Son of Pierre Valcour Savoy & Eugenie Ritter
Generation No. 11.VALENTIN4 SAVOY (PIERRE VALCOUR3, PIERRE PLACIDE2, PIERRE1)1,2 was born May 5, 1836 in Opel. Ch.: v. 4, p. 243, and died 1896 in Opel. Ct. Hse.: Succ. #5387. He married DENISE FRUGE4 1855 in Opel. Ct. Hse.: Mar. #1374. She was born April 25, 18385.
Notes for VALENTIN SAVOY:
SAVOIE, Valentin (Pierre Valcour & Eugenie RITTER) b. 5 May 1836 (Opel. Ch.: v. 4, p. 24)
SAVOIE, Valentin m. Denise FRUGE Succ.: 11 Feb. 1896 (Opel. Ct. Hse.: Succ. #5387)
Valentin Savoie 1836-1896
(author unknown. Obtained from Richard "Dick" LeDoux, son of Francis LeDoux and Pearl Theresa (Therese) LeDoux)
Born in Faiquitaique, the son of an Acadian father and Irish mother, Valentin began his business career at a very young age. Examining his business accounts ledger, which has survived intact, we quickly see as the information reveals itself from page to page that he was fluent in both French and English, knew how to keep accounting records and had a basic knowledge of math. This education in itself was a remarkable feat, since the nearest school was 20 miles away in Opelousas. How could these early settlers living in isolated regions 20 miles away from the nearest town possibly educate their children? Fortunately for Valentin his Irish mother had received a formal education and was probably the driving force behind her son's many successful business pursuits.
Valentin married Denise Fruge of St. Landry Parish. She was the daughter of a full blooded Cherokee mother [Eleonore Lasage who was married to Augustine Pierre Fruge] and was known to be a very moody person. Valentin and his wife built a home on a rise in Faiquitaique. My father (born 1904) [possibly referring to Joel Savoy] described the house as facing south with a large open porch on the front entering into a large sitting room with bedrooms on each side leading into a kitchen with a hexagon shaped ceiling. A large fireplace that was open on both sides served to heat both the sitting room and the kitchen. The entrance to the yard had two cypress trees which bent into each other. Their tops had been tied together as young trees, so they grew bent toward each other forming a sort of arched entrance.
In 1911 the house was dismantled by my grandfather [Louis Savoy] and reassembled about 150 feet west south west into the home in which we now live. Two of the buildings that Valentin built have survived. One of his carriage houses where he kept his buggy, and the other was the "bovette" (drinkery), which has been moved closer to our house and now serves as a guest house and office for Ann's [Ann Allen, Marc Savoy's wife] book publishing. It was always know as the "bouvette" because besides being Valentin's office and store, where he sold supplies, it also served whiskey. The area planters would conduct thier business and also meet together to have a few drinks. The original location of the "bouvette" was under the big live oak. It was later moved (1920) about 200 feet north and served as a rice storage building. The moving was accomplished by rolling it on logs with the help of all the mules on the farm. In 1992 it was moved to its present site and connected to the main house with a walkway.
All of the stories of Valentin had one thing in common; he was a very handsome, brusk, strong-willed man. One of his daughters, Catherine, fell in love with her first cousin Francois. The parents on both sides tried to break up the romance, but the young lovers eloped and were married without the consent of their parents. When the newly married couple returned for Valentin's blessings, he did not allow them to enter his home and told Catherine that she must never set foot in his house again. Catherine took this very hard and remained very troubled about it until a scheme dawned upon her about how she could mend her relationship with her father. Knowing it would be useless to confront him, she decided on another plan. Valentin had a spinning wheel factory on the farm that employed several laborers. The building housed the equipment and long work tables. Valentin was known to inspect the work daily and would walk in the aisles with his hand resting along the tables as he walked. Catherine placed herself on her knees with her head lowered in a narrow space between two adjoining tables, and as Valentin walked with his hands on the table, suddenly his hands touched a head of soft hair. Looking down, he saw his daughter, who quickly siad, "Father I have come for your forgiveness. Please"! The element of surprise for Valentin was so great that his love for his daughter got the best of him, and he blurted out very gruffly, "Get up. You're forgiven. Talk no more about this". Catherine knew her father well.
Valentin's main enterprise was a cotton gin, and his ledger of 1872 shows that he did the ginning for a lot of cotton customers. During the Civil War there was no market for cotton in the south, so he would buy up as much cotton as he could, gin it and stash it in a secret cache in the deep woods along Bayou Des Cannes. He had armed men guarding it day and night because the jay hawkers roaming the area would have burned it had they been able to find it. After the Civil War there was an insatiable demand in the north for cotton, and Valentin sold his product as a tremendous profit. He would take a steamer from
Washington, Louisiana and connect to another in the Mississippi River and eventually get to New Orleans, where he made the necessary arrangements for the sale of his cotton. His favorite hotel was the Montelone.
While aboard the steamship during one of his return voyages, he happened to meet up with an acquaintance of his who was from the same area. They had not seen each other for many years, so Valentin inquired about the man's past years. The man replied that he had just been released from the penitentiary and was returning to Faiquitaique to retrieve his gold bullion that he had stoled from a Union mule supply train. Supposedly he had ambushed and killed all the guards leading the mule train of gold bullion to supply the Union Army. He said that he had buried the gold along the "Coulee du bois blanc" and was on his way to retrieve it, but was first going to kill a "Mr. So and So", who had turned him in to the law. This "Mr. So and So" was also on board the same steamship within hearing distance of their discourse, and hearing this conversation, he pulled out his pistol and shot and killed his enemy, who fell dead at Valentin's feet.
On one of his voyages to New Orleans Valentin met Louis Ditirieu, a French soldier of fortune, who at one time had worked in North Africa as a hunter to supply meat to the railroad being built there by the French. He would tell stories about how in the late evening when the workers were at rest just before supper time, prides of lions would pass nearby the campsite dragging their prey back to their dens. There were so many lions in each pride that the workers were warned not to shoot at them or antagonize them in any way to draw attention to the men because the lions could have easily killed all the workers. Some of the
workers were in fact dragged out of thier tents at night, killed and eaten by the lions.
Louis Ditirieu made the "buvette" his home and on Sundays would always prepare an elegant dinner. He would set his table outside under the oak tree with a linen table cloth, line napkins, nice plates and always a carafe of wine that he brewed himself. He would dress in his best clothes and would always invite the yard man, an ex-slave, to have dinner with him. The yard man would accept because of the wine that was served but would refuse to heat because one of Louis Ditirieu's favorite meats was that of cat, and the yard man never knew for certain just what was being served on Sunday.
Louis Ditirieu eventually married a local woman and raised one daughter. His wife died soon after the birth of his daughter, and the girl was raised by Artemise, a sister of Valentin. When she became old enough, she began attending local house dances in the only nice dress she possessed, a long striped one. A man named Demar Courville would often attend the same dances and would dance with her and sing a song he had made up about the long stripe dress. The song eventually became known as "La Robe Barre'e", a song which today is found in the popular Cajun repertoire.
Valentin had inherited an enormous track of land that had supposedly been passed down from an inheritance that initially came from a land grant to his grandfather for his grandfather's active role in the American Revolution. The tract began near the present site of the St. Landry-Evangeline Parish line north of the Valentin homestead and south to the present site of the Baptist Academy. Valentin had two herds of cattle that roamed this open prairie. Each heard had a certain corral that he used to brand, feed and care for his stock.
One of the corrals was located near the present site of the Baptist Academy and the other was near the present site of the home of Alvin Rougeau. Since the prairie had very few inhabitants at the time and since each herd didn't need daily attendance, rustlers had free access to his cattle. They would kill, butcher and smoke the meat to cure it. So much of this was going on that the area where Greg's 6-10 is located smelled of the smoking process to cure the meat. The smoke was carried on the southwesterly breezes to this area so often that this region became known as TASSO.
The following profiles on Valentin and his brother, Francois are from a book by William Henry Perrin (Southwest Louisiana Biographical and Historical, 1891, The Gulf Publishing Company, New Orleans, Louisiana).
Valentin Savoy, Chataignier. Mr. Savoy is a native of St. Landry parish, born in 1836. He is the son of Valcour and Rugenia (Reyder) [Eugenie Ritter] Savoy, the former a native of St. Landry, and latter of Rapides parish. [Pierre] Valcour Savoy is a son of [Pierre] Placide Savoy, also a native of St. Landry.
The subject of our sketch received his education in the common schools of St. Landry parish. He began life at the age of twenty years, and was first engaged in the manufacture of spinning wheels, which he followed until 1868, when he began a mercantile business in Chataignier, at the same time operating plantation. This dual business he conducted successfully until 1879, since which time he has given his attention chiefly to his plantation. He is also operating in connection with this a large gin, and for a portion of the time a saw- mill. Mr. Savoy has a fine plantation of about six hundred acres, and cultivates rice and cotton principally.
He was married, in 1885, to Denise Fruge, a native of St. Landry parish, born in 1838, and of one of the oldest families of the parish. To them have been born eight children, six of whom are now living, viz: Agelas, Catherine, wife of Francois Savoy; Valentine, wife of Alexander Agelar [Aguillard]; Clara, wife of Numa Agelar [Aguillard]; Arras and Louis. Mr. Savoy has filled different positions of trust with efficiency. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity.
Francois Savoy, Church Point, was born December, 1839, in Acadia parish, Louisiana. He is the son of [Pierre] Valcour and Eugenie (Rider) [Ritter] Savoy, who were also natives of Louisiana. Valcour Savoy reared a family of seven children, four sons and three daughters. Valcour Savoy died in 1842 and Mrs. Savoy afterward married Thomas H. McGee. To them one child was born.
The subject of this sketch received a common school education in St. Landry, now Acadia, parish. He began life as a planter, and this, in connection with a mercantile business is flourishing. Mr. Savoy has on his plantation a gin which he operates. He also buys and sells cotton and rice in a considerable amount. Mr. Savoy has served as member of the police jury from his ward when Acadia was a portion of St. Landry parish. In politics he is a democrat, though he takes no active part in political affairs. He and his wife are catholics.
Notes for DENISE FRUGE:
FRUGE, Denise m. 10 Nov. 1855 Valantin Valcour SAVOIE (Opel. Ct. Hse.: Mar. #1374)
Children of VALENTIN SAVOY and DENISE FRUGE are:
i. VALENTIN5 SAVOY, JR.6, b. March 29, 1857, Opel. Ch.: v. 6, p. 417.
Notes for VALENTIN SAVOY, JR.:
SAVOIE, Valentin (Valentin & Denise FRUGE) b. 29 March 1857; bt. 3 April 1857 (Opel. Ch.: v. 6, p. 41)
ii. ANGELAS SAVOY, b. June 22, 1859, Opel. Ch.: v. 6, p. 91; d. December 18, 1936, Hardin Ct., TX.
iii. CLEOPHAS SAVOY8, b. October 28, 1861, Opel. Ch.: v. 6, p. 1489.
Notes for CLEOPHAS SAVOY:
SAVOIE, Cleopha (Valantin & Denise FRUGE) b. 28 Oct. 1861 at Faquetaigue (Opel. Ch.: v. 6, p. 148)
iv. CATHERINE SAVOY, b. March 23, 1864, Opel. Ch.: v. 6, p. 200.
v. VALENTINE SAVOIE, b. May 17, 1867, CP Ch.: v. 1, p. 103.
vi. CLARA SAVOIE, b. October 10, 1869, Eunice Ch.: v. 1, p. 4-A.
vii. ERASTE MAXIME SAVOY, b. February 1, 1872, Eunice Ch.: v. 1, p. 56.
viii. LOUIS SAVOY, b. October 20, 1881, Eunice Ch.: v. 1, p. 159-x.