My grandmother, Irma Callais, said many times that our family was related to most of the people of South Lafourche and I can’t think of a better bunch of people to be related to.
My family tree includes Collins, Guidry, Terrebonne, Adams, Vizier, Autin, Rousse, Plaisance, Pitre, Ledet, Sandras and Hebert, just for starters.
That helped when I ran for political office but it sure put a damper on my bachelor days.
“But grandma,” I augured, after she had vetoed a girl I wanted to date, “she’s only a fifth cousin, twice removed.”
It didn’t matter. An Irma veto could not be overruled. To her, a relative, no matter how distant, was a relative, period!
When Dorothy “Dot” Guidry’s name came up, she smiled and nodded her head and Dot and I have been married 60 years, still alive and kicking! Well … that’s a metaphor. We’re still alive but to paraphrase Jerry Lee Lewis, there’s not “a whole lot of kicking going on”.
Genealogy can be boring but read on so you can determine if you ever got tangled in any branch of my family tree. If you did, you don’t have to admit it. My advice would be to ‘take the Fifth Amendment’!
I now confess to having perpetuated a lie all my life. Now you’ll have to read to find out how and why.
My great, great, grandfather, Paul Callais (born in 1776 in Malta and died in Lafourche in 1870) disembarked in New Orleans on a ship from the Isle of Malta, and was known for the rest of his life as “Paul de Malt”.
He fought in the Battle of New Orleans under General Andrew Jackson and his son, Mathurin (1831/1922) eventually moved to South Lafourche with his wife Helen Cocke (1839/1883).
They bought the property where Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church now stands. His son, Paul (my grandfather, 1871/1939) and his wife Irma (1881/1962) bought property one-quarter mile north of Golden Meadow.
The family created a subdivision where Dot and I now live. They raised their nine children, my mother, Helen (1908/2002) and her eight siblings, all together 5 boys and 4 girls. All but one lived to their 80’s and 90’s.
On my father’s side, I now know the following, and this is where I unknowingly committed the fraud. My great, great grandfather Thomas Martin was born in England in 1816. YIPES! Part of me is a bloody limey. Woe is me … I’m not a full-blooded Cajun.
His wife Josephine Sandras was a Cajun, though, born in Thibodaux in 1825 and that makes me three quarter pure Cajun. Close enough!
My father, Roosevelt Martin (1903/1972, named after Teddy) was one of nine children born to Eugene Martin (1879/1952) and Odile Collins (1881/1953).
My great grandfather, Guillaume Martin (1846/?) was born in Chenier, Caminada.
Eugene and family moved to Leeville where their home was destroyed in the hurricane of 1915. Their final move was to Golden Meadow. I include their picture, thanks to my first cousin, once removed, Nickie Bernard Wells.
I was fortunate to know all my aunts and uncles and grandparents on both sides:
Martin: Eugene and Odile plus Thedore, Roosevelt, Rosulus, Victor, Arselo, Paul, Eugene, Jr, Josephine Dantin and Nola Terrebonne.
Callais: Paul and Irma plus Lorris, Paul, Rosulus, Roy, Hecton, Elizabeth Styron, Loricia Gauthreau, Helen Martin and Elecias Griffin.
I also include a picture of Dot and I on our wedding day. I don’t like to tell our age, but I will admit that the picture is over sixty years old. I don’t feel old. In fact I don’t feel anything until noon. Then it’s time for my nap.
Posted on Tue, September 30, 2014
by Leroy Martin, Contributing Writer