John Matherne


Submitted by Irene Matherne Moore


††††††††††† John Matherne was born Oct 29, 1874.† Johnsís parents were Azenor and Marguerite Murphy Matherne of French Settlement, La.† John was one of eleven sisters and brothers.† John Matherne purchased this 10 acres of land March of 1896 from the said name Aydell.† Another strip of land Ĺ acre wide by 10 acres deep more or less, located next to the purchased Aydell property, was bought in 1910 from the Lamberts of which John Matherne was a son-in-law.† This gave him a total of 15 acres more or less to clear and own to build his home, general store and use for farm land.† Johnís first marriage was to Marie Winona (Wincie) Lambert in 1897 of which she gave him 2 children.† The first born child, Amonyne, born and died Jan. 21, 1898 which has been recorded in the Census Book of French Settlement, La.† Johnís second son was Mederic Matherne, born Nov. 6, 1902 Ė died Dec. 23, 1993 in New Orleans, La.† Johnís wife, Wincie, died Dec. 22, 1919, and was buried in the Community Cemetery, French Settlement, La.

††††††††††† John Matherne built, owned and operated a general store which was located in front of his property in the 1900ís.† He also would farm, and in the off seasons he logged for logging companies.† There are records showing that his general store was still opened by 1909.† He eventually closed the general store due to hard times.† John would have to dig potatoes at night, when he was done he then sat on the porch of his general store the rest of the night with a rifle on his lap to keep the thieves away.† He kept his store open all day and this gave him very little time for sleep.† His family helped him to run the general store.† Many of his customers were too poor to pay out their debts.† For some, it took up to 5 years following the closure to pay off the balance.† The general store sold all types of food, produce, grain and furniture as well as feed for the animals.† It carried about everything a farmer would nee. He sold fence posts and water buckets, along with oil and turpentine, saddles, tobacco and much more.† It was built into a ďLĒ shape structure and was sitting on what is now the property of Kurt Matherne, Johnís youngest grandson.† The lower part to the right of the ďlĒ was a barber shop which was added on as another one of Johnís talents.† Yes, John Matherne also cut hair.† The old store closed down in 1915.

††††††††††† John farmed and in the off seasons he was the overseer of the old saw mill down in La Glaze La Cote, La.† John Matherne became a logger with hired hands after the 1920ís.† He was one of only a few real cowboys that was riding horses with a big hat, guns and was always whistling while his horse trotted down the old dusty roads.† Some of the children would run to watch and listen as he galloped by whistling his happy tunes.† ďIt was as if a parade had passedĒ, said Aline Little of French Settlement, La.

††††††††††† John was also on the board at the Livingston Parish Court House and a Sheriff for La Cote or French Settlement around the 1930ís.† He also served on the Grand Jury at one time in Livingston Parish.

††††††††††† In the mean time, Johnís second marriage was to Felicia Guitreau in 1922.† Felicia gave him two sons.† Gilbert Joseph Matherne born May 25th of 1924 and John Rene (Tooni) born May 5th 1928.† Gilbert served in South Pacific while in the U.S. Navy 1943-1945 during W.W.II and in Germany the U.S. Army U.S. Constabulary 1946-1949.† Gilbert Matherne was one of our first Cold War Warriors.

††††††††††† When Gilbert returned to America he learned of the death of his brother Rene John who was killed in a logging accident Oct. 29th, 1949.† Rene saw his death approaching and told Blue Murphy to tell his family how much he loved them as he was being taken to the Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge where they pronounced his death a short time afterwards.† Rene had been married to Gertrude Decareaux and also the father of one daughter, Karen Matherne Louque, who was 18 months at the time of his death.

††††††††††† Gilbert brought home a war bride from Kassel, Germany Nov. 1949, Elisabeth Wendel Matherne.† Including her two children, Gilbert had a total of 6 children throughout the years that followed.

††††††††††† John Matherne continued to farm and work at the Cabreís Saw Mill in Port Vincent, La. with the logging company.† It wasnít until he nipped his knee while sawing that the people of the logging company found out his true age of 75 and sadly he could no longer work for the mill.† Insurance wouldnít cover at his age.

††††††††††† John lived a long Ė good life and died at the ripe old age of 91.† He died from blood poisoning from a bed sore in the Dixon Memorial Hospital in Denham Springs, La.† He died May 8th, 1965, a few months before the Hurricane Betsy destroyed his home that same year.† Felicia died Feb. 9th, 1975 from a heart attack, also at Dixon Memorial Hospital.

††††††††††† Mederic, Johnís oldest son, died from cancer Dec. 23, 1993 in New Orleans, La. at the age of 91 years.† Mederic was a fine artist and his beautiful work is found in New Orleans, where he lived until his death.† One of his arts is the painting on a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary that once belonged to the St. Joseph Catholic Church, which now is the property of the French Settlement Historical Museum.† Mederic became very successful with his paintings and has many arts displayed through out our state.

††††††††††† Johnís son, Gilbert Matherne, retired Longshoreman, continued to live on the property until he died from lung cancer in the Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge, La. on Nov. 26, 2000.† At the present time, Irene Matherne Moore and Kurt Matherne remain living on the Matherne property.