The Perry House and its History.
Interview of Mr. Chris Leblanc descendant of Alcide Leblanc who sold the land acquired by father Megret to establish Abbeville.
The home was built in 1840 by Capt. Robert Perry who was the first sheriff of Vermilion Parish which had just been established out of what was formerly a part of Lafayette Parish. Mr. Perry was not elected but had been appointed, it assumed by the governor, as sheriff. Mr. Perry had business interests in several parts of S.W. La. and possibly Texas. Robert Perry was originally from Pennsylvania but that may have been his father. There was some sort of river crossing, possibly a ferry, at the site of the "old" Perry Bridge which was about 200 yds. downriver of the current bridge. Mr. Perry built a stationary bridge, one that could not be opened, and a store next to it, thus intercepting all boat traffic and forcing them to deal at his store. I ( Mr. Chris Leblanc) wrote a research paper many years ago at USL concerning steamboat traffic on the Vermilion and came across resolutions passed by the Lafayette Police Jury in the 1830's or 40's threatening to tear that bridge down. By coincidence, the second sheriff, who was elected, was also named Robert Perry but was no relation to the first.
Steam Boat passing in front of the Leblanc (perry's) House at the beginning of the ninteenth century .
The house itself may not have been completed until after Mr. Perry's death but was finished shortly after. It is not a local or Southern style except for the veranda. It probably was originally intended to have a balcony upstairs. Its architecture is described with the National Registry on which it is listed and described as a two story greek revival residence. All wood is cypress, the beams are mortise and tenoned, and square nails were used for flooring and siding. The home stayed in the Perry family for many years and even today descendants of that family will drop by from many parts of the country.
My family acquired the house and 600 acres of mostly forested land in 1901 when it was purchased by my great grandfather Alcide LeBlanc and his son Gabriel. Alcide was the clerk of court in the parish and was a Confederate veteran. Gabriel was the president of one of the banks. The house had been held by a sugar co. for awhile and had come up at a sheriff's auction which Alcide and his son were in good positions to take advantage of. Alcide's father was the same Joseph LeBlanc who owned the land acquired by Fr. Megret upon which Abbeville was built. Considering the dispute between Pere Megret and Robert Perry, it's ironic that the family that dealt with Fr. Megret later moved into the Perry's former home.
My parents moved back onto the land which had been purchased with the old home shorlty after I was born which was in1951. My earliest memories are of the small home which we lived in which was made by placing two 2-room cabins together. In winter, we would get up and go dress in front of the fireplace as there was no heater in our room, it was great. We had 2 miles of solid woods between ourselves and Abbeville in which to roam. Much of our time as boys was spent on the river in whatever kind of boat we could patch together. The old home was then occupied by Elie LeBlanc, Alcide's last surviving son, who was my great uncle. I spent many days on the porch swing of the old Perry/LeBlanc home listening to "Nonc" Elie tell stories about the old days when he was young. In many ways, life really was better then.
note : It is to be noted that Robert Perry the old man is the same person as depicted in the book and movie "Belizaire the Cajun " aas the owner of the plantation and father of Mathew Perry.
Major Bibliographical References
Comprehensive Historic Structures Survey, Vermilion Parish.
Conveyance Records, Vermilion Parish.
Abbeville Meridional. February 9, 1901.