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.

 

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Bergeron Family, Murder and mayhem

Furci Bergeron’s Inquest

Joseph Furci (Furcy) Bergeron was the son of Franklin Bergeron and Marie Adelina Josephine Benoit Bergeron. Furci committed suicide in 1900 just two weeks after his wedding.

I pulled the inquest to find out more.

The inquest included written statements from Furci’s brother, Aurelien, and a neighbor. I didn’t learn much more than I already knew, but there were a few interesting new details.

It appears that Furci and his wife lived with Furci’s mother and brother. The gun used in the suicide was borrowed from a neighbor to protect a brother named Silvain (what was that about?). Silvain died 18 years later of the Spanish flu.

Furci asked a different brother, Aurelien, to borrow the gun in order to protect Silvain. So it appears that Silvain either really needed to be protected or Furci planned his suicide hours in advance.

Here’s what witnesses, including Aurelien, told the coroner:

Edmond Dies, sworn says: I live 3rd neighbor from deceased. About 8 o’clock on night of 19th, Aurelien Bergeron, brother of deceased, called me and asked me to lend him my pistol to go and protect his brother Sylvain who was away and expected home during the night. He did not tell me it was for any other purpose. I gave him my pistol that was 5 cartridges loaded in it. At about 2 o’clock Charly Francis’ wife called at my home and told me that a man was dead. I walked over with my brother-in-law Albert Bonvillain to where the man was dead and I saw him near the well with my pistol near him. I did not notice the pistol wound in his head. The deceased mother Amelie told me that Furcy had shot himself.

Aurelien Bergeron, sworn says: I live with my mother in the same house where my deceased brother Furcy lived. My brother told me go to Edmund Dies and get his pistol to go and protect my brother Sylvain who was away. That was about 9 o’clock last night. I did so and Dies loaned me the pistol and I went as far as the Thibodaux Bridge to meet my brother Sylvain and did not meet him and I came back about 10 o’clock and put the pistol in a back room. I told my mother where I was going to put it and I suppose Furcy heard me and during the night he got up and went out of the house. His wife during the night missed him from the bed and she told her (?) mother about it. They all got up and came to look for him and I saw him lying by the well. It was dark and I touched his face and found it cold and we saw a pistol near him. We saw he was dead. That was about 2 o’clock this morning.

And here’s the inquest record:

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Bergeron Family, Newspaper articles

How old am I?

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Cleonise Bergeron didn’t quite make it to age 94 despite what her obit said. 

My grandmother’s grandmother used to forget how old she was. It wasn’t senility. She just didn’t have to constantly type in her date of birth to unlock passwords, fill out forms, etc.

It’s my guess that birthdays weren’t that big of a deal 100 years ago. If you read the “Little House on the Prairie” series, then you remember Laura marveling over the tangy lemonade and sweet cake at Nellie’s birthday party. These were novelties to her so birthday parties must have been a rare thing on the prairie.

Back in the day, people didn’t have baby books and Facebook timelines. They didn’t even have birth certificates.

My father-in-law was never quite sure when his birthday was. He was born at home, and no one ever filled out a birth certificate for him. Complicating matters, his mother died when he was young. He finally looked at his baptism record, but it was smudged. So he arrived sometime in September 1918. No one remembered what day.

I was thinking about birthdays when I found an obit for Cleonise Estelle Rousseau Bergeron, who was married to Jean Baptiste Bergeron.

Cleonise was born Oct. 4, 1818, and died at age 88 in 1907. She had six children and outlived half of them.

The Lafourche Comet dutifully reported her death and noted that she was 94 years old. She most certainly wasn’t that old. No doubt, her family knew she was of an advanced age and just how advanced that age was got exaggerated.

 

Bergeron Family, terrebonne parish

Germain Bergeron in the days when Chacahoula was young

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A store and saloon from the early days of Chacahoula. 

I came across an interesting story the other day while researching old newspaper articles for Germain Bergeron.

I didn’t find my Germain Bergeron. That would be Jean Charles Germain Bergeron, who died in 1824. Instead, I found his son, who also was named Germain.

Germain Bergeron was the last child of Jean Charles Germain Bergeron and Marie Magdeleine Doiron. He arrived just two months before his father died.

Despite being born in Lafourche, Germain and his family settled in Terrebonne Parish. He married a woman with a very unusual name: Marie Clorene Exniceos.

In 1871, a newspaper called “The Louisiana Sugar-Bowl” ventured to Bayou Chacahoula to report on the “comparatively newly settled portion of the parish of Terrebonne.” The newspaper found mostly small planters with a few sugar plantations.

Germain Bergeron was among the farmers trying to grow cotton with tattered fortunes following the Civil War.

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The newspaper provided a snapshot of how things were going:

 

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Bergeron Family

The sad story of Furci Bergeron

Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 4.01.31 PMFurci Bergeron was born in 1877 and died just 23 years later. His mother, Marie Adelina Josephine Benoit, was the twin sister of my great-great-grandfather, Joseph Alfred Benoit.

I don’t know much about Furci other than that he got married and promptly committed suicide.

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On June 7, 1900, Furci – called Buddy – married Emma Oncale in Thibodaux. Two weeks later, he committed suicide. Yes, obviously I’d love to know more about that saga. All I have, though, are newspaper clippings.

 

Bergeron Family, House History

Bergeron house evolution

I’ve written before about the Bergeron house, which is located at LSU’s Rural Life Museum. I was a little bemused to see it there. My ancestors didn’t live in grand plantation homes. They were a simpler stock. In fact, this simple Bergeron house is where some of my ancestors lived. Apparently it’s considered typical of early Cajun homes, which makes it preservation worthy.

 

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The homes dates to between 1810 and 1815. Jean Charles Germain Bergeron, my ancestor, married Marie Magdeleine Doiron in 1805. By 1810, they had three children so they would have been comfortable in this home. Eventually, they had 11 children. The children were born over a nearly 20-year span much like my granny’s children. By the time the youngest were toddling around, the oldest probably had been married off.

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At bottom left is how the house looked when it was first built. It had a big front room and then two bedrooms. The bedroom on the left had no exit to the outdoors and would have been the girls’ room (Elise and Abdeline Hanriete).  Elise died young so Abdeline might have had this room to herself (they had no other girls) until she married at 15 to Dozain Gros.

This information is on the Library of Congress’ website (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/la0355.sheet.00001a/resource/). My family’s come a long way, baby.

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If you visit the house at the Rural Life Museum (and I highly recommend that you do!), then you’ll see it as it looked in 1810.  Apparently it grew in 1845. Germain was long dead (dying when his youngest was just a few months old), but Marie Magdeleine was still alive. I can’t imagine, though, that she undertook a house expansion.

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How the house looked before it was fixed up and moved to the Rural Life Museum.

A sign at the Rural Life Museum puts into question my populating the bedrooms with Germain and Marie’s children.

 

 

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So now I’m thoroughly confused. Why is it called the Bergeron House? Did my ancestor ever live there? I’m determined to find out!

Bergeron Family, lafourche parish, Newspaper articles

Deadly berry picking in 1893 Thibodaux

My mother always warned me against picking berries and eating them. Here’s why:

The Weekly Thibodaux Sentinel
June 3, 1893

A very sad and unfortunate affair that brought mourning and sorrow to the family of Orestile Bergeron, assistant manager on Maj. Lagarde’s Leighton plantation, took place last Saturday evening.

His two daughters aged 6 and 10 years ate some berries gathered from the Jamestown weed, by which they were poisoned. Falling sick after dark, both children being subject to spasms, the parents gave the usual remedies, being ignorant of what the children had eaten.

As the afflicted ones grew worse, Dr. Meyer was called early Sunday morning, who by the use of emetics caused one of the children to vomit the poisonous grains, when the real cause of the illness was made known, but too late to be counteracted by human skill. One died at 10 p.m. and the other at 2:30 a.m., on Sunday, Both were buried in St Joseph’s Cemetery on Monday morning.

I found this article on Chronicling America. This is the Library of Congress’ effort to put old newspapers online. The link is http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/. Best of all, there’s a search engine.