Alexis E. Lemee of Natchitoches. Prominent and Honored Citizen. Wednesday, May 18 2011 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Carrie Campbell Butler writes with pride and affection about her great Uncle, Alexis E. Lemee, “receiver of the land office of Natchitoches, Louisiana…(and) a prominent and honored citizen of that place, and fully (who) deserves the respect and esteem which he commands from all classes.”

Alexis E. Lemee:

  • was born in the city in which he now resides on February 18, 1843, and has grown up among the people (Natchitoches), respected by all.
  • His parents were Alexis and Eugenia (De Lamaliere) Lemee. They were born on the island of San Domingo, 1801 and Baltimore, Md. respectively.
  • They were married in Baltimore about 1830 and soon afterward moved to New Orleans and then to Natchitoches, where Mr. Lemee spent the rest of his life.
  • After locating in Natchitoches, the father spent many years as a cashier of the Union Bank of New Orleans. He died in 1852.
  • Alexis Lemee, was the 10th. of 11 children.
  • Alexis Lemee enrolled in Georgetown College, Washington D. C. when he was approximately 24 years old.
  • He left after three years and entered the army. He was mustered into Company G., La. Regiment as a Sargent under Company Commander Captain Octave Metayer (Metoyer?).
  • Alexis participated in the battles of Chikasaw Bayou, Vicksburg and other engagements.
  • He was captured and paroled. 24 hours later (he) returned home.
  • In 1866, he was appointed Clerk of the Supreme Court of Natchitoches until 1870.
  • Three years later he was mayor.
  • After serving  one year, he was appointed by President Grant, Receiver of the U. S. Land Office in Natchitoches from 1876 to 1884.
  • In April 1870, he married Desiree Morse, who was born in Natchitoches April 1844.
  • The Lemees had six children. Mr. Lemee was a Catholic and a Democrat.

    The Lemee House, Headquarters for APHN

The Lemee House was built by Joseph Soldini in 1837 and designed by his partner, Italian architect Athaneze Trizzini. Trizzini’s family lived in the Lemee House until it was sold to the Union Bank of New Orleans for use as its Natchitoches branch. Alex Lemee was sent to manage the branch. However, in 1849 he decided to purchase the house as his residence.

The house changed hands frequently during the next century. In 1940 a  Historic Homes Survey committee was sent to Natchitoches. An architect on the committee was interested in buying the structure.This prompted some women of Natchitoches to prevail upon the City Council to buy the house for the City. With ownership by the City, the women promised to restore the house, furnish it, and use it as a Women’s Club House. All this was done by the women (“Steel Magnolias” have been in Natchitoches for some time now). The Lemee House is now the headquarters of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches .(APHN). and is open to the public for tours and events.

I would like to think the Lemee Family would be proud of how their house is being used today to help preserve the culture and traditions of Natchitoches, the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase Territory.

Fall Tour at the Lemee House

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A Historical Note About the Lemee Family of Natchitoches Wednesday, May 11 2011 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for the Preservation of Historical Natchitoches (APHN)

The Lemee House, Headquarters for APHN

 

The following history of the Lemee family is from a letter dated September 19, 1937 from Houma, Louisiana. It was written by Carrie Campbell Butler to her cousin Louis. In response to his desire to know something of his Granddmother Lemee’s family, Carrie Butler shares facts that she learned from “our grandmother and my own mother, who was Emma Lemee.  

“Granmother’s name was Eugenie De Lamaliere. Her mother was married twice-first husband was Bosier-there were two Bosiers-a son who worked many years for the French government-his son and his grandson well known in New Orleans as Judges Bosier. Their father and other prominent men from New Orleans were ready with a ship to sail for the isle of St. Helena to rescue Bonapart when they learned of his death… Grandma Lemee’s father, De Lamaliere, was wealthy. He owned a fleet of ships that sailed from Europe to the West Indies, principally San Domingo-where his family lived-they escaped the night of that terrible massacre in one of his boats, landed near Baltimore where Grandma was born, 1804 three months after the landing… Grandpa Lemee moved to Natchitoches…in 1832…or about that time. My mother was the first of his children born there (Natchitoches) and Uncle Adolph next and so on-Grandpa Lemee settled in Natchitoches, his father (our great grandfather) Alexis Lemee was a banker in Port Au Prince, San Domingo, where our grandfather was born- but our great grandfather was born in France (Paris) and returned there after his son was nearly grown.-that is where he met Grandma. The old Lemee House also used to be a bank-is still standing on Jefferson Street in Natchitoches. I often visit it-memories crowd me-sadness envelops me.

In a final paragraph, Carrie Campbell Butler writes in a most moving and evocative fashion:

“I am sorry that I cannot write a better history of our family but I am old and feelings overcome me. I would love it if you all could arrange one day to meet at the little old house. Do you think it possible?”

Was  it possible? Did it ever happen? I would like to think it did but I have no way of knowing. I do know that deep within all of us a longing to go back to a place, that in our hearts we never left.

The Lemee House, APHN's Headquarters for the Fall Tour of Homes