.

The late Dr. Jesse Batey's inventory is dated 5 March 1851. Rachel is not listed in the inventory, but her mother and her mother's relatives are found among the slaves. The 1851 inventory lists the family as follows: 1. Nace Butler, negro man, aged sixty-five years appraised at three hundred dollars
2. Bebe, his wife, negro woman, aged about sixty, appraised at three hundred dollars
3. Martha, a negro woman, daughter of Babe(sic), aged twenty-two and her two children, Bridget, aged five years and Emeline, aged two years, appraised at twelve hundred dollars
4. Babe(sic), negro woman aged, twenty, appraised at twelve hundred dollars
5. Gave(sic), negro boy, aged eighteen years, appraised at eight hundred dollars
6. Henry, negro boy, aged seventeen years, appraised at eight hundred dollars
7. Tom, negro boy, aged sixteen years, appraised at eight hundred dollars
8. Mary, negro girl, aged 15 years, appraised at seven hundred dollars
9. John, negro boy, aged fourteen years, appraised at seven hundred dollars

Acknowledgements: Ms. Judy Riffel, Dr. Onita Estes-Hicks
For more information , Google Jesuit Plantation Project

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


The Society of Jesus owned six plantations in the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries which they relied on to support their ministries. The estates totaled 12,000 acres on four large properties in southern Prince Georges, Charles and St. Mary's counties and two smaller estates on Maryland's eastern shore. These estates were presented to them by the Lords Baltimore who were Catholic and used slaves to work them. The slaves were gifts to the Jesuits from wealthy Catholic familes to sustain the church.

The records of these plantations, Jesuit Plantation Project(JPP), form part of the archives of the Jesuits and have been converted to an electronic by students of American Studies department at Georgetown University. The archives contain personal papers like the diaries of Br. Mobberly who spent time on many of the plantations, Sale Contract of 272 Slaves in 1838, documents regarding plantation conditions, the welfare and religious needs of the slaves, resources and a JPP bibliography.

The sale of the slaves by the Jesuits had nothing to do with morals but was a decision based on economics. They feared the devaluation of their property, at a time in which the abolitionist movement was spreading. The economy was no longer driven by slave labor and the slaves were getting very costly to feed and clothed. They were also experiencing difficulty with governing the slaves and thought they could make more money by selling the slaves and employing tenant farmers.

My Butler family was among the 272 slaves sold downriver to Louisiana plantation owners. According to the JPP site, sixty-four negroes including the "Butler Breed" as they were designated on a Slave Transfer from St. Inagoes(sic) Plantation in St. Mary's County, were shipped to Louisiana on Ship #2.

Nace and Biby Butlers are my great-great-great grandparents.

Friday, April 15, 2011



An undivided half share of the plantation was sold by the heirs of Jesse Batey to Washington Barrow of Nashville,Tennessee and his son, John Barrow of East Baton Rouge Parish on 18 January 1853. The Butler family was listed among the slaves that were sold in that transaction: Mary,17, Rachel, her child and my great-grandmother, 3 months; Nace Butler, negro man, 67; Biby, his wife, 63 and her three children: Henry, 19, Thomas,17, and John,15; Martha Ann,24, and her three children were also noted on the inventory: Bridget, 7 and Emeline, 4, were described as mulattos. Josephine, 1, Martha's youngest child, was listed as black.

Mary, Martha Ann and their children were not grouped with Nace, Biby and their sons. Perhaps, the young Butler women and their children were living on their own in separate cabins.


On February 4, 1856, Washington Barrow sold the plantation to Patrick and Joseph B. Woolfolk. On this list, Rachel is listed as age 3, but her mother, Mary, is not listed.  However, Rachel's grandparents, Nace and Biby(sic) Butler are among the slaves on the plantation. Also listed were Rachel's uncles, Henry, Thomas and John Butler. Martha Ann, Rachel's aunt, and her three children, Bridget, Emiline and Joseph were there, too, but living apart from the other Butlers.


In the city of Washington, on 10 November 1839(sic 1838) Thomas Mulledy of Georgetown, District of Columbia, sold to Jesse Batey of Terebonne Parish, 64 negroes. Nace butler, 50, is positioned as the head of the folowing slaves, who appear to be his wife and their nine children: Beby(sic), 45, and her children: Caroline, 16; Basil, 14; Martha Anne, 12; Anne, 10; Gabe, 9; Beby, 8; Henry, 7; Tom, 15;Mary(Rachel's mother), 3.



Butler, Nace 75, Male, Black, Farm Laborer, Place of Birth: Maryland
Butler, Biby  80, Female, Black, Keeping House, Place of Birth: Maryland
Butler, Charles 9, Male, Black, Place of Birth: Louisiana

Nace and his wife, Biby,were quite long-lived. They were found on the 1870 census at age 75 and 80.(I think that the ages were reversed). Charles was probably a grandchild. It is thought that Nace and Biby Butler died between 1870 and 1878. No records of their deaths have been located, but Charles Butler was enumerated with Henry and Rachel Hicks, my great-grandparents, on the 1878 Iberville Parish census.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


My search for the name of the ship that transported my ancestors from Maryland to Louisiana who were enslaved by the Jesuits came to an end after four years of research.  Three ships were involved in transporting 272 slaves from plantations in Maryland and all were identified by numbers. Ship # 1, Ship # 2 and Ship #3. The Butlers were transported on Ship # 2.
On July 4, 2008, I visited USGENWEB, clicked on Louisiana and found the Inward Slave Manifests for the Port of New Orleans. There were several rolls of transcriptions and I searched Roll 12, 1837-1839; the Butlers were sold in 1838 so I figured they would be on Roll 12. I went to Edit, clicked on Find in Top Window and typed in the name Jesse Batey, the plantation owner who purchased the Butlers, but he was not found. Then I typed in my great-great-great grandfather's name, Nace, and the entire family appeared.  The details are as follows:

Entry # 304
Port : Alexandria
Master: John G. Doany
0/S Robert N. Windson
Date: 13 Nov 1838

Nace and Bibey(sic) Butler and their children were listed. The sex, age, height and color of their skin were also noted. The transcriber was Alma McClendon. Other manifests had been transcribed by Dee Parmer Woodtor, PhD, author of the book, Finding A Place Called Home.

The Butlers as listed:

Nace Butler, m, 50, 5'9" Black
Bibey Butler, f, 45, 5'3" Brown
Caroline Butler, f, 17, 5'7" Brown
Bazel Butler, m, 16, 6' Brown
Martha Ann, f, 15, 5'5" Brown
Ann Butler, f, 11, 4'6" Brown
Gaib, m, 10, 5'5" Brown
Bibey Ann, f, 9, 4'2" Brown
Henry, m, 7, 4'1" Brown
Tom, m, 5, 3'8" Brown
Mary, f, 11, 3'4" Brown
John, m, 2, 2'3" Brown

Note: Nace, Jr., 20, did not board the ship. He ran away.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Noel Fergus(sic) Theodore Bayonne was born on December 23, 1887 in New Roads, Louisiana to Jules and Victorine Randall Bayonne. Man, as we called my grandfather, hated his name and never used it. He was known as Theodore or Ferguson. We thought that his legal name was Theodore until I saw Noel in the Catholic Records of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. 

Not much is known about his early life but he is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal census with his parents and siblings in New Roads. On June 5, 1917 he registered for military service in New Orleans. At that time, he was single and working as a tile setter. Theodore served in WWI from July 15, 1918 to April 14, 1919 as a Private First Class. He received the WWI Victory medal and WWI Victory Button Bronze. He was honorably discharged at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

Theodore met Carrie Taylor and from this union a son, Harold, was born on July 29, 1920.  On April 25, 1942 he married Carrie and they remained married but separated until death. He was also the father of Annette Bayonne, Gladys Stewart, Herman, and Walter Bayonne. Walter is also known as Walter Bayard.

Theodore Ferguson Bayonne died on June 18, 1957 from a cerebral thrombosis and arteriosclerosis of the carotid artery. He is buried at Holt Cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Carrie and twin, Harris Taylor, were born in Wakefield, Louisiana to Nelson and Martha Morgan Taylor. She used to live with us in Metairie and would travel to New Orleans to attend church. Cawoo, a named given to her by me when I was a toddler, was the storyteller in our family. At night after a long day of working as a domestic, she would relax smoking her pipe and talking about "the good ol' days." Grandma would sit in a dark room, rocking back and forth, puffing on her pipe and regaling us with tales of St. Francisville, Bayou Sara and her birthplace,Wakefield.

Carrie Taylor gave birth to my father, Harold, on July 29, 1920 at home in New Orleans. On April 25, 1942 she married  Theodore Ferguson Bayonne and though separated for as long as I can remember, they remained married until death. Prior to Harold's birth, Carrie Taylor and Mack Johnson gave birth to Sullivan Johnson.

Cawoo was the kindest, the sweetest and most generous person that I ever met. My mother,Gussie, called her a saint.  She was an excellent cook and when she was not working she attended church.

On October 11, 1959, Carrie Taylor Bayonne suddenly passed in New Orleans at the home of her sister, Ida Taylor Walker of hypertensive cardiovascular disease. A wake was held on October 14 and the funeral on Thursday, October 15, 1959 at Pleasant Zion Baptist Church.  She was buried in St. Mary's Baptist Church cemetery in Wakefield, Louisiana.


On the left, a younger and thinner Harold posed at the corner bar in Metairie. On the right, Harold is with his older half-brother, Sullivan Johnson.  Sullivan's father is Mack Johnson


These photos were taken in December 1986 while my spouse and I were visiting. Harold and Gussie are eating crabs but I think there were some crawfish in the pot.



Friday, April 1, 2011


Harold Ferguson Bayonne, Sr., the only son of Carrie Taylor and Theodore Ferguson Bayonne, was born at home in New Orleans at 2000 Delechaise St. on July 29, 1920.  He also lived on Amelia St and at 3212 Dixie Court during his teen years.

"Happy," a nickname given to him by his mother, attended Thomy Lafon  and J.W. Hoffman Elementary Schools and McDonough 35 High School. As a teenager, he shined shoes and delivered medicine for K& B Drug Store.  Harold attended Xavier University but dropped out in his sophomore year due to financial difficulties.

Harold F. Bayonne married Augusta "Gussie" Hicks on November 19, 1940 and together they had five children: Patricia, Jacqueline, Annette, Carol and Harold, Jr. Harold worked as a deliveryman and enrolled in classes at night to become a welder. When WWII began, he was a certified welder and was offered and accepted a job at the Norfolk Shipyard in Virginia. Harold rented a duplex in Portsmouth, Virginia and Gussie and children joined him when Jackie was five weeks old. Gladys, Gussie's sister, came along to help with the children. They returned to New Orleans in 1945 and Harold joined them when the war ended.  He began working with Gussie's father, Nace, as an apprentice carpenter.  

The Bayonnes lived with  Harold's mother in the early 1950's until  Dixie Court was demolished to make room for a school.  The family stayed briefly with the Hicks at 3305 Third Street and in  one large room on Prieur Street which was owned by one of  Harold's friends. With financial assistance from his mother, Harold purchased a lot in Jefferson Parish in an undeveloped area with no electricity or water. Trees had to be cut before Harold and friends could began building the house. As soon as it was framed and the weather stripping was put on, the Bayonnes moved in. It was years before the house was completely finished and even longer before water, gas and electricity were installed.  Although living like pioneers, the family was very happy.

Dad enjoyed crabbing and crawfishing. He is known for his spicy seafood boils which was so hot that lips would swell. The seafood boils contained a lot of cayenne, so much that the house would reek for hours after cooking. We cried and sneezed but it did not stop us from eating!  Eventually we got relief when the seafood boils were cooked outside. Harold loved to hunt and he had a great sense of humor. One time in order to get Mom to cook a muskrat in her pot, he told her it was a prarie squirrel.  When he wasn't fishing or hunting, he read Western novels.  Harold loved to watch Mardi Gras Indians and party with his favorite sister-in-law, Wilma, who he called Bill. He was a master gardner who planted jalapeno and green peppers, corn, okra, tomatoes and chayote squash.

After the family moved to Jefferson Parish, Harold developed asthma which is believed to be the results of working around asbestos during the WWII.  He suffered upper respiratory problem due to collapsed lungs caused by an auto accident.  In the early 1980s he developed diabetes. Harold was chronically ill about 10 years before he passed on August 4, 1994 from congested heart failure.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Willie Estes Hicks was born in Langsdale, Mississippi on December 13, 1899 to Augustus Estes and Lula Jones Estes. She met Christ early in life and remained a faithful Christian from her baptism at the age of fourteen through her long, remarkable life. Faith and family were the cornerstones of her existence.

The eldest of four children, she was proceded in death by her siblings, Robert Lee Estes, Eugenia Watkins and Edward Estes. Willie graduated from Mathersville High School, attended Waynesboro College and taught grade school before marriage.  On June 3, 1920, she married Nace Hicks, Sr. , who departed this life on February 21, 1950.

When the Hicks family moved to New Orleans in 1925, Mrs. Hicks placed her membership in New Mount Era Baptist Curch, pastored by the late Rev. Joseph Benton. She served as president of the Usher Board and held many other leadership positions in New Mount Era during her twenty-one year tenure there. As a member of the Evergreen Baptist Church, she was president of #2 Deaconess Board for five years. She joined the Little St. John Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Joseph Noflin and became president of the #2 Deaconess Board. Sister Hicks received her missionary license while the late Rev. Hillard Harrison was pastor of Little St. John. Under her ministry, she conducted hospital visits to the sick and organized a free lunch program for the neighborhood poor. She was appointed Mother of the Church during the stewardship of Rev. Peter Arkangel and for years served as president of the Prayer Band. Rev. Emmitt B. Watson, who became pastor of Little St. John in 1991, held Mother Hicks in high esteemed and appreciated her many contributions to his ministry. The Church celebrated her ninety-ninth birthday on December 13th. Her favorite song was Satisfied in Jesus; Psalm 23 was especially meaningful to her. Alert and involved, she remained active in church and family affairs until the onset of a stroke on the morning of December 24th. The matriarch passed away on Monday, December 28th with five generations of her family, her pastor and deacon and family friends keeping loving vigil at Memorial Medical Center.

The cherished head of a six generation family, Mother Hicks is survived by a large circle of devoted family members, which includes seven daughters: Augusta Bayonne, Wilma Hicks, Marion Vaughn, Gladys Butler, Robertine Charles, Dr. Onita Estes-Hicks and Elois Brown. She is also survived by her only son, Nace Hicks, Jr.

Willie Estes Hicks is my maternal grandmother.

Obituary written by Dr. Onita Este-Hicks

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Inhabitants in Ward 4, in the Parish of Iberville, Louisiana, enumerated on the 9 day of July, 1870
Post Office Bayou Goula.

Henry Hicks was first noted in the 1870 census in Iberville Parish, Louisiana. It is the first census conducted after the Civil war and the first to enumerate former slaves with the rest of the population. It is assumed that Henry was a slave since no records of him were found prior to 1870. 

James Henry Hicks, also known as Henry Hicks, was born around 1850 to Beverly and Jane Hicks. Born in Virginia, it is not known why and when Henry arrived in Louisiana. In 1870, Henry was residing in Bayou Goula in a household with two farm laborers, Thomson Sambo from Mississippi and Bill Blackburn from Virginia. He was said to be single, 24 years old and a laborer. The community was comprised of farm workers and women who were "keeping house."

Henry was not a single man for long. On June 22, 1872, James Henry Hicks and Rachel Scott( daughter of James Scott and Mary Butler) were married at St. Joseph in Baton Rouge. The Hicks children, all born in Louisiana, are: John, born abt 1871; Beverly, born abt 1872; Henry, born about 1874; Nace (my grandfather) born abt 1875; Agnes, born 1 March 1876 at West Oak Plantation; Emma, born abt 1877; Mary, born 20 May 1855; Williams, born 8 January 1887.

Although Henry was identified as a farmer in 1880, it was not until 1889 that he became a landowner. On January 25, 1889, Henry purchased a parcel of land from Louisiana and Henry Slack on the east bank of Bayou Maringouin. It contained approximately 24 acres. On January 8, 1898, Henry purchased another parcel of land from Andrew H. Gay on the west bank of Bayou Maringouin. This parcel contained a superficial area of 69 plus acres and designated on a map of West Oaks Plantation as Lot 20. Henry now owned part of the plantation where daughter Agnes was born and baptized.

Henry and Rachel maintained their home farm until their deaths. Henry died of heart failure on October 5, 1917. When the census taker visited Rachel in 1920, she was 69 years old and still living on the farm. She was head of household and accompanied by four grandchildren and her niece. Rachel was not enumerated in the 1930 U.S.Census, although she died in 1936 on November 27, six years after the census was taken. The cause of death is not known but age is thought to be a contributing factor.

Henry and Rachel Hicks are my maternal great-grandparents.


As the yearlong celebration of the 200th-year anniversary of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase was winding down, the heirs of Jules and Victorine Bayonne held a reunion in 2003 to honor our grandfather who made a purchase of land that would enrich his descendants 136 years later.

The Bayonne Family reunion was the brainchild of my father's first cousin, Vera Colar Keene, granddaughter and administratrix for the Succession of Jules and Victorine Bayonne. Vera's idea was to bring the family together, many who have never met, to celebrate Jules and to provide an opportunity to share the family history. My cousin, Byron Coleman and I co-chaired the Reunion Planning Committee.

The first Bayonne Family reunion was held in New Orleans, Louisiana from July 18-20, 2003. It was attended by ninety-five family members, descendants of four of Jules and Victorine Bayonne's children. We came from eight states: California, Oregon, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina.

By the end of 1970s, Pointe Coupee Parish entered a period of prosperity with the discovery of oil and gas deposits beneath the property that Jules and and his partner, Francis, purchased in 1870 and the surrounding area. As a result of a successful suit against Chevron, USA in the 1980s and the opening of the succession of Jules and Victorine Bayonne, the Bayonne heirs were awarded royalties for their ownership interests. BP Production Company acquired the rights to drill wells from Chevron, USA many years ago. In the year 2011, we continue to reap the benefits of a purchase made by my great-grandfather in 1870.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Parlange Plantation

In 1870, Jules Bayonne, my great-grandfather, was employed as a domestic servant at the Parlange Plantation on the False River, New Roads, Louisiana. Parlange Plantation was built in 1754 by the Marquis Vincent de Ternant on land that was granted by the French crown and is still owned by his descendants today. The plantation became known as Parlange for Charles Parlange, a French nobleman, who married Marie Virginie Ternant, the second wife of Claude Vincent de Ternant. She married Charles Parlange in 1842 follwing the death of her husband Claude.

The Bayonne Family Reunion was held from August 1-3, 2008 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On Saturday, August 2nd, Ms. Lucy Parlange gave us a tour of the grounds and the Parlange Plantation.  She was a gracious hostess and  we appreciated  her hospitality to be able to walk in the footsteps our great-grandfather, Jules Bayonne. She suggested that we take a group picture which I will post in the next blog.



Jul, "les enfant de couleur libre," was born on September 17, 1844 to Fanny in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana according to the Baptismal Records of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. His father, a native of St. Domingo, Dominican Republic, was not listed on his baptismal record but was recorded on his marriage license as the late Theodore Bayonne.  He was baptized on March 16, 1845 at St.Francis of Pointe Coupee Catholic Church and sponsored by Joseph St. Cyr and Virginie Esnault. It was as if Jules had emerged to adulthood without a childhood because nothing has been found about his early life. No information about his parents has been found, whether he had siblings or not, his habits, how and where he lived as a child or his education. Jules learned to read and write, but how and when is a mystery. At the time of the 1870 census, Jules Bayon(sic), 25 years old and a child, Roland Neville, nine years old, were living in a cabin on the Parlange Plantation and working as domestic servants.

On July 26, 1870, forty days after the census was taken, Jules Bayonne and Francois Francis, a resident and farm laborer at the Parlange Plantation, purchased over 71 acres on the Grosse Tete for one thousand dollars. The property was bounded on the east by the Parlange Plantation and would undergo several sales and a division in years after the purchased. However, Jules managed to keep at least half of the acreage for the rest of his life. It is not know when he left the Parlange, but it happened sometime after 1870 and before 1880.

When the census taker visited John Randall's household in 1880 in Pointe Coupee Parish, he found Jules Bion(sic) residing there with Victorine, John's daughter, and their six-month old son, Willie. Jules was identified as son-in-law. They were working as farm laborers.

Jules Bayonne and Victorine Randall were married in 1878 and together they gave birth to ten childen. They are Jules Francois Ferdinand, Noel Fergus Theodore (my grandfather), Olympe Elizabeth, Marie Edwidge, Noermia Anita, Joseph Leo, Adele Juliene  Marie Florestine and Jean.

At the time of his burial,  Jules was 59 years old. The cause of death was not indicated nor is it known. He died intestate and was buried in St. Mary's Catholic Church Cemetery in New Roads, Louisiana.

Victorine remained in Pointe Coupee Parish and was enumerated as the head of household in the 1910 and 1920 census schedules. She was noted as a farmer on both schedules. She died on November 28, 1929 from uterus carcinoma. At the time of her death she was living in New Orleans. Victorine also died intestate.

Acknowledgement: Ms. Judy Riffel for birth record

Monday, March 28, 2011

My roots go back to Nigeria.

While I do not know personally if Nigeria would look like this, I rather imagine it might. Beautiful. Makes me proud.

African Roots is up and running!

I have spent a rainy day rearranging and revising my website to make it reflect what I want it to be. I want it to be a public forum where I can post information about MY ancestors.........and yours, too, if we share common ancestors. Hope you're enjoying seeing my "new" blog and while you're here why not sign on as a follower???? Come back often!

Friday, February 25, 2011

African Roots

Welcome to African Roots! This site was built by Patricia Bayonne-Johnson who is researching the surnames Bayonne, Randall, Hicks, Morgan,Briant, Weathers, Sterling/Stirling and Taylor of Louisiana; Estes and Jones of Mississippi; Butler of Maryland and Louisiana. Family members are invited to share their research, stories, traditions and images.