Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Tavern Room

Eighteenth century taverns were not only a place to drink a pint of ale, they were meeting  places, where people gathered to hear the latest news, talk politics and visit with their friends. For a few more coins, a meal could be bought, although maybe lacking in quantity and flavor. . .Most taverns also had sleeping quarters upstairs, where travelers could rest overnight. . .again for a price. . .

Our so called 'Tavern' is actually a small dining area, located in the main room of Heil House. . .We fondly call it a tavern. . .It reminds us of the times John and I frequented the ones in Colonial Williamsburg after a long day's work. . .still in costume. . .We played the part well. . .
It's hard to believe that only a month ago this room had very little furniture or accessories. . .John and a friend took a truck load of antiques up from the farm in early December and I followed to spend a few weeks arranging it. . .I painted furniture, moved heavy cupboards, arranged and rearranged. . .visited local markets for a few accessories. . .but took most from our collections. . .The handmade prim cabinet was bought ten years ago in Jackson, TN and is at least 100 years old. . .There are vintage barrels and wooden boxes, Windsor chairs, burlap bags filled with supplies for the winter. . .The table is set with pewter from Virginia, redware from the Eastern states, candlesticks bought at the Greenhow Store in Colonial Williamsburg, and hand-blown wine bottles from Jamestown. . .John's powder horn and leather bag hang from the pegboard. . .
I love this photo of the 'tavern' at night. . .Do you not feel transported back with us to the 18th century? . .Exactly what we envisioned. . .

I'll be sharing our progress at Heil House often this year. . .as we transform our second home into the colonial era. . .

Friday, January 4, 2019

La Guignolee Still Celebrated in Ste. Genevieve

Like many of the celebrations here at Ste. Genevieve, the La Guignolee was totally new to us. We studied English history in school but never French history in the Americas. We had no idea what to expect but knew it would be a fun night. . .Anything in the New France tradition has proven to make us smile. . .
La Guiannée (or La Guignolée) is celebrated on December 31 (New Year's Eve). 
It is a French medieval New Year's Eve tradition that is still practiced in two towns in the United States. The tradition related to poor people being able to ask the more wealthy for food and drink at the celebrations of winter. Customarily a troupe of traveling male singers went from door to door to entertain and ring in the new year. Hosts were expected to give them food and drink. Other sources say the young men were seeking donations for Twelfth Night. Begun as a way for the poor to be given gratuities by the rich, it also became a community social event for young men to visit with the families of young women.
Over time, the practice became an occasion for visiting with relatives and friends and was more or less a traveling feast. At first it was carried on only by young men, often in costume; women joined the party in the 20th century. In many years, the people appeared in disguise, as part of the celebration was a kind of overturning of the common order.
This tradition has been practiced annually since 1722 in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois. It has been revived in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. Both were former French colonial villages settled by French Canadians in the eighteenth century .(wikipedia)
Our destination for La Guignolee was the historic Bolduc House. Although the singers visited other destinations in town, this was the only historic house on the schedule. . .Sure enough, we were transported back into 18th century New France history. . .

The song they sang and danced to was in French. . .but not to worry. . .
Here is the English version:
Good evening master and mistress,
And all who live with you.
For the first day of the year,
You owe us La Guignolée.
If you have nothing to give,
A chine of meat or so will do.
A chine of meat is not a big thing,
Only ninety feet long.
Again, we don't ask for very much,
Only the oldest daughter of the house.
We will give her lots of good cheer,
And we will surely warm her feet.
Now, we greet you,
And beg you to forgive us please.
If we have acted a little crazy,
We meant it in good fun.
Another time we'll surely be careful
To know when we must come back here again.
Let us dance La Guenille,
-- La Guenille, La Guenille!
We were hooked. . . Watch for us next New Year's Eve in our own New France costumes. . . .Maybe you could join us?

Monday, December 31, 2018

Mr. LaShae Goes Colonial

We couldn't leave our four month old kitten out of the 18th century French colonial life. . .could we? Mr. B. J. LaShae now has his own primitive table, along with a pewter bowl and tankard. . .
I can't say he was overwhelmingly happy about the dinnerware. . .He took one look at it and his face said it all. . ."OK. . .Where's the food?" 
Mr. B. J. LaShae

Monday, December 24, 2018

Lest we forget. . .A little embroidered pillow says it all. . .Christmas is a time to celebrate our Blessings. . .and our little get-away is has certainly been one. . .

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Mr. B J LaShae's First Christmas

All together now. . .
Ahhhhhhhhhhh. . . .
Our B J is the resident feline of Heil House. . .when we are in town. . .He's four months old and cute as a bug. . .I discovered that we have a ghost cat, too. . .More about that later. . .

Monday, December 17, 2018

A Festive Heil House

It's the holidays at Ste. Genevieve and we are learning much about the Colonial French celebrations. . .But, since we own a home built by the Germans, I thought this Santa fit right in. . .at least for this year. . .Next year we plan to be 18th century Creole French all the way. . .

Santa Came To Visit

Yes, Santa is in town. . .and was kind enough to bring his parade right outside our North Main Street door. . .So much candy was thrown our way by all the participants that we were still picking it up the next day. . .Welcome Mr. and Mrs. Clause. . .Won't be long now until your midnight flight begins. . .

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Chuck's Truck

There are many restored and vintage vehicles around town. . .but this one is our neighbor Chuck's. . .Chances are you'll find him driving around Ste. Genevieve in his pride and joy. . .Give him a smile and a wave if you do. . .

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Le Compte Home 1936

Henry Le Compte Home, November 1936--Photo from the Library of Congress

While the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1936 credited Henry Le Compte as builder of this home in 1818, John Henry Le Compte wasn't born until 1850 in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. His father was Eloy LeCompte, who was born in 1807 in Illinois but moved to Ste. Genevieve sometime later. It may well be that Eloy built the house in 1832, as stated in The Commandant's Last Ride by Mark L. Evans, with John Henry becoming the owner at a later date. The survey reported their findings from Fair Play (newspaper) and didn't research for the facts. Much of the history in Ste. Genevieve is confusing and bears the need for more research.

It appears from Ancestry that the Le Comte (Le Compte) family moved to Quebec, Canada sometime after 1679, from Ste. Malo, France, moving to Montreal, Canada by 1718.  If you have any other information, please feel free to add it in the comment section.

The LeCompte Home is only one block from us at 231 N. Main Street. It no longer has the two porches. They were removed in 1940. It was built in the Anglo-American style, utilizing limestone from the Mississippi River bluffs. The house was damaged by a fire sometime in the 20th century. The roof line was changed from the original at that time.

Historic American Buildings Survey Mo.
District of Missouri
This house located in Ste• Genevieve, Mo*, was built in the year 1818 by Henry LeCompte, old French settler of Ste* Genevieve, Mo, In the flood of 1844 the waters of the Mississippi came up and covered the front porch. The first mill in Ste. Genevieve County was erected on the grounds adjoining this house.

This is a three story rectangular house of stone. Two story front porch across the front surmounted "by three large dormers. Sliding windows, have large upper sash divided into 9 lights small lower sash into 6 lights.

Information; Fair Play.
 Side View of Henry Le Compte Home, November 1936--Library of Congress

Addendum to Le Compte House 2S " HABS No. MO-1125
Location; Ste. Genevieve, Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri

Historical and Architectural Information
The following information was recorded by Alexander Piaget and Charles van Ravenswaay at the time the photograph was taken:
Building remodeled in 1939/ front gallery removed, and interior corner mantels taken out.
Project Information
The Piaget-van Ravenswaay Survey consists of a number of photographs, primarily of sites and structures in Missouri, which were taken before 1938 by Alexander Piaget ana after that by Paul Piaget, both in conjunction with Charles van Ravenswaay. Photographs of buildings were incorporated into the HABS collection in 1985 by Laura Rupp and in 1986 by Deborah Fulton, HABS historians. A master list is available in the 0W records for MG-180 0.
Historic American Buildings Survey
National Park Service
Department of the Interior
Washington, D.C. 20013-7127

From Ancestry. com: This has not been verified. Taken from the LeCompte Family Tree

Pierre Le Comte b. 1656   d. 18 May 1759 

Pierre Le Comte b. 2 Feb 1679 St. Malo, France  d. LesCedres, Quebec, Canada

Pierre Laurent LeComte LaFleur b. 2 Mar 1718 Montreal, Canada d. Canada

Louis Le Comte  b. abt 1750  d. Cahokia, Ill

Pierre Le Comte  b. 1797  d. 24 Mar 1837 Ill

Eloy LeCompte  b. 1807 Ill  d. 9 Feb 1890 Ste. Genevieve, Mo  buried: Valle Springs Cemetery
     1860-1870 Federal Census, Eloy was living in Ste. Genevieve and working as a clerk
     1880 Federal Census, Eloy has moved to St. Louis, Mo
       States his father was from Canada and him mother was from Illinois

John Henry LeCompte  b. 1850 Ste. Genevieve, Mo  d. 30 Apr 1931 St. Louis, Mo
      1870 Federal Census, Henry was living in Ste. Genevieve, Mo

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Games To Play. . .

Photo taken at: Sassafras Creek Originals, St. Mary's Road
Colonial games and cards were popular in New France as well as in the British colonies. . .The fun-loving French hunters and trappers spent many a day around tables such as this. . .smoking their clay pipes. . .drinking their wine. . .wagering money from the sale of their pelts. . .and often losing a pocketful of coins. . .No problem. . .There were plenty more animals to trap. . .C'est la vie. . .(That's Life)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Mural Legacy To The Colonial French

One of my favorite, and sometimes daily, stops is the Ste. Genevieve Post Office. It's only a couple of blocks from our home on Main Street. . .The first time I visited it, I loved the old wood and brass of the interior. . .Then I gazed up. . .in awe. . .There, up high for all to see, was a mural painted by Martyl Schweig in 1942 as a WPA project. . .Named "La Guignolee," it depicts a New Year's celebration in colonial Ste. Genevieve. . .when the Canadian French and Creole dominated the territory in the 18th century. . .

The French came to hunt and trap, and maybe do a little farming, but what they liked best was to celebrate and dance. . .Any occasion gave them an excuse to do so. . .They were a colorful bunch who seemed to have loved life. . .and that is exactly why I love to look at the mural. . .It is beautifully painted, but more than that, it reminds me to lighten up and enjoy life myself. . .Put a smile on my face and maybe dance a little along the way. . .Such a unique town. . .