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Cove re-enactment celebrates family's legacy

Published June 26, 2006

The hot Texas sun beat down on the two-acre Icet Cemetery in Cove Sunday afternoon as decedents of William Icet and his wife Mary Blanchet Icet re-enacted pieces of their family’s legacy in front of a small audience of relatives and locals.

Pat Dyer, great-granddaughter of Icet, played Mary and her cousin Jay Icet, great-great-grandson of Icet, acted as William for the Chambers County Historical Commission and dressed in attire that matched the time period. CCHC has been re-enacting the lives and history of men and women that influenced and help pioneer Chambers County in its early years since last year.

The script was written by Dyer and detailed some of the history of Cove, William’s life and personal family stories.

“We did a lot of research on this,” Dyer said. “We went to different libraries in Houston and Galveston and read books.”

Today more than 40 souls and descendants of the Icet Family rest in the cemetery.

The CCHC is working on making the Icet Cemetery into historical marker, president of the CCHC Bobby Wheat said. Currently there are three Icet Family cemeteries in the Cove area, including one slave cemetery, he said.

“We intend to re-enact a different story two to three times a year,” Wheat said.

Nina Presnall, descendent of the Icet family, worked with her cousin Dyer to create a dress and bonnet that would match the time period when William and Mary lived, Dyer said.

“I was very impressed with the presentation,” Presnall said. “I enjoyed it.”

William was born in 1822 in Wheeling, Ohio and married Mary, born in Paris, France, in 1854. He came to Cove by way of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in 1859 where he later established a shipyard, cotton and saw mills. The Icet Family made their home in Cove, and later the couple had eight children born during the 1860s named Katherine, Clorissa, Mary Emily, William Steaven, Henry Constant, Daniel Martin, Clara and Peter.

During the Civil War William served as a captain for the Confederate Navy and ran ammunition from the South to the North. Eventually he was captured by the Union in New Orleans and then released in Feb. 1865. To avoid being confined again William lived in Bagdad, Mexico, but always kept in contact with his wife Mary.

Mary died in 1869 from pneumonia shortly after Peter was born. Clorissa, Clara and Peter died at a young age, which left five decedents. Then in Aug. 1899, at the age of 77, William passed away.

When the Civil War ended William returned to Cove and established his business next to Old River. According to an interview with Sadie Icet Dugat in 1975, granddaughter, William buried two metal barrels by the Old River that he sealed and placed large sums of money in. However, nobody has been able to find the money or traces of where the cash was left.

“It was a lot of fun for members and the public to enjoy in making the past history known to visitors,” Wheat said.

“I’m real proud of my heritage,” Jay continued, “and how [our family] helped make Texas, Texas.”

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