Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On a spring day in 2001, a letter arrived at the post office in the little farm town of Caruthers, located about 30 miles south of Fresno, California. The residents all know each other, members of their immediate and extended families, where they came from, the year they left and when they returned.

The address on the letter was simple, it read:

Dargeles
Caruthers
California, USA

The letter was postmarked from France.

Elizabeth Barber Dargeles was the widow of Raymond "Frenchie" Dargeles. She was the only remaining relative of her generation. Elizabeth Dargeles has returned to live in Caruthers after Frenchie's death. And as luck would have it the postmistress in this little town also grew up there and knew the Dargeles family and knew Elizabeth. The letter was hand delivered to Elizabeth.

In beautiful flowing script and 'approximate English' the story begins to unfold.
The first question.... "We are looking for the family of Octave Dargeles and his brother Jean Marie Dargeles. These brothers emigrated from France in 1886 and we are looking for family members in America".

The letter is written by Georgette Darees, wife of Jean Darees. His mother Francine Dargeles Darees was the last surviving Dargeles and had inherited the family farm. Francine married and raised her family at Montegut, the farm that has been in her family for centuries. There no Dargeles remaining in France.

Elizabeth calls Patricia, and then she calls Barry to share the news.

There are only 4 direct descendants, plus their families, from Octave Dargeles. Barry Humphrey, Judy Humphrey-Lawrenson, children of Octavia Dargeles Humphrey and William Humphrey. Patricia O'Donnell Reeves, William "Skip" O'Donnell children of Francine Dargeles O'Donnell and William O'Donnell.

Octave Valare Dargeles had 4 sons, only 2 married but they had no children, the other 2 met with tragic early deaths. The Dargeles line in America is growing smaller, too.

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