Louis Elton Chachere, Sr. (1912-1966) holding Brenda L. Chachere and his wife Artie L. Cole (1921-2009) holding Louis E. Chachere, Jr. (1947)
Louis E Chachere, Sr. is the son of Oscar Chachere (1889-1972) & Susie M. Berry (1892-1920), the grandson of Felix Chachere (1850-1913) & Sarah Hicks (1850-1910) & the great grandson of Beaurepaire Prosper Chachere (1803-1853) & Celeste Chenier (1814-1893).
Beaurepaire and Eugenie's first of eight children, Catherine E. Chachere was born in 1828. The rest of the 7 children were born about two plus years apart, the last, Louis Amedee born in 1844. During this time Beaurepaire P. Chachere was fathering children with Celeste Chenier, a woman described in Rev. Hebert's church and civil records as "f.g.o.c." At the time she married Pierre Rossillon, "f.m.o.c." in 1858, it was more than twenty years after the birth of her children fathered by Beaurepaire.
Rev. Hebert, the author of Southwest Louisiana Records provides abbreviations in his books. In those abbreviations he states that f.d.c.l. is femme de couleur libre; free woman of color (French) and h.d.c.l. stands for homme de couleur libre; free man of color (French). In FrenchQuarter.com, the term homme de couleur libre is defined as "free person of color", thus male or female.
References to f.m.o.c. or f.w.o.c. could not be found but believed to be the acronym for "free men of color" and "free woman of color", respectfully. Rev. Hebert stated that "...free women of color" was used in the antebellum, pre-American Civil War, baptismal record when a child's father was White. In his section on abbreviations, f.d.c.l. is free woman of color and g.d.c.l. is free people of color. He also stated that there was a lack of consistency in the use of terms to classify persons in the church records.
Some believe that Celeste Chenier was Beaurepaire Prosper Chachere's slave. Since her marriage record to Pierre Rossillon included "f.w.o.c." and if you follow the descriptions in Rev. Hebert's books, her mother was Colored, perhaps a slave, and her father Caucasian. Thus Celeste Chenier would have been classified Mulatto. This question may never be answered as weather her or her mother was the first offspring from parents of different races.
A White man could not during the antebellum period marry a woman of color even though he could acknowledge a child he fathered with a slave according to Rev. Hebert.
Beaurepaire apparently complied with these standards when Felix Chachere was baptized in 1850. The parents listed are "Baupain & Celeste Chesnier". It appears that both names have spelling errors and the record should read Beaurepaire and Celeste Chenier. The church marriage records for both Louis and Ernest report Beaurepaire Chachere and Celeste Chenier as their parents. Birth records were not located.
Second African American Chachere Family Line
Beaurepaire Chachere and Eugenie Lavergne's first child Catherine Eleonore Chachere married Barthelemy Amdee Martel, her 1st cousin, in 1850. This was his second marriage. They had two children; Emma and Eugenie born in 1854 and 1858 respectively. About 1838 Theophile Martel is born. His death record states his parents are B.A. Martel and Alice Lewelle. This record too includes errors and should read that Theophile's mother's was Clarisse Lemelle. The death record also reports his race as "COLORED", thus his mother is "COLORED". The 1870 Census makes clear that B.A. Martel is WHITE.
B.A. Martel was well known at the time. In June 1855, he founded the "Calcasieu Press" newspaper. He was a 15th Judicial District Judge of St. Landry Parish from 1857-64 and according to his obituary he was also a Louisiana State Senator. Judge Martel was a Union sympathizer during the Civil War and supported the Jayhawkers' activities. The Jayhawkers were bands of outlaws and deserters roaming the countryside. They skirmished with the Confederate Army and robbed the citizens of the area.
According to the 1870 Census, Theophile Martel, age 27, his wife Alexandrine Estorage, age 21, and their child are Mulatto race and both are living with B.A. Martel and his third wife Emma Boutte. Both Theophile and Alexandrine's occupation are "Domestic S". The 1870 Census Instructions stated that " the organization of domestic service has not proceeded so far in this country as to render it worthwhile to make distinctions in the character of work. Report all as "domestic servants."
In the 1880 Census Theophile listed his occupation as "retail grocer". In the 1870 Census, his neighbor was a White "grocer". Did Theophile work for his neighbor grocer? In this 1880 census, Theophile's family includes his wife and Mary and Albert, ages 10 and 9, respectively.
In 1897 Azelie Angeline Martel, the third child of Theophile and Alexandrine, married Albert Chachere, her second cousin once removed. Albert was the grandson of Beaurepaire P. Chachere and Celeste Chenier. Albert's father, Ernest Chenere, Sr. married Marie Chenier. The relationship between Marie Chenier and Celeste Chenier is not known. Both Albert and his wife "Alize" are Mulatto race in the Census record.
African American Chachere Descendants
Where are the descendants of Beaurepaire P. Chachere and Celeste Chenier and of B.A. Martel and Clarisse Lemelle? Some stayed around the Opelousas area and some moved to DeQuincy and Lake Charles area. Still others moved to California. Oscar Chachere, the son of Felix mentioned earlier, married Susie Milly Berry in Lake Charles in 1911. Their son, Louis Elton Chachere, Sr. and wife Artie Lenora Cole, who married in 1942, moved to California. Brenda Lucille Chachere, Louis and Artie's daughter born in 1945, is this author's fourth cousin twice removed.
Another Chachere article.
More information on the Chachere family may be found at www.FamilyAtLouisiana.com and may be purchased at lulu.com.