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
Ascension Parish Genealogy, Assumption Parish Genealogy, Military Records, pensions

The plight of an ancestor who couldn’t read or write

Reading through War of 1812 pension records, I came across an interesting saga.

Rosalie Euphrosine Naquin applied for a pension after her husband, Louis Oncal died. The problem with her application was that she had no idea how to spell her maiden name much less her married surname. She was illiterate.

This was a problem for Rosalie because the war office in Washington, D.C., insisted on a precise spelling of her late husband’s name in order to check the war rolls. The name in the marriage record she sent apparently didn’t match any of the names on the war rolls.

The Ascension Parish clerk of court tried to explain to D.C. just how things worked in Louisiana. In a nutshell, the priest decided what the spelling of your name was – and it would be recorded different ways depending on who the priest was. Thus, Rosalie’s husband went by one spelling and his sister went by a totally different spelling.

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D.C. wasn’t swayed. At this point, the clerk got a bit exasperated and wrote another letter. It’s faded so I’ve transcribed it:

In the pension claim of Rosalie Oncal, the claimant has not yet obtained her Bounty Land. There is no evidence to show that said claimant and her deceased husband did ever know how to write or spell their names; on the contrary, the records of this case show that the claimant can not write her name though I know personally that she is as strong and healthy as a person of her age can be. At the time of the War of 1812, there was not one soldier out of ten in the country parishes who could sign or spell his name.

The name of Oncal being of French of Spanish origin can be written with the same pronunciation in many different ways as follows: Uncal, Uncale, Uncalle, Oncalle, Oncale, Unkal, Unkall, Oungcal, Honcal, Huncal, Huncalle, Ouchal, all sounding as Ongkal would do in English.

Got that? Not one soldier in 10 from the Louisiana countryside could sign or spell his name.

Rosalie never did get her pension or bounty land. From reading her file, it appears that D.C. didn’t have rolls for every Louisiana company. So Louis might indeed have fought under Uncal/Uncale/Uncalle/Huncalle/Ouchal/Oncal, and his commander neglected to file the mandatory paperwork.





Assumption Parish Genealogy, Montet Family

Adrien Pothier

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Adrien Pothier’s death certificate

Adrien Pothier was the uncle of my great-great grandmother Elizabeth Montet Giroir. Elizabeth’s mother was a Pothier.

Uncle Adrien was a successful man in Assumption Parish. He was a war veteran, an overseer and a judge. He never married. With his death, the Pothier name died in Assumption Parish.

The Pothiers weren’t marrying people. Of Adrien’s six siblings, only one married. It was the same story with Adrien’s aunts and uncles. His father was one of 10 children. Only two of those children married.

What Uncle Adrien did have in abundance were nieces and nephews. His sister Marie made sure of that. His other sisters lived with him and took care of the cooking and cleaning. So Uncle Adrien really didn’t need to marry.

Adrien died in 1911 at age 81. His heirs were his sister Marie’s children: Rene, Augustin, Azelie, Mary, Clairville and Elizabeth. Henry Montet inherited through his deceased father Joseph, who also was Marie’s child. Each received $143.15 ($3,850 in today’s dollars).

I’ve read mention of the distinctive colored roof on Adrien’s home in newspapers so I wondered just what he left. Succession records filled in the details. Adrien owned a lot of land.

He owned land in Assumption Parish next door to my great-great grandmother, a house lived in by Clairville Montet, 100 acres on the east side of Grand Bayou, land on Bayou Olivier, land between Grand Bayou and Bayou Corne, land on Bayou Sec, land on Bayou St. Vincent, land on Bayou Des Olivier, land on Bayou Lafourche, $6,208.14 in cash at the Bank of Napoleonville, $350 in cash at the Bank of Paincourtville, beds, armoirs, tables, chairs, three cows, a calf, a horse, two mules, wagons, a buggy, plows and a silver coin watch.

It appears that after the land was sold, the heirs got another distribution. This time, each received $1,141.81 ($30,000 in today’s dollars).


Assumption Parish Genealogy, Montet Family

Taught by the nuns in Plattenville, Part 2

I reached out to the Sisters of Mt. Carmel in an attempt to sort out the story that my great-grandmother was taught by the nuns in Plattenville. This is confusing to me since the Catholic school in that area is in Paincourtville.

Here’s what I got:

Your gr-grandmother could have been taught in Plattenville … we were there for a time … in the early 1800’s and then in the late 1800’s. (1890-1917).  Once I have names, I’ll check if we have anything confirming your information.  We do have a few records for Plattenville and for Paincourtville that  have survived multiple moves and multiple floods, hurricanes, etc.
So it’s possible that Isabelle Giroir did indeed go to school in Plattenville. It’s also possible that her grandmother, Marie Colette Pothier, went to the same school.
Curiouser and curiouser.
Assumption Parish Genealogy, Montet Family

Taught by the nuns in Plattenville

I always heard growing up that my great-grandmother Isabelle Giroir was educated by the nuns in Plattenville until her parents moved to the country, where they could buy more land at a cheaper price. This was a family story because it meant she could actually read and write, unlike her younger siblings who didn’t get an education in the country.

Certainly, there is no Catholic school now in Plattenville so I always wondered if that story meant a neighboring town such as Napoleonville or Paincourtville. What I think is likely is that the school was in Paincourtville and administered for a time by the Plattenville church. Maybe someone in the know could tell me.

I came across this on the Plattenville church’s website:

“In 1825, an American congregation, named the Sisters of Loretta at the Foot of the Cross, opened a school at Plattenville. As they lacked full knowledge of French, it was difficult to work with the parishioners. Therefore, they turned it over in 1828 to religious of the Sacred Heart Sisters from Convent, Louisiana. They, in turn, gave way to the Sisters of Mount Carmel, a pioneer foundation of this order in the state. The Sisters of Mt. Carmel were sent to Plattenville in 1833 during the pastorship of Father Charles Boutelow de St. Aubin. Father Boutelow had been obliged to flee from France during a revolt there. This was the Mt. Carmel sisters’ first house to be established in Louisiana.”

Unpacking that a bit, Isabelle was born in 1895. Her mother, Elizabeth Montet, was born in 1869. So it seems likely that both Isabelle and Elizabeth were educated by the Sisters of Mt. Carmel. Why Elizabeth was Elizabeth instead of Isabelle (French for Elizabeth) is something I’ll never know. Maybe she made up for it by naming her daughter Isabelle instead of Elizabeth.

Anyhoo, back to the Sisters of Mt. Carmel …

In 1905, the sisters held a ball:

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Now, if only I could find school rosters.

Assumption Parish Genealogy, Succession Records

Tallying up the looms, tubs and beds

Screen Shot 2019-05-02 at 12.19.23 PM.pngIf you died in the 1800s and filed a succession in Louisiana, someone was appointed to go to your home and tally up the household goods. Seriously.

Tomasa Doncel, the widow of Joseph Solar, died in 1865. Succession records list everything she owned, including a pitcher, books, a table, chairs and even her spinning wheel.

So, if you’re curious what your ancestor owned, take a look through succession records. They are a wealth of information.

Assumption Parish Genealogy, Court records

The drowning of Robert Woodside in 1860 sparked a succession battle longer than the Civil War

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 9.04.51 PM.pngMost succession records (probate records if you’re not from Louisiana) feature widows, widowers, daughters or sons. The most interesting thing – other than finding an actual death date – is when the widow is in a rush to wrap things up because she wants to remarry.

So I was surprised to come across a succession filed by a steamboat captain in Assumption Parish probate records. But I guess you have to go to the courthouse and fill out paperwork when your passenger jumps overboard and drowns.

Here’s the story of Robert Woodside:

George Washington Ebert was the captain of a steamboat named the Argyle. In 1860, he landed in front of T & E Burbank’s plantation in Assumption Parish. Woodside was onboard but decided to jump from the boat about 10 o’clock on the morning of March 14. He drowned.

Normally, the sheriff would be called and then the undertaker. But Woodside had property with him: a trunk and several slaves. The slaves were Charity, 40; Rosetta, 20, and her young children; Patsy, 20; Cloe, 25, and her young children; and George, 30, and his young daughter. The slaves were carrying bedding, two black trunks, pillows, chairs, a yellow trunk and a churn.

It’s not clear where they were going. Woodside’s plantation was in Mississippi.

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 9.30.19 PM.pngBecause the accident happened in front of Edward Burbank’s plantation, the slaves were placed under his guardianship. Meanwhile, the court started sorting out Woodside’s estate. This would drag on for years – so many years, in fact, that the Civil War was fought and settled while Robert Woodside’s succession case raged on.

The case is a fascinating read. Woodside was a bachelor it was eventually determined. This took some time to sort out because how much do you know about a man from out of town who drowns in your bayou?

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 9.27.36 PM.pngWhat Woodside did have in abundance (not including slaves) were siblings. The brothers were James, Thomas, William, John, Alexander and Samuel. The sisters were Nancy, Jane and Sarah. Most of them were dead but some of them left children. It all had to be sorted out, which meant calling in witnesses to figure out the family tree. Woodside had relatives scattered across Louisiana and the southern U.S.

Meanwhile, Burbank was demanding compensation for the slaves freed by Mr. Lincoln and Captain Ebert wanted compensation for his services. It was a tangled web.


Assumption Parish Genealogy, Montet Family

Plantations of Assumption Parish

I’ve mentioned that the Montets owned Aurelie Plantation in Assumption Parish. The family story is that they let it go to taxes after the Civil War. I’m sure there’s a way of tracking that down. I just haven’t gotten around to it.

I came across this interesting map of plantations in Assumption Parish.

Given that Joseph Florentin Montet married into the Pothier family, I wonder if Pothier once belonged to his wife’s family.

What’s really interesting to me is that Aurelie is below Plattenville. There’s an existing Montet Road that’s above Plattenville. I wonder what the connection is.

At some point, I’ll do a newspaper archive search for some of these plantations and see what I find.


Assumption Parish Genealogy, St. Mary Parish Genealogy

Tracking down Aunt Cecile

Screen Shot 2019-04-25 at 5.30.55 PM.pngMy granny knew only a few things about her Aunt Cecile: She married an Ernest Giroir, had a few boys and died young.

Cecile was Mary Cecilia Gautreaux/Gauthreaux. She was the only daughter of Cordelier and Merante Aucoin Gautreaux/Gauthreaux.

I’d never found any trace of Cecile after she left home until I stumbled across notes Granny made that mentioned her husband’s name. Those notes led me to her marriage certificate. Her father and uncle witnessed the marriage.

Then I found Cecile’s son: Adolphe Adam Giroir.

It’s nice to add them to the family tree.

Assumption Parish Genealogy, Bergeron Family, Newspaper articles, St. Mary Parish Genealogy, Uncategorized

The Planters’ Banner

The Planters’ Banner was a newspaper that published in St. Mary and Iberia parishes from 1836 to 1871. It sounds like it should have printed crop reports, but it was a hodgepodge of items.

It had poetry.

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Obituaries from the East Coast (the publisher hailed from Maine).

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Lots and lots of attorney ads. Some things never change.

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And cures for chlorea – a very helpful recipe in the 1800s. Basically, you administered deer horn, wine, cold water and sugar. Then you did a lot of praying because there’s no way in hell that recipe cured anything.

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What disappoints me about the paper is the scarcity of local news. The paper would give you tales of haunted houses in England and gold certificate robberies on the streets of New York, but local goings-on were a bit sporadic.

The really good stuff was dug up by other newspapers and reprinted, like this woeful story from 1871.

Alcee Gautreaux’s father owned a plantation called Hard Times in Assumption Parish. Optimistic name for a farm, huh?

The Gautreaux family leased the plantation to a Mr. T. T. Cobry, who threatened to shoot anyone who came onto the property even after his lease expired. Alcee convinced carpenters with the last names of Bergeron and Gilbert to go with him to Hard Times for the purposes of assessing needed repairs to the sugar house.

Knowing this wasn’t going to be a picnic in the park, Alcee grabbed a double barrel shotgun for the excursion. When the trio got there, Cobry was standing in the road dressed in his shirt sleeves. Spying the men, he ran into the blacksmith shop and retrieved a revolver.

Cobry didn’t seem to be the most reasonable of guys. He asked the men if they had a deputy with them and then started swearing. An argument ensued. Cobry was shot and killed.

The carpenters were probably just sorry they agreed to accompany Alcee that day since the whole matter ended up in court with Alcee acquitted of murder for acting in self defense.

Here’s The Assumption Pioneer’s tribute of sorts to Mr. Cobry, may he rest in peace:

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Now, if only I could figure out if that Bergeron was a relative. Alas, no first name was reported.