Friday, June 26, 2015

Cousin Kate McCaughey

On February 25 1867 Belle's cousin Kate McCaughey married T. H. Durr in New Orleans.
Durr - McCaughey 1867 Marriage, belletisdale.blogspot.com
Durr - McCaughey 1867 Marriage Certificate
Kate McCaughey 1867, belletisdale.blogspot.com
Catherine Bernice McCaughey 1849-1917


When I sat down with my Grandpa Booksh to identify photos he said that he thought this Carte de Visite photo was of Kate McCaughey, his mother's cousin. Judging from her age it would have been taken near the time that she married.

Cousin Kate, Catherine Bernice McCaughey, was born 27 August 1849 to Frances Ann Augusta Pratt. Aunt France was the oldest sister of Belle's mother, Eliza Helen Pratt. On March 26, 1850 when Kate was just seven months old her father, William H. McCaughey, died. Kate's older brother, Emilius Valerius McCaughey, died some time before 1850. Aunt France and Kate went to live with Grandma and Grandpa Pratt.


"William McCoy" is listed in the 1850 U. S. Census Mortality Schedule and his widow Frances and one year old daughter Bernice are listed in the population schedule as living with her parents, William and Bernice Pratt. Their surname is given as "McCoy." Until I saw that census it never occurred to me that McCaughey could be pronounced as McCoy. The family always pronounced it McCoffee.

Several Masonic documents related to William McCaughey were posted to this blog on 9 September 2014.

Kate's marriage certificate identifies the witnesses as her step father, Henry Anthoine; her Uncle Jene, Eugene J. Pratt; and her Aunt Eliza, E. H. Tisdale. It includes their signatures and is signed by the minister Gaylord Lewis More.

Just one month later Belle and Kate's Aunt Bina, Albina Sarah Pratt, married George W. Durr. We can assume the two men were related, although I can find very little information on George and no information on T. H.

On 1 August 1870 George and Albina Durr and their two children are listed as living in dwelling 328 in Ward 3, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. Eliza Tisdale and her six children are in dwelling 327 and Grandma and Grandpa Pratt and Uncle Jene are in dwelling 326. Emmett Craig, widower of Susan Pratt, with their two daughters, Katie and Mary, are in dwelling 329. So Oakland Place had become quite a family compound.

Kate McCaughey is listed twice in the 1870 census. On 6 June 1870 she is living in New Orleans with her mother, Frances, and stepfather, Henry Anthoine, and is listed as Kate McCoy. On the 29 July 1870 she is listed with her mother and a domestic servant named Martha Washington in Ward 3, Baton Rouge, at dwelling 236. In the1880 census Kate is recorded as living at 249 Treme Street in New Orleans with Henry and Frances Anthoine. Her Aunt Bina and George Durr and their children had moved to Texas by then and are listed in Precinct 2, Wood County, Texas.

We don't know what became of Kate's husband, T. H. Durr, or why her marriage certificate ended up in Belle Tisdale's papers. Kate is listed as a widow in later censuses, but we can find no death record for T. H. Durr. Kate Bernice McCaughey Durr died in September 1917 in New Orleans and was buried in plot 718, Greenwood Cemetery on 19 September 1917 according to cemetery records.


New Orleans in 1867

Although the Civil War was over the political situation in New Orleans in 1867 was still in turmoil. The U. S. Congress passed a Reconstruction Bill early in 1867 to provide for more federal control in the South. Military districts were created to govern until violence could be suppressed and a more democratic political system established. Louisiana was put into the Fifth Military District. Ex-Confederates, mostly white Democrats, were temporarily disenfranchised, and the right of suffrage was to be enforced for free people of color. (Wikipedia and Alcee Fortier, A History of Louisiana, Volume 4)

Our city is in a state of utter hopelessness,” Mayor Edward Heath declared in 1867, two years after the end of the Civil War. The city council had to contend with ruined wharves, hospital shortages, and hungry orphans as well as economic stagnation. In his book New Orleans 1867: The Photographs of Theodore Lillienthal, Gary Van Zante tells the story of an amazing plan for the city to take part in the Paris World Exposition, hosted by Napoleon III in 1867. The city council selected Prussian-born photographer, Theodore Lillienthal, to make 150 large photographs of the city to show New Orleans as a modern metropolis worthy of foreign investment. The photos were sent to Emperor Napoleon III for the Exposition to reassure France and other European countries that the city had not been destroyed and remained a good place to do business.

All but 24 of the 150 photographs survived and were discovered in the Napoleon Museum in Arenenberg, Switzerland, in 1994. They were exhibited at Tulane University and the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2000 and published in book form in 2008 with expert commentary by Gary Van Zante, curator of the Southeastern Architectural Archive at Tulane University, 1994-2002. For more information see The Way We Were and How an early photographer captured a shaken city.

To add to the city's woes, there was another yellow fever epidemic in 1867. It started in New Orleans and spread to Baton Rouge. An article by Judy Riffel titled “Yellow Fever in West Baton Rouge in 1867” in Le Raconteur, the journal of the Louisiana State Archives, says:
Yellow Fever was dormant in Louisiana throughout the Civil War years. In fact, the last major epidemic had been in 1855. That eight-year grace period, however, ended in June of 1867 when the disease reappeared in New Orleans. It reached epidemic proportions in August. Deaths diminished by October with the advent of cooler weather and the epidemic ended in November.”
(John Duffy, ed., The Rudolph Matas History of Medicine in Louisiana, Volume II, Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1962, pp. 423-425)



The 1867 epidemic was second only to the outbreak of 1853. There were 50 deaths a day in September 1867. (Van Zante, New Orleans 1867)





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