NOTE: The following comes from a book written by Joseph-Alexandre de Clouet of Bordeaux, France in 1884. The book was translated at the direction of Douglas DeCluitt of Texas, United States.
Our family is of Flemish origin. Documents for tracing it back further than the 18th century are unfortunately lacking, but according to recollections of our grandfather, as well as conversations with my father, the Clouets or Clovets served for a long time under the dukes of Burgundy, and the cannon appearing on our coat of arms comes from the commander of an artillery regiment who fought under the count of Charolais during his first wars with King Louis XI.
The primitive shield of the Clouets de Piettre was azure an oak tree or and it is from this that the motto is derived. The tower or castle in the first quarter came afterwards, and the lion probably dates from the end of the 15th century, which is the same period as the cannon; thus our arms are quartered. As to the inescutcheon of pretence in the middle of the shield, sinople a tent argent, it belongs to the title of the count de la Fernandina and dates from 1840.
Now, do we have some connection to the Clauvets of Picardie, of which Jean-Francois Clauvets was tax collector for the district of Cambrai during the last years of the 17th century? The shield of this family is quartered as follows: azure a chevron or, two nails argent and a bee or at the base.
Nothing in common with ours... However, the similarity between names, the presence of two silver nails on their arms, and the province and city where they lived make me think that there was, no doubt, either kinship between the Clauvets and our family, or at least a common origin, which I felt obliged to mention in this review.
It is unfortunate that the documents necessary for establishing the beginnings of our family history more completely are unavailable. But one must not that our great-grandfather Alexandre de Clouet, was only a younger son, that he left France unexpectedly, and died far away from home, that our grandfather Louis de Clouet was only his third child, and that he himself traveled quite extensively. In these successive trips to faraway places, he surely lost many documents that would have been useful to me in the work that I am, however, happy to undertake.
What is certain, and here I am relying on authentic documents, is that our great-great-grandfather, Jean-Martin de Clouet de Piettre, was a magistrate attached to the Parliament of Flanders toward the middle of the 18th century, and that he lived either at Cateau or Cambrai. His second son Alexandre-Francois-Joseph, left France in 1757 and never returned. Ten years later he took on Spanish nationality, as did all the French officers in Louisiana after Louis XV ceded the colony to Spain.
Our grandfather, Louis de Clouet, and our father, Alexandre de Clouet, both kept this nationality. But the elder branch of our family, in becoming American, follow the fortunes of the country where they lived. Our cousins still live in Louisiana, where their role in politics from the beginning of this century to the present has gained them public recognition and esteem.
In 1814, the younger branch of the family left New Orleans and returned to France. Five years later our grandfather, Louis de Clouet, returned to America and founded the city of Cienfuegos, in southern Cuba.