Improving the Gravesite of Conrad Speyrer

By John A. Speyrer

D. J.("Tesan'') Speyrer has suggested that the Speyrer Family Association consider a project to mark Conrad's grave with a marble slab. The present headstone consists of a marble cross with Conrad's name and dates of birth and death. There is no slab on top of the grave, except for a very small concrete slab (about 12 inches square) upon which the headstone rests.

For those of you who are interested, I would like to relate some background information about how the present headstone came to be erected. During the time D. J. was dating his future wife, Dorothy (Dot) Leger, she recounted to him that on previous visits to the grave of her sister in the Grand Coteau cemetery, she had noticed that the Conrad Speyrer grave had an iron cross onto which was attached a copper or bronze plaque. However, she mentioned that on her last trip to the cemetery, she noticed that the cross and plaque were no longer present at the grave site.

D. J. informed her that the plaque and cross had been placed on the grave site by D. J.'s father, Jules C. Speyrer. The plaque and cross had been constructed by Christophe Cuntz and Jules C. Speyrer, who went across the swamp from Leonville on horseback to the Grand Coteau cemetery to affix the cross and plaque onto his father's grave.

But now, Dot recounted, not only were the cross and plaque missing, but there was a sign at the grave location stating that the site had been sold to an ``Andrus.'' D. J. told his brother, John (my father), about the disappearance of the cross and plaque. My father immediately went to the cemetery and found the cross with plaque in a waste barrel. The 2 inch by 6 inch plaque was removed from the cross and John and D. J. purchased through their brother, Fr. Jules C. Speyrer, the headstone, which is presently the marker of the grave site.

I have repaired by monument in the past by affixing it to its small base with cement, but the repairs only last a few months and the monument is still loose. For this reason, D. J. suggested that we make the restoring of the grave a family project and purchase a marble slab in place of the small concrete one and afix the monument permanently on the new marble slab.

Hopefully, the project (which should include refurbishing the lettering on the present marble cross) and its funding will be discussed during the Speyrer Family Association meeting scheduled for October. I'll keep you informed of any discussions and decisions made during the meeting.

Editor's Note: For those who wish to visit Conrad Speyrer's gravesite in the Grand Coteau cemetery, I will quote the following from Fr. Jules C. Speyrer's The Origins of the Speyrer Family in America:

"Since he was not a Catholic he was buried in unconsecrated ground at the edge of the cemetery. The cemetery expanded to enclose his burial site and the site is no longer at the edge of the cemetery. The location can be found easily. It is sixteen feet to the north of the left side of the concrete-poled-double- piped enclosed cemetery of the Jesuit fathers located at the rear of the church" cemetery."

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