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Family Histories: Louisiana Ancestry


These are essays on family branches which lived in New Orleans and Louisiana during the Nineteenth Century. There are now five sections on this page: the Vieux Carre, the Nehweiler Inheritance; the Degrange-McMillan Correspondence; the Civil War; and Asahel W. McLellan.

They refer to no living people. They are all subject to change, and will be occasionally updated. If you have any information which might amplify these histories—documents, pictures, or references—PLEASE get in touch! You are free to browse and download. If you cite or use them elsewhere, however, please give credit. To view the articles on this page, you will need to download Adobe's (free) Acrobat Reader.

Washington Artillery Hall
Washington Artillery Hall, ca. 1910
From the Library of Congress

The Vieux Carré

Take a history lesson about the about the Vieux Carré, the old French Quarter, of New Orleans, courtesy of the National Park Service's Teaching with Historical Places project. This lesson also has much about Creoles, with which the Pitard family, among others, identified itself. The DeGrange, Pitard, Couret, and other related families lived in and around the Old Quarter through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The Nehweiler Inheritance

Sometime before 1835, Phillip Lisher (also Lischer, Fischer), the great uncle of (Catherina) Barbara Meyer, died in Philadelphia. When he died, the husband of his neice, George Schmidt, illegally sold all of the property which he still owned in Nehweiler, a town in the Lower Alsace region of France. This is the story of the argument over that inheritance. The article refers to the Klipfel, Lisher, McMillan, and Meyer families.
The Nehweiler Inheritance. This includes an introduction to the incident, transcriptions of some of the documents, and an appendix describing the involved parties. (Draft posted Jan. 22, 2011; 12 pages.)

The DeGrange and McMillan Correspondence

Joseph H. DeGrange and his wife, Ellen McMillan, preserved and passed down a small trove of personal and family documents. Many are personal letters, but they also preserved receipts, notes, and other documents which date back to 1809. The documents refer to the DeGrange, Laurens, Field, and McMillan families, and to a wide range of friends and acquaintances. Several of the people mentioned in his correspondence as members of the Washington Artillery are mentioned in unit's history preserved in the Appendix to the 1881 program for the funeral of President Garfield, kept on Joseph DeGrange's page. Other documents are attached to their personal pages.
There are two parts to this:
The Introduction, including a Table of Contents for the documents (Draft posted May 28, 2004; 20 pages);
an edition of all of the documents (Draft posted May 28, 2004; 61 pages).

The Civil War on the Mississippi

The Battle of Port Hudson is overshadowed by the larger battle at Vicksburg which defined the Union campaign to capture the Mississippi in 1863. Yet while Vicksburg was the greater battle, Port Hudson also had significance. Its garrison endured the longest seige in American history—48 grueling days—and only surrendered on hearing news of Vicksburg's fall. Once it fell, the Mississippi was owned by the North all the way to New Orleans, which had been captured the previous year.
The Siege of Vicksburg. This essay by John Abbott appeared in vol. 30 of Harper's Magazine (Dec. 1864-May 1865), found on-line at Cornell's Making of America project. Family history says that Alden McLellan fought there and was captured. Carl Eugen von Rosenberg, an ancestor from another branch of the family, also fought there in Waul's Texas Legion. (Posted Apr. 29, 2005; 17 pages)
General Nathaniel Banks' Report on Port Hudson. This is the Union General's official report to Secretary Stanton on the siege (and later action in Texas) taken from the Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Series 1, vol. 26, part 1), found on-line at Cornell's Making of America project. (Posted Nov. 5, 2005; 20 pages)
The Seige and Capture of Port Hudson. This is a second essay by John C. Abbott, continuing his his "Heroic Deeds of Heroic Men" series published in vol. 30 of Harper's. Two family members from New Orleans, Gustave Pitard Sr. and Alfred Gamard Sr. (the brother of direct ancestor Alphonse Jr.), fought there in Watson's Battery. William Luce, a Union naval engineer from New York from an entirely different core tree on the database, was killed there by a sniper; his death is noted on page 17 of General Bank's report, above. (Posted Apr. 29, 2005; 15 pages)
Take a history lesson about the Battle of Port Hudson, courtesy of the National Park Service's Teaching with Historical Places project. The photos add much to the narrative in the Harper's article.
Alden McLellan, Sr.: Last Services to the Confederacy. This narrative by Alden McLellan, Sr. tells of his experiences at the end of the war including the his service battle of Blakely on April 9, 1865, his imprisonment on Ship Island, and his return home in May. It includes an introduction and notes. (Posted Jan. 17, 2007; 13 pages)

Asahel Walker McLellan and Alden Mills

These documents are biographies of Asahel Walker McLellan and his family, and of the business he founded in 1890, the Alden Mills, which manufactured hosiery in New Orleans for over six decades.
"Seafaring Men, Superstitions, and Some Other Things." This is a reprint from Cotton, a trade journal, in July of 1924. It is a rather chatty biography of his personal and family history; it would seem that it resulted from a personal interview. (Posted Jan. 18, 2007; 2 pages)
"Alden Mills Complete Fifty Years," from The Underwear and Hosiery Review, another trade journal, in 1941. This tells the story of the mill. (Posted Jan. 18, 2007; 2 pages)