The Historical Association of Central Louisiana is a partnership of members who share a common interest in preserving our local history for future generations.
Mission: The HACL strives to advance the preservation, appreciation, and understanding of things of historical value in the central Louisiana community.
Old Rapides Cemetery
View the map to determine the location of the graves of interest. Select a grave from the linked list to view the history.
For a printed booklet, visit 707 2nd St, Alexandria -
Alexandria Pineville Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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201 Hattie Street, Pineville, LA
Gravesites (select to scroll)
Enemund Meullion (1737-1820)
John (Jean Justin) David (1802-1882)
John Casson (1808-1892)
Cornelia LeGras (1824-1874)
Sergt. John Newton (1840-1908)
Michael Ryan (1812-1894)
William Stoddard Johnston (1816-1839)
John William Frost (1814-1851)
Miriam Hyams (1835-1844)
Capt. Chittenden Edwin Ball (1828-1900)
George Mason Graham (1807-1891)
David T. Stafford (1849-1926)
William Prescott (1843-1849)
Mary H. Wells Fulton Hooper (1778-1848)
Robert Alexander Crain (1791-1852)
Hon. Jesse Atherton Bynum (1797-1868)
James Madison Wells (1808-1899)
Mary Josephine Girard (1838-1916)
Benjamin Kitchen (1763-1849)
Alphonse Cazeau (1852-1921)
Charles H. Flower (1827-1858)
William Polk (1821-1898)
Nick Velotta (1872-1853)
Henry Boyce (1797-1873)
Col. Edward Graves Randolph (1829-1893)
A Brief History
The history of the Old Rapides Cemetery is tightly intertwined with the settlement history of central Louisiana which probably began in the 1760s. After the Spanish government acquired Louisiana from France in 1763, Etienne Marafret Layssard was eventually appointed the first commandant of the settlement or post located on the Pineville side of Red River on February 12, 1770. The post was called either El Rapido in Spanish or Poste du Rapides in French. The 1788 Spanish Census for the post records six named adults and three unnamed children who died the previous year; all were doubtlessly buried at the cemetery.
As the settlement expanded in all directions, the burials of family members from miles away and from both sides of Red River took place there. Some were born in the surrounding area while others were immigrants, both from Europe and elsewhere. They represented every race and every walk of life.
The need for formal cemetery supervision prompted a group of local citizens to establish the Rapides Cemetery Association in 1872 to erect fencing and hire a sexton or caretaker to manage the cemetery grounds. For over one hundred years the Association persisted in those labors until ownership of the cemetery was transferred to the City of Pineville in the year 2000.
1. Enemund Meullion (1737-1820)
A native of Moirans, Dauphine, France Enemund Meuillion received his medical training before traveling to Louisiana in 1769. Settling first in Pointe Coupee District, he married Anne Stephan who passed away only a few months later. In 1777, Enemund was listed as a second Lieutenant of the Pointe Coupee militia company, and it was in this capacity that in 1779, he participated in the expeditions of Governor Bernardo de Galvez to capture the British forts and posts at Manchac and Baton Rouge. As a result, he is recognized as a Revolutionary War veteran. Shortly thereafter, he moved to the Opelousas District where he actively practiced medicine. There he met and married Jeanette Poiret, a widow with four children from her previous marriage. During their marriage, Jeanette bore him six children of their own. In 1795 they moved to the El Rapido District centered in present-day Pineville. Upon his arrival, the commandant of the El Rapido post was Etienne Maraffret Layssard, a person with whom Enemund is likely to have been familiar, due to both having served in the Governor Galvez campaign of 1779. After Layssard died, his son Valentin was appointed commandant, followed by Caesar Archinard. Then in 1800, Meullion was appointed commandant of the El Rapido District, the last Spanish Commander in the area. He also officially represented central Louisiana during the transfer of the area called Louisiana from Spain to France. In 1930, the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a monument at his burial site, honoring both Dr. Meullion and his wife:
Jeanette Poiret Meuillion (1752–1835)
Buried nearby is Enemund Meuillion’s bodyguard:
Cyprian Escoffie (unknown - 7 Dec 1847)
2. John (Jean Justin) David (1802–1882)
After leaving his native Bordeaux, France, Jean Justin “John” David first visited the French West Indies before reaching Louisiana. Settling first in Pointe Coupee, then Natchitoches, he finally reached Pineville about 1825. There he became a merchant, opening a general store on Main Street. In Pineville, he met Sarah Ann Bradley, a native of Tennessee, and they were married about 1840. Sarah Ann’s first two names were sometimes combined into “Cerianne” by those who knew her. A single monument honors “John”, his wife and two of his sons:
Sarah Ann David (Cerianne Bradley) (1823-1910)
Albert Anthony “Tony”David (1862-1891)
Peter V. David (1855-1898)
3. Pierre Baillio (1771-1821)
Born at the Natchitoches Post, Pierre Baillio II was named after his father who was an immigrant from France and was posted as a soldier at Fort St. Jean Baptiste. His mother was Catherine Poissot of St. John the Baptist Parish. As a young man, Pierre traveled to Pointe Coupee Parish where he met and decided to work for Jean Baptiste Lacour. While working on Lacour’s plantation, he met and eventually married his daughter, Magdeline Emelie Lacour, who was buried next to her husband after she died in 1838. After moving to Rapides Parish, Pierre secured a huge Spanish land grant in 1796 on Bayou Rapides at which time he soon began construction of an impressive residence. Kent House, as that house is known today, was purchased by Robert C. Hynson when the Baillio family was forced to sell the plantation in order to settle the estate of Pierre’s mother. Hynson was a native of Kent County, Maryland and named it after his birthplace. The graves of Pierre and Magdeline lie next to those belonging to several of their children, spouses and in-laws.
Gilbert Baillio (1807-1819), Pierre’s son who drowned in Red River after returning home from school in Pineville. He was prone to sleep-walking and apparently stepped between the ferry and the wharf.
Pierre Baillio III (1794-1809), Pierre’s son. His is the oldest extant inscription in Rapides Cemetery.
Celeste Baillio (1795-1829), Pierre’s daughter. She was married three times: (1) Nicholas Villain, (2) Edward Kirkland, and (3) George T. Rogers.
Edward Kirkland (1786-1826), Second husband of Celeste Baillio.
Louise Evelena Heno (or Hainaut) (1816-1830), Daughter of John Baptiste and Emelie Heno and wife of Sosthene A. Baillio, (1800-1853), child of Pierre and Magdeline Baillio. Sosthene was married
three times: (1) Louise Evelena Heno, (2) Sarah Maria Crain, and (3) Alpha Xavier McCrummen.
John Baptiste Heno (or Hainaut) (1775-1829), father of Louise Evelena Heno.
Gervais Baillio (1811-1899), Pierre’s son. He bought land south of Alexandria and developed both the Rosalie Plantation and the original house which is still in existence today.
Rebecca Leonard Baillio (1817-1871), wife of Gervais Baillio.
4. John Casson (1808-1892)
Son of John Casson, Sr. and Emily Wells Casson, John Casson, Jr. was born in Alexandria in 1808. His father was a planter and his mother was a member of the distinguished Wells family. John aspired to become a physician and received his medical training from the University of Pennsylvania before returning to Alexandria by 1833. Enamored with the stories from the California gold rush, John briefly left home in 1849 to try his luck, but returned home not long afterwards, apparently without success. He was one of the founders of the Central Louisiana Medical Society and was Rapides Parish Coroner for many years. He was married in 1859 to Adelia Elizabeth Thomas, the daughter of Isaac and Jane Thomas and the widow of Ebenezer Hubbard Flint. They had no children of their own, but Adelia had five daughters during her marriage with E. H. Flint. John Casson’s Last Will and Testament instructed his executor to enclose a 20-foot by 20-foot family plot in the Rapides Cemetery with a small fence and to spend $10,000 to purchase a monument honoring his wife. As to the monument, the executor’s response was a huge white marble monument approximately nine feet tall, honoring Adelia and her five daughters whose graves are not marked. The tops of two unmarked brick vaults are visible today within the Casson enclosure. According to Dr. G. M. G. Stafford’s excellent book The Wells Family of Louisiana and Allied Families, the body of Colonel James Alexander McWaters, who died in a Civil War skirmish in South Louisiana was brought to the Rapides Cemetery and buried in the Casson family plot. Col. McWaters was a first cousin of John Casson’s mother, Emily Clementina Wells. The fence enclosure we see today is apparently not the one originally erected for that purpose: it is neither small nor does it enclose merely a 20-foot square. A few remains of the original fence were discovered buried a few inches from the surface, apparently discarded when the present fence was erected. Fortunately, the tall fence we now behold is a magnificent cast-iron creation of the Wood & Perot firm of Philadelphia, PA. By an astonishing coincidence the gate-posts and gate belonging to this fence are precisely the same as those found at the Flower-Sprigg enclosure on the north side of the cemetery. The gate for the Casson fence was damaged in the past and has been removed to storage, but the nine-foot high-gate posts and the impressive fence pickets around its border present a sight rarely seen elsewhere. Within the enclosure, a double vault is surmounted by an additional monument dedicated to both Adelia and John Casson:
Adelia Thomas Flint Casson (1821-1885)
Martha Flint, Amelia’s daughter
Emeline Flint, Amelia’s daughter,
Jane Flint, Amelia’s daughter
Susan Flint, Amelia’s daughter
Adelia Flint Seip, Amelia’s daughter, first wife of Frederic Seip
5. Cornelia LeGras (1824-1874)
As a free woman of color, Cornelia Baillio was truly a rarity in Rapides Parish. For one thing, she owned property in her own name in the Town of Alexandria, namely Lot 2 of Square No. 40. For another, she married Michael LeGras, the Caucasian son of Michel and Amelia Legras, both immigrants from Belgium. Michael was a merchant, and together, Cornelia and he had a son whom they named William Michael LeGras. It was this son of theirs who would spawn several generations of building trade craftsmen. Cornelia died in April 1874, and a local newspaper, the Rapides Gazette published a remarkable, glowing eulogy for her in their April 29, 1874 edition. Her funeral was widely attended despite inclement weather. While it is thought that her husband Michael is buried near Cornelia, his grave is not marked and neither is that of their son William Michael. However, William Michael’s wife Mary E. Smith LeGras and several of their children and relatives have monuments nearby:
Ignatius LeGras (1884-1953), son of William Michael LeGras and Mary E. Smith LeGras
In a double vault:
Micheal Legras (1878-1928), son of William Michael LeGras and Mary E. Smith LeGras
Cora Metoyer LeGras (1879-1913), wife of Micheal LeGras
Leo J. LeGras (1909-1942), son of William Michael LeGras and Mary E. Smith LeGras
Mary E. Smith LeGras (1852-1939), mother of William Michael LeGras
Ellen LeGras Mouton (1896-1969), daughter of Mary E. Smith LeGras
Mike F. LeGras (1901-1987), son of Micheal LeGras and Cora Metoyer LeGras
Bertha L. LeGras (1916 –), wife of Mike F. LeGras
In a double vault:
Clara LeGras (1889-1962), daughter of William Michael LeGras and Mary E. Smith LeGras
Comelle J. DeSelle (1881-1962), husband of Clara LeGras
6. Sergt. John Newton (1840-1908)
John Newton was born in Fowler, Saint Lawrence County, New York in 1840, after which his family relocated to western Michigan near Grand Rapids. It was there that John decided to join the U.S. Army in the service of the Michigan
6th Cavalry in 1862. His unit was led by Brig. Gen. Custer as part of the Third Division’s 2nd Brigade, composed of the 1st, 5th, 6th and 7th Michigan Cavalry regiments. Since all of the units were from Michigan they referred to themselves as the “Michigan Brigade”. On July 3, 1863, the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Gen. Custer led the Michigan Brigade against the Confederate advance of CSA Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart’s cavalry which attempted to turn the Union’s right flank. This confrontation developed into a lengthy mounted battle, fought mainly hand-to-hand with sabres, the result of which was a Confederate retreat. After the war, John migrated to Louisiana where he was drawn into the lumber business. He met and married Clemence Marie Harang, a native of Lafourche Parish in 1887. Eventually the couple moved to Alexandria while John was employed as a supervisor at the Robertsville saw mill in southern Natchitoches Parish. According to public records, they lived in a house in the Park Avenue neighborhood around 1900. John’s death was reported in August 1908. His is the only known Union veteran burial in this cemetery. John’s monument lies beside that of his wife:
Clemence Harang Newton (1860-1920)
7. Michael Ryan (1812-1894)
Born in Durrow, Kings County, Ireland, Michael Ryan decided to leave his homeland in 1839. When he arrived in New Orleans, he soon made the acquaintance of Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Alexander Porter who encouraged him to enter the legal profession. Michael began his studies with the assistance of Judge Porter, and with a letter of introduction from him, he eventually made his way to Alexandria. Michael gave his letter of introduction to Henry Boyce, who was then a Federal Judge for the U. S. Western District of Louisiana, and was also an immigrant from Ireland. With the encouragement of Judge Boyce, Michael prospered in the practice of law, and when he entered politics, he was elected to terms in both the state House of Representatives and the Senate. He married Maria Catherine Crane, a native of Virginia. They had several children, one of whom, Fannie Ryan, is also buried nearby.
Maria Crane Ryan (1827-1899)
Fannie Ryan (1856-1869)
8. William Stoddard Johnston (1816-1839)
During his relatively brief lifetime, William Stoddard Johnston enjoyed some advantages afforded to a privileged few. He was the only child of Josiah Stoddard Johnston and Ann Elizabeth “Eliza” Sibley, herself the daughter of the celebrated Dr. John Sibley of Natchitoches, whom Josiah married in 1814. William’s father was a native of Connecticut and studied law in Kentucky before moving to central Louisiana in 1805. After his arrival, Josiah was engaged in the practice of law and earned a very favorable reputation. He also was a successful planter. Josiah was elected to the First Territorial Legislature until 1812, at which time Louisiana became a state, whereupon he was appointed Judge of Rapides Parish by Governor W.C.C. Claiborne. William was born in 1816, and as he began his childhood education, his father Josiah was first appointed U.S. Senator to fill the unexpired term of James Brown in 1823, and then was elected to the same office twice, both in 1825 and in 1831. Thus it was on the evening of May 18, 1833 that both Senator Josiah Johnston and his son William, having recently graduated from Yale University with a law degree, boarded the steamboat Lioness headed up the Red River to Natchitoches. As its passengers slept, at 4:00 AM the Lioness advanced to Rigolet Bon-Dieu, just below Natchitoches when the vessel was torn apart by three violent explosions in quick succession. The explosions were thought to be the result of sparks from a candle used by the ship’s crew to inspect a cargo of gunpowder below decks. Twelve persons died in the accident, among whom was Senator Johnston. William survived, as did Rapides Parish Judge Henry Boyce and the future Governor of Louisiana, Edward D. White. While it is widely reported that Senator Johnston was buried in Rapides Cemetery, there is no monument for his grave. After his father’s death, William was engaged in the practice of law in Alexandria and in February 1839, at the age of 24, he was appointed Rapides Parish Judge by Governor Edward D. White, a fellow survivor of the Lioness steamboat survivor of the Lioness steamboat explosion. William married Maria Madeline Williams, the daughter of Archibald Pierce Williams, a wealthy planter. They had a son, William Stoddard Johnston, Jr. who was born in 1839. William’s life and judicial career was tragically cut short when he contracted a fever and died in September of 1839. His widow Maria erected an obelisk in his memory at a place in the Old Rapides Cemetery where two of William’s uncles, Darius S. Johnston and Lucius Johnston, are both buried beneath horizontal white marble slabs and where it is suspected that his father’s grave also lies. She later became engaged to marry John William Frost, who was killed in a duel in New Orleans before the wedding date. Maria had Frost’s body brought to Alexandria and buried beside her husband William. Afterward she moved to Philadelphia where she met and married Samuel McLean (1797-1881). Maria died in Philadelphia in 1883. William’s two uncles rest nearby:
Darius S. Johnston (1789-1819)
Lucius Johnston (1797–1819)
9. John William Frost (1814-1851)
Almost certainly the only native of Havana, Cuba in the Rapides Cemetery, John William Frost was born in 1814, the son of Dr. William Frost, a surgeon in the U.S. Navy who was stationed in Cuba at that time. Shortly before his father’s death, both of them traveled to Sandwich, Massachusetts, where John was placed in the care of Ezra S. Goodwin, a widely acclaimed Unitarian minister. While there, John attended the prestigious Sandwich Academy. Exhibiting a sparkling eye and a powerful gift of oratory, John became interested in the study of law and was tutored by famed Boston attorney, Andrew Dunlap. Afterward he practiced law both in Charlestown, Massachusetts and in Belfast, Maine. For reasons yet unknown, John was attracted to Brunswick, Georgia where he became involved with a new enterprise called Brunswick Land Company. The enterprise proved to be a failure, but while there, John met and married Margaret Ann Gignilliat. Together they had two children, a daughter and a son, but soon after bearing children, Margaret Ann died. John then moved to Concordia Parish, Louisiana around 1843 where he continued to practice law and argued cases before the Louisiana Supreme Court. It is suspected that during one of the Supreme Court sessions held in Alexandria, while presenting a well-argued case that he caught the attention of the widow Maria Williams Johnston. At some point they quietly became engaged. But John was also deeply involved in politics, and after moving to New Orleans, he became editor of the Crescent newspaper and regularly chastised his political foes. In 1851, he bitterly opposed Dr. Thomas G. Hunt and his followers for their support of certain U. S. congressional candidates. Ultimately, he challenged the doctor to a duel, and although duels were against the law, Dr. Hunt accepted the challenge. From a distance of thirty paces, Dr. Hunt proved the better marksman and shot John through the chest. Within ten minutes, John lay dead. In his pocket, they found a note written in his own hand with instructions to transport his body in the very same clothes he was wearing to Alexandria for burial. Obviously he had considered the possibility of being killed, but his impetuous act had left his two children orphans. It is believed that Maria arranged for the six-foot tall white marble obelisk to be placed above John’s grave. While he is buried only a few feet away from Maria’s husband William, John’s monument bears only a simple inscription, his initials J W F.
10. Miriam Hyams (1835-1844)
Miriam Ravencamp Hyams, born of Jewish parents, was the oldest child of the future Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Henry M. Hyams. As indicated by her monument, she was one of the victims, along with her aunt, of the "awful" steamboat disaster which occurred in the early morning hours of March 1, 1844. As the DeSoto headed down the Red River, the Buckeye made its way upstream on the Mississippi River. It was there at the confluence of both rivers that the two vessels collided. At least 80 travelers died in the mishap. The grave of Miriam's baby brother Samuel also lies nearby.
Samuel Eleazar Hyams (1841–1842)
11. Capt. Chittenden Edwin Ball (1828-1900)
Chittenden Edwin Ball, a native of Kentucky, was a steamboat captain and an important sawmill owner in the Tioga community in
Rapides Parish. C. E. Ball and his brother John were the co-owners of the 48-acre tract of land that in 1920 was used to construct the Louisiana Training Institute, the first state reform school for girls. The nearby community of Ball was named after Capt. Ball. His family erected a very tall white marble obelisk monument in his memory. The Ball Family yard is surrounded by a decorative iron fence in which 11 other family members are buried beside Capt. Ball:
Tillizzelle Pauline Talley (1840-1877), wife of C. E. Ball
John W. Ball (1870-1933), son of C. E. Ball
Bertha McManus Ball (1892-1947), wife of John W. Ball
Julius Dyer Ball (1881-1919), son of C. E. Ball
CarolineTillizzelle (1883-1884), daughter of Louis E. Ball
Sallie Ruth (1878-1882), daughter of C. E. Ball
Eulalie (1904-1904), infant daughter of W. H. and H. E. Barrone
Mary Ball (1861-1889), wife of S. L. Conerly
Frances M. Nalley (1857-1927), wife of Louis E. Ball
Louis E. Ball (1857-1915), son of C. E. Ball
L.W. Ball (1881-1905), son of Louis E. Ball
12. George Mason Graham (1807-1891)
George Mason Graham, a veteran of the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) where he served as a volunteer under General Zachary Taylor, built the famed Tyrone Plantation Home that is still located along Bayou Rapides. Best known as being "the father of Louisiana State University," he was charged with overseeing the building of the first university buildings at the original campus site just outside of Pineville, now a historic area. For many years, Graham served on the state university's Board of Supervisors. His wife and son are buried in close proximity.
Mary ElizaWilkinson Graham (1810-1855), wife of G. M. Graham
Duncan J. Graham (1850-1908), son of G. M.Graham
13. David T. Stafford (1849-1926)
Major General David Theophilus Stafford, the son of Brigadier General Leroy A. Stafford who was killed in the Civil War, was born at Edgefield Plantation in Cheneyville. David Stafford owned Montrose Plantation on Bayou Rapides and served as Tax Assessor and Sheriff for Rapides Parish. In 1904, he became Adjutant General of Louisiana and while head of the state's National Guard, he created Camp Stafford as the guard's headquarters. Camp Stafford later merged with Camp Beauregard which still serves as the Nation Guard headquarters outside of Pineville. Nearby are some of his family:
Amy Blanchard Graham Stafford (1849-1926), wife of D. T. Stafford
Duncan J. Stafford (1881-1938), son of D. T. Stafford
Margaret Gordon Stafford (1891-1963), daughter of D. T. Stafford
Lelia G. Wilkinson (1838-1891), wife of Joseph Hoy
Leroy Augustus Stafford II “Our Little Roy” (1890-1890), son of D.T. Stafford
Jesse Wright Stafford (1856-1922), brother of D. T. Stafford
Leroy Augustus Stafford (1877-1888), son of D. T. Stafford
14. William Prescott (1843-1849)
The son of Aaron Prescott and Mary Rose Emma Villain Prescott, William Prescott died at the tender age of five. His grieving parents ordered a magnificent miniature vault from the Philadelphia firm of John Struthers and Son, renowned for their superb marble monuments. The delicate and elaborate floral features upon the tiny vault are not to be seen elsewhere in the cemetery and have distinguished William’s monument as a lasting legacy. William’s parents are buried close by, as is his sister, Mary Celeste:
Aaron Prescott (1807-1866)
Mary Rose Emma Villain Prescott (1815-1864)
Mary Celeste Prescott (1841-1860)
15. Mary H. Wells Fulton Hooper (1778-1848)
Mary Henrietta Wells, a native of Manchac, Louisiana, moved with her family near Alexandria circa 1800. Her parents were Samuel Levi Wells I and Dorcas Tabitha Huie Wells. She first married Alexander Fulton who founded the town of Alexandria. Fulton, a local pioneer merchant and territorial legislator, is likely buried without a monument near his wife. After Fulton's death in 1816, Mary married Thomas J. Hooper (1788-1851). The grave of Mary’s sister, Emily Clementina Wells Casson lies nearby.
Emily Clementina Wells Casson (1786-1884)
16. Robert Alexander Crain (1791-1852)
Robert Alexander Crain was an important participant in the great Natchez, Mississippi Sandbar Duel of 1827, along with Jim Bowie, who later died at the Battle of the Alamo in Texas. There are many versions of the duel which reportedly started between Dr.Thomas H. Maddox and Samuel Levi Wells III, brother of Mary Wells, the woman for whose honor Wells was reportedly fighting to defend. Crain acted as a second to Dr. Maddox while Bowie was one of Wells’ seconds. After 2 shots were fired between the two principal duelists, with neither hitting their intended target, the two shook hands and walked away, but then the famous brawl broke out among the various participants. During this melee Crain shot at Bowie and Bowie shot back, both missing. Crain then shot and mortally wounded General Samuel Cuny, a Wells defender while Bowie stabbed Norris Wright repeatedly with his famous knife. Wright was a Maddox supporter. The brawl left Cuny and Wright dead and several others wounded. The concrete curb enclosing Robert Crain’s horizontal white marble monument also encompasses seven others:
Mary G. Blanchard (1818-1836), daughter of James & Eliza Overton and first wife of Carey Hansford Blanchard
Amy Blanchard (1775-1846), born Amy Newton, she married Thomas O. Blanchard and became the mother of Carey Hansford Blanchard
Carey Hansford Blanchard (1805-1861), Married three times: (1) Mary G. Overton Blanchard, (2) Ellen Evans Dexter Blanchard, and (3) Frances Amelia Crain Blanchard, and was also a participant in the Sandbar Duel.
Elizabeth Crain (1797-1850,) wife of Robert A. Crain
Ellen Evans Blanchard (1816-1841) daughter of Daniel and Hannah Dexter and second wife of Carey Hansford Blanchard.
Thomas Wood Crain (1828-1829) son of Elizabeth and Robert A. Crain.
Frances Amelia Blanchard (1821-1855) daughter of Robert A. & Elizabeth Crain and wife of Carey Hansford Blanchard
17. Hon. Jesse Atherton Bynum (1797-1868)
Born in Halifax County, North Carolina, Jesse studied law at Princeton College from 1817 until 1818. He was elected to four terms in the United States House of Representatives where he became infamously well-known for his fiery speeches. In 1836, he fought a duel with Daniel Jenifer of Maryland in which Bynum and Jenifer each fired six shots at each other, all of them having missed. As a result, both became the butt of jokes around the nation’s capitol. In 1839 he married Emeline Bray, and since he had begun to suffer from poor health, he retired from politics and moved to Rapides Parish where he became a planter. Although successful in business, Jesse Atherton died in 1868 after a lengthy illness.
18. James Madison Wells (1808-1899)
The youngest child of Samuel Levi Wells II (1764-1815) and Mary Elizabeth Calvit (1777-1809), James Madison Wells, a native of New Hope Plantation on Upper Bayou Rapides in Rapides Parish, owned 3 plantations, Kateland, Duroc, and Glencoe, near here before the Civil War. On May 11, 1832 in Rapides Parish, he married Mary Ann Scott, the oldest daughter of Judge Thomas C. Scott and his wife Marie Francoise Lulette Ledoux. His wife Mary was born in 1816, and she bore James fourteen children in all. As a strong Unionist, he was arrested more than once during the war by the Confederates but escaped each time. To compound his misery, the Union army burned his home and his cotton during the Red River Campaign of 1864. Wells is best known as one of the state's Reconstruction period governors (1865-1867) during that very turbulent time. He succeeded Michael Hahn who moved to the United States Senate in 1865. U.S. Army General Philip Sheridan was appointed military governor of Texas and Louisiana at that time, and he clashed with Wells over public policy differences and eventually removed Wells as governor. After his governorship ended, Wells served as President Ulysses S. Grant's surveyor of the port of New Orleans. His summer plantation home, Sunnyside still exists in Lecompte where he died in February 1899 followed by the death of his wife a few months later. The Governor’s grave is beside that of his wife and his son nearby:
Mary Ann Scott Wells (1816-1899), Governor’s wife
James Madison Wells, Jr. (1842-1897), son of Governor Wells and Mary Ann Scott Wells
19. Mary Josephine Girard (1838-1916)
Born a child of the farming couple of Andrew and Harriett Sanson in Grant Parish, Mary Josephine Sanson married an immigrant from France, Venant F. Girard about 1853. Venant was a merchant, operating a grocery and a bakery. Their daughter Mary Louise was born in 1855. When Mary Louise married in 1876, she chose as her husband John Compton Leckie. Leckie was in the mercantile business and operated a store near the edge of the corporate limits of Alexandria on Bayou Rapides. Tragedy struck on an October night in 1887 when John was murdered as he slept in his store. In November of the same year, a Negro, Louis Armstead, was tried and convicted of the crime and sent to the penitentiary for life. Meanwhile Mary Louise Girard attempted to keep their store running for a short time. Tragedy struck again just a week before Christmas that same year when her father suddenly disappeared after having been seen walking along Red River. A reward was offered, but when Venant was not located, fears mounted that he may have taken his own life. A brief obituary for Venant finally appeared in the February 1888 newspaper offering condolences, but lacking details concerning his death. In June of 1888, Mary Louise remarried, this time to Louis Girard, formerly of New Orleans, and as far as we presently know, Louis was not related to Venant Girard. Mary Josephine continued living quietly in Alexandria where she passed away in 1931. Her family erected an exquisitely carved white marble monument for her grave depicting an angel pointing skyward. It is the largest figural monument in the cemetery. Several family members are buried nearby:
Mary Louise Girard (1855-1931), child of Venant and Mary Josephine Girard and wife of (1) John C. Leckie and (2) Louis Girard (1867-1937)
A two-sided monument memorializes both John C. Leckie (1852-1887), husband of Mary Louise Girard, on one side, and Venant F. Girard (1831-1887) on the other side.
Josephine Wilson (1880-1901), daughter of John C. Leckie and Mary Louise Girard Leckie and wife of George Charles Wilson
Charles Leckie (1876-1935), child of John C. Leckie and Mary Louise Girard Leckie
Thomas G. Leckie (1882-1956), child of John C. Leckie and Mary Louise Girard Leckie
Lula Belle Leckie (1880-1946), wife of Thomas G. Leckie
Luther L. Secrease (1901-1921), son of Lula Belle Leckie by previous marriage
20. Benjamin Kitchen (1763-1849)
Based on material presented in support of his pension claim for his service in the Revolutionary War, Benjamin was born in Southampton County, Virginia in 1763. While living in Nash County, North Carolina, he enlisted in early 1776 at age 13 and served at various intervals amounting to about twenty-seven months in all. Benjamin was at various times a first sergeant, adjutant, lieutenant and captain with the North Carolina troops. After being wounded during the Battle of Camden, he recovered sufficiently to participate in the Siege of Yorktown. Following the war, he married Helen Mason Daniels in Nash County, North Carolina, and then they lived in Washington County, Georgia before moving to Natchez, Mississippi in 1798 and finally to central Louisiana in 1816. After the death of his wife in 1820, Benjamin married for the second time to Lavica Wilson about 1822. Between 1820 and 1840, he had a sizeable farm along Bayou Robert in Rapides Parish. After he died, Benjamin’s family erected a stone vault, still standing today, with an inscription which unfortunately has so seriously eroded that it cannot be read in its entirety. As a remedy for the illegibility of that inscription, the Sons of the American Revolution placed a small stone monument beside the original vault to honor his memory. Several of Benjamin’s family members are buried nearby:
Harriet M. Cuny (1800- ), daughter of Benjamin Kitchen, wife of Caesar J. Cuny
Caesar J. Cuny (1796-1853), husband of Harriet M. Kitchen Cuny
Martha Gray (1794-1849), daughter of Benjamin Kitchen, wife of Pleasant Henderson Hunter (1785-1830)
Benjamin F. Kitchen (1794-1818), son of Benjamin Kitchen, died of consumption contracted during the Battle of New Orleans of 1815.
21. Alphonse Cazeau (1852-1921)
A native of Avoyelles Parish, Alphonse Marcel Cazeau was reportedly the son of a white Frenchman and a free woman of color. As a young man, he traveled to New Orleans and became a baker’s apprentice. Afterward he returned to Avoyelles Parish where he married Elisé Berzat in 1879. They had two daughters, Marie, born in 1882, and Eliza, born in 1885. After moving to south Third Street in Alexandria, Alphonse and Elisé opened a bakery in a building next to their house in November 1901. Elisé and her two daughters delivered fresh bread, cakes and pastries throughout Alexandria each day using a horse-drawn buggy. Their bakery thrived, assisted by daily advertisements in the Alexandria Daily Town Talk newspaper. In 1905, the bakery was moved into a larger building at the corner of Rapides Avenue and Wheelock Street. After two years there, the bakery was moved again to its final location at Tenth and Lee Streets in 1907. The bakery was finally closed in 1918 when Alphonse and Elisé moved to California, where Alphonse died of cancer in 1921. While the bakery was still located at the corner of Wheelock Street, the Cazeau’s daughter, Marie, met Joseph Preston Bowman, a bricklayer who lived a few doors down from the bakery; in 1907 the couple were married. The Bowman family had already experienced tragedy when Preston’s sister, Rosa died in 1902 at age 15 and was buried at Old Rapides Cemetery. In 1911, tragedy struck again when Preston drowned while swimming at a family outing held on a sandbar in the middle of Red River. After his body was recovered, his family buried Preston’s body beside that of his sister Rosa. It is likely that the burial of the two Bowman children, as they related to Marie Cazeau, influenced the eventual burial in the same place whenever Alphonse died in 1921 and later when Elisé died in 1943.
Elisé Berzat Cazeau (1857-1943)
22. Charles H. Flower (1827–1858)
The son of James Flower and Sarah Mulhollan, Charles H. Flower was born into a society of planters whose properties lay south of Alexandria. In 1849, he married Clara Hope Sprigg. While still a young man, he reportedly became manager of Hard Times and Inglewood Plantations, and later purchased both of them. In 1858, Charles died unexpectedly, leaving a widow and four sons. He is buried inside a magnificent cast iron enclosure manufactured by the Wood and Perot Company of Philadelphia, PA. The gate and supporting gateposts are highly decorated and are extraordinarily heavy. Buried within the enclosure:
Clara Hope Sprigg Flower (1831-1891), his wife
Horatio S. Sprigg (1783-1847) her father,
Frances Jones Sprigg (1803-1880), her mother, Thomas Sprigg (1839-1857), her brother,
Frances Sprigg Compton (1828-1857), her sister, Clara Compton Raymond (1857-1950), her sister Frances Sprigg Compton’s daughter.
23. William Polk (1821-1898)
While his uncle, Bishop Leonidas Polk (1806-1864) became very well-known and respected as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, his nephew, William Polk chose a much different, yet equally distinguished path. A native of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, William first graduated from Chapel Hill and then migrated with his family to Louisiana. Not long after his arrival, he purchased and developed the Ashton Plantation comprised of more than 5,000 acres located south of Alexandria. Ashton had first been cultivated by Charles Mulhollan, who died in 1846 and was buried on the plantation. Before the land was placed into agriculture, it was part of a huge tract owned by local Indian tribes who ultimately sold it to merchant traders Alexander Fulton and William Miller. During William Polk’s ownership, he grew sugar cane with great success at Ashton, even while suffering huge financial losses as a result of the Civil War. William married Rebecca Evalina Lamar about 1855 and they had three children who grew to adulthood. Six months before he died, William moved to New Orleans to seek treatment for a troublesome heart condition. He died there in January 1898, and his family moved his body by train thereafter to Alexandria for burial. Inside the Polk Family fenced enclosure, William’s grave is joined by those of other family members:
Rebecca Evalina Lamar Polk (1819-1909), his wife
Olga Polk (born and died 1897), their daughter
Alice Polk Flower (1858-1939), their daughter
W. P. Flower (1855-1925), Alice Polk’s husband
24. Nick Velotta (1872–1853)
Immigrating to the United States at age sixteen from his native Italy in 1888, Nick Velotta eventually reached Alexandria, LA by the early 1900s. There he bought three lots in 1906 along what was then Gould Avenue (now called Rapides Avenue) where he opened a grocery business. In 1909, he built a large two-story building to accommodate the grocery store on the first floor, and the family living space on the second floor. Nick and his wife Donata, also an Italian immigrant, had several children, including a son named Frank who later opened a grocery store nearby. Nick is buried near the graves of three family members:
Marie Donata Mastriacova Velotta (1880-1933), his wife
Anthony L. Velotta (1897-1939), their son
Infant son (born and died November 25, 1922)
25. Henry Boyce (1797-1873)
Henry Boyce, a native of Londonderry, Ireland, came to Rapides Parish as a young man and initially practiced law near Bayou Leche. A lifelong planter and a survivor of the infamous steamboat explosion of the Lioness on Red River near Natchitoches, Boyce also was a State Circuit Court Judge, a United States District Judge, a State Legislator, and a U.S. Senator. His home was constructed in 1840, near what would become the Town of Boyce, which was named after him. Several family members are buried nearby, including his wife Irene:
Irene Archinard Boyce (1817-1841)
Philip Schuyler Vaningen (1869-1873)
Henry Archinard Boyce (1864-1865)
Anna Gertrude Seip (1846-1902), wife of Henry Archinard Boyce
Henry Archinard Boyce (1836-1922)
Alfred Wettermark (1870-1950)
Irene Boyce (1873-1960), wife of Alfred Wettermark
26. Col. Edward Graves Randolph (1829-1893)
A native Virginian, Edward moved first to South Carolina where he enlisted in the Palmetto Regiment of South Carolina which was engaged in the Mexican War (1846-1848). In about 1850, he moved to Bossier Parish, Louisiana with his wife, Mary Esther Thompson. When Louisiana seceded from the United States in 1861, Edward joined the Louisiana Ninth Infantry Regiment, serving first as captain and later as colonel. In 1875, he moved to Grant Parish where he acquired land, and later moved to Rapides Parish where he eventually acquired and developed what became the Kateland, Fairmount and Colomb plantations. Colonel Randolph’s wife and other family members are buried together in a fenced enclosure:
Mary E. Thompson (1834-1914), wife of Colonel E. G. Randolph
Beverly Harrison Randolph (1874-1926), son of Col. E. G. Randolph
William Cullen Roberts (1861-1915)
Sallie Graves Randolph (1871-1962), wife of William Cullen Roberts
Barbara (no other inscription)
Infant son of Mr. & Mrs. John Randolph, Jr. (Born and died 20 Jul 1940)
Frances Gordon Ogden (1877-1944), wife of John Randolph
John Randolph (1867-1935)