Aucoin family, St. Mary Parish Genealogy

A questionable death in St. Mary Parish

I came across this record in the coroner’s book at the St. Mary Parish Courthouse, and I had so many questions.

At first I thought the Valentine Aucoin mentioned was Jean Baptiste Valery Aucoin. However, he died in 1879 during the yellow fever epidemic.

Why was the coroner called to this Valentine Aucoin’s death? It seems clear that Valentine met with an accident since the coroner had to decide whether to assign fault.

Since no inquest was held, we’ll probably never know how Valentine came to die … or will we?

Fortunately, I’m stubborn. I slogged through old newspapers in search of an answer and finally found it in the July 3, 1883, edition of the Daily Picayune.

Some people put together jigsaw puzzles. Other people read newspapers to solve the deaths of people who’ve been dead for more than a century.

Tucked between a rice report and a hanging is news of Valentine Aucoin’s death. Apparently he died of heart disease. So, why was the coroner called?

The Donaldsonville Chief provided more details.

Aha. He took chloroform to relieve pain and died of an overdose. That explains the coroner.

Now to who Valentine was. If he was 61 in 1883, he was born about 1822. Don’t you love that he was considered aged? Bruce Springsteen is still rocking at 73 – and I don’t mean in a chair.

Louis Jean Aucoin and his wife, Victoire Helene Arsement, had a son named Valentine who died as a teenager in 1815. I wondered if one of that Valentine Aucoin’s brothers named a son in his honor.

And, eureka!

Valentine’s brother, Louis Ambroise, had a son named Valentine who is about the right age. Naturally, there’s a complication.

I have Valentine marrying Marie Mathilde Verret in 1844 and having three sons and a daughter. Yet, Valentine Aucoin was living as a bachelor in Morgan City on the 1870 census when he should’ve been living with his wife and kids.

My theory is that Valentine never married, worked as a carpenter and died from inhaling too much chloroform – probably in a Morgan City boarding house. His brother Valsin – older by a year – is probably the one who married Marie Mathilde. Who knows.

Isn’t genealogy fun?

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