WHAT HAPPENED
TO
FRANCOIS AURORA METOYER DEBLIEUX?

J. Bruce Evans

Francois Aurore Metoyer was born March 8, 1831, eighth of eleven children in a prominent Natchitoches family. Her grandfather, Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer, from a wealthy LaRochelle, France, merchant's family, had come to Natchitoches some 75 years previously. He had 7 children with the famous African slave, Coincoin (see Melrose Plantation History), before he chose a legal marriage with the widow of an old friend, Etienne Pavie, also from France.

Aurore's father, Francois Benjamin, was the youngest son of this marriage. When Benjamin was a boy, his father, according to the 1810 Slave Census, was the largest slave holder in the parish.

Aurore's mother, Marie Aurore Lambre, was also a descendent of a prominent and wealthy Natchitoches family. Her mother, Suzette Prudhomme, was a daughter of Jean Baptiste Prudhomme, one of the earliest Natchitoches settlers. Jean Baptiste was Captain of the Militia in 1766 when Pierre Metoyer came from France and served under him.

Francois Benjamin, after whom Francoise Aurore was named, was elected to the Senate of the State of Louisiana in 1827. He had died in 1845, when Aurore was 14, leaving his wife, known as Madam Ben, and his 11 children, a huge estate. The 1860 Census lists Madam Ben with 119 slaves, 36 dwellings, 1,100 acres of improved land, and 3,000 acres of unimproved land. Her real estate was valued at $80,000; her personal property at $130,000; and her livestock at $10,000.

Aurore was apparently an attractive and popular young lady, as testified to in records from that period. Lyle Saxon, a writer in the early 20th century, lived for a time at Melrose Plantation and discovered an old song book published in 1850 which included a number of waltzes dedicated to Les Belles de la Cote Joyeuse--the belles of the Joyous Coast, that section of Cain River on which Aurore was born and grew up. Inscriptions note that some of the songs were composed in the city of Natchitoches in 1849, and printed in New York by Hall & Son the following year. Many of the waltzes are dedicated to the girls of the Joyous Coast, including Odalie, Julie, Cecile, Estelle, Henriette, and Aurore.

Saxon also discovered a diary of Lestant Prudhomme, written in 1850, with many references to these doves, angels, little loves of Cain River. He notes that Julie and Odalie are Lestant's sisters; Aurore is his cousin. This cousin is Francoise Aurore Metoyer.

Lestant Prudhomme, writer of the diary, was 22 years old at the time. His mother, Eliza Elizabeth (Laiza) Lambre Prudhomme, was a younger sister of Marie Aurore Lambre Metoyer (Madam Ben), the mother of Francois Aurore Metoyer. Laiza was 15 years younger than Marie Aurore, who was born in 1798.

At this time, Francoise Aurore was 18 years old, young daughter in this wealthy family which had been in Natchitoches for almost 100 years. Lestant's sister, Julie, cousin of Francoise, was 21. Lestant and Julie were fourth generation Natchitoches residents. In the mid 1800's, these two "Old Natchitoches" families lived on Cane River Plantations near to each other.

In his 1929 book, entitled Old Louisiana, Saxon included six months of Lestant's diary, omitting, he notes, about 5/6 of the entries. In pages from the diary not included in the book, Saxon writes of Lestant's responses to these girls to whom the waltzes (noted above) are dedicated: I am enchanted with the young ladies, their converstion pleases me, they are charmingly mannered, they are altogether beautiful and lovely. Saxon adds: Lestant is never happier than when he and Miss Aurore are together. He tells of making a fan for her, from the tail feathers of a wild turkey he has killed. She was 'pleased and surprised and blushed deeply' when he presented it to her.

On another day he took his cane and his copy of Blackstone (he was studying to be a lawyer) and set out for a walk, accompanied by his dog. Miss Attala and Miss Aurore rode by on horseback, and his description of their charms takes up a full page in his diary... (p. 233).

Other diary references, supported by the implications of the dedicated waltzes, indicate that these wealthy young people growing up on Cane River--among them, Lestant, his sisters and cousin Aurore, had a rather happy and carefree life filled with continual visiting, horseback riding, and parties in Natchitoches.

Introducing the diary Saxon notes: At the time that this diary was written in 1850, the Cloutiers, the Lambres, the Prudhommes, the Metoyers, and the rest had been neighbors for a century in a sparsely populated country. They had intermarried until they consistuted one large family... Lestant is at home after 4 years at college, now studying law in Natchitoches. Every day they ride on horseback to visit 'Aunt Benjamin' or 'Uncle Cloutier' who live on adjoining plantations. (p 166-7).

The six months of Lestant's diary included in the book (January-June, 1850) are filled with references to the intimate contacts between his family, especially he, his sister Julie, and his mother, with the family of my aunt Benjamin -- who is his mother's sister and the mother of Francois Aurore. Felix Metoyer, one of Francois Aurore's older brothers, is one of Lestant's best friends, also appearing continually. More than 30 separate contacts with aunt Benjamin are noted in the diary, along with many more with her son Felix.

Representative excerpts:

Jan. 30: We were gratified with the visit of my aunt Benjamin Metoyer...

Feb. 26: Mother and Julie went...to see my aunt Benjamin who had sent them word to come and see her.

Apr. 17: ...and dine at my aunt Benjamins, and they got my sister Julie to accompany them.

May 10: Mother started at about 10:A.M. to go and spend the day at my aunt Benjamin's. Father and I went there at about half past twelve.

May 21: ...mother having gone to spend the night at my aunt Benjamine's.

May 30: ...we got home just in time to ccompany my sister Julie at my aunt Benjamin's.

These and many other references confirm the close and continuous contact between the families of these two Prudhomme descendants, sisters Marie Aurore Metoyer and Eliza Prudhomme, along with their children Francoise Aurore and Felix Metoyer, and Julie and Lestant Prudhomme.

The next data available on Aurore is when she, at age 18, along with her mother acting on behalf of her minor daughter, sign a marriage contract with Eugene Valery Deblieux.

The Deblieux family, by contrast with the Prudhommes and Metoyers, were relative newcomers to Natchitoches. Alexander Deblieux and his son Alexander Louis had come from France in 1802 and settled in Georgia. They moved from Georgia to Natchitoches in 1813. Alexander Louis married in 1816, and his third son, Eugene Valery Deblieux (Aurore's future husband) was born in Natchitoches on January 11, 1820. Valery was educated in Vidin, France, and then returned home to Natchitoches. His first land transaction was recorded in 1843, when he was 23 years old. At age 26 he was commissioned a Lieutenant and served in the Mexican War.

After the war he returned home and purchased his first slave the following year, 1847: Tinny, age 40, a slave for life, without warranty; $100. The next year he and his older brother, Alexandre Louis Jr., purchased slaves for $25,000 from New Orleans.

Two years later, on May 24, 1849, Valery, then 29 years old, signed a marriage contract with 18 year old Aurore Metoyer, in which he established community property including half ownership of a plantation of Red River (The Willows), with 21 slaves, plus 4 slaves of his own and 765 acres of his own land. Aurore brought to the community as a dowry all her inheritance, from her late father. M. Benjamin Metoyer. Her mother, Mrs. Aurore Metoyer, also signed as mother and tutor for her minor daughter. The contract, signed before the parish notary and witnessed by two of her brother-in-laws, Pierre Phanor Prudhomme andValery Gaiennie who had married her older sisters, Suzanne Lise and Therese, states that the marriage will be settled instantly.

Now, back to the diary. The first direct reference to Aurore occurs on Saturday, February 23, 1850. Aurore and Valery have been married for 9 months and she is 6 months pregnant with their first child. Lestant records: The whole company that had agreed upon going to town today met here at about nine o'clock...Mrs. Deblieux and Julie (my sister) were in a carriage, and my friend Felix (Aurore's brother) followed on horseback.

Prior to Aurore's pregnancy the girls had probably taken the trip often by horseback with their brothers. Julie, we know from other references, was an avid horseperson, riding often with her brother and cousin. But now, with Aurore pregnant, they would reasonably take the carriage instead. Were these young cousins who had grown up together, danced and partied, and had waltzes written in their honor--Aurore, just 9 months married, 6 months pregnant, and still 18 years old, and Julie, only 20 at the time--busy discussing marriage and babies on their 15 mile trip into Natchitoches?

The following Tuesday: Mother and Julie went...to see my aunt Benjamine (Aurore's mother) who had sent them word to come and see her. On Saturday, March 2nd, Julie...my aunt Benjamin (and others) went to town this morning. On Thursday the 14th, aunt Benjamine arrived for dinner with the Prudhommes. On Friday the 22nd, Lestant went to town with Mrs. Ben. his cousin Felix, and others. They stayed in town (Natchitoches) for Palm Sunday on the 24th, and were back again with My aunt Benjamin and others for Holy Saturday, the 30th.

On Tuesday, April 9th, they left for Mrs. Benjamin's...to get some medical plants. On Friday the 12th, Lestant and Felix went as far as my aunt Benjamin's and returned before supper with Felix who came to spend the night...to be ready to go in this morning fishing with Leonce and me. On Sunday the 14th, he went to town again, along with My aunt Benjamin and Ephalide for confirmation ceremonies at the convent. The following Wednesday they started to go and dine at my aunt Benjamin's, and they got my sister Julie to accompany them. On Saturday they again went to spend the day at my aunt Benjamin's. Also, the next day, Sunday, All the company left to go and spend the day at my aunt Benjamin's.

Wednesday, the first of May, Felix, Aurore's brother, spent the night with Lestant. The next morning they started on a journey and met Octave Metoyer, another of Aurore's brothers. Then, a week later, on Friday, Mother started at about 10:A.M. to go and spend the day at my aunt Benjamin's. Father and I went there at about half past twelve.

The next direct reference to Aurore comes the following day, Saturday, May 11. Lestant had a rather dreary day, but in the evening he received word of the birth of his cousin Aurore's first child, who would be named Alexander Louis Deblieux: Having the news, by an express sent purposely, that Mrs. Valery Deblieux had been delivered of a fine boy, there was a salute of twelve or fifteen shots at Phanor's and I answered here.

Records of Immaculate Conception Church, Natchitoches, also confirm that Alexandre Louis DeBlieux was born on May 11, and baptized July 26, 1850. The 1850 Census, taken later that year, lists Valery DeBlieux, age 30, with Aurore, age 20; Louis 6/12 (one half year old); and Real Estate valued at $6,000. The Slave Census of that year shows that they owned four black slaves: 1 female, age 45; 1 female, age 25, 1 male, age 5; 1 female, age 3.

Back to the diary: The following Wednesday, My sister Julie had gone at my aunt Benjamin's to meet mother and spend the day there...about 6 P.M. I went at my aunt Benjamin's...Mother remained again tonight at my aunt Benjamin's, my aunt not having returned from Grand Ecore where whe has gone to see her daughter Mrs. Valery Deblieux. (Grandmother was spending the night at the Willow's Plantation with her daughter, Aurore, and her new grandson.)

His entry for Saturday, 18th, 1850 (3 days later), notes: I left town with Felix Metoyer at about 10 A.M. to go at Mr. Valery Deblieux's. There was a pretty numerous company at the house, so the day was spent in a most pleasing way, and we saw the gentleman's first born (a boy). My aunt Benjamin...was there. (Grandmother apparently visited often). The numerous company would indicate quite a celebration of the birth of this first son.

The section of Lestant's diary included in Saxon's book ends one month later, but includes nine more references to visits and contacts between the two families.

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The next available data on the Valery Deblieux family shows that four years later, on December 9, 1854, Valery purchased, from his older brother, Alexandre Deblieux, his half of the family plantation land, slaves, and improvements, for $13,650. (The Willow's Plantation on Red River at Grand Ecore, which they had acquired from their father.)

Two months later, on February 13, 1855, a long Marriage Contract between Valery and his wife Aurore was recorded with the Clerk of Court (In French, Book 48, page 267) witnessed by Phanor Prudhomme, Aurore's brother-in-law. The contract which is dated May 24, 1849, stipulates that the parties settled as follows the civil conditions of marriage which will be celebrated instantly. Included in the community property are Valery's one half interest in the Willow's Plantation at Grand Ecore, some 960 acres, plus 23 slaves listed by name (including, Prince, Negro of 30 years, Soloman, "griffe"--half-breed of black and mulatto, Big George, mulatto, 16, Little George, Little William, Milly, female "griffe", Victorine, female mulatto, 26, Ellen, female Negro, 22, and her child Leur...), plus livestock and improvements. In addition he brings the 4 slaves which were noted above in the 1850 Slave Census, plus some 765 acres of other lands.

The future wife brings as a dowry all her inheritance from her late father, Benjamin Metoyer. In consideration of their marriage, the future husband gives to his future wife, should he predecease her without any children, the amount of three thousand piastres...to be received by the surviving wife personally and for her to dispose at her convenience. In case of surviving children...his surviving wife shall take in his inheritance, the available amount determined by the law... (Note: this translation from French was done by Sylvie Dion for Bruce Evans in 1991).

PUZZLE BEGINS

A family puzzle begins at this point. First, a short version of the above noted Marriage Contract: Contrac de mariage Entn E.V.Deblieux - Aurore Metayer 24 May - 1849, hand written in French, exists in family papers with a similar list of slaves and properties as shown in the noted contract which was recorded five years later. The first unrecorded contract is only 1 page long and is without witnesses. Why was the original unfiled? Since Valery had already purchased his brother's half of the Willows in 1854, this contract filed in 1855 must be the original written in 1849.

On the same date that the second contract was filed, February 13, 1855, a Marriage License was also filed with the Clerk of Court. Marriage records show: F.A. Metoyer and Eugene V. DeBlieux married 2/13/55. Had they not been married in 1849, as the original contract stipulated? Two weeks after this Marriage Contract and License were filed with the Clerk of Court, Aurore gave birth to their second child, a daughter, Marie Aurore, on February 27, 1955. Why was the witnessed contract filed at this time, five years after they were supposedly married, and just before the birth of their second child?

The plot thickens soon. Just over two months after their marriage was recorded and their daughter born, Valery filed a second Marriage Contract with Marie Julie Prudhomme (Aurore's cousin and family friend as noted in the diary entries above), on May 2, 1855. Also a Marriage License with her was issued on the same date. This contract, written in English rather than French, appears in the same book of transactions (Conveyance Book 48; page 389), in Natchitoches Parish, 120 pages down from the first contract.

Whatever may have occurred between them, the puzzling fact is that Julie married her friend and cousin Aurore's husband, Valery DeBlieux, just two months after Aurore's second child was born. Another curious fact is that no record of a divorce from Aurore has been found recorded in any Natchitoches archives, where all the other noted contracts and licenses are recorded. Thereafter, we know nothing about Aurore until her death, perhaps 20 years later.

This second contract between Valery and Julie Prudhomme attests that they have entered into and agreed that there shall be a community of property existing between them...from the day of the celebration of their marriage. Debts contracted prior to the marriage were to be paid by Valery without the property of the other being in any way liable. Listed in the community property is the plantation on which he now resides (The Willow's, half of which he had inherited, and the second half which was purchased from his older brother while he was married to Aurore); also, 400 acres of land on Old River and some 23 named slaves now on or attached to the plantation on which the said DeBlieux now resides. Several of these slaves (Jacob, George, Prince, Little William, etc.) were also named in the first contract with Aurore, except with older ages in the second contract.

Julie agreed to bring into the community...A negro woman named Mary aged about 20 years, and two thousand dollars in cash, given by her parents in advance of a settlement to be made with their other children and heirs...also a negro girl named Elizabeth aged 16 years, the actual and undivided property of said Marie Julie Prudhomme...the two women...are known to be house servants...the first is estimated at this time at the sum of one thousand dollars, all of which slaves and money the future husband acknowledges to have received. Also they agreed that if one died before the other the remaining spouse would have full usufruct of the community property during their life time.

This contract was done and passed at the residence of Mr. Antoine Prudhomme in the presence of the Recorder and Notary on this first day of May A.D. 1855 and these witnesses: Lestan Prudhomme, A.L. DeBlieux, A. Prudhomme, P.S. Prudhomme. (Antoine, at whose home they were, was either Julie's grandfather or older brother, probably the later. Lestan was either her father or older brother, and A. Prudhomme was more likely her other older brother. A.L. DeBlieux was Valery's older brother. P.S. Prudhomme was probably her Uncle Phanor.)

Three months later, on August 20, 1855, Marie Aurore, infant daughter of Valery and Aurore DeBlieux, baby sister of Alexander Louis, died. No information is available on Aurore, but Valery and his new wife, Julie, had their first daughter, Marie, on January 29, 1856, eight months after their Marriage Contract was signed. The child died eight days later.

A second child, Leon, was born to Valery and Julie the following year, 1857, followed by a daughter, Camille, in 1860. The 1860 Census of Natchotoches lists: E.V. DeBlieux, age 40; Julia, age 30, A.L. (Alexander Louis), age 10, B.L, age 2 (Leon). A second Louisiana Census of Free Inhabitants, Natchitoches Parish, taken later that year, lists: E.V. Deblieux as age 40, Planter, Real Estate: $25,000; Personal Estate: $34,850. Wife: Julia, age 20 (30?); A.L .age 10; B.L. age 2; and Carmelia, 14 (months?).

The puzzle expands here: What happened to Aurore, Valery's first wife, mother of Alexander? Their son, then aged 10 was, according to the census, living with his father and step-mother. Did his father take him, at age 5, into his second marriage? How or why did his mother give him up? No other information is available on Aurore after Valery apparently left her to marry her cousin, Julie, eight months before their first child was born. Did Aurore lose her mind and get put away as a family secret? Did she run away with another man? Or did she die?

In a book, Biographical & Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana, published in 1890, there is a sketch about Eugene Valery DeBlieux, describing him as: One of the foremost planters and wide-awake merchants of Natchitoches...Received his early training in France and Louisiana, and being left to his own resources, in 1837 he settled upon an 800 acre plantation and is now the owner of 600 acres, and engaged in planting and merchandising... The sketch goes on to note that on...May 22, 1849, he married Aurora Metoyer, of Louisiana, who died September 25, 1853, leaving to his care the following family: Alexander L. and Aurora (deceased). He was again married, in 1855, to Julie Prudhomme, also of Louisiana, and to this marriage have been born nine children....

In Nardini's summary of Prudhomme genealogy Julie Prudhomme is listed as wife of Valery DeBlieux widower of Aurore Metoyer, also implying that Aurore had died before their marriage.

However, Francoise Aurore could not have died on September 25, 1853, leaving to his care the following family: Alexander L. and Aurora (deceased) as reported in the publication of 1890, noted above, since her last daughter, Aurore, was not born until February 27, 1855. Apparently she lived for 20 more years after her husband re-married. Her gravestone in the Catholic Cemetary, as noted in the publication THE NATCHITOCHES CEMETERIES, by Prudhomme and Christensen, published in 1977 shows her grave next to that of her infant daughter:

1433. Francois Aurore Metoyer, Mar. 8, 1831-Sept 22, 1875, dau. of F. Benjam Metoyer & Marie Aurore Lambre wife of E.V. DeBlieux. Next is:

1434. Marie Aurore DeBlieux, Feb 27., 1855-Aug. 20, 1855, dau. of Eugene Valery DeBlieux & Francoise Aurore Metoyer.

Did she return home to her mother after being left by her husband? The 1860 census lists her mother, Mrs. Benjamin Metoyer, as age 62, Planter, 1 child, 2 in household... At this timeMadam Ben's youngest daugher, Marie Louise Aimee, was 22 years old and had married the previous year. It is unlikely that she would be the 1 child. Could it be Aurore returned home? However, the 1870 census lists Mrs. Aurore Metoyer as 73, with her daughter Amelie, 34, living with her. Very likely this was the same 1 child listed in the 1860 census.

On the other hand, the date on the gravestone, September 22, 1875, is contradicted by her mother's will, dated June 26, 1874, in which she bequeaths land to her grandson, Louis, Aurore's first son, born in 1850, noting Aurore as deceased. Early in this will, written in French, she bequeaths to Louis Deblieux son of Aurore Metoyer deceased, a piece of land numbered Lot 1, consisting of 355 acres valued at $2197. The will continues with equitable donations to each of her other children. One puzzling part of the will is a sentence near the end after the designated gifts, in which she adds: It falls to Louis Deblieux from my succession the sum of $150 owed to his mother for movable property...my daughter Aurore Metoyer, deceased...

If she had died 20 years earlier it seems unlikely that a $150 debt would still be owed. It appears more probable that she may have recently died; still, since her mother's will is dated June 26, 1874, and notes Aurore as deceased, with her share of the succession going to Aurore's son, Louis, certainly Aurore was dead before the date noted on her tombstone (Sept 22, 1875).

OTHER PUZZLING FACTS

1. In the Index of Successions in the Natchitoches Parish Court House, the succession of Aurore Metoyer is listed as #813. The file folder is placed in the proper box; but there are no contents. A check of the microfilm, which was made of old successions in 1975, shows that the file was already missing then.

2. Aurore's mother, Madam Ben, died on September 1, 1877. Her oldest son, Benjamine, filed in Probate Court, on September 21, a petition for probating her will (noted above) which was in his possession. The judge set the opening for October 1, 1877. On the first page of this petition, listing the heirs, this line occurs: .... Louis Deblieux, son of (a blank space is here) Metoyer decd. Late wife of E. Valery Deblieux, a gransdon... The first name, Aurore, is written in in pencil on this original document. Was the name first scratched out and later rewritten in? Or was it omitted in the original document? If so, why?

Final papers filed on June 24th,1880, confirm the various bequeaths Madam Ben's heirs, including the one noted above to Louis Deblieux: Aurore DeBlieux nee Metoyer by estimate value of lot No one $2197, A.L. Deblieux sole Heir. (This succession, #1814, is also listed in the Index To Successions in the Natchitoches Parish Court House; the packet of documents is available in the archives. Also #1568 of A.L. DeBlieux, and #2427 of E.V. DeBlieux.)

3. In 1990 I explored the Catholic Cemetary, Church and Fifth Streets, in Natchitoches, and found the tombstone of Valery Deblieux with that of his second wife, Julie Prudhomme, and other Prudhommes. About 50 feet East, in the plot of the Francois Metoyers, I found Aurore's tombstone next to that of her mother. I read and recorded the date of her death as Sept 22, 1875, as I later found confirmed in the publication noted above. On a return visit in January 1996, I could not find the gravestone of Francois Aurore.

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SUMMARY OF PUZZLING DATES

May 24, 1849: Marriage Contract between E.V. Deblieux and Francoise Aurore Metoyer.

May 11, 1850: Son, Alexander Louis, born.

February 22, 1855: Above Marriage Contract was recorded with Clerk of Court. Also a Marriage License between F.A. Metoyer and Eugene V. Deblieux was issued on the same day.

February 27, 1855: Marie Aurore, daughter of E.V. and Aurore, was born.

May 2, 1855: Marriage Contract between Eugene V. Deblieux and Marie J. Prudhomme was recorded; also Marriage License issued on same date.

August 20, 1855: Infant daughter, Marie Aurore, died.

January 29, 1856: Marie, first daughter of E.V. and Julie Prudhomme, was born.

February 6, 1856: Infant daughter, Marie, died.

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QUESTIONS

1. Why was the original marriage contract, dated May 24, 1849, stipulating marriage which will be celebrated instantly, not filed until February 22, 1855, almost five years after their son had been born, and five days before their second child, Aurore, was born? Also, why was their marriage license not issued until that same day? Were they never officially married? Was this a hasty filing before the last daughter was born, as an attempt legitimize her birth?

2. Since Valery filed a second marriage license and similar marriage contract with Julie Prudhomme just over two months later, and eight months before Julie delivered their first child, was he then having an affair with Julie? Or was their child simply premature?

3. What was Lestant Prudhomme's relationship with his cousin Aurore? He was less than 2 years older than she; her older brother was one of his best friends. If he visited with his Aunt Benjamin, Aurore's mother, over 30 times in the five months included in the diary, surely he and Aurore had grown up with continual visiting between their families.

As noted previously, in pages from the diary not included in the book, Saxon writes of Lestant's responses to his cousins: I am enchanted with the young ladies, their converstion pleases me, they are charmingly mannered, they are altogether beautiful and lovely. Saxon adds: Lestant is never happier than when he ard Miss Aurore are together. He tells of making a fan for her, from the tail feathers of a wild turkey he has killed. She was 'pleased and surprised and blushed deeply' when he presented it to her.

On another day he took his cane and his copy of Blackstone (he was studying to be a lawyer) and set out for a walk, accompanied by his dog. Miss Attala and Miss Aurore rode by on horseback, and his description of their charms takes up a full page in his diary... (p. 233).

If this Miss Aurore was our Aurore Metoyer, as seems likely, it would appear that Lestant was enamoured with his young cousin. Yet in his diary, after she was married to Valery, he only refers to her as Mrs. Deblieux and Mrs. Valery Deblieux. How formal this sounds for his personal diary! Was he cloaking earlier feelings of attraction?

4. And what about his younger sister Julie who was surely a close friend of her cousin Aurore, as noted in the many diary entries noted above? Julie was only 9 months younger than her brother Lestant, and a year and a half older than Aurore. The dedication of waltzes to Julie and Aurore implies that they must have danced and partied often together. During Aurore's first pregnancy they rode together in the carriage from their nearby plantation homes to Natchitoches. After the child was born, diary entries note continual visits between both families. Surely Julie was also present at the pretty numerous company visiting with Aurore, Valery, and their new son three days after his birth.

What missing information would account for the fact that Julie Prudhomme married her cousin Aurore's husband, Valery, just 2 months after Aurore's marriage with Valery was recorded and their second child was born?

Whatever happened to Francois Aurore Metoyer Deblieux remains a mystery.

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(Note: Interestingly, Lestant Prudhomme, Julie's older brother, writer of the diary quoted above, studying to be a lawyer at the time, never practiced law nor did he ever marry. Saxon goes on to note on page 244: He continued his social activities to the end of his days, spending his declining years with his sister Julie, who had married a Mr. Deblieux and who lived on a plantation near Red River --The Willows.)

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*Aurore Metoyer DeBlieux is the great great grandmother of my wife, Anita Evans. I discovered this puzzle while doing research on her family and have collected the above data in the process. Any corrections or additional information will be appreciated. I may be contacted by mail at: 1674 Glenmore, Baton Rouge, LA 70808; by phone: 504-925-9059; or by E-mail: bevans00@cox.net

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