Newspaper articles

Celebrating the Fourth of July during prohibition

I came across this complaint in an 1855 issue of the “Thibodaux Minerva.” Nationwide prohibition was between 1920 and 1933. But apparently prohibition had its roots long before that, leading to concerns about Fourth of July celebrations.

Happy Fourth!

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Assumption Parish Genealogy, Court records, Montet Family

Marie Josephe Montet Boudreaux

Marie Josephe Montet Boudreaux died in 1844, requiring her widower, Jean Joseph Boudreaux, to inventory her property. From what I can gather, standard practice in the 1800s was for the court to appoint a few men to go out to the house and tally up the household goods.

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She wasn’t fabulously wealthy. But the appraisers counted every single kitchen utensil.

Here’s what she left behind:


Three tables

A mantlepiece clock

Demijohns and lard pots

Crockery ware

Kitchen utensils

Carpenter’s tools

Farming utensils

Old iron

Grind stone


Grey horse

Bay horse

Yoke of oxen

2 milk cows

4 sheep

A negro man named George

A tract of land on Bayou Boeuf

$199 in cash

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The inventory also lists the surviving children who were present when the appraisers repaired to the Boudreaux homestead “on the Bayou Boeuf”:

  1. Henriette Adelina, wife of Jean Baptiste Penisson, and her husband (since wives weren’t allowed to authorize anything in those days).
  2. Azelie, wife of Jean Baptiste Giroir
  3. Marie, wife of Robert Love
  4. Pierre Lucien
  5. Felicite, wife of Valgrant Verret
Newspaper articles

The era of Gordon MacRae

Just for fun, I’m posting a newspaper crossword puzzle from 1949. As you can see, the answer to the previous day’s puzzle was actor and singer Gordon MacRae.

Ah, the late 1940s. Harry Truman was president, and Gordon was up and coming.

1949 was long before Gordon made “Oklahoma!” and “By the Light of the Silvery Moon.” 1949 was just seven years after his Broadway debut.

Enjoy the puzzle!

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Genealogy tools

FamilySearch Digital Library

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 6.23.33 PM.pngFamily Search has a nice collection of digital books, including a huge selection focusing on Louisiana. Here’s the handy dandy link:

I love libraries, but sometimes it’s hard to visit between the demands at work and home. Plus, not every book is available at every library. Still, libraries should exist forever.

Now that’s that clear, here’s a sampling of what Family Search’s digital library has.

Death notices from Assumption Parish. These were the granddaddy of obituaries. In the days when newspapers weren’t printed daily (wait … in the days before newspapers were printed daily), these would be handed out to alert folks about funerals:

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Succession records from St. Helena Parish:

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And more! Happy exploring!!!


yellow fever

Yellow fever in Bayou Boeuf

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It’s funny how you can look at the same record 15 times and suddenly notice something new.

I learned when I started researching genealogy that my granny’s grandmother (Merante Aucoin) lost a good chunk of her family to yellow fever in 1879. This helped fill in the details for why her first husband died when their sons were just 4 and 2.

Merante’s family history is complicated. She married twice. Her first husband was Pierre Paul Montet who brought two sons into their marriage from a prior marriage. Together, Pierre Paul and Merante had five children. During the yellow fever outbreak, Pierre Paul, a son from his first marriage and all three of his daughters with Merante died.

Looking at the mortality schedule, it appears that neither Pierre Paul nor his son was tended to by a physician. However, the girls were. Pierre Paul and son Desire died in November. The girls died a month earlier. I don’t know why doctors would have tended the daughters but not the men.

The mortality schedule does tell me which doctors were called. This is something I never noticed before.

Not one but two doctors treated Merante’s daughters. The doctors were Jno. E. Pugh and J.S. Gardner.

So now I’m left to wonder why the doctors only tried to save part of the family.










Fun facts about Louisiana

Trees City, Louisiana

Every once in awhile, I’ll come across the name of a town that is foreign to me while researching Louisiana newspapers.

I read about a terrible accident that happened in Trees, Louisiana, in 1919. I’d never heard of the place.

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It turns out that Trees was an oil boom town in north Louisiana. It was in Caddo Parish on Caddo Lake near the Texas line. In fact, it’s still on the map (and there’s a Tree City Road) though there’s not much there nowadays.

Here’s the elementary school in 1937:

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From what I can gather, Trees (really Trees City) got its name from the J.C. Trees Oil Company. The company’s headquarters was moved to Oil City in 1983 – and I mean that literally. The building that once housed the company’s headquarters now sits in Oil City.

Trees City burst into existence with the discovery of oil. Soon, tents were set up to house the oil field workers and their families. Buildings came later.

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C.C. Talbot, the man whose family died, was an oil well driller. The night of the fire, the gas heater in his home exploded while the family slept. His wife woke up, roused her husband and fainted.

Poor C.C. was able to carry 5-year-old Mary Elizabeth and 6-year-old John Henry outside to safety. He went back for his wife and 8-year-old George but couldn’t get through the flames to them. Little Mary Elizabeth followed her father back into the house and died.

C.C. lived a few days and died himself from his injuries, leaving John Henry as the family’s sole survivor.

According to newspaper accounts, the Talbot family was buried in the Trees City Cemetery. I couldn’t find a listing for it online.

But I did find mentions of Trees City well into the 1970s. And then I found an obit of sorts for the town in 1986. It seems Trees City was one of those boom-and-bust towns that came and went with the oil field production.

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