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Former David House

Gabriel Martin (1875-1944)

The representations of this ancient house can only make us regret its disappearance a little more than a century ago. Adjoining the house of Japhet, it belonged in the 17th century to Doctor Pierre David, dean of the Protestant consistory of Clairac; it then belonged to his son-in-law, Doctor Antoine Lartigue who settled there when he married Annon David in 1693; at the time of the census of the New Converts of 1699, they lived there with their 3 children. They also owned the property of Dimeuilh, their “summer residence”: like many clairacais bourgeois, when the summer heat came, they would leave the city to breathe the good air of their nearby resort. In the 18th century, when the Lartigues left rue Puzoque, it was sold to Jean Labadie, who sold it in 1793 to the “citoyen Bertrand”, who lived in Chaouze.


The magnitude of the wooden galleries reveals an elaborate construction of which no other examples are known in the vicinity. Those who pose for the photography are modest Clairacais, while for the photography published in postcard, the two women have a little more “good-looking”, one of them wearing a hat; maybe it's the reference to Montesquieu (who was no more the owner of this house than of the adjoining one) who didn't want kids in black coats? The wooden galleries would have been sold to an antique dealer in Bordeaux around 1900, but what could he have done with them? Their finish is very rough.
In the 1950s, the house was known as “la cour à Joséphine”, named after the old woman who owned it (but lived nearby, at the beginning of rue Gambetta), Joséphine Beauregard. The house had disappeared, but the land was bordered to the north by a stone wall nearly two metres wide, surmounted by a walkway : a remnant of the medieval enclosure; inside monumental stone chimneys, such as often exist in Clairac. In the rubble of the demolition, the keystone of the door was found, bearing the date 1677. But also the metal door of an old safe, probably Dr. David's.

Grandfather of the late Claude Martin, born in Cambes, Gabriel Martin was a resourceful man. Indeed, in addition to having been a notary clerk for Mr Dudon (future mayor), he was secretary of the town hall. At the origin of the electrification of the mill on the right bank with his cousin Bichon, he was also passionate about photography and took many pictures of Clairac, its houses and monuments, which are today essential testimonies of the village in the past. His photographs were often published as postcards which are the delight of collectors today.

Old house of Clairac, 1898. Henriette de Bellecombe.
David House. Photograph Delpech.
david-Carte postale.jpg
Interior view of the house where Montesquieu lived. Postcard.
Old keystone of the front door, dated 1677.
Dr. David's safe box mechanism.