Pronunciation: SASH-uh-ree Purchase Chachere book; details
Origin: French Creole
Arrived in Louisiana: by late 1780s
Pioneer Ancestor(s) in Louisiana: Louis-Dominique CHACHERE
Settled: Pointe Coupee; Atakapas District; Opelousas District, now St. Landry Parish
Acadian connection: BERNARD, DAVID, PITRE
Comments: Family legend says that Louis-Dominique CHACHERE, son of Louis CHACHERE and Marie DUMOND of Paris, "was a French immigrant, arriving [in Louisiana] in the late 1700s," that "there is also some question as to whether his original ... name was CHACHERE or some combination of his original name and his wife's name, to avoid detection by French authorities who may have been hunting him." Louis-Dominique married Catherine, daughter of Jean-Baptiste VAUCHERE, probably in the middle or late 1780s. Their son Louis III was born in January 1788 and baptized at Pointe Coupée the following June. The Pointe Coupée priest who recorded the boy's baptism noted that his parents were "of Post at Natchez," which was upriver from Pointe Coupée near the present-day city bearing the name. The couple soon moved across the Atchafalaya Basin to the Atakapas District, where daughters Louise-Émilie, born in February 1790, Louise or Lise, sometimes called Pouponne, in January 1792, and Marie-Mathilde, called Mathilde, in May 1792[sic], were baptized in July and August 1794 at the church in present-day St. Martinville.
In May 1796, a Spanish census taker counted Louis-Dominique and his family not in the Atakapas District but in the Church sub-district of the Opelousas District, north of Atakapas. According to the census report, Louis-Dominique and Catherine had one son, three daughters, and a female slave. That November, second son Julien-Lile, called Lile, was baptized at the Opelousas church.
Louis-Dominique and Catherine had more children in the early 1800s, all born in the Opelousas District, now St. Landry Parish: Félix-Veillon or Veillon-Félix, in 1801, Beaurepaire-Prosper, called Prosper, in 1803, Laure in March 1808, and Marguerite Hermance, called Hermance, in April 1811. They also had a son named Constant and daughters Hyacinthe and Irma, birth dates and baptisms unrecorded, though Irma could have been Laure.
Most of Louis-Dominique CHACHERE many children survived childhood, married, and created families of their own. Daughter Lise married fellow French Creole Jean Louis or Leon, called Leon, son of Antoine BOUTTE of Atakapas, at the Opelousas church in June 1809. Marie-Louise [sic, probably Louise-Émilie] married Barthélemy, son of Baltazar MARTEL of St.-Domingue, today's Haiti, at the Opelousas church in September 1809. Louis-Dominique's daughter Irma, age unrecorded, died at Opelousas in March 1810. Mathilde married Antoine, fils, another son of Antoine BOUTTE, at the Opelousas church in February 1818. Hyacinthe married cousin Jacques BACON, fils of Natchez at the Opelousas church in January 1821; Jacques, fils's mother was Marguerite VAUCHERE.
In December 1822, Louis Dominique's third son Veillon married Marie Eloise, sometimes called Eloise, daughter of French Creole Célestin LAVERGNE, at the Grand Coteau church, St. Landry Parish. Veillon's son Louis Félix Veillon was born near Grand Coteau in March 1824, Félix near Opelousas in February 1832, Théogene in December 1835, Octave in February 1845, Henri in August 1847, and Joseph in April 1855. They also had another son named Joseph, born probably in January 1834. Louis Dominique's second son Lile married Emerante, daughter of Acadians Jean-Baptiste DAVID and Scholastique SAVOIE, at the Opelousas church in January 1825; the priest who recorded the marriage noted that Lile's mother, Chaterine WOCHERES[sic], was deceased at the time of the wedding. Lile's son Julien had been born in St. Landry Parish in December 1824, twins Adolphe and Rodolphe were born in November 1825, Prosper le jeune in January 1836, and another son named Julien in January 1844. Louis Dominique's daughter Hermance married Dominique Contini SITTIG, fils from the Hague, Netherlands, at the Opelousas church in November 1827. Louis Dominique's third son, Prosper, who had settled at Prairie Bellevue, married Eugenie, sometimes called Alexandrine, another daughter of Célestin LAVERGNE, at the Grand Coteau church in December 1827. Their son Théodore was born in St. Landry Parish in July 1830, Prosper, fils in April 1835, Homer in July 1837, Alexandre in March 1842, Louis Amédée in September 1844, and Félix le jeune in May 1850. Louis Dominique's son Constant married Célestine, yet another daughter of Célestin LAVERGNE, at the Grand Coteau church in September 1831. Their son Théodose was born near Grand Coteau in September 1832, Valery near Opelousas in July 1834, Anatole in August 1846, and Louis was baptized at the Grand Coteau church in July 1856. Veillon's son Louis Veillon married Emma, daughter of Adelard BOUTTE, at the Opelousas church in April 1845; Emma's mother was a RICHARD. Prosper's son Théodore married Clementine or Ernestine, daughter of George BENGUEREL, at the Opelousas church in January 1855. Their son Robert was baptized at the Opelousas church at age 5 months in May 1856, Homer was born near Opelousas in May 1859, Gustave in October 1861, and Eugene in June 1864. Veillon's son Félix married Amelie, daughter of Pierre PITRE, at the Opelousas church in June 1855. Their son Pierre Numa was born near Opelousas in December 1855, and Félix Welly in June 1860. Constant's son Théodose married Pérrinse or Petrina, daughter of Jean Baptiste YOUNG, at the Opelousas church in August 1856. Their son Raymond was born near Opelousas in July 1857, Jackson Théodose in June 1859, and Théodore le jeune in July 1861. Lile's son Rodolphe married 20-year-old first cousin Louise Josephine Baptiste, daughter of his uncle Prosper CHACHERE, at the Opelousas church in May 1859. Their son Albert Lile was born near New Iberia, then part of St. Martin Parish, in May 1860, Adolphe Bennett near Opelousas in March 1862, and Théodore Mozart in September 1865. Lile died near New Iberia in February 1860; the New Iberia priest who recorded his burial said he was 70 years old, but he was in 60s. When the federal census taker in St. Landry Parish counted chattel property in the summer of 1860, Prosper's widow Eugenie and his son Théodore were holding slaves, so Prosper must have died by then. Veillon's son Joseph married Elodie, another daughter of Pierre PITRE, at the Opelousas church in September 1861. Veillon's son Félix died in St. Landry Parish in August 1862; he was only 30 years old. Prosper's son Anatole died at his home on Prairie Bellevue, St. Landry Parish, in January 1865; he was only 18 years old and never married. Joseph Chenier, son of Louis CHACHERE, a free man of color, died at age 5 months in December 1864. Prosper's son Ernest by Céleste CHENIER married Marie, daughter of Hippolyte CHENIER, at the Opelousas church in October 1865; the parish clerk who recorded the union in the civil record the day before the church wedding described both Ernest and Marie as free persons of color.
Meanwhile, the priest who recorded Hermance CHACHERE's marriage in November 1827 noted that not only the bride's mother but also her father, whom he called Louis Dominique, was deceased at the time of the marriage. So Louis Dominique, the progenitor of the CHACHERE's in Louisiana, died probably in 1827, age unrecorded. His succession record was filed in the courthouse at Opelousas in November 1827. Another succession record for Louis CHACHERE was filed at the Franklin courthouse, St. Mary Parish, in April 1830, so Louis-Dominique owned property in that parish as well. (It could not have been the succession record of Louis III, because he was recorded by the Opelousas priest in July 1831 as standing as godfather to brother Julien's daughter, Scholastique. Louis III probably never married.) Yet another estate record for Louis CHACHERE was filed at the Opelousas courthouse in December 1836.
Some of Louis Dominique CHACHERE's descendants were part of the "peculiar institution" of the antebellum South. In September 1850, the federal census taker in the Western District of Lafayette Parish counted a single slave--a 35-year-old black male--on Rodolphe CHACHERE's farm in that parish. In October 1850, the federal census taker in St. Landry Parish counted 13 slaves--6 males, 7 females, 11 blacks, 2 mulattoes, ranging in age from 65 to 1--on Lile CHACHERE's farm in the parish. That November, the same census taker counted 12 slaves--5 males, 7 females, all blacks, ages 70 to 1--on Veillon CHACHERE's farm, and 2 slaves--a 45-year-old black female, & a 20-year-old black female--on Constant CHACHERE's farm. A decade later, in 1860, CHACHEREs still held slaves. The federal census taker counted 13 slaves--8 males, 5 females, 9 blacks, 4 mulattoes, ages 50 to 2--on Veillon CHACHERE's farm. Next door, Celina CHACHERE held 2 slaves--a 40-year-old black male, and a 30-year-old black female. Constant CHACHERE held 3 slaves--2 54-year-old black males, and a 30-year-old black female--on his farm. Prosper CHACHERE's widow Eugenie held 4 slaves--a male and 3 females, all black, ages 50 to 8--on her farm. Next door, Prosper's son Théodore held 3 more slaves--a 50-year-old black female, and 2 black males, ages 9 and 4--on his farm. Telia CHACHERE owned a single slave--a 14-year-old black male.
A number of Louis Dominique CHACHERE's grandsons served Louisiana and the Southern Confederacy during the War Between the States. Veillon's sons Joseph and Théogene, and Prosper's son Alexandre served in Company F of the 8th Regiment Louisiana Infantry, a front-line unit raised in St. Landry Parish that fought with General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Alexandre, only 19 years old and single, enlisted in the company as a private when it was formed in June 1861 and was elected ordnance sergeant in April 1862. He was wounded in action at Sharpsburg, Maryland, on 17 September 1862 and fell into the hands of the enemy, recuperated from his wounds at federal hospitals in Maryland, stayed for a short time in the federal prisoner-of-war camps at Fort McHenry, Maryland, and Fort Monroe, Virginia, was exchanged at Aiken's Landing, Virginia, in November 1862, and went home on a 30-day sick furlough, and did not return to his unit. Cousin Théogene, age 26 and single, also enlisted in the company as a private in June 1861. Later that month, he was assigned as a hospital steward. The following October, the Confederate Secretary of War assigned him to the medical corps as an assistant surgeon, so he must have had medical training. Brother Joseph enlisted in the company as a private in March 1862; he was 28 years old and still single. His time in the company was cut short when he was accidentally run over by an ambulance at Malvern Hill, Virginia, on 1 July 1862, the day of the great battle there. After he recuperated from his injuries, he returned to Louisiana on a 30-day sick furlough and also remained at home. Their wounds and injuries did not end the military service of Alexandre and Joseph, however. They both enlisted in Company I of the 3rd (Harrison's) Regiment Louisiana Cavalry, a front-line unit from St. Mary Parish that saw service in Louisiana and Mississippi and in which cousins Rodolphe, son of Lile, and Théodose, son of Contant, also served. J. L. CHACHERE, whose relationship to the other members of the family cannot be determined by the area's church records, also served in Company I, 3rd (Harrison's) Regiment Cavalry. Prosper's son Théodore, Alexandre's older brother, served in Company I of the 26th Louisiana Regiment Infantry, a front-line unit raised in Lafourche Parish that fought gallantly at Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1862-63. Another unit that held a number of CHACHEREs was the 7th Regiment Louisiana Cavalry, created late in the War, in March 1864, not only to increase the number of cavalry units serving in Louisiana but also to roundup deserters and suppress Jayhawker bands on the South Louisiana prairies. Three CHACHEREs served in this regiment, all sons of Veillon: Louis Veillon as a sergeant in Company H, and Octave and Henri as privates in Company D. Although CHACHEREs were wounded in Confederate service, no descendant of Louis CHACHERE, fils died in the War.
Tony CHACHERE, a pharmaceutical salesman-turned insurance agent and direct descendant of Louis Dominique CHACHERE, published Cajun Country Cookbook in 1972. His company, Tony CHACHERE's Creole Foods, started that year in Opelousas to produce and distribute food products based on his style of cooking. The company is now run by CHACHERE's descendants, and its success has made this Cajun family a household name.
The family's name also is spelled Chache, Chacherez, Chassere, and Schasseret.
Sources: 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Slave Schedules, Lafayette & St. Landry parishes; 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Slave Schedules, St. Landry Parish; BRDR, 2:181; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Chachere's; Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, 1-A:174, 1-B:168-69, 2-A:213; 2-B:206-07, 2-C:168-70, 831, 3:137-38, 4:95, 5:114, 6:114-16, 7:86-87; Voorhies, J., Some Late Eighteenth Century Louisianians, 361; Hank Smith, descendant, source of family legend.
[See December 2013 blog for related article]