My grandmother was very fond of her own grandmother Merante Aucoin Montet Gauthreaux. Apparently Merante was very kind to her, and there weren’t many people who were kind to my grandmother during her Dickensian childhood.
What amazes me about Merante is that she was able to be a bright spot in a young girl’s life despite her own tragedies. Merante was the 13th child of Ludfrois Aucoin and Amarante Felicite Gautreaux. She was born when her mother was 45. Shortly after her first birthday, her father died.
The Aucoins were a large household. In addition to rearing their own children, Ludfrois and Felicite reared Ludfrois’ son by his first marriage and Felicite’s orphaned niece.
Catholic records weren’t the best in St. Mary Parish during the 1800s. Of the 13 children, I’ve only been able to find a marriage record for Merante, sister Celestine and brother Adrian.
Merante married Pierre Paul Montet in 1868. They had at least four children (possibly more): Rosa, Felonie, Gabriel and Oleus (my grandmother’s parrain). Pierre Paul had been married previously (to an Elizabeth Snell who just faded into history), and had two boys: Oscar and Desire.
Celestine – older than Merante by six years – married Apollinaire Frioux. They had at least four children: Villeo, Ernestine, Florestine and Felonise.
Of these 10 children from the blended families of the two sisters, only three would live to adulthood.
Yellow fever arrived in St. Mary Parish in the late 1870s, and it was merciless.
Nowadays, you don’t hear much about yellow fever. According to the CDC, it’s transmitted through mosquito bites (who hasn’t been bitten by mosquitos?) and it leads to fever, chills, severe headaches, vomiting, fatigue and weakness.
Yellow fever killed more than 41,000 people in New Orleans between 1817 and 1905 (http://nutrias.org/facts/feverdeaths.htm).
In 1879, at least 95 people died of yellow fever in St. Mary Parish. The dead included Merante’s sister, nephew, nieces, husband, half brother and her own children. Not surprisingly, burial records are scant. The priest likely was overwhelmed.
Here’s a list of St. Mary’s dead from the U.S. Mortality Index (I’ve bolded everyone who’s in my family tree):
- Volsen Aucoin (Jean Baptiste Valery Aucoin, son of Francois Malo Aucoin and Marie Boudreaux)
- L.E. Aucoin (Ludfrois Heli Aucoin, son of Ludfrois Aucoin and Henrrique Isabel Blanchard)
- John Boudreaux
- Henry Berd
- Carl Berry
- L Boudreaux
- A Bourgeois
- Mary Blanche Breed
- Ellen Brent
- Symmthia Buniff (Symphenie Johnston who married Benjamin Buniff in 1874)
- Peter Burke
- Judson Campbell
- T Campbell
- Judith Alice Cary
- F C Chase
- George Clearer
- Louisa Cook
- Aleda Corodus
- Pauline Dellucky (the wife of Etienne Delucky; the Deluckys married into the Bourg family)
- Chas Ditch
- Severen Dupuis (Severin married to Victorine Augustine Aucoin)
- Amylie Dupuis (Amelie, daughter of Severin and Victorine Aucoin Dupuis)
- Henry Dupuis (son of Severin and Victorine Aucoin Dupuis?)
- Rosalie Dupuis
- Celestine Faerie (Celestine Marie Aucoin Frioux, daughter of Ludfrois Aucoin and Felicite Gautreaux; wife of Apollinaire Frioux).
- Gustave Faerie (possibly a brother of Apollinaire Frioux)
- Villion Faerie (son of Apollinaire Frioux and Celestine Aucoin)
- Ernestine Faerie (daughter of Apollinaire Frioux and Celestine Aucoin)
- Pauline Faerie (probably Felonise, daughter of Apollinaire Frioux and Celestine Aucoin)
- Clennie Faerie (most likely a daughter of Apollinaire Frioux and Celestine Aucoin)
- Carl Fellrath
- Ferdinand Fellrath (son of Antoine and Caroline Fellrath)
- Frank Fernandez
- Adele Francioni
- Emma Francois
- Augustus Gaines
- Nancy Ganeway
- Albert Geisler (Albert Geissler who immigrated from Germany in 1867)
- Ann Grant
- Cornelius Grant
- Joseph Grant
- William Green
- James Green
- Faun Green
- Thomas Green
- Jimmy Green
- Sophie Hattendorf (Sophia Forstl Hottendorf, wife of John Hottendorf).
- Wm Hayes
- M L Hayes
- G A Hilbreth
- L O Hilbreth
- Albert Hildreth
- Oline Hildreth
- Francisco Johnson
- Solomon Kahn
- Thomas Laher
- Marie LeBlanc
- Louis Levi
- Manuel Loeb
- Lucien McLane
- Horrace McLane
- Frank Melville
- P P Monte (Pierre Paul Montet, son of Pierre Paul Montet and Emerante Emeline Braud; husband of Elizabeth Snell (first) and Merante Carmelite Aucoin (second))
- Desire Monte (son of Pierre Paul Montet and Elizabeth Snell)
- Rosa Monte (daughter of Pierre Paul Montet and Merante Carmelite Aucoin)
- D Monte (probable daughter of Pierre Paul Montet and Merante Carmelite Aucoin)
- Louise Monte (Felonie Louise Montet, daughter of Pierre Paul Montet and Merante Carmelite Aucoin)
- Linas Moore
- Jas H Morehead
- Wm B Mullens
- Andrew O’Brien
- E Passley
- Louis Peterson
- Olevia Peterson
- Frank Queen
- George Reason
- Isom Richardson
- Frank Royers
- F Royers
- Mitchell Royers
- Felix Sennett (Felix Senette, husband of Leodicia Erwin Robertson)
- James Stansberry
- Joseph Stout
- Adelle Thibodeaux
- Louis Thibodeaux
- Aletha Unsworth
- Rosana Walls
- T M L Whitner
- H F Whitner
- Benjamin Willis
- Wellington Wills
- Carry A Wooster (Carrie Agusta Wooster: daughter of Nathan and Mary Wooster)
- Adam Yancy