Succession of the estate
Joseph Jean Francois Derbes & wife J. Emerite F. Lasalle
[7 Dec 1877] The petition of Hyppolite Nores under-tutor of the minors Emerite, Julia, Lucianne, Adrienne, Frederic, Rosa and Joseph Derbes, residing in the city of New Orleans, respectfully represents that Miss Emerite F. Lassalle widow of Joseph J.F. Derbes, the mother & tutrix of said minors, has departed this life, intestate, in this city, wherein she was domiciled, on the 31st of August last. That it therefore becomes expedient to have a tutor appointed to said minors. But as there is no one willing to accept their tutorship, a family meeting should be convened to be held in their behalf for the purpose of selecting and designating to be their tutor one discreet and responsible person who shall in all respects comply with the existing laws in relations to tutors except that of giving security. Petitioner further represents that the succession of Joseph J.F. Derbes has been opened in this Court under the No. 36,979 of its docket, that the heirs of both said decedents Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Derbes are the same & that it is expedient that both these successions be consolidated. Wherefore your petitioner respectfully proposes that it may please the Court to order that a family meeting be convened & held according to law before Jules F. Meunier, notary public, in behalf of the above named minors for the purposes herein above set forth. Said family meeting to be composed of the following persons or any five of them, vis: Paul Bellocq, Felix Bellocq, Denis Roche, Gustave Gilbert, Oscar Fazende, Henri Chesnee, Alcide Myerre, Vidal Dufour, all cousins of said minors, Benito Solache and Gaston Doussan their brothers-in-law, and J.A. Casteneda, F. Tujaque, and F. Fries, friends, in default of other relations living within the circle prescribed by law; and that the undertutor of said minors be notified to attend said family meeting, and he prays for general relief. (Signed: Jules Meunier, attorney)
[24 Dec 1877] Be it known that on this Twenty fourth day of December A.D. Eighteen hundred and seventy-seven, in pursuance of an order of the Honorable the Second District Court for the Parish of Orleans, dated the 18th December 1877 (No. 40,006) rendered afore the petition of Hyppolite Nores under tutor of the minors Emerite, Julia, Lucianne, Adrienne, Frederic, Rosa and Joseph Derbes; and directing that a family-meeting be convened & held before said Notary, for the purpose of electing and recommending a suitable person to be the Tutor of the aforenamed minors, issue of the marriage of Joseph J.F. Derbes and Emerite Lasalle, both deceased, of which petition and order of Court a certified copy is hereto annexed. Before me, Jules F. Meunier, a Notary public, duly commissioned and sworn for this Parish & the City of New Orleans therein residing & in the presence of the Witnesses hereinafter named & undersigned, personally came & appeared in my Notarial office, on the day & date first before written, in compliance with written notices, delivered to each of them respectively three full days previous to the present meeting according to law. Messrs Paul Bellocq, Felix Bellocq, Denis Roche, Gustave Gibert, Oscar Fazende, all cousins of said minors, Benito Solache & Gaston Doussan their brothers-in-law and J. Adolphe Casteneda, Francois Tujaque & Frederic Fries, friends in default of other relatives. All of this City, appointed by said order of Court, to compose this Family-Meeting. Which said appearers, after being duly sworn before me, notary, to give their opinion & advice to the best of their knowledge and understanding touching and concerning the interest of the aforenamed minors have assembled into a Family-meeting & have taken cognizance of the petition & order of Court aforesaid, & after mature consideration on the subject matter of said petition & order, they declare that inasmuch as Mr. Gaston Doussan is the brother-in-law & friend of said minors & they know him as a kind, honest, discreet & responsible man & as he is willing to accept the charge, therefore they are unanimously (with the exception of Mr. Benito Solache, who opposes himself to the nomination of Mr. Doussan) of opinion that said Gaston Doussan ought to be appointed Tutor of said minors with dispensation from giving the security required by Law, & do so recommend. And now Mr. Hyppolite Nores the under tutor of the said minors having been present during the deliberations of said family-meeting declared that he is fully satisfied with & approves the deliberations of said family-meeting as herein before expressed, & hereby recommends the homologations of these proceedings. And there being no other subject matter before the said family-meeting, I, the undersigned Notary, did and do hereby close the procis-verbal of these proceedings which was signed by the above named members of said family-meeting & by the said under-tutor, in the presence of Jerome Meunier & Charles B. LeCarpentier, competent witnesses, who herewith signed their names, with me, Notary, after due reading of the whole. (Signed: Paul Bellocq, Felix Bellocq, Denis Roche, P.G. Gibert, Oscar Fazende, J.A. Castenides, G. Doussan, Benito Solache, F.P. Fries.) New Orleans, Dec. 26th 1877.
[5 Jan 1878] On motion of Jules Meunier of counsel for Gaston Doussan and upon showing to the Court that in pursuance to its order, a family meeting has been held on the 24th December last, before J.P. Meunier, notary, in behalf of the minor children of the decedents, for the purpose of selecting & recommending a person to be the tutor of said minors, and upon further showing that nine members out of ten composing said meeting have recommended this mover to be said tutor, that the under tutor of the minors has approved said recommendation, and that Benito Solache is the member who has refused to join in said recommendation, as the whole will more fully appear from the annexed proces verbal of the deliberations of said family meeting, made part hereof. It is ordered that the said Benito Solache do show cause on Friday 11th January next at 11 a.m. why said deliberations should not be approved & homologated & why, in accordance therewith & after due proceedings had, mover should not be appointed the tutor of said minors & letters of tutorship delivered to him.
[17 January 1878] Judgment signed in favor of G. Doussan.
[28 Jan 1878] Be it known that on this twenty-eighth day of January A.D. Eighteen hundred and seventy-eight, at the request of Mr. Gaston Doussan of this City, and pursuant to an order of the Hon. the 2nd Dist. Court for the Parish of Orleans, rendered ------the petitioner of said G. Doussan & directing the undersigned Notary, to take an inventory of the property left by Joseph J.F. Derbes & Emerite P. Lasalle, his wife, both deceased, as more fully appears from duly certified copies of said petition & order of Court, hereto annexed for reference. I, Jules F. Meunier, a Notary Public, duly commissioned and sworn for this Parish & the City of New Orleans, State of Louisiana, repaired to a certain property situated at No. 57 Royal St. where I found after having been duly notified by written notices to them delivered: 1st - Mr. Gaston Doussan of this city, herein acting as tutor of the minors Emerite, Julia, Lucianne, Adrienne, Frederic, Rosa & Joseph Derbes. 2nd - Miss Fortunee Derbes & Miss Olivia Derbes, wife of lawful age of G. Doussan, herein acting as heirs of Mr. & Mrs. J.J.F. Derbes, Mrs. G. Doussan being herein assisted & authorized by her said husband. 3rd - Mr. Benito Solache, herein representing his wife, Pauline Derbes, one of the heirs as aforesaid. 4th - Mr. Adolphe Castenides, herein acting as the true and lawful Attorney in fact of Carlos Derbes, also one of the heirs, by virtue of a Power of Attorney, passed before the undersigned Notary on the 7th December 1877. 5th - Messrs. Alphonse Guibert & Valentine Scheler of this city herein acting as experts & appraisers appointed by the said order of Court and also appointed & sworn before me, Notary, to appraise the property belonging to said succession. 6th - Messrs. Francis D. Cherentier & George A. Villerd, both of this city, competent witnesses, herein acting as such. Wherefore I the said notary did then and there and by virtue of the above -----order of Court immediately proceeded in the presence of the said parties experts and witnesses to take a true & faithful inventory of the property belonging to the successions of the late J.J.F. Derbes and of Emerite P. Lasalle, his wife, as the same were pointed out to me, & as follows, to wit:
In the Store, 1st Floor contents:
one lot of ruching(2.50); one lot of velvet (35.00); one lot of sundries (1.50); one lot skirt trimming (5.00); part of chemisettes (6.00); twenty-one robes (45.00); twenty-five infant waists (3.12); one lot Swiss & Jaconate Ev-J (35.00); one lot piquet trimming & sundries (3.00); one lot shirt bosoms (10.00); one lot loutache (2.50); one lot prittins & sundries (2.00); one lot hosiery (10.00); one lot black & white lace (35.00): one lot colored silk fringes (25.00); one lot assorted trimmings (5.00); one lot real black guissure (20.00); one lot imitation guissure & dentulles? (3.00); one lot real clusers ? (5.00); one lot imitation valenciennes white (10.00); one lot patent valenciennes (10.00); one lot real valenciennes (150.00); one lot lace, quimar? cotton & linen (20.00); one lot imitation cheny? (5.00); one lot sundries (5.00); one lot black lace veils (5.00); one lot crepe collars (10.00); one lot black crepe & ? (2.50); one lot assorted crepe (2.00); one lot knitting cotton (3.00); one lot lace mitts (2.50); one lot crepe trimming collars (2.50); one lot hair nets buttons & sundries (1.50); one lot illusion silk & cotton bobinet (6.00); one lot assorted dotted tulle (10.00); one lot variation tissues & barege?(10.00); one lot assorted tulle (3.00); one lot fichures ? (.50); one lot collars & cuffs (3.00); one lot tape measures (.25); one lot sharp ? & sundries (1.50); one lot assorted trimmings (2.50); one lot assorted gloves (10.00); one lot assorted alpaca braids (5.00); one lot sundries (5.00); one lot veils & tulle (1.00); one case mitts (1.50); one lot corsets (6.50); one lot real valenciennes collars (5.00); one lot handkerchiefs & sundries (1.00); one lot of fans (10.00); one lot of sundries (5.00); one lot assorted buttons (10.00); one lot sewing silk (9.00); one lot handkerchiefs (25.00); one lot lace handkerchiefs (4.00); one lot sundries (5.00); one lot ? & sundries (2.50); one lot handkerchiefs (4.00); one lot sundries (3.50); one lot hats (29.00); one lot feathers (60.00); one lot assorted flowers (268.00); one lot assorted ribbons (590.45); one lot assorted hats (5.00); one lot needles (5.00); one lot whalebones (.50); one lot black cotton velvet (8.00); one lot pluche ? (2.50); two pieces ? (1.00); two pieces velvet (2.50); one piece velvet (7.50); one lot sundries (1.50); one lot tarlatane ? (9.00); one lot velvet (2.50); one lot sundries (15.00); one lot silk & sundries (25.00); one lot hats & sundries (15.00); one lot dolls & silk (10.00); one lot silks & ? (35.00); shelves, store fixtures (10.00); two show cases & six counters (110.00); ten dollars; two desks (5.00); one safe & one press ? (20.00); one sewing machine (15.00).
2nd Floor Furniture:
Two side boards (5.00); one lot crockery & glassware (5.00); one liquer case & contents (1.50); one dining room table (2.00); 12 chairs (2.00); one looking glass, 2 pictures (3.00); one lot bottles (.50); one hat rack (1.50); two pianos (150.00); two sofas (5.00); one center table (3.00); one corner stand (etagere) (1.50); one looking glass (8.00); one parlor clock & 2 ornaments (10.00); eleven chairs & 2 rockers (4.00); 3 pairs curtains, 2 piano covers, stand & carpets (5.00); one bed, 1 armoire & toilet, 1 rocker, 2 chairs & 1 looking glass (8.00); 1 large armoire & 1 chair (3.00); 1 bed, 1 child's & 2 safes (3.00); one bed, 1 armoire, 1 table, 1 washstand & 2 chairs (6.00); one carpenter's stand & tools (5.00); one lot of sundries with one show case & contents of garments (10.00); one table, 1 stove & kitchen utensils & 2 safes (10.00); gas fixtures in the whole building (10.00); one wooden chest (3.00); six stools, 4 chairs, 1 rocker (4.00); two looking glasses (3.50); one step ladder (1.00)
A certain lot of ground situate in the 2nd District of this city in square bounded by Royal, Bienville, Bourbon & Conti Sts., designated by the No. Three on a sketch made by J.A.D'Hemecourt, Surveyor, on the 4th March 1861, annexed by an act passed before S.E. Bienvenue, Notary, in this city, on the 30th May 1866. Said lot measures twenty-two feet, one inch four lines front on Royal St., twenty feet, one inch & six lines in width in the rear, by twenty-three feet, eleven inches, seven & a half lines deep, on the line dividing it from the property of P. Mallard, and on the side towards Conti St. by a first depth of fifty-nine feet, nine inches thence closing at right angles two feet one inch it has a second depth of thirty-three feet, ten inches & four lines. Said property was appraised by the said appraisers at the sum of Four thousand five hundred dollars. Being the same property which Mr. J. Derbes acquired by purchase from E.G. Lasalle, as per act of E.G. Gottschalk, Notary, on the 22nd July 1868. (Amount brought forward to continue the next day: $6665.32.) One certain lot of ground situate in the 2nd Dist. of this city in the square bounded by Burgundy, Bienville, Conti & Dauphine Sts., said lot measures thirty-three feet, four inches & four lines, front on Burgundy St., one hundred and fifteen feet seven inches & six lines in depth & thirty-three feet nine inches in the rear according to a sketch drawn by J.A. D'Hemecourt, deputy surveyor on the 12th May 1852. Said property was appraised by the said appraisers at the sum of Eight Hundred dollars. Being the same property which the said Mr. J. Derbes acquired by purchase from C. Pasquier, as per act of E.G. Gottschalk, on the 11th March 1859.
Bills & Accounts:
Mrs. Froment ($64.28); Mrs. Pluniel ($40.70); Mrs. Caron ($17.75); Mrs. Devron ($14.75); Mrs. Evans ($6.75); Mrs. Develle ($3.85); Mrs. Gibert ($3.40); Mrs. Ecault ($3.55); Mrs. Peterson ($3.50); Mrs. P. Solache ($1.40); Mrs. Chervill ($1.10); Mr. Benito Solache (his bill for $210.00 set down for memorandum.); Mrs. R. Solache (her bill for $5.50 set down for memorandum).
Two bank balances of $80.08 and $82.00.
Recapitulation: Real Estate $5300; Store Contents $1891.82; Furniture $273.50; Bills $161.08; Cash Funds $162.08 = Total $7788.48.
[12 March 1878] The property belonging to the minor children, Emerite, Julia, Lucienne, Adrienne, Frederic, Rosa and Joseph Derbes, was appraised at $7788.48.
[19 Jan 1882] To the Honorable the Sixth District Court for the Parish of Orleans: The petition of Gaston Doussan tutor of the minors Julia, Lucianne, Adrienne, Frederic, Rosa and Joseph Derbes respectfully represents that petitioner's said wards together with Olivia Derbes wife of your petitioner, Fortunee Derbes wife of Emile Nores, Carlos Derbes & Emerite Derbes owe now to the firm of Jo. Rochereau Co. a balance of $650 on a note secured by mortgage on their property situate on Royal St. between Bienville & Conti Sts., which property is their common house. That they have no funds on hand to pay said debt which will become exigible on the 3rd of February next (1882). Petitioner further aver that his wards & their said sisters and brother own, besides the aforesaid property a small stock of goods whose revenues are hardly sufficient for their support, and a certain lot of ground, with the buildings and improvements thereon situate in the second District of this city, in the square bounded by Burgundy, Bienville, Conti & Dauphine Sts. fronting on Burgundy St. and fully described in the inventory on file herein. That as funds must be procured to pay the aforesaid debt, in petitioner's opinion and in that of the co-debtors of his wards, it is in the interest of all and will be to their advantage, in order to avoid the sacrifice of their house and of their place of business by a forced sale, to sell the said Burgundy St. property which is to them of far less value and importance and from which they derive no profit. Petitioner further represents that Mr. Hyppolite Nores, the under tutor of said minors who is now in France has put his resignation of his said trust as will be seen by the annexed document. Wherefore petitioner respectfully prays that it may please the Court to accept the resignation of said under tutor of petitioner's wards & to appoint another one in his place and further to order that a family-meeting be convened and held in behalf of his said wards before Jules F. Meunier Notary to deliberate and advise on the subject matter of his petition and to fix the terms and conditions of the sale if advised to authorize petitioner to sell the ----- assuming ----- any and petitioner prays that the under tutor of said minors be notified to attend said family meeting. (Signed: Jules Meunier, Attorney) Olivia Doussan being duly sworn says that the above named minors have no other relatives actually within the circle described by law, who can be called upon to compose the aforesaid family-meeting, but Rodolphe & Stephen Derbes, Paul and Felix Bellocq and V. Dufour, their cousins and Benito Solache their brother-in-law; and she suggests as additional members thereto, Joseph Dureau, Joseph Doussan, Jules Nores, Charles B. LeCarpentier and George L. O'Connell. (Signed: O. Doussan) Sworn to and subscribed before me this 19th day of January 1882 (J. Meunier, atty.)
[19 Jan 1882] Let the resignation of Hyppolite Nores as under tutor of the within named minors be accepted. Let Emile Nores be appointed and sworn in his place. Let the family meeting within prayed for be convened & held before Jules. F. Meunier, notary, for the purpose of deliberating & giving their opinion and advice on the subject matter of the written petition; Said family meeting to be composed of the following named persons or any five of them, vis: Rodolphe Derbes, Stephen Derbes, Paul Bellocq, Felix Bellocq, & Vidal Dufour, cousins of said minors, Benito Solache, their brother-in-law, & Joseph Dureau, Joseph Doussan, Jules Nores, Chas. B. Lecarpentier & Geo. L. O'Connell, their friends, in default of other relatives residing within the circle proscribed by law; & let their undertutor be notified to attend said family meeting. (New Orleans, January 19, 1882, W.T. Houston, Judge)
[21 January 1882] Emile Nores appointed under tutor.
[24 January 1882] Family meeting held. Since they owed $650 on a note secured by a mortgage on their house, they wished to sell their other property (which was of far less value and importance to them). This property was the one bounded by Burgundy, Bienville, Conti and Dauphine, referred to below as having been surveyed on 12 May 1852 and worth $800. "That the said property be sold according to law, at public auction, on the following terms & conditions, to wit: One half or more cash and the balance at a credit of one year in a note of the purchaser, bearing interest at the rate of eight per cent per annum from date until paid, and secured by mortgage vendors lien & privilege on the property sold; the purchaser to cause the buildings & said property to be insured for their full value to transfer the policy of insurance to the holder or holders of said note & finally to pay all lawyers fees, which fees are hereby fixed at 5% in case of judicial proceedings for the recovery of the amount of said note or any part thereof. The purchaser to assume over and beyond the price of adjudication the taxes exigible in 1882. Also authorizing the tutor of said minors to sell the note accruing from said sale, if any."
[23 June 1885] Emile Nores resigns as under tutor.
[29 June 1885] The Court is petitioned to have the family house sold so that the proceeds can be divided.
[30 June 1885] Family meeting recommends the family home be sold at private sale for the amount of $7100 (its appraised value).
[2 Oct 1888] Family meeting approves Doussan's use of the minors' shares. The under tutor Joseph Anselme Mercier concurs.
[4 Oct 1888] The petition of Gaston J. Doussan, tutor of the minors Frederic & Joseph Derbes, respectfully represents: That J.J.F. Derbes, the father of the above named minors, died on the 2nd March 1874, leaving a wife and eleven children, and also a large amount of debts; That his widow died on the 31st August 1877; That in January next 1878, petitioner was appointed tutor to seven of said children, who were still minors; That when he accepted said trust the successions consisted of two immovables (one on Burgundy St. & the other on Royal where the family of the deceased resided & continued to keep the store of goods which their parents had left), the stock in said store, some furniture and a small sum of money; That at said time the decedents' successions still owed a certain amount to their merchants & a sum of $1000 with interest on one of the price notes of the Royal St. property; the only revenue of the family being $15 rent received from the Burgundy St. property and such profits as they might derive from the business of the store; that, under such circumstances, the eldest children decided to continue to keep the store with the hope of deriving therefrom sufficient profits to pay all the debts, thus save the property for the family, but after four years struggle, seeing that the store business had proved a losing one, that the successions' debts were still large, they determined to liquidate the situation and to sell everything except the family residence; consequently, in 1882, the contents of the store and the Burgundy St. property were sold, and after applying the net proceeds to the payment of the debts, there remained still due an amount exceeding $700. That, in 1885, the value of real estate having improved, some of the heirs shared out a partition of the remaining property which was sold. That, in the mean time, from 1878 to 1885, without any means at his hands, petitioner had to provide for the education, maintenance, and all the needs of his said wards and therefore to advance and borrow large sums for said purposes; and when he received the shares of his pupils in the proceeds of the Royal St. property, he had to apply the same to a partial payment of their debts. Petitioner further avers that, through ignorance, he failed to obtain the consent of a family meeting and the authorization of the Court to use his wards' shares of said proceeds to the payment of their said debts; that he now desires to have his said act approved and ratified. He, therefore, respectfully prays that it may please the Court to order that a family meeting be convened and held before Jules F. Meunier, notary, in behalf of said minors for the purpose of examining and deciding whether or is proper and just in the interest of said minors to approve and ratify the said action of petitioner, said family meeting to be composed of the nearest relations of said minors, below named, or any five of them; and he prays for general relief.
[12 Oct 1888] Family meeting approves Gaston Doussan's use of the minors' shares. The under tutor Joseph Anselme Mercier concurs.
[6 Aug 1894] The petition of Joseph Derbes, who resides in this city of New Orleans, respectfully represents that your petitioner is one of the several children left by the late Joseph F. Derbes and Emerite Lassalle, his widow, whose successions were opened in the Second District Court for the Parish of Orleans, and subsequently transferred to this Honorable Court, and given the above number and title (#5055), that he has attained his majority and is now twenty two years of age; that your petitioner's father & mother left an estate of some value, aggregating seven thousand seven hundred and eighty eight 48/100 dollars as per an inventory taken at the insistence of Gaston Doussan, his tutor, and which petitioner charges to be incorrect & fraudulent. That the property in said inventory is greatly undervalued and does not contain all the movable property left by his deceased parents, their jewellery and watches of value being omitted therefrom. That having attained the age of majority petitioner has repeated called upon his tutor Gaston Doussan to furnish him with an account of the question of his trust and that said Doussan has neglected & refused to furnish petitioner with same. That he is entitled by law to said account, and said tutor should be compelled to render the same to petitioner. Wherefore petitioner prays that Gaston Doussan, tutor, be duly cited as the law directs to show cause on the day 1894, at 11 o'clock a.m. why he should not be ordered to furnish petitioner with an account and why he should not be commanded at once to file the same in this Honorable Court as the law directs or in default thereof why he shall not be ordered to pay the petitioner such sums and amounts as he may be proven to owe with interest as provided for by law, and petitioner prays for all general and equitable relief ordered in law, justice and equity. (A.L. Tissot, of Counsel)
[20 Aug 1894] Gaston Doussan ordered to comply.
[14 Dec 1894] The rule herein filed August 6th 1894, against the Tutor herein to file his account, came on this day for trial. Present, A.D. Tissot Esq. Attorney for Plaintiff in rule, Defendant in rule absent and not represented. When after hearing pleading evidence and counsel, the law and the evidence being considered, and for the reasons orally assigned, it is ordered that said rule be made absolute and accordingly that Gaston Doussan be and he is hereby ordered to file an account within five days from date as the law directs and in default thereof he shall pay to the plaintiff in rule, such sums and amounts as may be proven to be due said plaintiff in rule, with interest as provided by law. Judgment rendered December 10th 1894, Judgment signed December 14th 1894. Fred D. King, Judge
Gaston Doussan now comes into court by his attorney in answer to Joseph Derbes' petition calling on him for an account of his tutorship of said petitioner, says that he denies all singular the allegations therein contained except so far as herein admitted. Further answering respondent says that on the 27th September 1888, he has filed in this case an account of tutorship showing said petitioner to be largely indebted unto him; that since then he has had in his possession or received no property of any kind whatever for said petitioner; that, on the contrary, for the purpose of drawing said petitioner from the influence & example of evil companions, to which respondent thought at the time he was yielding, and also to have him to learn some trade by which he would in future earn a living, respondent, at the request of said petitioner's family, sent him to one of his uncles in France; that the expenses incurred for said purpose amounted to $221 as follows: For his travelling expenses going & returning $141.60, & for his tuition & apprenticeship at St. Nicholas College & at Mr. Brinkman's $80. That said amounts were omitted through inadvertence on respondent's aforesaid account. Wherefore he respectfully prays that said Joseph Derbes' petition & suit be dismissed and that the account heretofore filed herein by respondent be so amended as to add thereto the aforesaid sum of two hundred twenty-one 60/100 dollars to this respondent's credit; and as so amended that said account be approved & homologated as a final account. He further prays to be discharged from said tutorship that the general mortgage resulting therefrom be cancelled & erased from the mortgage office of this parish, and he prays for general relief. (J.P. Meunier, attorney)
Joseph Derbes' response opposes Doussan's entire account. He says the store & fixtures should have been sold immediately, bills collected, and the 2 properties rented. But Doussan carried on a losing business, established his own residence in the premises, and wrecked the estate. Joseph alleges that by Doussan's own account the business accumulated loses between 1878 and 1884 totalling $7474.64; that the estate should now be worth approx. $20,000; that he was never properly maintained & educated; that he was put to menial work (servant's work); that he was sent to cheap schools.
[27 May 1895] Gaston Doussan ordered to pay stenographer to transcribe his notes.
[27 May 1897] Judgment rendered in above case, in favor of Joseph Derbes at a lower amount. Judge rules estate net amount (to be divided amongst the ten heirs - Pauline's share bought out years before) to be $6120.10. Joseph to receive $612.01.
[1 June 1906] Frederick Derbes applies to the Court for his share of the estate, $612.01 with interest due him from 27 May 1897. Testimony follows:
Frederick Derbes: Lives in Chicago, born in 1868, going on to thirty-nine years of age. No settlement of any nature or kind with former tutor, Gaston Doussan. Never rendered an account, except the account which is filed in the court. During boyhood, after the death of parents, lived with brother-in-law, Gaston Doussan. Employed during that time for different firms. Couldn't exactly recollect the time to the minute, but during all the time that he lived with his brother-in-law and his sister, he worked for them, as well as for outside parties. "I first went to work for John P. Richardson & Co., and stayed there two years, getting twelve dollars a month wages. I gave it home to my sister, Mrs. Doussan. From there I worked for Brulator & Co., where I was getting fifteen dollars a month, and I worked there about a year and a half or two years during that time, getting fifteen dollars a month. I gave it to Mrs. Doussan, my sister. Then I went to work for Bonguers, the wine man, and I worked there six or eight months; I got twelve dollars a month wages there, and I gave that money every month to Mrs. Doussan, my sister, also. Then I worked for Capo, the printer, and worked there about six months, at the rate of twelve dollars a month. After that, I went to work for Fauria. I got a dollar and a quarter a day. I worked there about six months. Then I shipped over to another cork factory, Estava & Co., on Peters St. near Poydras; I worked altogether for those two firms for about two years, at the rate of $1.25 a day. I worked for Andrieu for about a year and a half for $1.25 a day." All the money went to Mrs. Doussan. Worked in the store in the mornings before work and in the evenings. About 6-8 months after turning 21, left New Orleans. Before brother Joseph told him, did not know an account had been filed by Doussan with the court. Left sister's house because "they threw me out of the house" for "no cause". He had lived with them in the property on Royal St., and then for about 6 months in their property on Dumaine. He had made a demand for settlement but had received none. Always turned over all his earnings. Always lived with his sister. He slept there, ate there, and was supplied with clothing. Mrs. Doussan put him out of the house, "she threw me downstairs".
Fortunee Derbes Nores: Joseph sent to France, 13 Oct. 1886 on the Fornaris line, total cost was $221. Paid for the voyage ($60) and uncle (Jules Derbes, a chevalier d'honeur, a Knight of the Legion of Honor, a Captain of Infantry) sent receipt for school costs. He was sent for education and because his older brother Frederick wanted to take him away from home. Joseph had come home from school crying and saying his brother (who was about 18) wanted to whip him. Frederick had left home because he didn't behave and we wanted him to have good conduct at home. Joseph was sent to France to learn a trade, there were 10 to choose from at St. Nicholas College in Paris. He was put out of 4 different trades, and then put out of the school after about 6 months for bad behavior. He stayed with his uncle for another few months. His uncle found him a situation learning to cut glass for eyeglasses and opera glasses, etc. That lasted about 2 months. His aunt sent him home from Havre, uncle paid for the voyage. On his return he lived with us at Mrs. Doussan's property at 260 Dumaine St. (near Claiborne, between Robertson & Claiborne). The #57 Royal St. property had been sold in 1886. She and her husband had lived at 57 Royal St., paying no rent, but paid board and worked in the store. She and Mrs. Doussan ran the store. She paid $20 board for herself, her husband ate at Mr. Brulatour's. She left in 1885 after buying a farm in St. Bernard, her husband kept the store for the country farm. Joseph came to live with them in 1886 for about 6 months, with her husband giving him lessons at night, until his passage could be arranged to France. He had been attending school at the Jesuits College on Baronne St. Then her husband started at the Custom House and Joseph was sent to the St. Aloysius college on the corner of Chartres and Barracks for $5 a month. She agreed to Doussan's accounts. Joseph was afraid of Frederick, he was glad to go to France. Joseph was learning a trade with Mr. Brinkman the optician. Mr. Brinkman wrote to the uncle saying "in 24 hours if he didn't come for the boy he would put him in the street". At 57 Royal St. there were 10 of them plus the 2 husbands. She always consulted Mrs. Doussan because "Mr. Doussan never attended to anything of the business, concerning the children, the house or the store". (The uncle's letters are not allowed as evidence as he has died.) Frederick's bad conduct was described as having come home once drunk after nine p.m. He had friends they couldn't receive home, mostly Robert Estopinal (cousin of the Senator), and sometimes young Barbie from across the road, and George Heyl and Andrieu. When he left home he went to live with Estopinal. At one time Estopinal had been courting one of the sisters until they found out he was no good. [Frederick had applied for emancipation but had been refused because of his bad conduct.] The older children helped out in the store, receiving no salary. There were other milliners in the area: Mrs. Moulliner on the corner, Mrs. Boiler opposite, Mrs. Chauvet two blocks off. "Q - There was only one that killed herself in bad business? A - It is not always they come to that." Other milliners allegedly did good business, but rented their properties. The younger children were at school at Madame Matte's on Dauphine St. They helped in the store and around the house at other times. There was a store owned by Mrs. Chauvigne on the corner of Toulouse & Royal. She also won $6000 on the lottery. She's now on Chartres St. Mr. Doussan never enquired about how the business was doing, but he was informed of the yearly deficits.
Eugene Barbier: Mr. Barbier, watchmaker & jeweler at 60 Royal St. (old number), opposite #57. The rental for his property from 1876-1885 was $50 month. At the time of the Exposition rents went up. The lower part of the Derbes property was rented out as a grocery to Solari.
Juliet Johns (colored): Was a cook for Mrs. Doussan. Mr. Doussan worked for Mr. Couvertier, where she would take his breakfast each morning. She "made her market" at the french market & at the treme market. She also did the scrubbing in the house, dining room, kitchen, gallery, steps. She stayed 4-5 hours a day. She worked at 57 Royal for about 5 years, and later at 260 Dumaine about 7 years.
William Franz: Senior partner of Franz & Opitz, jewelry business on corner of Bienville & Royal from 1881-91. Rent for the lower floor started at $40, then $60, then $75. From 1876-81, $60 for a whole building a few doors down.
Oscar Uter: merchant at #47 Royal (between Bienville and Customhouse). Rented the 4-story building from 1878-81 for about $75 rising to $100.
Gaston Doussan: Admitted never took an active part in the administration of the minors' affairs. He worked at his uncle's (#46 Chartres) for $40 month; then the New York house of Young, Ladd & Coffey (commission of $250 from the sale of $2500 of goods in 1881) and traveled for them for $100 month for one year; then to Couvertier Brothers for $12 week plus commission for about $65 month; then to Alexandria for $14 week plus commission for about $70 month; then to D.H. Holmes in 1884 for $12 week, now receiving $25 week. #260 Dumaine St. is in his wife's name purchased 1885. He put the complete running of the business in the hands of his wife and Fortunee.
P.J. Speare: age 61, auctioneer & expert appraiser for 42 years. On instructions of Mr. Meunier, paid to advertise the property and #57 Royal sold in private sale ($7100) to effect a partition in July 1885 to Mrs. Durete, now owned by Mr. Lacoste. Would have rented for about $70 month from 1878-84, or the lower for about $40-50. The Burgundy St. property was offered for sale but did not sell.
August Doussan: Lived on Royal St., manager of the Doussan French Perfumery Co.on Chartres, uncle to Gaston. Employed him for about 10 years at $40 until his marriage. "By the Court: Mr. Witness, if you don't talk louder I will have to shut that door there and smother everybody in this courtroom." Verified the family living and working at #57 Royal.
Gustave Samson: Millinery merchant, been in the business about 16-18 years. General profit from 25-150%. Gross profits average 75%, deducting expenses leaves net profits about 33%. Raised a large family, costs about $7000-8000 per year.
Mrs. Jane Lavigne (colored): Keeps a restaurant at #36 Dauphine. Worked as the Derbes cook from 1873-1878. Received $1 a day for the market.. After Mrs. Derbes died, "Mrs. Doussan put me out." She had something against her sister.
Victoria Chessi (colored): House girl for about 10 years. Joseph used to stay without eating. She would give him her dinner in the kitchen. He was made to scrub the floors.
Benjamin Couvertier: Merchant, dry goods business; known Gaston Doussan since 1883. Gaston worked for him for about 20 months for $12 a week and a premium on certain sales. Joseph used to bring his breakfast most often.
J.A. Mercier: Merchant, appointed under tutor in 1888. Facts presented at the family meeting in 1888 he took to be true. Informed to the minors' affairs by Mrs. Doussan & Mrs. Nores, not Mr. Doussan. Didn't think it was a losing business, there being 11-12 persons living off of it. Mrs. Solache probably got her share when the Royal St. property was sold.
A.B.J. Dureau: Merchant in the charcoal business; known Doussan about 25 years. Doussan used to attend the French Opera. Thought Joseph was a spoiled child.
Mrs. B. Solache: Doussan never paid board. She objected, but was told the children wanted them to live on their money. They had a falling out. She never asked for a partition. Her husband was refused as sub tutor, so she took her share ($545) on Mar. 23, 1878. Her mother had signed a mortgage for $120 (3 months rent) for her mother-in-law (5 months at $40) that was the mortgage. Paid by Mrs. Nores with her money/share. Joseph was not allowed to look at her or to bow to her. "I used to meet him in the street once in a while. He would bow to me when he was alone, but when he was with his sisters he would not look at me." When he came to live with her, his arm was sore and bandaged; and plain ordinary clothing. Her husband has been dead 5 years and she has 2 boys & 3 girls. Fred went to Chicago to find work 5 years ago. When he came to her he was barefoot and in his undershirt (age about 14 1/2). He had run away, they tried to get him back, but the Court gave him to her. They had him arrested as a juvenile vagrant. He had also gone to Birmingham and then back with her. He was a good boy. Then working in a creamery factory in Chicago. Then for Chambers, Roy & Co. at the west end, now a broker in grain & hay.
Mrs. J.A. Harris: She left in 1885 when the Royal St. property was sold, previously working in the country in a fancy store where she clerked for about 18 months. She left because she was not satisfied with the way she was treated. "I was first working in the store, our own store, as a clerk, saleslady, and I was made to do fancy work in my idle hours. That was sold and the money put in the store business. Afterwards I was put in the kitchen to cook. That was not agreeable to my taste, and I could not agree to it, I could not be a servant for brothers-in-law and nieces and nephews, so I looked for a position in a millinery store, at Mrs. Colberting's, and I worked there eight months, for which I was getting $5 a week, of which I gave them half. In the summer it was reduced to $4 a week and I gave them half of it, and it was not enough for them. I told them, very well, I would work for myself and not give them anything, so I worked in the country. I worked in that store. I was a clerk, and besides clerking I did fancy work, which was sold and the money brought to run the house with. All (the money) went to Mrs. Doussan. She ran the house." She never saw Doussan pay board. She never saw him get extra fare at mealtimes. Her younger brothers were not ill-treated while she was there. Joseph had to do work like everyone else. She never asked for her share, but received it when the property was sold. She objected to the property being sold but was told that the majority ruled. She received $725. She was 18 when her mother died. Ten shares were put aside for the children. The property was sold for $7100 and she got $710, allowing her $15 for the furniture and piano, totalling $725. Didn't know of any expenditure books, it was all in Mrs. Doussan's hands. Mrs. Nores kept the books and Mrs. Doussan ran the house. Mr. Doussan did nothing. She was at Mrs. Solachi's house when Joseph left home. He turned up there barefooted and in his undershirt. He was arrested but sent back to Mrs. Solachi. He was the third one to leave home for ill-treatment by Mrs. Doussan. When Frederick left home and turned up at Mrs. Solachi's his arm was bandaged but he was clothed decently. She left because "I was not treated as I ought to have been, as my mother treated me."
Joseph B. Derbes: Flour & grain broker. He was sent to the Jesuits school when he was ten. He was taken out to go to work in St. Bernard parish at Mr. & Mrs. Nores' country store at Toka Station, to be paid 5 cents a week. Stayed there about 8 months then sent to take an examination for Tulane College, "but having been taken out of school so long I had forgotten a good deal what I had knew, and I was unable to pass." They then sent him to Aloysius Instutute. Mr. Nores had tried to instruct him but was unable as he had been learning Greek, Latin, Spanish and German. He was sent to Paris: "They came to me when I was at Toka Station and in a kind way they told me that Mrs. Doussan had had an inspiration from her dead mother telling her to send me to Paris." He was confided to his uncle, Jules Derbes, and sent to St. Nicholas school. "It is a very large school, about 1500 boys. The class of the school is very poor. It is only boys of servants who went there, and there were not real gentlemen that went there. It was a poor class of people that went there." They taught trades such as printer, trunk making, optician & musical instruments precision. He had selected engineering but they first claimed the shop was full, then his uncle claimed that it was not a fit trade for him. He couldn't tell what trade they wanted him to learn. He wanted printer but was again told that was no good. He was put out of the school because "I was placed in that college without a cent to spend with the boys and they called me cochon d'un american, hog of an american. As I objected to the term being used to me, I whipped them all and for whipping them I got expelled." He pleaded with his uncle to stay in France. He went to work for Mr. Brinkman the optician. "It was there that there was a son who was a rascal and a thief and he wanted me to steal with him. I wrote to my uncle stating this boy wanted me to steal and that he better take me out, and he refused to do so. Finally, the boy put up a job, put some stolen articles in my pockets and accused me of stealing. I then confessed to the father he was a thief and not me. His father to protect the honesty of his son, wrote immediately to my uncle to come and get me. I wrote to my uncle that the boy wanted me to steal and he better take me away. I wanted him to take me away because the boy wanted me to steal the wine." He returned to N.O. on 3 September 1887 at the age of 15. Before going to Paris he had lived at the house on Royal St. with Mrs. Doussan. In the morning he was "given a cup of water, supposed to be coffee, it was only a promise of it" and "two slices of stale bread." He was beaten by Mrs. Nores if he misbehaved, usually about 3 times a week.. "She was the strongest." In March 1887 he was working for Mr. Mercier but fired for no reason. Mrs Doussan "caught me on Canal St. and brought me home, took all my clothes away and put me barefooted in the yard, without any clothes." He wrote a postal card to Frederick to "take me from that living hell." His $2/week earnings all went to Mrs. Doussan. He ran away that month. His brother Carlos caught him on Canal St., he broke away from the car and ran to Mrs. Solachi's. They then swore out a warrant against him as a juvenile vagrant. Mrs. Doussan wanted him to spend the night in jail. Officer Brunel "said it was a shame to put me, a young boy, with negroes." They released him to Mrs. Solachi's house, and came next day to take him to Judge Guedry's court. "After he heard my case and the way I was treated he told me to put my hat on and be a good boy and go with my sister (Mrs. Solachi)." He couldn't get a job because of what his sisters had said about him. He left to work 26 miles north of Birmingham for the Railroad Mining Co. for 10 months. Then he worked with his brother who had a very large news stand on Canal St. Then he worked for a wholesale grocer, Chambers, Roy & Co., for $3/week; then Barbrick as a country clerk; then grocer Mr. Peter Graham for $15/month. He left there because Mr. Graham told him to attend church or quit. Then he worked for Robert McGregor, a grocer. He went to Chicago on 31 July 1891 at age 19. He stated that his brother (Frederick) was much persecuted, and that he and all his friends were beyond reproach. Joseph couldn't get work as he was "painted a criminal, a drunkard, a gambler & so on." He was sent to jail only once when "a drunkard split my eye open on St. Charles St.", both were arrested, but Judge Bringer honorably discharged him next day not guilty. [Cross-examination made evidence look somewhat shaky.]
[6 Nov 1907] Frederic Derbes' claim is dismissed.