My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Monday, February 13, 2012

SUNDAY'S OBITUARY - Jacques Omer Fortier (1813-1867)

Jacques Omer Fortier, born in 1813, is my 3rd-great-grandfather. His father was Jacques Omer Fortier (1792-1823); his grandfather, too, was Jacques Omer Fortier (1759-1820). His grandfather and father had a large sugar cane plantation on the German Coast, one that the first Jacques Omer had built, near the present-day-town of Kenner, Louisiana.

Omer was the oldest of three children born to his father and mother, Charlotte Adele Chauvin deLery (1796-1834). His father died when he was only 7 and his mother soon remarried - Jean Baptiste Dubrueil Villars (UNK-1844). Omer's younger siblings were Aime Adele Omer (1815-1861) and Valcour Barthelemy (1816-1865).

On May 9, 1840, in St. Louis Cathedral in the heart of New Orleans, Omer married Augustine Melanie Laperle Degruy (1822-1872) and they soon started a family. Together they had eleven children; only seven lived to adulthood, including my great-great-grandmother Odalie Felicite Fortier (1857-1920), their seventh child.

Omer and Laperle lived in the French Quarter, at 256 Bourbon Street. In 1860, before the Civil War, Omer listed his occupation on the U.S. Census as "clerk." [NOTE: The numbers to the houses on Bourbon Street changed in the late 19th century. The home where Omer and his family lived is still standing. Its current address is 1116 Bourbon Street.]

In 1854, at the age of 41, Omer was elected by the New Orleans Board of Assistants to serve as "Collector of Levee Dues on Steamboats for Second District". I'm not sure if this was a full-time position or primarily one of a political nature.

On December 19, 1867, Omer died, at the age of 54. He was survived by his wife and six children. His wife gave birth to their eleventh child five months after his death. His children were between the ages of 0 and 18.

The notice of Omer's death appeared the following day in the New Orleans Bee (L'Abeille) on page 1 of the newspaper.

Omer Fortier '
"Yesterday at 2:00, P.M., JACQUES OMER FORTIER, a native of New Orleans, aged 54 years.
The friends and acquaintances of the family, and those of his brother-in-law, Onesime De Gruy, are respectfully requested, without further notice, to attend his funeral, THIS DAY, 20th instant, at 3 1/2 o'clock P.M., from the Chapel in Algiers."

The Chapel is most probably Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church, the first Catholic Church in Algiers, just across the river from the French Quarter. He was buried at St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, the oldest cemetery in New Orleans, opened in 1789.

[Omer Fortier is the father of my great-great-grandmother Odalie Fortier Horst (1857-1920). Odalie is the mother of my great-grandmother Pearl Horst Flemming (1884-1961). Pearl is the mother of my grandmother Susie Flemming O'Donnell (1909-1999).]

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