Dr. Joseph A. Blanchard, Lafourche Parish
Submitted by Mike Miller

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   Dr. Joseph A. Blanchard, physician, Thibodeaux, La., a man of marked
character and more than ordinary prominence in the material affairs of
La Fourche parish, resides one mile above Thibodeaux on Kenmore
plantation, consisting of 2,400 acres of the finest land.  Dr. Blanchard
was born in Assumption parish, La., on May 28, 1839 and is the son of
Alexander C. and Esther (Smith) Blanchard, the father a native of
Assumption parish, La., and the mother of Norfolk, Va.   The paternal
grandfather, Pierre Blanchard, was born near Bordeaux, France, and came
to Louisiana when that state was a territory and when it belonged to
France. He was a large cotton planter and cotton factor, purchasing all
the cotton on the bayou before sugar was the chief product of the
country.  He was the first to navigate La Fourche bayou by sailboat and
Alexander Strick was the first to navigate by steam.  His son, Alexander
C. Blanchard, was not a man of education and learned to talk English of
his wife.  He served as sheriff of Assumption parish for thirteen years
and was then elected to represent the parish in the legislature.  He was
a colonel in the Mexican war and went out first with the militia of his
parish and neighborhood.  He was a very enterprising man, and at the
time of his death, which occurred in 1853 at the age of forty-one years,
he left a large amount of property .  His wife, who came to assumption
parish when a young lady and was there married, died in 1873, when sixty
years of age.  The Blanchard family were formerly whigs, but for many
years have affiliated with the democratic party.  They were all
Catholics except our subject's mother, who was a Protestant.  Dr.
Blanchard was the third in order of birth of six children, four now
living, and received his literary education at the University of
Nashville, now Vanderbilt  university, graduating in 1860.  The same
year he took a course in medicine at the same university.  He was the
first to volunteer as a soldier in the parish of Assumption, and this
was three days after the fall of Ft. Sumter.  He became a member of
Drew's battalion, was in the battle of July 5, 1861, when that officer
was killed, and afterward went to Virginia, where he was with McGruder
for some time.  After one year's service his health failed and he went
to New Orleans, where he graduated in medicine.  After this he entered
the medical department and was in hospital service for one year and a
half after which he was transferred to the Gunboat "Webb" then to the
"Queen of the West," which was the first boat to pass Natchez.  He was
there when the "Indianola" surrendered after the memorable battle
between the "Queen of the West, "the "Webb" and the "Indianola," and was
in another battle when the "Queen of the West" was sunk. He is now the
only  survivor of that battle.  He was the last to leave the boat and he
escaped by diving under the wheel house.  This was when the magazine
exploded and in jumping he fractured his ------ and injured his head
quite badly.   He was picked up by a Yankee gunboat and subsequently
entered the service again.  He was made surgeon of Spaight's battalion
and afterward became chief surgeon of Harrison's Texas brigade, with
which be remained until the army disbanded, being among the last to
disband.  It is thus seen that he was the first to enter and the last to
leave the army.  His first years were in the field service, then
hospital duty, and then he left this for gunboat service;  afterward was
in field service as surgeon again.  At the close  of the war he returned
to Assumption parish and commenced planting but in connection also
practicing his profession there until 1889.  He then came to La Fourche
parish, bought his present plantation and is engaged in raising cane,
rice and corn.  In 1866 he married Miss Anna Gladish of La Fourche
parish, and eight children have been born to this union.  One child,
Enola, was born in 1867 and died in December, 1890.  Dr. Blanchard is a
member of the Masonic lodge and in politics is a democrat.
 
 From Biographical and Historical Memoires of Louisiana, volume 2, pp.
295-296. 
Submitted by Mike Miller
 
 



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