Just downriver from Oak Alley Plantation, is St. Joseph Plantation. According to the Live Oak Society records, St. Joseph Plantation has 16 registered live oak trees on its property, some named after family members, with the largest boasting a girth of almost 24 feet (my measurement).
The old oaks closest to the home are some of the oldest on the grounds. They are estimated to be at least as old as the plantation home (1830) and the oldest, the one standing alone upriver from the home and nearest Oak Alley (see photo above), may be 300 years old or more.
The oldest oak at St. Joseph Plantation is located on River Road on the upriver edge of the property, near the Oak Alley Plantation property line.
Brief history of St. Joseph Plantation. In 1840, Dr. Cazamine Mericq purchased the plantation property from the Scioneaux family and using slave labor built the home. Shortly afterwards, he sold it to Alexis Ferry and his fiance’, Josephine Aime. The couple financed the purchase with dowry money from Josephine’s father, Gabriel Valcour Aime.
Valcour Aime owned a much larger plantation next door that was called the St. James Refinery Plantation and he was generally recognized as the wealthiest man in the South at the time. Valcour’s plantation was nicknamed, “La Petite Versailles” for its extravagant gardens and manor. Valcour was married to Josephine Roman, of the wealthy Roman family. In 1836, Jacques Telesphore Roman (Josephine’s brother) purchased a working plantation from Valcour just upriver from St. Joseph Plantation that became Oak Alley Plantation.
St. Joseph’s connection to Oak Alley and Felicity Plantations. St. Joseph plantation was purchased in a post-civil War sheriff’s sale by Joseph Waguespack and the plantation has remained within the Waguespack’s extended family ever since, according to Joan Boudreaux, St. Joseph’s general manager and Waguespack’s great-great-great granddaughter.
The adjoining plantation home “Felicity,” stands downriver from St. Joseph Plantation directly above the location of Valcour’s plantation home. Felicity was built in 1850 with dowry money for Josephine’s Aime’s sister, Felicity, when she married Septime Fortier. So the three plantation homes were all connected through family members and were all on sugarcane plantation land once owned by Valcour Aime. In 1899, Joseph Waguespack purchased the 1,200 acre Felicity plantation and combined it with St. Joseph to create the St. Joseph Planting and Manufacturing Co. Ltd.