You may not have heard these two names before, but they were the parents of two of the most powerful people in Monroe during their lifetime. While looking through the new newspaper database I am interested in, I found the following article. It tells the tale (over a hundred years later) of how Louis Michel Jean Francois Lamy married Felicity Roy. The two were the parents of Louis Lamy and Louisa Lamy McGuire. Louis, Sr. also helped start the very first school in Ouachita Parish in 1811. Louis and Felicity married at Fort Miro way back in 1797. I don’t know how much of the article is accurate but it makes for a cute story!
The New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 14, 1905, Page 34
A COLONIAL ROMANCE.
Curious Laws Instituted In Spanish
Times to Encourage Matrimony.
Picturesque Marriage of Young Lamy,
Whose Descendants Are Still
Prominent in Monroe, La.
(Special to the Picayune.)
Monroe, La., May 13. – The period of Spanish domination in the history of Louisiana abounds in much that is interesting and instructive. One of the interesting things is the evident alarm with which the representatives of Spain viewed the birth and growth of the United States of America, and still more interesting are the measures which were adopted to secure safety for the possessions of His Catholic Majesty, the King of Spain, in case the young republic should attempt to encroach upon them.
It seemed to be the general opinion that only an increase in population could insure exemption from invasion. Don Martin Navarro, the Intendant under Governor General Miro, in one of his dispatches, said: “If the province of Louisiana is intended to serve as a barrier against the Americans, it cannot answer this purpose without a considerable increase of its population.” Governor Miro himself, in a dispatch dated June 3, 1789, said: “His Majesty, has ordered me to foster the increase of population.”
Accordingly the increase of population was fostered both directly and indirectly; directly, but the importation of entire families at the expense of the Government; indirectly; by the strictures laid upon unmarried males who had attained their majority and by the premium placed upon marriage. Indeed, to such lengths did some of the officials go in executing the wishes of the King and the instructions of their superior officers that in some districts an unmarried man was not allowed to reside permanently. This was true in the district of Ouachita, where the population remained almost stationary in the matter of numbers, it being 207 in the year 1785, and 232, only 25 more, in 1788.
The most important settlement in the District of Ouachita at this time was Fort Miro, afterward called Monroe. The commandant of the post was Don Juan Filhiol, whose sword, a three-edged small sword of that period, now hangs in a case behind the Judge’s chair in the Ouachita Parish Courthouse at Monroe. This sword was presented to the commandant by Governor Miro, and was in turn presented to the Parish of Ouachita by the commandant’s grandson, Hypolite Filhiol. We are not informed as to why the sward was given to Don Juan Filhiol by Governor Miro, but in the light of certain events, we cannot be wrong in assuming that it was intended as a mark of approval for faithful discharge of duty, especially in the matter of fostering an increase of population. The certain events just alluded to include the one which is narrated below, which has, perhaps, never before come under the notice of the reading public.
To Fort Miro one day came a young man from New Orleans, whose name was Lamy. Within a short ime after his arrival he reached the age of 21 years. Liking the place, he determined to make it his home, but his determination received a most severe shock when, a few days after he had attained his majority, he was waited upon by a Spanish official, who informed him that if he expected to reside in Fort Miro permanently, he must marry, and, moreover, that he had only three months in which to do so. In astonishment, Mr. Lamy told the officer that he was almost an entire stranger in Fort Miro, and was not acquainted with any ladies in the place; and, besides, he did not care to marry. The officer gave him to understand that the first difficulty might be surmounted by attending that very night a ball, at which all the pretty girls of the settlement and the belles from the surrounding country would be present; and this would open a way by which the remaining difficulty might be overcome, since he would have a chance to pick out a sweetheart from the girls attending the party. Lamy again protested that he did not want to marry, and did not intend to marry, but when the ball opened, he was there.
At the ball he was introduced to the girls, because he wanted to dance. Among the girls was a Miss _____, from a neighboring place, possibly Bayou De Siard, and, much to his own surprise, Lamy took a fancy to her. They danced a while and talked a while, and before the party was over, contrary to his intentions, Lamy found himself deeply in love. The young lady was very much pleased with him, so when he asked permission to call on her at her home, permission was readily granted. This led to their marriage within the time allowed the gentleman by the Spanish regulation, and he, no doubt, congratulated himself that the demands of the law now exactly coincided with his most ardent wishes.
Two of the children resulting from this union became very prominent; Judge Lamy was one, and Louisa Lamy the other, than whom none in Ouachita Parish were better known and better loved. The latter married Dr. R.F. McGuire, of Monroe. Several children blessed this marriage, but all of them died young, including a most promising son, who had just finished his schooling, and who was stricken down within a few days after his return home. Instead of nursing her grief, Mrs. McGuire devoted her life to flowers and to orphan children, bringing up in her own home, perhaps, as many as twenty unfortunate little ones to whom she gave every advantage which her own children would have enjoyed had they lived. This lady, who was universally admired and loved, died Feb. 4, 1882, in the 80th year of her age, having survived Dr. McGuire about twenty years. She bequeathed almost her entire fortune to the Masonic fraternity, Wester[n] Star Lodge, of Monroe, being the immediate beneficiary. Her name was given to the Eastern Star Chapter in Monroe, which is known as Louisa L. McGuire Chapter Eastern Star, and her name is engraved upon marble in the City Cemetery at Monroe, but better than this and more enduring is the memory of her exalted life and character, which is cherished in the hearts of those she befriended and those who knew her.
Louisiana has vast material resources which only await development to astonish the world with their richness and magnitude; she has also unlimited literary material, easily accessible, which needs but the touch of the skilled writer to give it to us in forms that shall charm and edify. Spanish domination is a thing of the past; French political influences are no longer operative; but these periods of intrigue, of romance and of facts stranger than fiction, are fruitful beyond measure in all that gives impressiveness to history, fascination to the novel and charm to the narrative. Very little of this has been handled, except by the historian, and it awaits the advent of some Louisiana genius who shall come in the spirit and power of Scott or Hawthorne, and who shall take of these things and show them to us for our instruction and delight.
C.H. CARSON, JR.