Historic Rapides Cemetery October Tour

Come hear 5 New and Unique Stories directly from the inhabitants of the Historic Rapides Cemetery in Pineville, LA.

october-2016-rapides-cemetery-tourPDF of Tour Flyer


You are invited….

 cemetery photo

The Historic Rapides Cemetery

Invites you to their

Photography Art Exhibit

Pineville Community Center

Sunday, June 28, 2015

3-5 P.M.

708 Main Street, Pineville, LA 71360

Bring your family and friends to view prize winning photographs of the historic Rapides Cemetery. Winners from the photo contest will be announced and prizes conferred at this time. A limited amount of souvenir full color photo books will also be available for purchase.  Also available for purchase will be a book with never before seen pictures and history of the cemetery as well as stories of some of the family buried there. The book is entitled Under the Shade of the Trees and is co-authored by our very own Bobby Downs Hynson and Fr. Chad Partain.

Come and get your copy hot off the press.  Enjoy some light refreshments as you peruse the beautiful photography by our very own local photographers.

Event Sponsored by:



Flyer Photography Exhibit 6-28-15

Upcoming June 28th Art Exhibit and Announcement of Photo Contest Winners


Historic Rapides Cemetery

Hello friends!

Coming up on June 28th is our Art Exhibit where will show off the prize winning photographs from our photography contest. We will celebrate local artists and give you some more history on the cemetery.

Also, available for purchase will be two books: 1) a photography book with all of the winning photographs, plus many more that will only be available for sale this day; 2) a history book written by Bobby Downs Hynson and Fr. Chad Partain detailing the history of the cemetery and the stories of some of the people buried there. The book is entitled: Under the Shade of the Trees. These books will be available for sale and autograph at the event.

We need your help!!!  At this time, we are asking local businesses to donate gift cards in $5, $10 or $20 denominations. We will accept cards for any local business in any amount. We are also in need of easels (borrowed or donated), and large mailing envelopes.  If you would like to help us out by donating any of the items listed, please contact us at:   HistoricRapidesCemetery@gmail.com  Any business who makes a donation, no matter how small or big, will be invited to the Art Exhibit on June 28th to set up a table advertising your business and to show your support of this community project.n  Please see the attached letter.

Thank you for your continued interest and help with our projects!!!

Andrea Waren

Member, HRCPS

Gift Card Donation letter

Spanish Land Claim of Bernard Martin Despallier

Land claim surveyed by Carlos Trudeau, Surveyor General of Louisiana.  The land sold by Bernard Martin Despallier to Adam Huffman and to Uriah Wiggins became the Towns of Alexandria and Pineville, respectively.  Document can be found in the Louisiana State Land Office – Land Grants Southwestern District, pgs. 316-318.  Top part of pg. 316 is in French. With the exception of one paragraph in English, the rest of the document is in Spanish.

Link: https://wwwslodms.doa.la.gov/WebForms/DocumentViewer.aspx?docId=511.00009&category=H#316

Trudeau’s Surveyor’s Certificate to Huffman and Wiggins has been translated in Elaine Brister’s Once Upon A River: A History of Pineville, LA.

Huffman-Wiggins Survey 1 Huffman-Wiggins Survey 2

January 8, 2015: Photos and Stories Day!!!

Photos and Stories Day will be held at the Westside Regional Library on 5416 Provine Place, Alexandria LA.  We will have a scanner and computers set up to collect the stories of your family members who were interred in the Historic Rapides Cemetery.

We are also looking for photos and information for the following persons. If you have any information, or know of descendants of the below, please feel free to forward this post to them.

Henrietta Wells Hooper

Joshua R. Mead (m. to Lucy W. Lewis, m. Mary Jane Mead)

John Brown 1788-1817, from Brown’s Bend. m. to Clara Layssard.

Michael Ryan 1812-1894. Born in Durrow, Kings County, Ireland. m. to Maria Crain Ryan. Daughter: Fannie (died at the convent Sacred Heart)

James B. Ashley, 1837-1886. m. Mattie Ashley Jack 1848-1925

Robert Alexander Crain, 1791-1852, involved in the “sandbar duel”.

Charles Augustine Thornton, 1813-1886.

Schwartzenburg family. Specifically, John Schwartzenburg, Sr. m. Margaretha Schnider.

James Madison Wells, 1808-1899. m. Mary Ann Scott Wells. Governor of Louisiana 1865-67 (would love to hear family stories). His father was Samuel Levi Wells.

Miriam Hymes of Jewish descent. Was killed in a steamboat accident. (Would love more information and a picture!!)


Historic Rapides Cemetery

Deposition of former Commandant Valentin Layssard

Deposition, April 1, 1819
Opelousas, Land Office MSS. –A.D.S.

State of Louisiana )
Parish of Rapide   )

        And the said Valentine Layssard deposeth & saith that during the time his father [Etienne Maraffret Layssard] was commandment of the Post of Rapide he commanded to the Alabama Village on the Bayou Boeuf so far as related to the Indians & that during that period no white inhabitants resided in that quarter & that He knows of no official acts establishing the limits of the Post at Rapide.

      He received a letter from the Governor Baron de Carondelet directing him to establish the Choctaw Indians along the Bayou Boeuf above the Alabama Village & to take them under his command.  He states that the commandants of the Post were in the habit of transacting the business of their offices at their respective houses.  He states that his father who was commandant of the Post came to it the same year that a Number of persons were shot at New Orleans by [Gov. Alejandro] O’Reilly & that at that time a Priest was established on the River opposite the Town of Alexandria by the name of Pierre Valentine, near to the burying Ground & that the place has been continued ever since as a burying Ground.  He also states that that place was always called & considered the situation of the Post of Rapide & that his father resided within a few hundred yards of the burying Ground during all the time he was Commandant except one year immediately before his death perhaps a little more than one year.  He states that while he was a commandant of the Post of Rapide he considered jurisdiction to extend to the Alabama Village & if application had been made to him he would have granted lands to that extent & that further he saith not.

                              Vtin Layssard

Sworn to & subscribed
before me this 1st April 1819
Th(omas) C Scott Par(ish) Judge

Transcribed from copy submitted by Mrs. E. A. Broders to the Louisiana Genealogical Register (March 1972, pg. 127) of the original typescript in LSU Lower Mississippi and Lower Valley Collections – Opelousas Land Office Papers, 1808-1849.

NOTE: Information in [ ] has been added.  A few spelling errors have been corrected.