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.

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3 thoughts on “Deposition of former Commandant Valentin Layssard

  1. The original tract of land where the “old burying ground” or “poste cimitiere” was located, was owned by Cecile Christophe who donated this tract to Robert Dupre on 31 October 1766, Dupre sold this land to Baptiste Fleau in 1771, who sold it in the same year to Ignace Mailloux.

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    • Do you have any references or documents with that information? We would really love to view it. We have had some issues researching the origination of the cemetery. We have lots of stories and inferences, but this deposition is the only document we have with a roundabout date. Would love to talk to you if you have some time. I just sent you an email.

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      • Yes, I have approximately 30,000 pages of documents relating to Colonial Poste du Rapide, the chain of title begins with Cecile Christophe in Archive Conveyance Record 538, Natchitoches Parish, Archive Conveyance Records, I began translating and publishing articles on Colonial Rapides nearly 25 years ago. I sent some material to Mrs. Bobby Hynson after Helen Sorrell had mentioned she had wanted to meet me. The tract of land was donated on 31 October 1766 to Robert Dupre, who then sold it to Baptiste Fleau who re-conveyed it to Ignace Mailloux, the original conveyances are on file in the Louisiana State Archives, transcripts of these two conveyances are found in the Louisiana State Land Office, Historical Documents, Miscellaneous Records, Southeastern District West of the Mississippi, Commission Reports Act of March 2, 1805, 171-172. Ignace Mailloux who was a blacksmith at Natchitoches but who had also lived at Rapides during the period, 1771-1774, continued to claim the land where the cemetery was in 1806 and 1813 as the attached surveys show but it continued to be used as a public burying ground. Edward Murphy’s survey clearly shows this. These surveys are located in the Louisiana State Land Office, Historical Records, Land Claims, District North of the Red River, 19, 14, 18-21. For a general history of the very earliest settlement of Rapides, see my article “A History of the Settlement of Colonial Rapides 1764-1773, Central Louisiana Genealogical Quarterly, 9, July 1995, 82-88, James Michael Hilton.

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