Benoits and Bergerons

I don’t know much about the Benoits and Bergerons in my family tree. My g-g-grandmother was a Benoit. Her mother was a Bergeron. G-G-Grandmother Benoit died long before my mother was born. She died of breast cancer, leaving a legacy of that particular form of cancer for her descendants. What’s also interesting about Eugenie Ella Benoit Hebert (don’t you just love that name!) is her Uncle Jean Baptiste Homere Bergeron. Homere – as no doubt he was called since his father was a Jean Baptiste – entered the world in 1844 and left it just 21 years later. He died of smallpox. How do I know that? Homere entered the Union army. He served in the First Calvary. He was known as Omer. He was among 5,000 to 10,000 ( Louisianans who fought on the Union side during the Civil War. Homere may have participated in the siege at Port Hudson. Thousands more from Louisiana joined the confederate side, including two men from the family into which Eugenie Ella married. Exactly what the Bergerons thought of Homere’s choice is unclear. After his death, his mother received a pension from the federal government for her son’s military service. 

A triple execution in St. James

Donaldsonville Chief — Sept. 30, 1871


St. James: The triple execution of John Williams, Alfred Decaraux and Noel,
alias Madison Hampton, convicted of the murder of Francis S. Menteath,
on the night of the 10th of May last, took place today, and was witnessed
by over one thousand persons, both men and women.
As your readers nay not be familiar with the particulars, I will give a
short account of the fiendish deed and the subsequent trial and conviction of
the perpetrators.
On the night aforementioned, four men–James Parker, John Williams,
Alfred Decaranx and Noel-started from the vicinity of Judge Beauvais’
residence with the intention of committing a robbery. It seems that
after trudging a distance of about ten miles up the river, as far as the
St. Michael’s Church, and not having come to any determination as to
which store they should rob, they halted and held a consultation which
ended in the selection of Choppin’s store, situated upon the batture front
ing the Welham place.
Arrived at this store, John Williams made an attempt to wrench the
back door open, which was at first unsuccessful, but he immediately
made a second trial, and being a powerful man, succeeded in wrenching the
door entirely from its fastenings.
Parker immediately rushed in and seized young Menteath by the throat,
holding him thus until John Williams produced a rope and adjusted it
securely around the neck of the victim, when each of the villians took an
end of the rope and pulled it until Menteath was strangled to death.
The arms and legs of the young man were then tied, and John Williams
took the body upon his back and threw it into the river. The store
was then pillaged and the fiends started away, but had proceeded but
a short distance when Williams proposed to return and burn the store in
order to destroy all vestige of their crime. Acting upon the suggestion
of their leader, they returned and set fire to the store which burned to the
The foregoing facts were elicited from Parker, who was accepted as State’s
evidence, and gave his testimony in a remarkably clear and straightforward
manner. Williams attempted to prove an alibi by his wife, but she stated
that he was not at home the night of the murder, There was no rebutting
testimony; Parker’s statement being corroborated by other witnesses, and
also by the confessions of Decaraux and Noel, consequently the three men
John Williams, Alfred Decaraux and Noel, alian Madison Hampton, were
found guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced to death. Some
time after the trial the Governor signed a death warrant. Alfred Decaraux and Noel were visited by their mothers, who bade them a last farewell. Noel’s mother reproached him with deserting the Catholic religion-in which faith he had been born and
raised–and joining the Baptist sect. She told him that this change of religious views had cost him his life, as they were Baptists who had induced him to become a party to the crime for which lie was to pay the penalty with his life. Williams was visited
by his wife. with whom he had been on very bad terms. He forgave her for having testified against him at the trial, and expressed the hope that she had forgiven him for his great crime.
At sunrise, this morning, the prisoners were baptised by the Rev. Samuel Cook. The unfortunate men remarked that, last night was the longest they had experienced during their confinement, and expressed a desire for the our of exection to arrive.
A few minutes before nine o’oclock, everything being in readiness, a wagon
containing three coffins drove up to the jail door to receive the prisoners.
Decaraux was the first to make his appearance. He came down the stairs looking pale and haggard; he mounted slowly into the wagon, and took his seat upon the coffin which
bore his name, gazing around at the assembled crowd, expectantly, then dropping his head upon his breast and swinging himself to and fro: Noel came out next with buoyant step, and sprang lightly into the wagon, seating himself near Decaraux, and nodded to some friends in the crowd. John Williams was the last of the condemned men to come forth from the jail. His step was slow and faltering, and he was evidently weak and depressed by mental suffering. He shook hands with several friends, then jumped into the wagon with the others. Parker, the accomplice to the deed who had turned State’s evidence and saved his own neck, mounted the driver’s seat and took the reins.
Randall Coleman, a prisoner who was under charge of murdering a man, was brought forth securely bound, and placed in the cart with the condemned murderers, he having expressed a desire to witness the execution.
At nine o’clock the Sheriff gave orders for the start, when a numerous
guard immediately formed around the prisoners, and proceeded towards the place of execution. The wagon containing the condemned was followed by the executioner in a buggy covered with the colors of death-white and black. The scene was a solemn one.
Three men condemned to die, dressed in white, with white caps on their heads, and the executioner following behind their wake.
The place where the murder was committed being too small for the execution, a spot, one mile above, on the batture in front of the upper portion of the Welham plantation, was selected. A circle was formed with a rope, in the centre of which was the gallows. Guards were stationed around this circle and none of the spectators were admitted within it. The prisoners were now ordered to descend from the wagon. Decaraux came first and mounted to the platform of the gallows, seating himself upon the right. Williams and Noel followed; the former taking-the middle seat, the latter the one upon the left. The Sheriff then notified the condemned that if they wished to say anything, now was the last opportunity that could be given them. Decaraux was the first to speak. He said:
“Here I am before you, and you know what brought me here. I am glad my time has come, I shall soon be with my Heavenly Father.” On the rope being adjusted around his neck he exclaimed ” Good-bye, old world, good-bye.” Williams then arose and commenced singing a psalm. He essayed several times to speak, but got no further than “Don’t be alarmed, my friends,” then broke down. Noel spoke last, in a cool and indifferent manner: ” You see we are before you; you know what brought us here. Let it be a warning to you all not to follow in our tracks.” The time allotted them for speaking having expired, the executioner was summoned. Mounting the scaffold he pulled the caps over the faces of all three of the men,. and adjusted the ropes around their necks, and bound their hands atop feet. The Sheriff ordered the executioner to do his duty. Like a thunder clap the
three criminals were suspended in mid-air. Noel was killed immediately. Decarax showed
signs of suffering, raised himself convulsively, then fell with a lurch. Williams also showed some signs of pain, but they were not as perceptible as Decaranuxs. At five minutes to twelve the bodies were cut down, after having hung fifty-five minutes. When the rope holding Wiliams was cut, the body fell with great velocity and rebounded from the earth like an elastic ball. Deputy Coroner Gray empanelled a jury, and held an
examinaton upon the bodies, declaring them lifeless. Williams was buried three yards from the gallows; while the mortal remains of Decaraux and Noel were delivered to their friends for interment elsewhere. And thus ended a scene which will be remembered for a long time to come in this community. A very large number of people witnessed the execution, and were visibly affected.

The Weekly Thibodaux Sentinel – January 1900

Jan. 6, 1900

There was an old time family reunion at Dr. H. Dansereau’s home for new year’s day. All the children were there, not excepting those who have left the family rooftree. Mr. and Mrs. R. S. McMahon and children were there from New Iberia, Dr. P.J. Dansereau of Labadieville, and Mr. H.C. Dansereau of Tulane Medical School all come to pay their devoir to their parents and to wish them and one and all a happy new year.

Edward James Doherty, second son of Mrs. Edward Doherty, of Lafourche Crossing, died last Thursday at his mother’s home. His funeral took place yesterday in the forenoon at St. Joseph’s Catholic church. The deceased was a dutiful son and a good young man whose loss falls heavily on his mother and other relatives. His death was unexpected and proved quite a shock to his many friends here and elsewhere.

Jan. 13, 1900

We regret to have to chronicle that Mrs. Thomas H. Roger, of Home Cottage, has been critically ill during the week. We are glad to be able to add that at the present writing (Friday forenoon) there is a change for the best and it is hoped that she will soon be restored to health.

Mr. Ernest Beauvais, of Schriever, died Thursday night at half past six o’clock after a long illness, aged 64. His funeral, which was largely attended, took place yesterday afternoon at half past three o’clock, St. Joseph’s church. The deceased was a native of this parish, where he passed his early life, and had been the railroad agent at Schriever since several years before the war. He was the oldest employee in the service of the road. He was a man of noble qualities and always bore an unblemished reputation. He was a patriotic citizen, a kind husband and indulgent father, and steadfast in his friendship. A surviving wife, a son and three daughters are left to mourn his loss.

Jan. 20. 1900

Joseph Oshwald, a native of this parish and well known barber of this town, departed this life on Wednesday about noon after a very short illness, having been stricken with paralysis the day before. He was only 32 years old and leaves a widow and some young children to mourn his loss. He was a member of the Y.M.B.A. of Lafourche and the members of this organization in a body attended his funeral which took place Thursday, at St. Joseph’s Church.

Judge John T. Pittman – this well known citizen of the 7th ward died at his home last Thursday of pneumonia. The deceased has been for many years a resident of this parish, having come here as a boy to live with his uncle, the late J.B. Pittman. H grew to man’s estate here and years ago he married Mrs. Ernestine Knobloch, daughter of Mr. E. E. Knobloch, an influental citizen of the 7th ward. His wife and several children survive him. He was at the time of his death, and had been for years, justice of the peace of his ward, an office which he always filled to the satisfaction of his people.

Last Wednesday, Sheriff Beary was called up to Raceland by telephone to come with the hounds to chase a man who had just shot his wife unto death. He first telephoned to some trusty man there to try and effect the arrest, and to communicate with Deputy Sheriff R.A. Frost, who was in the vicinage serving papers, and then started down with his hounds. At some short distance below Lafourche Crossing, he was surprised and delighted to meet Deputy Frost coming up with the accused. Mr. Frost had been informed of the crime, and at once effected an arrest, just as the accused was about to enter the woods a second time. On comparing notes the sheriff and his deputy concluded that the latter already had the accused in custody at the time that the former received the telephone message. In fact the crime was committed at 12 o’clock in the day, Mr. Frost arrested the accused at one o’clock and had him within the four walls of the jail at five o’clock that afternoon. Pretty quick work. The crime was committed on Utopia. The murderer is named Matthew Tapplin and the victim Celestine Braum. The cause of the homicide is jealousy.

Jan. 27, 1900

Mrs. Phoebe Tompkins, an old time resident of this town, died at her residence in New Orleans last Saturday aged 70 years. Her remains were brought over on Sunday’s train and interred from St. John’s Episcopal Church in St. John’s cemetery, in the presence of a large number of friends and acquaintances.

Mrs. Louis Toups, a resident of this town, died last Saturday at the matrimonial domicile, aged 22 years. Her funeral took place Sunday after noon at St. Joseph’s Church. The deceased had not been married long and leaves a fond young husband.

Born to Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Guillot on Tuesday morning a fine boy. Our congratulations to friend Albert.


61 children by 6 wives?

Our Home Journal of Plaqumine – Nov. 5, 1892

A remarkable man is John Kinglsey of Lost Creek, Carter County, Ky. On Sunday last his wife presented his sixty-first child. Of them 50 are living and forty-six are married.

A death, chickens and a baby

Our Home Journal of Plaquemine, La. – Oct. 22, 1892

Mrs. Bridge Rooney, sister of Mrs. C. G. Sthle, died at her residence in New Orleans, on the 18th, aged 48 years.

Tuesday night some unknown parties entered the yard of Mr. Meyer Cohn, on Main street, and stole a number of chickens.

The home of our young friends, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Tassin, was blest this morning by the arrival of a little baby boy. Mother and babe are doing well.

Montet family obits in Baton Rouge Advocate

PECO, MRS. NELLIE MONTET Died Monday, Sept. 16, 1985, at Southern Baptist Hospital, New Orleans. She was 81, a native and resident of Albany. Visiting at Harry McKneely & Son Funeral Home, Hammond, 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, with rosary at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; and 8 to 10:15 a.m. Thursday. Mass of Christian Burial at Holy Ghost Catholic Church, Hammond, at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Burial in Rose Memorial Cemetery. Survived by a daughter,Mrs. Carmen (Georgia Marie) Russo, Glen Ellyn, Ill.; two sons, Peter H. Peco Sr., Chicago, Ill., and Wallace Peco, Miromar, Fla.; two sisters,Mrs. Verna Landry, Gonzales, and Mrs. May Spurlin, Fort Worth, Texas;nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Preceded in death by husband, Ben P. Peco. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Heart Fund.


DAIGLE, EDDIE “GO-BYE” Died 7:15 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, 1985, at Assumption General Hospital, Napoleonville. He was 86, a native and resident of Paincourtville. Visiting at Landry Funeral Home, Napoleonville, 8 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Monday. Religious services at 11 a.m.Monday at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, Paincourtville. Burial in church cemetery. Survived by four daughters, Marie Louise St. Germaine, Daisy Boudreaux,Wilma Daigle, and Zara Gomez; two sons, Wilbert and Joseph Daigle; two sisters, Annie and Beatrice Daigle; 12 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren. Preceded in death by wife, Stella Hebert Daigle; a son, Gleason Daigle; five brothers, Felix, Rudolph, Murcelian, Charlie,and Joseph Daigle; two sisters, Delia D. LeBlanc and Emmo D. Montet;parents, Aurelian and Odile Simoneaux Daigle.


ANDRY, VERNA MONTET Died 8:05 a.m. Thursday, June 5, 1986, in Donaldsonville. She was 84, a native of Bayou Lafourche and resident of Gonzales. Visiting at Ourso Funeral Home, Gonzales, 3 to 10 p.m. Friday, and 8 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Religious services at St. Teresa Catholic Church, Gonzales,at 11 a.m. Saturday, conducted by the Rev. Clyde Landry. Burial in Hope Haven Cemetery. Survived by two daughters, Mrs. Guy (Gloria) Settoon,Brittany, and Mrs. Samuel (Joyce) Stewart, St. Amant; a son, Clarence J. Landry, Chicago, Ill.; a sister, Mrs. May Spurlin, Fort Worth,Texas; nine grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. Preceded in death by husband, Hubert Landry; parents, Augustus and Oscarine Montet.


MONTET, MARTHA SWINDLER Died Thursday, Jan. 16, 1986, at 12:20 p.m. in Baton Rouge. She was 89, a native of Ventress and resident of Baton Rouge. Visiting at Welsh Funeral Home 9 to 11:40 a.m. Saturday. Religious services at Sacred Heart Catholic Church at noon Saturday, conducted by the Rev. Michael Galea. Burial in Greenoaks Memorial Park. Survived by a daughter, Anita Montet, Baton Rouge; a son, Dr. George Montet, Ashville, N.C.; and a granddaughter, Chris Montet, Seattle, Wash. Preceded in death by husband, R.G. Montet; two daughters, Bernadette and Thelma Montet; and a granddaughter, Gail Montet. Pallbearers will be Bud Montet, Charles Montet, David Cantey, Milton Langlois, John DeLatin and Daryl Bizette. She was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.


GUIGOU, LEONCE Died 9 p.m. Friday, March 20, 1987, in Donaldsonville. He was 90, a native of Plattenville and resident of Donaldsonville. Visiting at Ourso Funeral Home, Donaldsonville, 9 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. Mass of Christian Burial at Church of the Assumption, Plattenville, noon Tuesday, conducted by Father Gerald Burns. Burial in church cemetery. Survived by a niece, Lena Montet, Kenner; a nephew, Leonce Montet, San Antonio, Texas; a grandniece, Barbara Montet Lyles, Hammond; and two grandnephews, Raymond Montet, Thibodaux, and Warren Montet, Metairie. Preceded in death by parents, Augustin and Artemise LeBlanc Guigou;five sisters, Angeline Montet, Lena Schlamp, Florence, Bella and Euphemie Guigou; and three brothers, Wilfred, Arnold and Edward Guigou.


VANVALKENBURG, MRS. ANNE PUGH Died 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, 1986, at her residence in Baton Rouge. She was a native of Plaquemine. She was owner of Van-Lee Music and Good News Book Store. Visiting at Rabenhorst Funeral Home, 825 Government St., 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. Wednesday. Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. Mass of Christian Burial at St. Aloysius Catholic Church at 2 p.m. Wednesday,conducted by the Rev. Hubert Brou, the Rev. Mario Termini, and the Rev. John Payne. Interment in Greenoaks Memorial Park. Survived by five daughters, Mrs. Josephine Olivia Lopez, Mrs. Sara Marie Curfman, and Mrs. Frances Peace Caruso, all of San Diego, Calif., Mrs. Anne Barry Jeansonne, Baton Rouge, and Mrs. Mary Antoinette Roppolo, New Orleans;four sons, Rudolph VanValkenburg, Conrad VanValkenburg, and John Edward VanValkenburg, all of Baton Rouge, and Carl Martin VanValkenburg,Bozeman, Mont.; two sisters, Mrs. Peace Pugh Montet and Mrs. Elizabeth H. Pugh, both of Baton Rouge; a brother, Edward Nichols Pugh, Waco,Texas; seven grandchildren, Alexander Woodruff, Lisa Lohr VanValkenburg, James Edward VanValkenburg, Sara Anne Caruso, Kristen Antoinette Roppolo, Lucy Jeansonne, and Charlotte Jeansonne; and a great-grandson, Joshua Alexander Woodruff. Preceded in death by husband, James Edward VanValkenburg; and parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Howell Pugh. She was a Eucharistic minister at St. Aloysius Catholic Church. She was a graduate of LSU School of Music and a member of Kappa Delta sorority. In lieu of flowers, family request memorial donations be made to a favorite charity.