Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Collection at Southeastern Louisiana University

A large amount of historical research on the "West Florida Parishes" of Louisiana was placed at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond under the name of "The Donald J. Sharp Collection."

CLICK HERE to go to the University's listing of the collection materials. It consists of displays, maps, documents, letter books, oral history as recorded on more than 100 audio cassettes, posters, and approximately 150 books detailing the history of the Louisiana Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. 

The materials include histories on the origin of Mandeville, the origin of Lewisburg, the origin of Madisonville (one of the oldest communities in the entire state), and the beginnings of Covington. 

The Mandeville material includes the origins and family genealogy of the first English settlers and the location of their land grants: those of the Smiths, Spells, Geoffigon, O'Brien and Labataut on the west side of Bayou Castin, and those of the Webb and Lewis families on the east side of Bayou Castin. 

Also included in the collection is information on the "latter arrivals" to Mandeville, those including the Edwards, Goodby, Sharp, Faircloth and Richardson families. 

The "Tom Spell Memorial Cemetery" at Mandeville is located on the James Goodby Spanish Grant, according to the research, and the first burial therein was possibly in 1794. 

The manuscript detailing all that subject mater is dedicated to Edgar Sharp, who was known in the community as "The Old Pelican."

Among the "mysteries solved" by the material is the identity of Morgan Edward (Huet), an early settler at Bayou Castin. Extensive research is provided in the collection regarding the previously unknown identity. Morgan Edwards had 1900 acres along the west bank of Bayou Castine, with some land under dispute for years with Jacob Miller.

Sharp's book, written in collaboration with Anita Campeau, is also featured. That book, entitled "The History of Mandeville: From the American Revolution to Bernard Marigny," was published in 2012 and is available on at this link.

Information is shared about the Marigny family and how it came from France in the 1600's, first to Canada, and then down to the Gulf Coast. 

The book recounts the Battle of Lake Pontchartrain which took place on September 10, 1779, as well as information from court cases involving trespass claims along Bayou Castin. 

Considerable information is available in the collection about the old historic cemetery in Madisonville. According to Sharp's research, that cemetery started as the Parent family cemetery around 1790. Its boundaries were adjusted between the Baham and Parent families, and cemetery ownership was apparently regained y Charles Parent Jr. in 1848 and a new section was opened up. 

The Baham family cemetery at Madisonville  started in 1807 when old "Juan Baptiste Baham dit Gentil" died. It appears to have been reserved for John Baptiste Baham and his five sons. Its located was described as being located in lower Madisonville, on son Pierre Baham's land, on the banks of the Tchefuncte River.