From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 267
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902


   Since the days of our struggle for independence Frenchmen have felt friendship for America and our American institutions and in the establishment of a Republican government in France the inhabitants of that country have had the heartfelt sympathy of Americans.  Emigrants from France have been welcomed to all parts of the United States and for the most part they have developed into citizens of enterprise and usefulness.  Among the best known residents of central Kansas, of French nativity are Bernard and Isaac Lavielle, of Walnut township, Reno county, whose postoffice is at Avery. 

   Bernard Lavielle was born near Biscay, France, July 15, 1844, and came to America in 1874, in company with a man named Dacey and the latter’s family.  The two men started from their native land with considerable money in gold coin, but they were made the victims of a confidence scheme and arrived in America with practically nothing.  In 1874 Mr Lavielle, John Dacey and eight others, constituting a party of ten, went west to Kansas City, Missouri, and thence to Sterling, Rice county, Kansas, where Mr Lavielle arrived a little in debt.  His success since that time has demonstrated the fact that he is not only capable of learning by experience but is possessed of good business ability which was necessary only for him to exercise in order for him to better his fortune.

   John Lavielle, father of Bernard and Isaac Lavielle, married Mary Gollare, and they had four daughters and five sons, and three of their daughters died young.  Bernard and Isaac Lavielle had little opportunity for education in France except that afforded by night school.  Their father, who was possessed of well developed mechanical ability, earned a living by making snuff boxes from horn, which he melted and pressed into various designs and which he lined with peach tree wood.  His son Bernard has a snuff box like those made by his father, but this was made by his uncle, and also has a small gimlet with a horn handle, which his father used in work of that kind.

   Bernard Lavielle walked from Hutchinson, Kansas, to the vicinity of his present place of residence and found employment at ten dollars a month herding cattle for Thomas Bundser, in which he continued for six months.  He lived a bachelor life with his brother for fifteen years, until 1888.  December 10 of that year he married Miss Martha Deadmond, a native of Marion county, Illinois, and a daughter of James and Margaret (Johnson) Deadmond, native of that state.  Mr and Mrs Deadmond removed to Kansas in 1883, arriving at Sterling August 17, and they live on a good farm in Walnut township, where Mr Deadmond busies himself as a farmer and as a mechanic.  They have had ten children, of whom three are living.  Mr and Mrs Lavielle have had seven children, of whom six are living, one daughter having died young.  Those living were born at the dates here given:  Ernest F, April 15, 1891; Clarice May, September 6, 1892; Ora Aurelia, September 28, 1895; Marshal Ivory, November 7, 1897; James Irvin, February 19, 1899; and Cora Almeda, December 15, 1900.

   Mr Lavielle’s land aggregates three hundred and twenty acres, embraced in two farms.  He settled in Walnut township when the country was new prairie, pre-empting eighty acres and later homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres more and added to his acreage until he had acquired his present holding.  His house is modern and comfortable and his barns and outbuildings are adequate to all demands upon them.  In the fall of 1874 he walked from Kansas to Douglas county, Illinois, and the following spring he returned to Emporia, Kansas, and walked from Emporia to his present home, carrying a heavy pack on his back, and was three days in making the journey.  He spent six months in New Mexico, where he was employed upon the construction of the Santa Fe railroad.  His progressive character is indicated by his material progress and prosperity and by the esteem in which he is held by his fellow citizens.  Four acres of his land is given up to a fine orchard of apple and peach trees, but he gives his attention principally to general farming.  Wheat and corn are his leading crops, but he also raises some broom corn.  He keeps about fifty head of stock cattle and eight horses and mules.  His house is embowered among fruit and shade trees and he gives considerable attention to grape culture.  His residence was erected in 1889, his large red barn in 1891.

   Isaac Lavielle, son of John and Mary (Gollare) Lavielle, is as well known in Walnut township, Reno county, Kansas, as his brother Bernard.  He was born near Biscay, France, September 23, 1852, and was educated in his native town.  At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to learn the manufacture of corks, in which he was employed for eight years, becoming an expert workman and earning good wages.  He and Bernard served as volunteers in the French navy for ten months, six months of the time in actual war.  He marched twenty-eight consecutive hours overland to escape capture by the enemy and his feet were blistered so that his stockings clung to them.  Early in 1875 he came to the United States and arrived at Hutchinson, Kansas, April 22, that year.  May 5, following, he reached Walnut township, Reno county, with ten dollars left out of the two hundred and thirty dollars with which he had left home.

   Mr Lavielle joined his brother in farming on their two original eighties of land, which lay side by side.  They set up housekeeping together in a dugout, ten by twelve feet in size, covered with a thatched roof, and began breaking land with four wild steers, which Mr Lavielle bought at Hutchinson, Kansas, for one hundred dollars, and one of which soon broke its neck.  After that they worked the three in pairs and the difficulties under which they labored were increased by the fact that one of them was a wild and ferocious animal, which no one but Mr Lavielle could control or handle.  Like his brother he gives his attention to general farming and he has at considerable trouble and expense provided himself with orchards of fruit of various kinds.  He took great pleasure in planting and watching the growth of his fruit trees and is setting out shade trees of different kinds.  About eight years ago he cut down an immense cottonwood tree which had grown from a small twig which he had planted with his own hands.

   Mr Lavielle was married April 15, 1886, to Miss Josephine Boner, a native of Kankakee county, Illinois, a daughter of Joseph Boner, a farmer of Reno county.  He located in Kansas in October, 1878, when Mrs Lavielle was twelve years old.  Isaac and Josephine (Boner) Lavielle have six children, named as follows:  Louis M, who is fourteen years old; Lawrence is in his twelfth year; Elert, who is in his tenth year; Alfred, who is in his eighth year; Pearl, who is five years old; and Alta, who is five months old.  The brothers are independent in politics and are consistent members of the Roman Catholic church.


There are about 18 members of this family who are buried at the Sterling Community Cemetery, Sterling, Rice Co, Kansas.