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!