Julia Charpiot and Andre Sardou

I’m still working through my backlog of evidence, transferring it to my better-sourced database. Over the weekend, I worked on what I know about second cousin twice removed, Julia Charpiot. We share as ancestors my third great grandparents, Johann Theodore Voigt and Maria Agnes Thuernich. Julia’s mother is my relative, Louise Zimmerman. Louise married Henry Charpiot and the two of them lived in Denver where he was a lawyer and for a time the consular officer for the country of France.

Henry’s parents are Frederick Charpiot and Julia Riche, both born in France. Frederick became quite rich as a businessman in Denver, owning and operating Charpiot’s Hotel from 1860 to the early 1900s. The hotel entertained the rich and famous of the world, including many of the American West’s most notorious such as Buffalo Bill. It housed a pre-eminent French restaurant, which Charpiot styled The Delmonico of the West.

Charpiots Hotel
Charpiot’s Hotel, the Delmonico of the West.
(image from the Denver Public Library’s collection)
Denver Post - Frederick Charpiot Dead
Denver Post – Frederick Charpiot Dead

GenealogyBank has archives of both the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News, so I searched through them for information on the elder Charpiot’s as well as Julia (Henry is for another time). Both papers had extensive obituaries for both of them.

Rocky Mountain News - Delmonico of  West Dies
Rocky Mountain News – Delmonico of West Dies

In 1903 or 1904, Frederick and Julia left their business affairs in the hands of Julia’s brother and retired to Branges, France. Frederick died there in 1907.

Denver Post - Pioneer Resident of Denver Is Dead
Denver Post – Pioneer Resident of Denver Is Dead

Julia lived several more decades, including through the first World War. She died in Branges in 1921.

Two of the interesting things revealed in their obituaries was where they were born. Frederick was from Bart in France’s Doub department, where he was born in 1829. Julia was born about 1834 in Joncherey in what what was at the time the Haut-Rhin department. After the two of them emigrated to the U.S., control of Haut-Rhin was subject to a treaty settlement between France and Germany in 1871 after France lost a war. The department was split and most of it became part of Germany. Joncherey remained part of France, but the new border was just a short distance away. This was still the case when the Charpiots returned to France. Rather than retire to their childhood home cities, they got somewhat away from the border in Branges. Julia would live to see the territory around her birthplace restored to France after the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I. Nevertheless, she was still close enough to the western front during the war that she saw some of the atrocities inflicted on the combatants.

Henry, with his second wife Edith and his daughter Julia, also relocated to Paris in the early 1900s where he established an international law firm. Julia benefited from a rich person’s overseas education and became part of Europe’s social scene. There she met Andre Sardou, son of famous (at least that’s what I gathered from the blurbs and the fact that he has a Wikipedia page) playwright Victorien Sardou, and they were engaged.

The following blurb from the Richmond Times-Dispatch in early May 1920 is representative of the short pieces that ran in many U.S. newspapers. I had a hunch it was the correct Julia Charpiot because of the reference to the French consular agent at Denver, but I had little other information in the newspaper archives I had access to when last I researched the Charpiots.

Richmond Time-Dispatch - Andre Sardou Engaged
Richmond Time-Dispatch – Andre Sardou Engaged

Until this weekend, that’s what I knew of what happened to her. But with my recent subscription to GenealogyBank and their archives of Denver papers, I took another look. And lo, there were items in the Denver Post with more details than what was published in other newspapers, one from 12 May 1920 on their engagement and one from 26 Jun 1920 on their marriage:

Denver Post - Julia Charpiot To Become Bride of Andre Sardou
Denver Post – Julia Charpiot To Become Bride of Andre Sardou
Denver Post - Julia Charpiot Weds Sardon
Denver Post – Julia Charpiot Weds Sardon

So the wedding did happen!

So far, none of my direct ancestors have come from France, so I’ve never spent much time researching French people. Ancestry and FamilySearch don’t have a lot of databases devoted to France so my two easy sources weren’t much help.

The archives for the Paris newspaper Le Figaro are now online. Andre Sardou was enough of a society person in France to merit a blurb for his marriage, which was announced in the paper on 4 Jun 1920.

Le Figaro - le mariage de Andre Sardou
Le Figaro – le mariage de Andre Sardou

Some Googling this time around brought me to this post on a blog devoted to French genealogy. In the sidebar there are links to online departmental archives, and Alpes-Maritimes (where Nice is located) is near the top (hurray for alphabetical order!) so I clicked through.

And they have already digitized Nice well past the 1920 date of marriage for Sardou and Charpiot, and ten minutes of paging through those records brought up their marriage:

Civil marriage registration, Andre Sardou and Julia Charpiot
Civil marriage registration, Andre Sardou and Julia Charpiot

Not only did it give me the date and location of their marriage, but it also gave me their exact birth dates and cities of birth. In Julia’s case, it’s the first record I have that does so.

The birth registrations won’t have anything on possible Sardou-Charpiot children, as those records are confidential for 100 years. But death records are only confidential for 25 years, so there’s a possibility I can find those with some diligent searching.

One thought on “Julia Charpiot and Andre Sardou”

  1. Hi There!

    My name is Brittany Spinner and I currently live in what I believe was your Great Grand Mother’s (Eugenie Charpiot) plot of land, or home at 402/408 S Lincoln in Denver, Colorado. We have been restoring the house at 408 and I have been caught up in wanting to learn about who built the house and what the house may have looked like in its original form.

    The parcels of land that 402, 408 and 412 S Lincoln sit on are shown in ownership transfer papers from the Pomeroy S Broadway Subdivision in the late 1800’s as belonging to Eugenie as well as lands transfer via will to Ethel. The census documents show that they marked their residence as 402 S Lincoln (The grand house built in 1888)

    Our house (next door at 408 and 412 S Lincoln) were built in 1906 and were b was built identical to each other inside and out. We are so curious as to who the builder was and how these houses came to be. I am an interior designer and fascinated by history. We are working to restore the home to it’s original glory. The woodwork in both 408 and 412 S Lincoln are perfectly in tact and we even have some original light fixtures that were converted from gas to electric.

    I was wondering, if by chance, any person in your family may have some old photos of the house (interior especially) that you could send me? I am working also to see if the house may have a historical landmark status due to the early achievements of the Charpiot family in Denver.

    Thank you in advance for reading this and we are excited to learn more about the history of this house.

    Thank you,
    Brittany Spinner

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