Feb 6, 1994

In the winter, 1993, Speyrer Family Association Newsletter, Lloyd E. Speyrer mentioned that John Speyrer and Clara George's daughter Zelina married Hildevert Henry Deshotels III and later moved to Vermilion Parish.

There is a book entitled History of Vermilion Parish, so I decided to look up the Deshotels in that book. This article, gives the rest of the story.

Gary Theall, who is one of the book's publishers has given permission to reproduce the material.

Lucy M. Mason


Hildevert Henry Deshotels, born 1849, was a native of St Landry Parish and was an extensive planter and merchant twelve miles west of Washington, Louisiana. He was educated at St Mary's Academy in Opelousas. His early career included work as a clerk on "Cleona" a steamer running from Washington to New Orleans, two years as a planter and three years as a clerk in a mercantile store. In 1868 he married Zelina Speyrer, daughter of John Speyrer and Clara George of St Landry Parish.

In 1877 he permanently settled near Washington and engaged in planting and merchandising (in Washington). He was a representative citizen doing much for his community and served as sheriff of St Landry Parish. Their children included Marie Anastasia born in 1869. Louis Arcade born 1871, Octave Henry, born 1873, Camille, born 1874, John Baptiste, born 1876 and Isola, born about 1877. Jules Henry born 1883; Regile born 1886; Ulice born 1891. Jules Henry Deshotels Sr, born in St Landry Parish, was like his forebears, a Catholic. In 1900 he attended St Charles College in Grand Coteau, where he was a boarder of Joseph M. Barry. He later moved to Iota and from there to Kaplan, La (in 1908), where he was a merchant. He married twice, first to Mary Agnes Doucet, daughter of Cleophas Doucet and Marie J. B. Doucet (Mamie) of St Landry Parish.

Their children were Henry Howard born 1907, Mary Agnes (Mamie) born 1909. Mary Agnes died on April 10, 191 1. Jules Henry Sr, married Amelie Fontenot daughter of Joseph Fontenot and Marie Amelie Daire. Their children were Norbert Anthony, born 1914; Curtis Xavier, born 1916, Joseph Manning, born 1918. Manning was a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Air Corps during World War 11 and in the U. S. Air Force in the Vietnam War. Jules Henry Sr. died in Kaplan on February 8, 1955. His son, Henry Howard Deshotels was born in Iota on Dec, 1928. He married Wilda Marie Hebert, daughter of Pierre Artibus Hebert and Marie Viola Segura. Their children are Richard James, born 1939 and Louis Archibald born 1942. Richard James Deshotels married Den Bouillion, daughter of Louissay Bouillon and Evie Comeaux. Their children include Deborah Katherine, born 1962, Sherie Lynn, born 1963 and Rochelle Ann, born 1966. -- Researched by Pearl Segura

P. S. I find the articles in the Speyrer Family Association Newsletter interesting and I thought you would like to read about the Deshotels. Wish I could find articles about my great grand father and grand- mother, Louis C. Speyrer and Felecia Carriere.

Lucy M. Mason

By Octave Henry Deshotels III

The Kaplan Deshotels moved to this area in 1901 from Grand Prairie, St Landry Parish, Louisiana. Octave Henry Deshotels was the first of two sons of St Landry Parish Sheriff Hildevert Henry Deshotals and Zelina Speyrer Deshotels to settle in this area which was to become Kaplan. Octave Henry Deshotels and his wife Lelia Forest, daughter of Dr. Theo Forest, a Ville Platte physician moved here to assist Abrom Kaplan with the establishment or laying out of Kaplan.

While living in tents, and with Mrs. Deshotels' cooking for the workers, town plan was mapped out. Octave Henry Deshotels, "King" as he was known, was elected Kaplan's first Mayor and held that position from 1902-1910. He was postmaster for twenty-five years and also a member of the Vermilion Parish Police Jury, later to be elected its president.

Kaplan's pioneer, Octave Henry Deshotels, was born May 11, 1873 and was educated in the public schools, at Mount Lebanon College, Bienville Parish, Acadia College, Crowley and Draughton's Business College, Nashville, Tennessee. Octave Deshotels sold lots for the land developing company, Irving Irrigation Co and later became a rice buyer and a feed and seed dealer for the area.

Of the marriage between Octave Henry Deshotels and Lelia Forest, there were six children born, namely, Christine, Jeanne, Isabelle, Lucille, Henrietta and Octave Henry Deshotels, Jr.

Kaplan's pioneer, Octave Henry Deshotels, died on April 28, 1958 at the age of 84 years. The youngest child and the only son of Kaplan's first Mayor is Octave Henry Deshotels, Jr who was born on July 24, 1909. After attending local schools, he received a high school degree in 1927. Thereafter, he studied Engineering at Tulane University and Southwest Louisiana Institute in Lafayette (now The University of Southwestern Louisiana), where he obtained a degree in Engineering in 1931.

After a year's graduate work at L.S.U. he then entered L.S.U. Law School, obtaining his law degree in 1935. While practicing law in Kaplan and Abbeville, Octave Henry Deshotels Jr, was elected Kaplan's Mayor in 1946, serving one full term. Later he was elected first Judge of the City Court of Kaplan serving two six-year terms. Prior to his election as City Judge, he served as City Attorney for several years. Besides practicing law with his son, Octave Henry Deshotels III, Henry Deshotels, Jr has been actively involved in the oil and the banking businesses in this area.

In 1939, Octave Henry Deshotels, Jr, married Fay Cole of Ruston, Lincoln Parish, Louisiana, a daughter of Ernest P. Cole and Ella Green. From their marriage, three children were born, namely, Octave Henry Deshotels III, a Kaplan, La, attorney, Sandra Charlotte Deshotels, and Shelly F. Deshotels , a Lafayette, La, realtor, all of whom are married and except, Shelly F. Deshotels, reside in Kaplan. Octave Henry Deshotels, Jr, died on April 20, 1997 at the age of 87 years.

Octave Henry Deshotels III married Carol Ann Hawkins of Monroe, Ouachita Parish, La and they have two children, Aimee Louise and Nathalie Alyce Deshotels. Sandra married Herschel A. Reaux of Kaplan and they have three children: Courtney, Virginia and Herschel Jr. Shelly married Linda Robertson of Lafayette, La.


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