Eighth Generation: Life on the Farm

Laurence Primeaux was born February 11, 1877, and died in 1972 at the age of 95. He married Alphonsine Broussard on February 26, 1900.

If our family’s claim to Acadian heritage through Pierre proves insufficient, then it is through Alphonsine that we have a legitimate claim, for she is a direct descendant of the great Beausoleil Brossard, who kept the Acadians united through le Grand Derangement and organized and led the migration into the St. Martinville and Atakapas areas.

It was only at Laurence’s death that the proper spelling of his name was discovered; it was common wisdom during his life that his name was spelled “Lawrence.”

Laurence was a farmer in Prairie Gregg, raising sugar cane, cotton, soybeans and corn. He had a few cattle, and at one time had a small mill for making syrup. He never drank liquor or smoked. He avoided dentists due to an unpleasant experience as a youth, and had only one tooth remaining at the time of his death. He never had false teeth. He contracted typhoid fever around 21 years of age, and as a result had white hair for the rest of his life. Laurence had little formal education, but regularly read the newspaper and was aware of current events.

Alphonsine was a gentle, sweet spirit who spoke and understood only French. She always kept a cookie jar full of anise-flavored sugar cookies that she baked herself. On Sundays, she would cook roast beef or fricasee a chicken and serve the entree with peas, maque choux and mashed potatoes. There was always a choice of gravy made with pan drippings or “rusty” gravy. The water that was served with the meal came from their cistern, and it was sweet, heavy with minerals, and had a distinctive but pleasant taste. Alphonsine referred to her husband as “Laurent,” which is the French equivalent of his name.

The farm was typical, with a chicken yard, barns and other outbuildings near the farm house, and pastures and fields surrounding. There were lime trees in the yard that actually produced limes in the summer.

The farm house was primitive with some modern amenities in the later years. Laurence and Alphonsine had television by the early 1970’s, with reception by antenna. Their floors were covered with roll linoleum. There were indoor bath and toilet facilities. The beds had lush feather mattresses into which one would sink almost to the point of being engulfed.

The children of Laurence and Alphonsine were: Mansul Primeaux, December 16, 1900 – February 10, 1975; Marie Bula Primeaux, born February 10, 1902; Laurence Primeaux (a female), born April 7, 2903; Theodore Primeaux, born September 24, 1904; Walter Joseph Primeaux, who is the next forebear in our line; Ollie Primeaux, born May 24, 1910; Lucille Primeaux, born January 20, 1914; Etta Primeaux, born November 22, 1920; Mary Mae Primeaux, born January 22, 1916; and Nelson Primeaux, July 19, 1917 – April 19, 1930.