The History of The Daspit Family
Coteau de France Chronology

NOTE: The blanks which appear in this document are places were my copy was not legible.  If anyone has a clear copy and can fill in the blanks, please contact me.  Patrick Daspit
1715 About then the Daspit de St. Amand from France are in Louisiana.
1727 Jean Francois Daspit marries Marie Francoise Du Buisson, St. Louis Street, New Orleans. Amongst their children are:
  1. Dominique Born 1728 had a son ANTOINE born 1757 
  2. Pierre (First) had a son PIERRE (second) born
Antoine and Pierre (second) were therefore First Cousins. Their relationship in the following story is of greater importance than their cousin-ship however as will be seen.

Then as now many people were knows and addressed simply by their last names. A certain "DASPIT DE ST. AMAND" was such a person who was very real and yet very shadowy - in this story he was either ANTOINE or he might have been PIERRE. Such a crucial point of identity affected the lives of many people for 100 years and is still and will be for much longer a bone of conjecture and which is probably never to be solved.

From now on to simplify matters whenever PIERRE is mentioned it will be understood that Pierre Jr. or the Second is meant. 

1778 Pierre Daspit marries Marie Mayeaux.
1790 Antoine Daspit marries Eulalie Zeringue. Both are living on the "German Coast" (St. Charles Parish).
1795 A Paul Toups (no know relation to the Daspits) applies to the Baron de Carondelet who is Governor of the Territory of Orleans in the name of the Spanish King for a tract of land back of the Mississippi to establish a "Vacherie" - that is a cattle ranch. His application is approved and Carondelet gives Toups an "Order to Survey" to locate the following land requested by Toups in his application. 
  11 leagues from New Orleans 

3 1/2 leagues from the River past a Bayou Crocodile, past a Bayou Aux Cannes and ending near the Grand Marais "Great Swamp" near the Bayou Des Allemands. The whole forming a neck of land of a mean width of 18 arpents by 2 1/2 leagues long and bound on the sides by marshes and reed lakes. 

Baron de Carondelet in the name of the Spanish King, also grants an order to survey to a certain "DASPIT DE ST. AMAND" for 3824 arpents of land to be bounded by the Bayou Crocodile and the Bayou Aux Cannes and on both sides by marshes in the County of the German Coast on a high ridge known as "Les Coteaux de France," about 9 miles from the Mississippi, also to establish a "Vacherie." 

Immediately it can be seen from the directions given in their grants to Toups and Daspit de St. Amand. that both grants must be very close together or even more likely over-lap in whole or at least part. And to compound such a vague description and really confuse things many years later resulting in long and prolonged litigation's no official recorded survey was made until 1855 when the U.S. Deputy Surveyor Maurice Hauke made the first official survey - a lapse of almost 60 years.

When the extended and bitter litigation between the Daspit and the Lanfear heirs (and also many "Squatters" who thought they were settling on "Public Lands") many years later began these people at that late date were confronted by 2 critical and uncertain things and yet most vital:

  1. What were the true boundaries.
  2. Who was "Daspit de St. Amand."
1803 The U.S. Purchases Louisiana.
1803 Pierre Daspit remarried to Marie Leroux,[12]. This is a Plattenville Record and this may indicate that by then or shortly thereafter Pierre had left the German Coast and moved to Lafourche as he certainly did at one time or the other. 

All of these Daspits at one time or the other were well known. They had numerous tracts of land both in St. Charles and in Lafourche and other places including the City of New Orleans itself. This may be seen by looking at the old maps and also the numerous property transactions seemingly no end. Pierre Daspit even had property in the Barataria section. Many were public figures. There is a record that Antoine was a Major in the local militia. Pierre had at least 5 commissions in his life time. Justice of the Peace, Parish Judge, militia appointments, etc. Pierre's succession indicates his worth at his death to be well over $30,000.00 - no mean figure for those days.

1806 Shortly after the Louisiana Purchase, Congress began to appraise and survey its new property. An "Old Board" (O.B.) was first created for ascertaining and adjusting land claims. In the year of 1806 this O.B. confirmed the claim of the children of Paul Toups to a tract of land granted their father by Carondelet in the name of the Spanish King in 1796. This O.B. acknowledged that the Toups were the rightful owners. To identify this tract (boundaries same as mentioned in the original grant) it was then and there identified as "O.B. #74. From now on we well call this grant #74.
1807 The heirs of Paul Toups or better known as the "Children of Paul Toups" were: Frederick 


Mrs. Frederick Mathis

In that year these children sell grant #74 to ANTOINE DASPIT who is living on the Mississippi on a grant of his own. This Paul Toups grant #74 is in the rear of the Antoine Daspit property on the Mississippi. The sale was made for $600.00 - half paid on sale and half on sale of "The next sugar crop." 

Antoine had his purchase surveyed by a Mr. F. V. Portier "A known surveyor." It is described as being in the rear of his land on the Mississippi and about 3 leagues from the river, 11 leagues from New Orleans and 2 1/2 leagues in depth and 18 to 27 arpents in width. 

1813 A New Board of Commissioners appointed by the U.S. to replace the "Old Board," acknowledges a claim of DASPIT DE ST. Amand in the same fashion as the Claim of the Toups was acknowledged by the O.B. This New Board acknowledges that there is a conflict of this claim with that of Toups 74. The New Board numbers this Daspit Claim #529 and it is henceforth known in this resume by that number. 
1815 Laneige Daspit born. She was the grand-daughter of Pierre. She married twice. First to Mr. Champagne (of this marriage the writer is of descent) and second to Mr. Roussarie. Throughout her life Laneige was firmly convinced that Daspit 529 belonged to her grandfather Pierre and she spent much time, money, and effort to prosecute her claim, all to no avail. 
1815 Basilice Daspit marries Mathieu Hosard. Basilice was Pierre's daughter. Pierre was then a Judge in Lafourche. This is brought out here because the marriage certificate bears these (amongst others) signature. Wit: "Daspit St. Amand"
The marriage contract concludes with the signature of "P. Daspit" Judge. The point is that both of these signatures are obviously in the same handwriting.
1816 The U.S. Confirmed to "Daspit St. Amand" tract of land Claim 529 per Act of Congress 11 May 1816, Statutes at large vol. 3, page 573.
1837 Pierre Daspit died. His will and Succession has no mention of any part of the "Coteau de France." There is a mention of many papers, bills, etc. in the little armoire however, but nothing more. The succession is thorough otherwise. 
1845 Ambrose Lanfear buys #74 from the estate of "Daspit St. Amand." Of course Toups 74 we know definitely had years ago been bought by ANTOINE DASPIT DE ST. AMAND for $600.00.

Same time #529 is sold by the estate of "Daspit de St. Amand" to a Mr. F.M. Ward.

1846 Mr. C. A. Duplantis' papers shows that ANTOINE DASPIT died in that year. He would have been then 88. Now this would be in conflict with the statement above that #74 was sold by the estate of "Daspit St. Amand" in 1845 and the same with #529.

Reader please clarify if you know: Date that 74 was bought by Mr. Lanfear and same for Number 529 sold to Mr. Ward. This is important. 

It is now that Mr. Lanfear comes into the picture. We have stacks of paper on the Daspits certainly in so far as genealogy is concerned. We have nothing on Mr. Lanfear and even if he might have been a devil from the Daspit viewpoint, it must be conceded that he was very shrewd, industrious, successful and wealthy. He lived in New Orleans. He had 2 daughters. These daughters married by lived and died far from this scene of local disputes on part of their property. One lived in New York and the other is Belfast, Ireland. Last year or so the New Orleans phone book carried one listed number for a Lanfear. This year there is none. As we have come to a dead end with the Daspits it might be profitable to now learn about them.

1851 A group of New Orleans bankers, forwarding merchants, and other businessmen met to study the feasibility of a railroad from New Orleans to the Attakapas County, to California and other branch lines even hinted. The primary objective was to the rich Attakapas County to Opeousas. Other meetings were held that year with representatives from other parishes involved for decisions as to route, right of ways and the purpose of forming a company. Amongst the vice presidents of the Company was one AMBROSE LANFEAR. On the permanent executive committee was AMBROSE LANFEAR. A preliminary survey was made. Landowners along the way donated land for right of ways. It definitely was not a "Land Grant" railway.
1853 The NEW ORLEANS, OPELOUSAS AND GREAT WESTERN R.R. COMPANY was incorporated. It was to start at Algiers, via Thibodeux, Berwick Bay, Washington in St. Landry Parish, the Sabine at the Texas line to El Paso and California, with various branchlines proposed. The line went right through the "Coteau de France." Mr. Lanfear already owned #74, as can be seen. The building of this Rail Road is a great saga in the history of this country and is most interesting. 
1854 Ambrose Lanfear buys #529 from William Polk who had acquired it from Mr. Ward.
1855 Maurice Hauke, U.S. Deputy Surveyor, has surveyed #74 and 529. This is the first thorough and official survey ever made of those properties. The survey was approved by W. I. McCulloch Surveyor General of Louisiana. McCulloch submitted this survey to the General Land Offices in Washington. The General Land Office did not approve of that part of the Hauke Survey of #74 which a neck of it extended North-East of the Bayou Crocodile and ordered it surveyed as public lands. Lanfear the owner of 74 appealed to Congress that such a decision of the General Land Office was unjustified and would sever his lands extending from the Mississippi and would thus do him irreparable harm. Lanfear claimed that the lands he had bought extended from the Mississippi and extended unbroken to the Bayou Des Allemands and included the Coteau de France that is #74 and 529. Lanfear prays to Congress to pass and Act for his relief. That is to confirm the Hauke Survey and its approval by McCulloch and to reverse the decision of the General Land Office.
1856 On 18 Aug. 1856 Congress passes an Act "For the Relief of Ambrose Lanfear," awards to Lanfear IN SO FAR AS ANY OF THE RIGHTS OF THE U.S. OVER THE LANDS WERE CONCERNED the entire tracts 74 and 529 and approves the survey of Hauke as originally made and reverses the General Land Office. President Franklin Pierce signs the Act. This Act of Congress be it noted protected Lanfear from any claims of the U.S., but it specifically stated that it did not protect Lanfear from any other local claims by private individuals, the State of Louisiana, etc. all of which might have been settled in the Courts. The Act simply removed the UNITED STATES from any claim on the land. 
1858 The famous "Scrip" act was passed by Congress. They were officially known as "Certificates of Location." These were Government certificates awarded to a person for one reason or another and was transferable for the purchase of land either public or private.
1866(?) After Lanfear had had the Act of 1856 passed, he then proceeded to exploit his land and first he began by attempting to evict various squatters. Hunley and others who were living on the land in that part of tract 74 north of Bayou Crocodile brought suit against Lanfear in district Court. It is here that the battle of the Crocodiles began. Hunley and the Squatters claimed one Bayou Crocodile as the Eastern Boundary and Lanfear another yet further east. The Lanfear group claimed (with some justification) that Louisiana being so full of Crocodile (alligators) that many a bayou was so named in the days of old. One Washington Official no doubt very harassed with all these claims and counterclaims greatly lamented those Ubiquitous Louisiana Saurians. However Lanfear lost his case in the Louisiana Court. He lost his appeal in the State Supreme Court. He took it to the U.S. Supreme Court and the highest court refused to reverse the lower courts. It was from then that the present Bayou Crocodile as seen on maps became the Eastern Boundary of Claim 74 and Hunley and the Squatters remained on their lands which they claimed by pre-emption of public lands. 
1868 Laneige Daspit Champagne-Roussarie moved to New Orleans at about this time.
1875 Laneige and her brother Justin made several trips to the Lafourche country and elsewhere securing signatures from heirs of Pierre Daspit for power of attorney to secure an injunction to evict squatters from her alleged property 529 consisting of 5824 ARPENTS[13]. The injunction was granted. However it was never inforced. On advice of her lawyer probably in possession of 9/10 of the law Laneige herself with a son moved on the land. However the son became ill and she had to return to New Orleans where she lived with her daughter (Mrs. Pierre Brunet).
1876 The U.S. Issues a patent to Lanfear heirs for 74 and 529.
1877 The Surveyor general of the State of Louisiana issued 21 Certificates of Location "Scrip" good for 1690-45/100 acres of land (each certificate worth 80 acres except the last one for 90 45/100) and issued them to Ambrose Lanfear the owner of claim 74 and 529 now merged into one piece of property as per the Act of Congress of 1856. Lanfear claimed this Scrip and applied for it because of this merger of the 2 tracts of land that he had in good faith separately acquired. However by this merger he had actually lost 1690 45/100 acres - that part of the Toups 74 acreage merged into the Daspit 529 tract. So Lanfear applied for this scrip to cover this loss. The Surveyor General of Louisiana approved the scrip and actually wrote it out. However when it was sent to the General Land Office in Washington it was not approved and canceled on the grounds that true Lanfear had acquired the 2 tracts in separate purchases, still he himself had requested the Congress merge it into one tract as was done by the Act of 1856. The General Land Office argued that Lanfear had requested the Act to give him (Lanfear) positive protection and that from that date the land became one piece and no part of it subject to scrip, scrip being designed for those who lose a part of their land. The Land Office contended that Lanfear had not lost any land and that he actually possessed it. Therefore the scrip was denied him. 
1879 The Lanfear heirs takes an appeal from the decision of the Land Office in canceling the scrip mentioned above. Lanfear contended that when he applied for the Act of Congress in 1856 scrip was not in existence and the Scrip Act was only passed in 1858. Therefore at the time in 1856 he knew nothing of Scrip and hence could not apply for it as he well might have had had it been in existence rather than apply for an Act of Congress and which of course would have been to his advantage to the tune of 1690 45/100 acres of land. This was a very logical argument. The Land Office is reversed and Lanfear wins his case and he (rather his heirs) obtains his desired scrip as originally applied for. These certificates were located and patents issued to various transferees. 
1881 Laneige Daspit Champagne-Roussarie brings suit in District Court at Hahnville, St. Charles Parish, LA to recover the Daspit tract 529. Laneige based her claim on various witnesses sworn statements from her and others that the original 529 grant was issued to her grandfather Pierre Daspit and in fact it was well known that "Daspit St. Amand: and Pierre Daspit were one and the same person. She claimed that Lanfear had obtained the land through fraud and that even Maurice Hauke had been bought and shown the wrong boundaries, etc., etc. The Lanfear heirs (2 married daughters were now living out of state) through their lawyers played a delaying tactics. They had Laneige's bond increased. Finally they managed to throw the case into Federal Court in New Orleans on the grounds that the 2 only heirs of Lanfears were now permanently living out of State and the matter was one for the Federal Courts. The Lanfears had the best lawyers. They also had at least 26 pieces of legal Documents such as acts of sales, patents, Acts of Congress, besides the actual witness who testified that "Daspit St. Amand" and "ANTOINE St. Amand" were one and the same person. They argued that Pierre St. Amand had long left St. Charles Parish to reside in Lafourche. They cited his succession in which there was the damning omission of any reference to tract 529 or any other land in St. Charles Parish. They argued that 529 was right in the back of the Antoine original property on the Mississippi which pointed unerringly to its being applied to the Antoine Daspit property. Laneige had witnesses but had little concrete legal documents to base her claim. Her lawyers did not seem on a par with the Lanfear lawyers. She had not a shred of positive evidence that the "Daspit St. Amand" and "Pierre" were the same. Her case in comparison to the Lanfear's sophisticated presentation seems to me pitiable. She lost.
1882 The Lanfear heirs filed claim for scrip for that part of the Toups #74 tract NorthEast of the Bayou Crocodile which Lanfear had lost in the Hunley and Squatters case of 1866. They are successful and 1141.34 Acres of Scrip is awarded the Lanfears for that part lost. Therefore the Lanfears had by now obtained both original grants 74 and 529 either in actual land or scrip for parts they lost through litigation or due to overlap of the two grants. I figure it went about like this as to acreage: 
  #529 (3260.95 plus 1690.45 Toups overlap)  4951.40 Acres 
  #74 (1690.45 In Scrip for #74 lost to merger)  1690.45 Acres 
  Northeast Neck of 74 lost to Hunley paid by Scrip  1141.34 Acres 
7783.19 Acres
1893  That old un-reconstructed redoubtable now 78 years old brings suit again to recover. Her suit is about the same as in 1882. If fails miserably.
1956 The T & NO RR, Houston, Texas advises Mr. Laurence F. Daspit at 901 Austerlitz St., New Orleans, that they have no record or recollection of any trust fund of the R.R. or any of its predecessors for any payment to the heirs of Pierre Daspit St. Amand in case these heirs were successful in prosecuting their claim for the recovery of 529 on which the T & NO lines pass through. It was long rumored that such a fund was at one time kept and even it was rumored that a certain Daspit worked for the railroad and knew first hand of this. However at this late date (1956) it could be ____ last chance indeed that the railroad would remember this much less let such evidence on hand:
1966 A letter from the Humble Oil Co. to Mr. C. A. Duplantis, Jr. advises him ...

"Our Law Department has now advised that in their opinion the heirs of Pierre Daspit de St. Amand have no valid claim to any of the (Coteau de France) Property..."


Speculations: Suppose at this late date positive evidence were found that Pierre Daspit and "Daspit St. Amand" of Land grand 529 were found and to help out even more that fraud was used by the Lanfears or others in obtaining this land. Suppose that with crack lawyers, besides influential politicians could be obtained so as to manage to put the Supreme Courts and maybe others in the "Hip Pockets" of the numerous Daspit tribe (notorious for the reproduction of their kind to the detriment of their properties in contrast to the Lanfears) Suppose we were successful. Suppose that $10,000,000 or so in indemnity in one way or another could be obtained. Pierre Daspit had 8 children. Now figuring on my ancestral line. One of these children Marcellus had 16 children. One of these 16 Laneige had 8, one of these Eugene Champagne had 9, one of these 9 Marie Elmire had 4, one of these 4, Clement my father had 3. When this is broken down into shares and after deducting expenses it is extremely doubtful that my share, Clement Jr., would be $100.00 as you can well figure out.

Speculation: Grandmere Laneige spent a great part of her life (and money) to prosecute these claims. She even moved on the property itself in a cabin. She was dead certain of her case. How did she come about this. She must have had grounds. She was morally positive of Pierre her grandfather being the rightful person. She was not an imbecile but personally went out to gather signatures and interest others. She was the leader. And she never gave up and her last court case was when she was 78. She probably died convinced of her rightful position. She was no doubt of strong stuff as many of the St. Amands were (refer to the Taylor Daspit and Eraste Champagne Case in St. Martinville at a later day). The only interest I would have in this case is the interest in the story and a possible vindication of Grandmere Laneige. That is the most anyone could hope for at this date.

Speculation: If this "Daspit St. Amand" our mystery man could never be positively identified, how could the Lanfears be successful in obtaining the property on their alleging he was ANTOINE. If there is no proof that he was Antoine. In such as case it seem that the Government acted unjustly - the whole 529 should not have been awarded to Lanfear or Pierre's heirs. It should have become public property.


The above resume is compiled by C. Bourgeois, Jr. Erath, LA July 1966 from many documents personally owned and from many more loaned by Mr. C. A. Duplantis, Jr. It is the way I understand the case. I do not claim correctness for all of it. It is my interpretation of the matter from the material I have on hand. Others may have more and a better interpretation. It would be appreciated that anyone reading this would make any comments, corrections, additions to add to the story and forward to me for perhaps some published work later. Or if anyone is contemplating published work ____ or claims__________________.
Copies of this are today 15 July 66 submitted to the following who have been at this much longer and are much greater authorities than I.

Mr. C. A. Duplantis, Jr., Star Route B, Box 392, Franklin, La.

Mrs. I. Keenan, 420 Elmira Ave., New Orleans, La.

Mrs. Anna Mac Mellor, 1002 Joan St., Metairie, La.

Mr. A. H. Harold Brunet, 720 Greenwood Drive, Lake Vista, New Orleans.

The above I have corresponded with and received replies. I am aware that there are others. Perhaps you would like to pass a copy of this to others who may be interested and who may wish to comment.

Clement Bourgeois, Jr.
Erath, Louisiana 70533

(The above document was transcribed by Patrick & Pamela Daspit - November, 1996)