A Land Purchase of Conrad Speyrer

By John A. Speyrer

I recently read an interesting book relating to the Acadiana country of Louisiana. The book's title is Creoles of Color in the Bayou Country. The book, whose authors are Carl Brasseaux, Keith Fontenot and Claude Oubre, is touted as ``the first serious historical examination of a distinctive multiracial society in southwestern Louisiana.''

Creoles is about one element in the three-layered society of this area the 1800s: free men of color. They were primarily mulattoes who were not slaves (in fact, many had slaves), having gained their freedom through a number of means, an important one being that they were the natural children of white farmers. There were various communities of these Creoles of Color in St Landry Parish, for example, Frilot Cove, near Opelousas and the community in Leonville.

I was, understandably, quite interested in discovering if any Speyrers were mentioned in the book. Turning to the index, I discovered an entry for Conrad Speyrer. The entry is as follows:

"Martin Lemelle to Conrad Speyrer, original act #5482, Book T-1, p. 308. On October 29, 1861, Martin Lemelle sold Conrad Speyrer a two-arpent front by fifty-arpent deep tract of land on the corner of the road from Opelousas to Prairie Laurent and the road to Grand Coteau for the price of $200.''

This obviously was property located near La Manche de Vaches (Cow's Lane) presently called Grant Road. The property sale describes a ``road to Grand Coteau,'' so it is logical to assume the this road or lane continued on to Grand Coteau. The road which traverses spanish grant property, presently terminates about one and one-half miles from Grand Coteau. However, during the time of purchase, according to the description above, the road obviously continued to Grand Coteau. At that time, it probably was nothing more than a horse riding lane and not used during wet times. Even building a small dirt road would have been difficult, since a swampy area must be crossed to arrive in Grand Coteau.

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Editor's Note: Lloyd E. Speyrer has carefully checked the records of the Clerk of Court in the parish courthouse in Opelousas and has also found the above entry along with others relating to land sales and purchases of Conrad Speyrer and his brothers and sister. He is in the process of writing articles about his research of the Speyrer family and as soon as these articles are written they will be published in our association newsletter.

As mentioned in the Fall, 1994 issue of the newsletter, Lloyd has found evidence that there was also a Speyrer sister named Katherina, who lived in this area.

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