VALLE, François, I, habitant, merchant, political leader in Upper Louisiana. Born, Beauport, Quebec, January 2, 1716; son of Charles La Vallée and Geneviève Marcou. Removed to Illinois country. Married, Kaskaskia, January 7, 1748, Marianne Billeron, daughter of Léonard Billeron, royal notary, and Maire-Claire Catoise. Children: Marie-Louise (b. ca. 1750), Charles (b. ca. 1752), Joseph (b. ca. 1756), François II (q.v.), Jean-Baptiste (q.v.), Marguerite (illegitimate). Removed to Ste. Geneviève, ca. 1754; captain of the militia and civil judge at Ste. Geneviève, ca. 1759-1783; one of wealthiest and most powerful men in Upper Louisiana. Died, September 29, 1783; interred Ste. Geneviève. C.J.E. Sources: Mary L. Dalton, "Notes on the Geneology of the Vallé Family," Missouri Historical Society Collections, II (1906); Carl J. Ekberg, Colonial Ste. Geneviève (1957).
VALLE, François, II, habitant, merchant, and political leader of Upper Louisiana. Born, 1758; son of François Vallé I (q.v.) and, Marianne Billeron. Married, Ste. Geneviève, January 20, 1777, Marie Carpentier, daughter of Henri Carpentier and Marie Aubuchon. Children: Marie-Françoise (b. 1778), François III (b. 1779), Henri (b. 1782), Antoine (b. 1783), Joseph (b. 1785), Julie (b. 1786), Céleste (b. 1789), Catherine (b. 1791), Emilie (b. 1793), Eulalie (b. 1796). Charles-François (b. 1799); Odile (b. 1801). Lieutenant in Ste. Geneviève militia during Anglo-Indian attack on St. Louis, 1780; friend and correspondent of Auguste Chouteau (q.v.). Captain of Ste. Geneviève District, 1794-1804; one of most influential men in Upper Louisiana. Died March 6, 1804; interred Ste. Geneviève. C.J.E. Sources: Mary L. Dalton, "Notes on the Geneology of the Vallé Family," Missouri Historical Society Collections, II (1906); Carl J. Ekberg, Colonial Ste. Geneviève (1985).
VALLE, Jean-Baptiste, habitant, merchant, and political leader in Ste. Geneviève. Born, Kaskaskia, Illinois Country, September 25, 1760; son of François Vallé I (q.v.) and Marianne Billeron September 25, 1760. Married, Prairie du Rocher, January 7, 1783, Marie-Jeanne Barbeau, daughter of Jean-Baptiste Barbeau, commandant of Prairie du Rocher, and Marie-Jeanne Legras. Children: Jean-Baptiste (b. 1783), François-Baptiste (b. 1785), Louis (b. 1789), Félix (b. 1800). Political collaborator with his brother François (q.v.) and one of the wealthiest men in Upper Louisiana; appointed, March 10, 1804, first American commandant of Ste. Geneviève District by Captain Amos Stoddard (q.v.). Died, August 3, 1849; interred Ste. Geneviève. C.J.E. Sources: Mary L. Dalton, "Notes on the Geneology of the Vallé Family," Missouri Historical Society Collections, II (1906); Carl J. Ekberg, Colonial Ste. Geneviève (1985).
VANDEGAER, John Baptiste, banker, businessman. Son of William H. and Mary Belle Buvens Vandegaer. Education: St. John the Baptist School, Many, La., St. Charles College, Grand Coteau, La., B. S., 1916. Married Johnnie Bell Paul, September 14, 1920. Member of the Sabine Watershed Association, Sabine River Authority; was instrumental in the founding of The Sabine Index, weekly newspaper in Many. Member, El Camino Real Association, 1940-1962; charter member of Sabine Parish Chamber of Commerce; charter member, Lions Club and Rotary Club; worked with the Boy Scouts, received Silver Beaver Award, 1957. Member of St. John's Catholic Church, Many, La.; Knights of Columbus, holding all offices in that organization. Had two business careers: 26 years in banking and 28 years in insurance. Veteran of World War I; member, Floyd Jordan Post 172, American Legion. Active in American Red Cross Association. Died, January 24, 1980; interred St. John Catholic Cemetery, Many. J.H.P. Sources: The Sabine Index, January 24, 1980; Centennial Edition, Sabine Index, September 6, 1979.
VARGAS, Francisco, sculptor. Born, Mexico City, September 1824 or 1825. Learned art of wax modeling from a priest, Puebla, Mexico. Came to United States, ca. 1870, by covered wagon; stopped at Galveston, Tex., New Orleans, La., New York, N. Y. Removed to New Orleans, 1875. Sculpted large works in plaster and clay, small figures and still lifes in wax, New Orleans, 1875-1915; also taught classes in wax modeling. Married three times, with six children who helped in production of wax and cloth figures of New Orleans characters. Children: Jesus (b. ca. 1849), Francisco, Jr. (b. ca. 1849-1858), Concepcion (b. 1858), by first wife; Adelina (b. ca. 1869), by second wife; Alta Gracia (b. 1876), Maria (b. 1879), by third wife, Guadaloupe. Exhibited at World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, New Orleans, 1884; Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, N. Y., 1901; Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, Mo., 1904. Died, New Orleans, November 30, 1915. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren carried on tradition of family waxworking business. R.M. Sources: The Historic New Orleans Collection, Encyclopaedia of New Orleans Artists, 1718-1918 (1987); obituary, New Orleans Daily Picayune, December 1, 1915; New Orleans Item, February 16, 1941; U. S. Census, 1880, roll 462; U. S. Census, 1900, roll 573; interview with August Alfaro, May 17, 1984.
VARLET, Dominique-Marie, missionary. Born, Paris, France, March 15, 1678. Education: Saint-Magloire Seminary. Ordained 1706; awarded doctorate that same year. Becoming acquainted with the Séminaire des Missions Etrangères, volunteered for the American missions. Arrived in Louisiana, June 6, 1713, and worked among the Indians. Accompanied Antoine Lamothe Cadillac (q.v.) to the Illinois country in 1715 and remained at the Tamaroa mission where he ministered to the Indians until March 1717. Went to Quebec where he received orders to return to France. Arrived in Paris, November 28, 1718, and learned he had been named auxiliary bishop of Babylon by a papal brief of September 17, 1718. Consecrated February 19,1719, succeeded Bishop Pidou de St. Olon shortly after, and left for his see March 18, 1719, via Holland. In Amsterdam, met exiled Jansenists and Dutch "Old Catholics". From Amsterdam went to Russia, then down the Volga to Astrakan. In Schamake, the first Persian city he reached, received a letter from the bishop of Ispahan suspending him from his functions because of his Jansenist ties. Returned to Amsterdam and petitioned Pope Innocent XIII in vain. 1724, he consecrated, against the orders of the college of cardinals, Corneille Steenoven, elected bishop of Utrecht by the city chapter. Remained in Holland in dire poverty. Died at Ryswick, near Utrecht, on April 17,1742, unreconciled with the Holy See. M.A. Source: Maximin Deloche, "Un Missionaire français en Amérique au XVIIIe siècle," Bulletin du Comité des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques. Section de Géographie, XLV (1930).
VAUDECHAMP, Jean-Joseph, portraitist. Born, Rambervillers, France, 1790; nephew of abbot of Lisle; studied in France under Anne Louis Girodet (1767-1824); exhibited portraits and historical paintings in the Paris salons frequently from 1817 until 1848; known to have had studio in Paris, 1831. Spent winters in New Orleans from 1831 through 1837, possibly through 1840s; painted many of Louisiana's most prominent citizens; among his famous Louisiana portraits: William C. C. Claiborne II, 1831; Jean-Bernard-Xavier de Marigny de Mande¬ville, 1833; Gen. Jean-Baptiste Plauché, 1836. P.O. Sources: Lynn Farwell, Jean Joseph Vaudechamp (1967); The Historic New Orleans Collection, Encyclopaedia of New Orleans Artists, 1718-1918 (1987).
VAUDREUIL DE CAVAGNIAL, Pierre de Rigaud, marquis de, governor. Born, Quebec, November 22, 1698; son of Philippe de Rigaud, marquis de Vaudreuil, governor-general of New France, and Louise-Elisabeth de Joybert de Soulanges et de Marson. At age 10, received a naval commission as ensign in Canada; promoted to rank of lieutenant, July 5, 1711, and given the colonial service rank of naval guard. Served as courier for his father, 1713. Promoted to rank of captain, ca. 1715. Participated in a military inspection of potential fort sites along Lake Ontario, 1721; obtained a discharge, 1727, in order to settle his late father's estate in France, but remained in Canada in order to participate in Constant Le Marchand de Lignery's lackluster punitive campaign against the Fox Indians. Returned to Quebec, 1728, and subsequently departed for France. Promoted to rank of aide-major, 1728; promoted again to rank of ship's lieutenant and awarded the Cross of St. Louis, 1730. Commissioned governor of Trois-Rivières, 1733. Obtained a discharge and went to France after his mother's death, 1740. While in France, named to succeed Bienville (q.v.) as governor of Louisiana, July 1, 1742. While preparing for voyage, met Jeanne-Charlotte de Fleury des Chambault, a widow 15 years his senior, but did not marry her until November 1746. No children. Arrived at New Orleans, May 10, 1743, and found the colony plagued by security problems. Problems compounded by onset of War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748). Louisiana's garrison inadequate for colonial defense and British again successful in enticing powerful chiefs upon which colony relied for protection. Efforts to bolster Franco-Indian alliances undermined by governor's conflict with Ordonnateur Sebastien-François-Ange Le Normant de Mézy (q.v.), who refused to supply Vaudreuil adequate amounts of Indian presents and trade goods. Vaudreuil nevertheless managed to solidify France's Indian alliances in Louisiana by putting a price on the principal Indian renegade, Choctaw chief Soulier Rouge, and by subsequently persuading the Choctaw to destroy an English trading expedition. Efforts rewarded with promotion to rank of naval captain. Granted (without ministerial approval) fur-trading monopoly in upper Mississippi to twenty Illinois traders, thereby setting off a heated jurisdictional dispute with the governor of New France. As a result, in 1749, the Ohio Valley, originally part of Louisiana, was placed under Canadian jurisdiction. In 1743, purchased large plantation on shore of Lake Pontchartain. With vested interest in improving colony's economy, encouraged production of indigo, then much in demand, and allowed smuggling with Louisiana's Spanish neighbors; policies were instrumental in bringing to Louisiana a modicum of prosperity in the mid-1740s. Despite unquestioned success as governor, recalled to France, June 8, 1752. Departed New Orleans, May 8, 1753, after familiarizing his successor, Louis Billouart de Kerlérec (q.v.) with the colony and its administration. Resided in Paris, late 1753-late 1754. Appointed governor-general of New France, January 1, 1755. Arrived at Quebec, May 3, 1755. As governor of New France, closed his eyes to the defalcation of government funds by Intendant Bigot; Bigot, in turn, provided Vaudreuil's military government full administrative and logistical support. Following the onset of Anglo-French hostilities in the mid-1750s, used a combination of French and Indian forces to disrupt the frontier settlements of the English seaboard colonies as a means of preventing the British from concentrating their forces for an attack on New France. Vaudreuil's strategy was crippled by growing discord between the governor and Louis-Joseph, marquis de Montcalm de Saint-Véran, commanding general of French troops in Canada. Dispute proved disastrous when British forces finally succeeded in laying siege to Quebec, and Montcalm launched an attack on James Wolfe's English army—with only one-third of his men and without consulting Vaudreuil—with disastrous results. Following the fall of Quebec on September 18, 1759, Vaudreuil vainly attempted to restore French control to the Canadian capital. Forced to surrender New France to British forces under Amherst at Montreal, September 8, 1760. Sailed for France aboard a British vessel, October 18, 1760. Upbraided by the French colonial ministry for capitulating at Montreal without attempting to engage Jeffrey Amherst's superior forces on the field of battle. In 1761 became, with Bigot, an official scapegoat for France's reverses in Canada. Imprisoned in the Bastille, March 30, 1762, but released on May 18, 1762. Exonerated by military tribunal, December 1763, and given both a pension and a military decoration. Spent rest of life in retirement. Died, Paris, August 4, 1778. C.A.B. Sources: William J. Eccles, "Pierre de Vaudreuil de Cavagnial, marquis de Vaudreuil," in Dictionnaire Biographique du Canada, IV; Guy Frégault, Le Grand Marquis: Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil et la Louisiane (1952).
VAUGINE, Etienne Martin de Nuisement de, soldier, pioneer. Born, De Joigny, France, July 5, 1724; son of Etienne Martin de Vaugine and Emeranthienne Hardouin. Educated in uncle's school at Sens. Entered French Army, July 15, 1742; named cadet en pied, October 22, 1744; commissioned lieutenant in the Royal Bavarian Regiment, April 15, 1745. Arrived New Orleans, 1751; assigned to Illinois country, 1752. Expedition to Illinois commanded by Benoist de Ste-Claire wintered at Arkansas Post. There, met Pélagie de Livilliers, married her there, January, 1753. Children: Françoise Pélagie, married Jacques François Esnoul de Livaudais; Madelaine Victoire, married Ignacio de Lino de Chalmette; Etienne, married Elisabeth Constance Darensbourg, granddaughter of the Chevalier Karl Friedrich Darensbourg (q.v.); François Charles, married Marie Félicité d'Hauterive; Mathurin; and Françoise Silésie, married Sébastien Levisite in France. Spent 1753-1754 in Illinois, during which time he wrote an account of the places along the Mississippi River he had visited. Returned to New Orleans, 1755, to find political climate changed. Returned to France, 1758. Back in Louisiana in 1763; granted 3,500 arpents on Bayou Teche near present-day New Iberia. Became indigo planter. During years of transition from French to Spanish control, Vaugine commanded one of four military companies. Not involved in 1768 revolt, but because of altercation with De Villemont was sent to Natchitoches as commandant. In 1771 moved to plantation in Teche country. Upon death of wife, 1772, removed to New Orleans. Named, 1778, major in command of New Orleans by Governor Gálvez (q.v.). Subsequently fought with Gálvez in West Florida campaigns. Thereafter named commandant and lieutenant governor at Natchitoches. Served in that capacity until 1786; then returned to France. Returned to Louisiana sometime before 1794. Death date unknown, but last will prepared September 24, 1794. M.M.C. & G.C.T.† Sources: Gervais Macaisne, "Un Jovien à la Louisiane au XVIIIe siècle," Bu., Soc. sciences, Yonne, t. 107 (1975); Gertrude C. Taylor, "Etienne de Vaugine: Solider, Planter, Trader," Attakapas Gazette, XV (1980).
VAVASSEUR, Charles Jefferson, businessman, politician. Born, St. James Parish, La., August 15, 1835; son of Amiee Blouin Vavasseur and Anne Lanoun. Tailor by profession. Married, May 4, 1864, Josephine Rochon of St. Martin Parish, daughter of Steril Rochon and Eliza Castille. Children; Marie Idea Chrétien (b. 1865); Marie Eliza Rosa Journet (b. 1866); Marie Aimée Oscalie Ashford (b. 1868); Joseph Abraham (b. 1871); Joseph Charles Latour (b. 1873); Joseph Walter (b. 1877); Marie May Landry (b. 1879); Joseph Victor (b. 1881); Joseph Edmond (b. 1883); Marie Mercedes Wiltz (b. 1886); Joseph Benjamin (b. 1888); Marie Hilda Barton Decuir (b. 1890); Marie Gladys Journet (b. 1894); 2 children died in infancy. Vavasseur was one of the founders of the True Friends Society of La Pointe and served as president for 33 years. State senator, 1872-1874. Member of the St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church. Died, February 12, 1910; interred St. Michael's Cemetery, St. Martinville. M.V.J. Sources: Family papers; Chronicles of the Sisters of Mercy in New Orleans; Donald Hébert, comp., Southwest Louisiana Records, 33 vols. (1974-1984).
VEDRINE, Jean-Baptiste de, soldier, pioneer. Born, France, 1712. Arrived in Louisiana ca. 1743 as an officer of marines. Served first in New Orleans and then in Illinois country. Married at Fort de Chartres, 1758, Elizabeth de Montcharvaux (b. 1744), daughter of François Tisserant de Montcharvaux, commandant of Fort de Chartres, and Agnes Chassin. Children: Marie-Jeanne, married Jean-Baptiste Richaume Soileau; Jean-Baptiste-Pierre, married Marie-Josephe Brignac; Agnès (Inès), married (1) Joseph-Barthélomé Rozat, married (2) Jean Voualier Ponsony; Perrine, married Charles Belaire Fontenot; Marie-Anne; Etienne, married Victoire Soileau; Eugénie. After French departure from Louisiana, settled in Grande Prairie area of Opelousas Post. Son, Pierre, received a grant of land in present-day Ville Platte area, ca. 1767. Among earliest settlers of the region. Died, Opelousas area, May 16, 1788. J.O.V. Source: Author's research.
VEEDER, Charles Hanson, founder of Minden, La. Born, Schenectady, N. Y., October 1, 1796; son of Johannes and Eva Toll Veeder. Served in War of 1812, New York Light Artillery. Married twice, second marriage probably in Louisiana. Several children, at least one son and daughter settled in California. Practiced law in Indiana, removed to Northwest Louisiana frontier, 1830. Purchased site of Minden, 1835. Laid out town and constructed first building, 1836, in effort to obtain Claiborne Parish seat of government. Failing that, Veeder sold lots to area settlers and the town quickly grew. Subject was town's first merchant and obtained both post office and school, the latter through state appropriation. Joined California gold rush, settled at Bakersfield, 1849. Practiced law there remainder of life. Died, 1871, same year Webster Parish created with seat of government at Minden. P.C.C. Source: Thomas Lorraine Campbell, "C. H. Veeder, Promoter: Founder of Minden, Louisiana," Newsletter, North Louisiana Historical Association, VII, No. 1 (October, 1966).
VERRET, J. Emile, businessman, politician. Born, Iberia Parish, La., 1886. Education: local schools; Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute (now University of Southwestern Louisiana), graduated 1905; Soulé Business College. Subsequently returned to New Iberia and opened general store. Independent insurance agent, 1928-1965. Married Katherine Markham. Active in Democratic party: elected to Iberia Parish School Board, 1912; president, Iberia Parish School Board, 1914-1943; lieutenant-governor of Louisiana, 1944-1948. Roman Catholic. Member: Knights of Columbus (Third Degree); president, Louisiana School Board Association; Elks Club; and Rotary Club of New Iberia. Died, New Iberia, February 9, 1965; interred St. Peter's Cemetery. C.A.B. Source: "Ex-Louisiana Lt. Gov. Dies in New Iberia," Lafayette Daily Advertiser, February 10, 1986.
VERRET, Nicolas, businessman, administrator. Born, 1725, son of Michel Joseph Verret and Marie Anne Bailiff, their only child. Reared in New Orleans. Married Marie Marguerite Cantrelle, daughter of Jacques Cantrelle (q.v.) and Marie-Marguerite Larmurian. Children: Marie (b. 1750), Nicolas (b. 1751), Jacques (b. 1752), Auguste (b. 1755), Margaret (b. 1757), Philippe (b. 1759), Louis (b. 1760). In 1765 was issued a patent to a concession of 20 arpents. More land was purchased in 1769. In 1766 headed a military company on the coast of Cabanocey. In 1769 appointed by Gov. Alejandro O'Reilly (q.v.) as commandant. Duties included preservation of the peace, examination of travelers' passports, assisting settlers in obtaining land grants, preventing smuggling, registering the sale of lands and slaves, acting as judge in minor cases and performing the duties of notary public. Died, St. James Parish, November 5, 1775. P.D.B. Sources: Estelle M. Fortier Cochran, Fortier Family and Allied Families (1963); Lillian C. Bourgeois, Cabanocey (1957); Donald J. Hebert, comp., South Louisiana Records, 12 vols. (1978-1985).
VIAL, Leon C., civic leader, politician. Born, Killona, St. Charles Parish, July 27, 1878; son of Louis A. Vial and Louise Bossier Vial. Education: local schools. Elected to the state legislature, 1904, elected parish assessor, 1908, and sheriff of St. Charles Parish in 1916, serving until his death. Delegate, Louisiana constitutional convention, 1913. Married (1) Irma Martin, 1920. Children: Inez Vial Tinney; Leon C. Vial, Jr.; Marguerite Vial Montz; Dolores Vial Davila; and James Vial. After death of first wife, married (2) Marie Keller. Children: Lester Vial and Charles Vial. Member of numerous religious civic, and political organizations. Died, February 5, 1939; interred Holy Rosary Church Cemetery, Taft, La. A.E.L. Source: obituary, New Orleans Item, February 7, 1939.
VIAVANT, George Louis, painter, naturalist. Born, New Orleans, 1872; son of Creole parents; father was a cotton broker. Studied Southern Art Union with Achille Perelli (ca. 1884-1893). Awarded blue ribbon for landscape, World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition. Married, ca. 1899, Sophronia _____, native of Louisiana. Children: Celise (b. ca. 1900), Jane (b. ca. 1902), Ruby, also a bird painter, (1904-1925), James (b. ca. 1907), George L., Jr. (b. ca. 1909), and (?). Moved from the city to the former family hunting preserve in Gentilly, 1899, where he continued to paint until at least 1921. Exhibited Art Association of New Orleans, 1914. Specialized in watercolors of birds and animals native to Louisiana. Also painted bayou landscapes. Died, New Orleans, 1925. L.D.A. Sources: The Historic New Orleans Collection, Encyclopaedia of New Orleans Artists, 1718-1918 (1987); 1910 Census, reel 522; Louisiana State Museum Scrapbook 100; Martin Wiesendanger, comp., Nineteenth Century Louisiana Painters and Paintings (1971).
VIDAL, Michel, journalist, congressman, diplomat. Born, Carcassonne, France, October 1, 1824. Attended college in the early 1840s before emigrating to the Republic of Texas, which he soon left for Louisiana where, according to him, he "spent two years in literary and scientific pursuits and the study of . . . political institutions." Then he "devoted several years to extensive travels" in the United States and Canada and afterwards worked as an associate editor of several newspapers, including the New Orleans Picayune, the New York Courrier des Etats-Unis, the New York Messenger, and the Quebec Journal. In 1867, Vidal removed to Opelousas, La., and published a pro-Warmoth newspaper, the St. Landry Progress, before being appointed by Gen. Philip Sheridan (q.v.) as one of the voter registrars of New Orleans and being elected to the state constitutional convention, where he consistently voted with the Radical Republicans. In 1868, he started another journal, The Assumption Progress, and was elected to Congress. The next year he became U. S. commissioner to Peru to adjust claims by American citizens growing out of the Peruvian-Spanish War going on since 1866. Vidal served as consul at Tripoli, 1870-1876; thereafter nothing is known of his life or career. J.A.B. Sources: Michel Vidal Papers (LSU); Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1971 (1971); Richard L. Hume, "The 'Black and Tan' Constitutional Conventions of 1867-1869" (Ph. D. dissertation, University of Washington, 1969); Louis Clinton Nolan, "The Relations of the U. S. and Peru with Respect to the Claims," Hispanic American Historical Review (1937).
VIDRINE, Arthur, Jr., surgeon. Born, New Orleans, September 10, 1934; son of Arthur and Kathleen Vidrine. Education: Louisiana State University, B. S. and M. S. degrees; Louisiana State University, M. D., 1959. Married, August, 1956, Beverly Joan Dodson. Children: Babette Anne, Arthur III, Stephen Monk, and Marguerite. Removed to Lafayette, 1964. Served 1964-1968, as clinical director at Lafayette Charity Hospital. Thereafter in private surgical practice until his death. Served as medical director of state-sponsored emergency medical services program in thirteen Acadiana parishes. Diplomate, American Board of Surgery; Fellow, American College of Surgeons, president, Louisiana Chapter, 1977; clinical professor of Surgery, Louisiana State University School of Medicine; member, Surgery Association of Louisiana, president, 1975. An active member of the Lafayette Charity Hospital staff and served on medical staffs of Lafayette General Hospital and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. Member, numerous professional organizations and medical fraternities. Died, Lafayette, La., June 19, 1982; interred Resurrection in Calvary Cemetery. J.O.V. Sources: Who's Who in the South and Southwest, 1978-1979; Lafayette Daily Advertiser.
VIDRINE, Arthur, Sr., physician, surgeon, educator. Born, Ville Platte, La., December 20, 1896; son of Jean Eloi Vidrine and Marguerite Dorice Brignac. Education: Ville Platte High School, graduated 1913; Louisiana State University, graduated 1916; Tulane University School of Medicine, graduated 1921; Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, England, 1921-1922; interned Charity Hospital, 1922-1924. Married Kathleen Miazza (1895-1983), of Brookhaven, Miss., October 28, 1924. Children: Geraldine Elise (b. 1929), Yvonne Claire (b. 1932), Arthur, Jr. (q.v.). Superintendent of Charity Hospital, New Orleans, 1928-1936; founder and first dean, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, 1931-1937. Operated own hospital, Ville Platte, 1937-1950. Member, International College of Surgeons; American Medical Association; Louisiana Medical Association. Honorary LL. D., Louisiana State University, 1952. Died, December 20, 1955; interred Sacred Heart of Jesus Cemetery, Ville Platte. G.V.F. Sources: Dr. Arthur Vidrine Scrapbook; LSU, Medical School Library, New Orleans; New Orleans Times-Picayune, obituary, December 21, 1955.
VIDRINE, Henry J., businessman. Born, Ville Platte, La., May 14, 1892; son of Jean E. Vidrine and Marguerite Dorice Brignac. Education: Ville Platte Academy; Louisiana State University; Tyler Business College, Tyler, Tex. Married Rose Marie Perrodin, February 19, 1914. One son, Drouet Warren Vidrine (b. 1916). Prominent merchant, farmer, and cattleman. Pioneered many new varieties of farm seed, experimented with many others. Avid supporter of public libraries. Worked successfully for establishment of Evangeline Parish Library. Died, Ville Platte, April 27, 1971. J.O.V. Source: Author's research.
VIEL, Étienne Bernard Alexandre, first native Louisianian to be ordained a priest, modern Latin poet, classicist. Born New Orleans, October 21, 1736, son of Bernard Alexandre Viel (Vielle), botanist, apothecary and physician, and Marie McCarthy. Taken by father to France, April, 1747; entered Royal Academy at Juilly under direction of the Oratorians of St. Philip Neri, September 26, 1747. Gifted student although illiterate when studies began, was able to translate Latin within four months. Completed classical and philosophical studies at Juilly, 1747-1756, excelling in classics. Entered Oratorian novitiate at Paris, September 3, 1756. Taught elementary classes at Soissons and Mans before returning to teach, 1760, and serve as head perfect, 1776, at Royal Academy at Juilly. Recalled by Oratorians to Paris, September 7, 1787; congregation disbanded during French Revolution. Sailed for America, 1791 or 1792, where he resided in Louisiana for two decades; served as acting pastor of St. Martin de Tours Church in Attakapas during pastors' absences (1794, 1804, 1807, 1809, 1811). Returned to Juilly in 1812 at request of former pupils; assisted school "with his wise counsels" and translated many French masterpieces into Latin. Rejoined re-organized Oratorians, August 1, 1818. Died at Juilly, December 16, 1821; interred Oratorian cemetery. While in exile in Louisiana, six former students published (Paris: 1808) Viel's Latin Version of Fenelon's Les Aventures de Télémaque (1797); Viel prepared second edition after his return to Juilly (Paris: 1814). Five volumes of translations included Le Voyage de la grande chartreuse. C.E.N. Sources: Articles by Alfred Mercier (July, 1890) and Gustave Dervon (July, 1899) in Comptes-Rendues de l'Athénée louisianais; copy of latter in Baudier Historical Collection, 9:10, Archives of the Archdiocese of New Orleans; obituary appeared in Journal des Débats (Paris), December 20, 1821; Rev. J. J. O'Brien, S. J., "Fr. Viel, Louisiana's First Native Priest," Catholic Action of the South, July 29, 1943; Sacramental Records of St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church, St. Martinville, La.
VIGNAUD, Jean-Henri, journalist, diplomat, historian. Born, New Orleans, November 27, 1830; son of Jean-Lucien Vignaud and Clemence Godfroi. Educated in New Orleans. His first play, Jane Grey, was performed 1851; second, La Vieillesse des Mousquetaires, May 23, 1853. Taught French in New Orleans public schools, 1852-1856, while contributing articles to Le Courrier de la Louisiane and other newspapers. In 1857 moved to Thibodaux where he assumed the editorship of L'Union de Lafourche for four years. Returned to New Orleans and founded, with Eugène Lamulonière and Charles Escousse, a weekly, La Renaissance Louisianaise. June 1861, became a captain in the Sixth Louisiana Regiment; captured April 25, 1862, when Farragut (q.v.) and Butler (q.v.) took New Orleans. Escaped and in March 1863 was sent to Paris to join the Confederate diplomatic commission; named secretary of the mission by Slidell (q.v.). Contributed articles to L'Echo de Paris, the London Cosmopolitan, and the Index, official London organ of the Confederacy. Also sent articles to the New Orleans Estafette. In 1863, began writing drama criticism for Le Memorial Diplomatique. In 1869 became secretary of the Roumanian legation. 1872, engaged as secretary by M. Washburn, American ambassador in Paris. He worked as a translator for the Alabama Claims Commission in Geneva. 1873, represented the United States at the International Metric System Conference. On December 14, 1875, named second secretary of the American legation in Paris. Married, 1879, Louise Comte. Promoted to first secretary, 1882. That same year, was U. S. delegate at the International Conference for the Protection of Submarine Cables. Elected president of the Société des Américanistes de Paris (1908). Retired May 7, 1909, after thirty-four years of government service. Named honorary chancellor of the American embassy. Author of numerous studies on American explorations: La Lettre et la carte de Toscanelli (1901); La Lettre de Toscanelli du 25 juin 1474 … (1901); Mémoire sur l'authenticité de la lettre de Toscanelli … (1902); Letters to Sir Clements R. Markham (1903); La Route des Indes … (1903); A Critical Study of the Various Dates Assigned to the Birth of Columbus (1903); La Maison d'Albe et les Archives Colombiennes (1904); Etude critique sur la vie de Colomb (1905); "Proof That Columbus Was Born in 1451," American Historical Review (1907); "L'Ancienne et la Nouvelle Campagne pour la Canonisation de Christophe Colomb," Journal de la Société des Américanistes (1910); "Les Expeditions des Scandinaves en Amérique," Journal de la Société des Américanistes (1910); Histoire critique de la grande entreprise de Christophe Colomb, 2 vols. (1911); "Americ Vespuce," Journal de la Société des Américanistes (1911 and 1912); "Les Thèses nouvelles sur l'origine de Christophe Colomb," Revue Critique d'Histoire et de Littérature (1913); Americ Vespuce (1917); La Tradition colombienne et la découverte de l'Amérique (1920); Le Vrai Christophe Colomb (1921). Published voluminous theatrical criticism in La Renaissance Louisianais and Memorial Diplomatique; other articles in Le Meschacébé, New York Tribune, New York Herald, Journal de la Société des Américanistes, L'Echo de Paris, Index, Cosmopolitan and L'Estafette. His extensive library and his papers were bought by the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Died, Paris, September 16, 1922. M.A. Sources: Edward Larocque Tinker, Les Ecrits de langue française en Louisiane au XIXe siècle (1932); Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography.
VILLERE, Ernest Caliste, investment counselor, civic leader. Born, August 8, 1904; son of St. Denis Julien Villeré and Sadie Richardson. Married Yvette Chequelin. Children: Mathilde Villeré Young (1935-1983), St. Denis Julien Villeré (b. 1936), George G. Villeré (b. 1944). Descendant of Etienne Roy de Villeré, who accompanied Pierre le Moyne, sieur d'Iberville (q.v.), on first voyage to Mississippi River in 1699; descendant of Jacques Philippe Villeré (q.v.), first native-born governor of Louisiana. Attended Tulane University. Named partner, St. Denis J. Villeré & Co., 1928. A founder and past president, Financial Analysts of New Orleans; helped establish Public Affairs Research Council and Bureau of Governmental Research; director, Metropolitan Area Committee and St. Mary's Dominican College; chosen Rex, King of Carnival, 1968; member, board of directors, The Historic New Orleans Collection, 1971-1986; negotiated purchase of papers of Pierre Clément de Laussat (q.v.) for Historic New Orleans Collection, 1975; received Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal for service to church and papacy, 1977, and Order of St. Louis IX, King of France, for archdiocese work, 1980; trustee of Alton Ochsner Medical Foundation; director, Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Hospital; established Ernest C. and Yvette C. Villeré Chair for Study of Retinal Degeneration at Eye and Ear Institute. Died, November 1, 1986; interred St. Louis Cemetery III. L.C.H. Sources: New Orleans Times-Picayune, November 2, 1986; Mrs. St. Denis J. Villeré, interview.
VILLERE, Jacques Philippe, governor. Born on the Jefferson Parish plantation of his maternal grandfather Jacques de La Chaise, April 28, 1761; son of Joseph Antoine Villeré (q.v.), captain of militia of the German Coast, and Louise Marguerite de La Chaise. Married Jeanne Henriette de Fazende, August 18, 1784, at St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans. Children: René Gabriel, Adèle, Jules, Delphin, Céleste, Félix, Anatole, and Léocadie. Trained as a page in the court of Louis XVI and at age 18 commissioned an artillery officer in Saint-Domingue. The death of his mother impelled his return to Louisiana in the 1780s, where he married and settled as a landowner. It was on his plantation below New Orleans that the British established themselves in 1814 to begin the campaign of the Battle of New Orleans, in which Villeré served with distinction as a major general of the state militia. Political career: named to staff of Pierre Clément Laussat (q.v.) during the transition in 1803 from French to American control; delegate to 1812 state constitutional convention; governor of Louisiana, 1816-1820; administration noted for effort to provide bankruptcy for debtors, the designation of death by dueling a capital offense; and reduction of state debt; bid for reelection as governor failed in 1824. Died, March 7, 1830; interred St. Louis Cemetery, New Orleans. J.G.T. Source: Author's research.
VILLERE, Joseph Antoine, solider, major conspirator in the revolt of 1768. Son of Etienne Roy de Villeré and Marie Catherine Neveu. Attended royal military school in France. Began royal service as a clerk for the French Navy. Married, October 2, 1759, Louise Marguerite de La Chaise, daughter of Jacques de La Chaise and Marguerite D'Arensbourg. Children: Philippe (b. 1761) and Marie Louise (b. 1763). They established a plantation worked by 37 slaves at the German Coast. In 1768 he was appointed captain of militia at the German Coast through the influence of his father-in-law. Implicated in the rebellion of 1768 with his cousin Nicolas Chauvin de La Frénière (q.v.). On October 28, 1768, he led a contingent of German and Acadian settlers into New Orleans in opposition to the Spanish governor. On October 24, 1769, he was convicted of conspiracy and sedition and sentenced to death by firing squad. He died mysteriously before the execution. His death became the subject of Thomas Wharton Collen's 1836 play: The Martyr Patriots: An Historical Tragedy. B.C. Sources: Jacqueline K. Voorhies, comp., Some Eighteenth Century Louisianians (1973); Acts of Andrés Almonester y Roxas, Book 1, p. 220; Orleans Parish Notarial Archives; Sidney L. Villeré, Jacques Philippe Villeré: First Native Born Governor of Louisiana (1981).
VILLIERS DU TERRAGE, Marc de, attorney, author. Born in the French province of Champagne, 1867; scion of a noble family that had figured prominently in French politics and administration in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; was the great grand nephew of Gov. Louis Billouart, chevalier de Kerlérec (q.v.). Trained as an attorney at Lycée Louis le Grand in Paris; was drawn to history by his family's long tradition of public service; devoted every spare moment to his avocation. Published several important works on French colonial Louisiana: Les Dernières Années de la Louisiane française (1904), for several decades the standard work on late French Louisiana; work translated into English in 1982; Histoire de la fondation de la Nouvelle-Orléans (1917); La Louisiane de Châteaubriand (1924); La Découverte du Missouri et l'histoire du fort d'Orléans (1925); and La Louisiane, Histoire de son nom et de ses frontières successives (1929). Died, 1936. C.A.B. Source: Marc de Villiers du Terrage, The Last Years of French Louisiana, trans. by Hosea Phillips; ed. by Carl A. Brasseaux and Glenn R. Conrad (1982).
VINCENT, William, cattleman, farmer, politician. Born, Vincent Landing, Calcasieu Parish, La., January 22, 1844; son of Isaac Vincent and Elizabeth Lyons. Education: local schools. Civil War service: Company D, Ninth Louisiana Battalion Partisan Rangers (Wingfield's Third Louisiana Cavalry Regiment); taken prisoner at Port Hudson, July 9, 1863; paroled July 13, 1863. Returned to Vincent Landing. Married, February 16, 1864, Josephine West, daughter of Abel West, pioneer of Calcasieu Parish, and Azema West. Children: Swinford (b. 1864), Joseph J. (b. 1866), Tony (b. 1877), Richard W. (b. 1879), Ellie A. (b. 1881). Active in Democratic party; Louisiana representative, 1880-1884; member, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, 1885-1895; president of jury, 1892-1895; suffered a fatal seizure while presiding at jury session, October 14, 1895; died in a few hours. Member: Baptist church. Died, Lake Charles, October 14, 1895; interred Farquhar Cemetery, south of Sulphur, La. G.S.P. Sources: Erbon W. Wise, Brimstone: The History of Sulphur, Louisiana (1981); Calcasieu Parish Police Jury minutes, March 18, 1885; August 8, 1892; Archives and Records Service, Baton Rouge; Confederate 3rd Cavalry (Winfield's) Co. Master Roll and Roll of Prisoners of War; Vincent Family Papers.
VINCENT, William Samuel, farmer, cattleman, businessman. Born, Vincent Landing, Calcasieu Parish, December 22, 1896; son of Joseph J. Vincent and Nellie Wilcox. Education: local schools; passed Louisiana teachers' exam. Married, June 11, 1915, Alice Findley, of Iowa, La., daughter of Andrew J. Findley and Alice Margaret Millikan. Children: William L. (b. 1917), Halton H. (b. 1918), Eleanor (b. 1920), Dorothy (b. 1923). Active in Democratric party; Louisiana state representative, 1940-1944; instrumental in enactment of special legislation to induce Cities Service refinery to locate on Calcasieu River, south of Sulphur; in cooperation with brother sold home property on Calcasieu River to Davison Chemical Corporation to bring another industry to west Calcasieu; joined Standard Oil, 1931; distributor, 1936-1955. Removed to Sulphur, La., 1950. Member: Habibi Shrine Temple, Lake Charles; Lake Charles Consistory; charter member, Sulphur Rotary Club; member and former director, West Calcasieu Association of Commerce; board of directors, First Federal Savings and Loan, 1956-1975; board of commissioners, West Calcasieu-Cameron Hospital, 1957-1975; chairman of board, 1959-1975. Died, Sulphur, February 20, 1975; interred Mimosa Pines Cemetery, south of Sulplhur. G.S.P. Sources: Lake Charles American Press, February 21, 1975; Vincent Family Papers, Vincent Family Bible.
VINSON, Richard T., planter, mayor of Shreveport. Born, Assumption Parish, La., July 23, 1842; son of James B. Vinson and Lucy T. Harper. Education: Centenary College, Jackson, La. Volunteered for service in Confederate Army his junior year, but resigned because of ill health. After recovering from measles, he enlisted in the Washington Artillery, Fifth Company, of New Orleans. After the war the family removed to North Louisiana, near Greenwood. Mayor of Shreveport, 1890-1896. President, Caddo Parish Police Jury for 4 years and was also a member of the Bossier Parish Police Jury. Member Masons, the Knights of Pythias and the Red Men. Married, August 4, 1864, Sallie Hill, a native of Tennessee. Children: Ada (Mrs. Ada Delay) and Allen. Died, February 21, 1904. P.L.M. Source: Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana (1890).
VOORHIES, Albert, attorney, jurist, politician. Born, Lafayette, La., January 23, 1829; son of Cornelius Voorhies, Jr., and Cidalise Mouton. Education: St. Charles College, Grand Coteau, La.; law school of Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky. Married Marie Léontine Durand, daughter of Charles Durand and Amelie LeBlanc in St. Martinville, La., on May 27, 1847. Eleven children (not all reached adulthood): Cornelius Arthur (b.1848); Joseph William (b. 1850); Paul Emile (b. 1853); Henri Louis (b. 1854); Marie Lawrence (b.1862); Edmond (b. 1866); Elizabeth (b. 1867); Albert (b. 1871); James (b. 1876). Admitted to the bar at age 19, February 22, 1848; joined father in practice of law in St. Martinville. Active in Democratic party; chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee; appointed district judge in St. Martin Parish (1855-1859). Succeeded father on Louisiana Supreme Court, 1859. Removed to New Orleans, 1859. Civil War service: judge advocate general, Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederate Army; made prisoner in St. Martinville when General Banks (q.v.) invaded the town; later exchanged for 65 privates and 1 brigadier general. After war, elected lieutenant governor (1865-1867); elected district attorney of St. Martin Parish; state senator (1872-1876); legislator (1876-1878). Prepared a revision of the Civil Code of Louisiana and worked on Louisiana criminal jurisprudence. Died, New Orleans, January 20, 1913; interred St. Louis Cemetery III. M.R.S. Sources: Voorhies Family Papers; Louisiana State Museum, Carpet-Bag Misrule in Louisiana (1938); obituary notice in New Orleans Daily Picayune, January 21, 22, 1913.
VOORHIES, Cornelius, attorney, politician, jurist. Born, Opelousas, La., July 22, 1804; son of Cornelius Voorhies, Sr., and Aimée Gradenigo. Limited formal education; studied law in St. Martinville, La.; admitted to the bar, 1825. Married Cedalise Mouton, daughter of Jean Mouton and Marie Angélique Martin, on July 18, 1826. Children: Edgar (b. 1827); Albert (q.v.); Alfred (b. 1830); Martin (b. 1835); Felix (q.v.); Marie Cornelie (b. 1842); Marie Amelie (b. 1844); Charles (b. 1850); and Louis (b. 1852). Began law practice in Lafayette Parish; then removed to St. Martinville. Member, Louisiana house of representatives, 1832-1844; member, Louisiana constitutional convention, 1845; judge, Fourteenth Judicial District, 1846-1854; associate justice, Louisiana Supreme Court, 1854-1859. Retired, 1859. Died, St. Martinville, July 1, 1859; interred St. Michael's Cemetery. M.R.S. Sources: Voorhies Family Papers; Louisiana Supreme Court, The Celebration of the Supreme Court of Louisiana; Harry Lewis Griffin, The Attakapas Country (1959).
VOORHIES, Felix, attorney, politician, jurist, composer, author. Born, St. Martinville, La., January 1, 1839; son of Cornelius Voorhies, Jr., and Cidalise Mouton. Education: St. Charles College, Grand Coteau, La., and Springhill College, Mobile, Ala. Completed formal education at College of the Immaculate Conception, New Orleans. Studied law in the office of brother, Judge Albert Voorhies (q.v.). Admitted to bar, April, 1860; practiced law in St. Martinville. Married Modeste Potier, daughter of Charles Potier and Marie Marcelite Broussard, October 17, 1859, in St. Martinville. Sixteen children: two died at birth and two others in infancy. The twelve others: Edward G. (b. 1861); Felix E., Jr. (b. 1863); Daniel William (b. 1867); Charles (b. 1869); Twins—Albert and Robert (b. 1872); Cecile (b. 1874); Paul Emile (b. 1877); Walter (b. 1878); Lucie (b. 1880); Jean Sosthene "Joe" (b. 1883); Modeste "Maude" (b. 1888). Enlisted in Confederate Army, 1861, Company C, Eighth Louisiana Regiment. Discharged in late 1862 because of disability; later entered service as captain of the Independent Calvary Company. After war, resumed law practice. Active in Democratic party; member of Louisiana house of representatives (1874-1878) representing St. Martin Parish; judge, Fourteenth Judicial District (1892-1900). After wife's death, 1901, practiced law New Iberia, where he took up residence; in 1908, returned to St. Martinville and practiced law with son, Dan. Retired from active practice of law at age 73. A prolific writer, including short stories, essays, songs, contributions to leading French journals, France, Canada, and United States. "Louisiana Sketches," which appeared in the New York Independent; editorship of the St. Martinville Observer, and plays and musical comedies which he produced and directed in St. Martinville; Acadian Reminiscences, his best known work, narrates the expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia and their eventual settlement in Louisiana. Louisiana Acadian Committee erected a monument in his honor for his contribution to Acadian culture (1965). Member of L'Athénée Louisianaise and Louisiana Historical Society. Died, New Iberia, August 21, 1919; interred St. Michael's Cemetery, St. Martinville. M.R.S. Sources: Voorhies Family Papers.