Newspaper research

Newspapers are such great sources for genealogy research. Louisiana seemed to have tons of newspapers, although many no longer are in print. How so many made their way into library archives is beyond me. Either newspapers donated their archives when they folded or pack rats came to the rescue. Regardless, I’m thankful. 

What’s great about early newspapers is that they really delved into community life. A social visit to  town 100 miles away made the newspaper as did deaths, marriages, births and accidents. It’s a lot like reading the Weems Weekly from Fried Green Tomatoes. And it’s neat to read about old fashioned sewing machines and boots for sale.

Here’s a sample from Iberville Parish:

May 1 1897: Our Home Journal of Plaquemine, La.

A DONALDSONVILLE WOMAN TRIES TO COMMIT SUICIDE

According to a special in yesterday’s Item, Donaldsonville is again enjoying a sensation. This time it is a case of domestic infelicity. A once happy home is blistered and destroyed and the poor wife and mother sought to end her woes by the suicide method. While in the act of disrobing prefatory to the fatal plunge into the murky depths of Bayou Lafourche, Mrs. Joseph Angeron was caught and staid by rescuing hands. She told a pitiful story of her husband’s infidelity and cruelty. A taylor street siren had caused him “to wanter from his own fireside,” and nothing, not even a threat to cowhide his charmer, could induce him to return to his own nest.

TWO FEMALES GO ON THE WARPATH

Yesterday afternoon in Seymourville, Mrs. Joseph Johnson and Mrs. Harriet Tate, colored, fought to finish on the public highway, which created the wildest excitement and consternation in the dark-hued suburb. Mrs. Johnson labored under the impression that Mrs. Tate had tried or was trying to invade the sanctity of her home circle by dallying with the affections of Mr. Johnson. When she caught them playing in a corner together, the green-eyed monster seized upon her and she went out in the open air to give her agitation full play. She met Mrs. Tate face to face and the fight ensued – ending in victory for Mrs. Johnson. Mrs. Tate swore out a warrant for her arest and she was put under bond to keep the peace.

STARVING IN THIS ENLIGHTENED AND BOUNTIFUL COMMUNITY

A most distressing case of destitution and deplorable want has come to light in this parish, which calls aloud for immediate relief at the hands of the charitable people of this city. Prompt action is most urgent, for a woman is sick and suffering little children are enduring the racking tortures of hunger. The case is a pitable one, and it is believe that the good people of Plaquemine will cheerfully rally to the relief of those in such great distress.
The touching case is that of Mrs. Taylor, a widow, residing in a tumble-down shack of boards one mile and a half below Indian Village, on the right bank of the bayou. The poor woman has three children, two girls, aged 8 and 4 years, and a baby boy only six months old. Her husband, a swamper, died about seven months ago, leaving the little family in very straitened circumstances. The mother is struggling along as best she could, fighting the unequal battle of providing for herself and children alone. She had no friends or relatives upon whom to rely for assistance, and the woman’s trials and sorrows were almost greater than she could bear. She did not complain, but struggled on until about a month ago when she was stricken with disease. She could not afford medical attendance, and day by day her efforts and strength grew less until ten days ago she was forced to take her apology for a bed. The children were also taken sick. The scanty store of coarse provisions was soon exhausted. 
Yesterday Providence led Mr. and Mrs. Frank Buckalew to discover the destitute family. They were horrified to find such awful squalor in this, a civilized community, and at once gave what relief they could. They brought the baby home with them and will kindly care for it until the mother dies or recovers – the chances being in favor of the former.

THE MARRIAGE

Yesterday evening at 5 o’clock, Miss Lizze Haag of this city and Mr. Philip Shenkel of Crowley were united in marriage at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Haag on Railroad Avenue by Father Harnais, pastor of the church of St. John.

A PAINFUL ACCIDENT

Ernest Pratolongo, six years old, while playing at his home in Turnerville yesterday, unaccountably fastened a fish hook in one of his little hands in such a manner that the services of a physician were required to move it. The little fellow endured the pain without flinching and like a hero.

SHE IS HIS WIFE

An interesting case before Judge Talbot today was that of V.P. Dupuy against Baptiste Bartet and Elizabeth Breaux. Dupuy foreclosed a mortgage against Bartet, but the receipts of the sale of the property did not liquidate the obligation and Dupuy sued for the balance due (about $200) seeking to get it from property owned conjointly by Bartet and Mrs. Breaux, his common law wife. The defense claimed that she was not his wife and the property in questions was the woman’s. The fact that Bartet had given out to the world in divers and sundry ways that she was his wife caused the court to so rule, although no marriage ceremony had ever been performed. Judgment was rendered in favor of Dupuy.

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