Jules Charles Leroux was born in Paris (?) France in 1805. He was one of XX children. Jules Leroux was a printer by trade. He took part along with his older brother - Pierre Leroux - in the overthrow of the French King Louis Philippe in the 1848 revolution.
Both Leroux brothers were very political figures and well connected. They regularly were associated with politicians and writers - the likes of Victor Hugo and George Sand. In 1848?, Both brothers were elected to the French Parliament (House of Deputies) - Pierre Leroux already serving as Mayor of Boussac France. During Louis Napoleon's Coup de Tat of 1851, both were very outspoken in their opposition. On XXXX, expulsion orders were given which sent many of the opposition to exile. The Lerouxs and their families went into exile to the English held Islands of Jersey and Guernsey. In 18XX, the expulsion was lifted. Pierre Leroux returned to Paris. Jules Leroux and his family emigrated to the United States homesteading in Nemaha County Kansas. In 18XX Jules Lerous started the French newspaper Le Etoil de Kansas (The Star of Kansas. In 18XX, the Leroux family (including new son in law and his Family Amil Zurcher) moved to Corning Iowa to become part of the Icarian Settlement in Adams County Iowa. In 1881, The Lerouxs and Zurchers and several others moved from Corning Iowa to Sonoma County California to start a new Icarian settlement called Icaria Speranza. This settlement was on the fertile soil of the Alexander valley in Cloverdale (California) along the banks of the Russian River.
Jules Leroux died on October 15, 1883. He is buried in the Cloverdale Cemetery along side his
wife and daughter XXX. The Icarian Settlement broke-up in 1887. The property was divided among
the families. Little remains today of this very interesting period. The old highway has been
replaced by a modern 4 lane freeway that cuts the Icarian property down the middle. The Icarian
property is fast being covered over by commercial development.
On the trail of Sonoma County's century-long search for utopia
By Steve Bjerklie
In America, the immigrant Icarians struggled until they discovered a bonanza: the ghost town left behind by the Mormons at Nauvoo, Ill. Brigham Young had set out for the Utah Territory in 1846; two years later the Icarians moved into a perfectly empty but still intact village (ironically, one of the first tasks undertaken by the French Icarians was the planting of vineyards on land the teetotaling Mormons had previously planted in corn). Yet disenchantment among the Icarians eventually led to the exile from Nauvoo of Cabet himself, who had joined his followers in America. More splits occurred until finally, in 1881, Armand Dehay and Jules Leroux scouted the Sonoma County property and bought it for $15,000. The commune's original name, Speranza, came from L'Esperance, an Icarian newsletter; by 1884 it was known as Icaria-Speranza. Vineyards, fruit orchards, a prune orchard, and vegetable gardens were planted.
But mundane financial difficulties of the capitalist variety found their way into the communist society. Hopes that the sale of land in the Midwest would allow Icaria-Speranza to pay off the debt on the Sonoma County land were dashed when the Midwest property could be sold for only cents on the dollar. An experiment in breeding Norman and Percheron horses proved disastrous. By 1887, Icaria-Speranza was no longer a functional community, its property divided among the colonists. The community lives on, however, in the name Icaria Creek and in several Dehay, Leroux, and other Icaria-Speranza descendants who still live in Sonoma County. The heritage society meets in Cloverdale quadrennially.
From the Sonoma Independent Archives
KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS
by F.F. Crevecoeur
Jules Leroux, who was a member of the chamber of deputies in France, was exiled to England when Napoleon III became emperor and came from the island of Jersey, whither he had gone, came to Kansas in 1866. He lived a while in the Louis C. Simon house, which stood on what is now Paul Junod's farm, then moved to the Fred Bonjour farm, now Mrs. Theys'. He homesteaded the farm now belonging to James Meek, and built a frame house, into which he soon after moved. His wife was a German lady, and she and the following children came with him to this locality: Peter, Gabrielle (Mrs. Ami Zurcher), Lizette (Mrs. Etienne Pepies) [sic], Paul, Jules, jr., and Mary (Mrs. Armand Dehay), After Mr. Leroux came here he established a French political paper called "L' Etoile de Kansas" (The Star of Kansas), which he printed in his home on the farm. It was a Republican paper, in which Mr. Leroux worked for the political emancipation of the French people. He had a lot of feed burned by a prairie fire two or three years after he moved onto his farm. Mr. Leroux's son, Peter, homesteaded the north half of the present Tom McLaughlin farm and lived in a log house east of where Ike Summerville lives. Paul homesteaded the south half of the Baptist Dulac farm and had a house on the northwest corner of it. He married Mrs. Mary Souleret about the year 1874.
Mr. Leroux's son-in-law, Alexander Petit, came from London to Topeka, and came here with his wife, Frantz, and a boy, Jules, several years after Mr. Leroux came here. He was a barber by trade. He bought a farm, which afterwards became Mr. Rossier's. He could not get a good title to it, so he next bought the farm belonging to Mrs. C. Surdez, and lived on it a couple of years, after which he went back to Topeka. Finally he went to Arizona, where he died a few years ago, but his wife is still living there. As Europe has the hedgehog, which is typical to the soil of Europe, so have we one that is typically American. Not long after Mr. Petit came back here he ran across a pretty , little, black and white animal, and the thought struck him that it would be quite desirable as a pet for the children. So he thought he would see if he could capture it and take it home. As the rose has its thorns, so did the animal have its faults, and when a grab was made for it, it resented the gentleman's familiarity in a forceful way, and Mr. Petit swore that then, there, and forever, he would quit trying to make pets of any and all wild creatures that he might afterwards meet in the wilds of America.
Etienne Pepin is a stone cutter by trade, and a Canadian by birth. He came here in the late 60's and married Lizette Leroux in 1867, at Topeka. He homesteaded the place where John Meyers lives. His children, born there, are: George and Helen. He is now living in Topeka.
Armand Dehay, a Frenchman, came here at an early day and for a while was interested in the French store. He followed the barber's profession, and in 1872 he married Mary Leroux. He lived for a while with Mr. Leroux, then went to Wamego, where he worked at his trade. After a few years he returned to this locality. Of eight children, born to him, the oldest are: Paul, Emile, Van Philip and Armand jr.
Mr. Leroux and his sons and sons-in-law went to Iowa, 1878, where they were all interested in the society of Icaria, a socialistic affair. Mr. Petit had previously visited Mr. Bossiere, of Franklin county, and was, to a certain extent, interested in Mr. Bossiere's scheme, but not being satisfied with it, he returned here. The family did not find the society of Icaria altogether to their taste, and soon left there, to go to California, where they still followed their socialistic ideas. This did not last long, however, as some found, what many others had, and are still doing, that nothing uplifts a man so much as to be thrown on his own resources and to live as his own boss.
Mr. Leroux and most of his children and grandchildren are living now at Cloverdale, Sonoma county, California