According to the internet – and we all know everything we read there is true – Kate Middleton and Prince William are distant cousins. More specifically, they’re fourteenth cousins, once removed.
Reading that inspired me to find the most famous branch of my family tree.
Here it is:
I am distantly related to the late Congressman Numa Francois Montet. His grandfather and my great-great-great-great grandfather were brothers. It’s amazing we never met with close ties like that!
I don’t know much about Numa other than that his tomb in the Plattenville cemetery is very grand compared to my poorer relations’ crumbling tomb. Apparently his Montets were more prosperous than my Montets.
Even though we live in Baton Rouge, we got married down the bayou in Thibodaux. One of my grandmothers was recovering from cancer surgery at the time. The other was in her 90s and didn’t travel well. So, Thibodaux it was since they both lived in or near that small town.
As an added bonus, the cathedral (technically called the co-cathedral) is GORGEOUS.
And, I was born at the old St. Joseph Hospital in Thibodaux back in the days when nuns helped deliver babies. The hospital was conveniently located next to the cemetery just in case that gall bladder surgery didn’t go so well. But I digress.
St. Joseph was built in the 1920s. It took several years for the church to be completed. The interior is jaw dropping.
The exterior isn’t so shabby either.
But the interior is stunning. The ceilings were just a stark white until the 1940s, when the church redecorated.
On a side note, we got married just after Christmas, when the church was still decorated with poinsettias and evergreen. This was on purpose. It saved on the florist bill. Just a handy tip.
If you’re ever in Thibodaux, take a peek inside. You will think you’ve been transported to Rome.
Remember that scene in “Gone With the Wind” in which Scarlett and Melanie are reading through the list of killed soldiers? The Tarleton twins are on the list, but thankfully – for Scarlett and Melanie – Ashley isn’t.
I think about that scene every time I see a list of yellow fever deaths in a historic Louisiana newspaper. In the 1800s, newspapers were probably your best avenue of information. No phones. No internet. Just the Post Office and newspapers.
The Baltimore Sun reported this in 1853:
Indeed, the Thibodaux Minerva in that same year revealed that yellow fever deaths were a big seller:
Think about it. In less than two months’ time, there were 224 burials in Thibodaux. I doubt you’d want to go visiting with that much death. You relied on the newspaper for news of who had succumbed.
That same Oct. 1, 1853, issue of the Thibodaux Minerva contains a sad tribute to 4-year-old Margaret Ann Guyther, the daughter of Margaret V. White and James A. Guyther. Little Margaret Ann died on Sept. 7 of yellow fever. Making her death really sad is that her sisters Malvina and Caroline died shortly before her. Their parents buried three children in a brief span.
Until the 1900s, a lot of south Louisiana newspapers were written in French. This wasn’t fancy pants journalism. Their readers read and spoke French.
Sometimes, if you’re lucky, the newspaper was printed in French and English. Usually, though, you’re not that lucky.
In an 1894 edition of the La sentinelle de Thibodaux, I came across an article – in French – about a fatal accident. Curious, I decided to retype the French into Google’s translator and see what developed. The results aren’t perfect, but I get a sense now about that fatal accident.
Google’s French to English (searchable via the search engine) is especially helpful when you’re converting typewritten French. It’s a bit trickier when you’re trying to type in handwritten French because of the likelihood of error in what you think a letter is.
Anyway, here’s the translated story of Nathan Rooks:
On Saturday night at nightfall, while Nathan Rooks was handling a pistol, the pistol went into his hands, the bullet coiling one of his friends next to him, and killing him almost instantly. As it was nut, it was first supposed that Rooks had killed his friend voluntarily, and he was consequently arrested. The preliminary examination took place last Tuesday and the evidence obtained was sufficient to cause the discharge of the accused; the examination has found that the homicide being purely accidental. This does not mean that guns are handled with too much negligence, and that it is high time to put an end to the carrying of weapons by people who are unable to use them; the carrying of arms is dangerous among the ordinarily reasonable people, how much more is the danger among those who carry them with impunity – an accident is so quickly arrived
Thibodaux was in a state of repressed excitement yesterday over the dastardly murder of Mr. Julien Vergnole, an event unprecedented in the history of that section of Lafourche and one which has stirred up the wrath of its citizens to such a pitch that summary vengeance is threatened the perpetrators in the event of their being apprehended. The account of the murder was published in The Times-Democrat of yesterday, and was a correct statement of the principal facts in the case.
Claudet plantation is situated three-fourths of a mile above the town of Thibodaux and was purchased a little over two years since by Mr. Vergnole, he removing at once to his purchase and making his home at the plantation. During the two years Mr. Vergnole resided on the Lafourche his genial manner and kindly disposition made him a host of friends. The business training he had acquired as a merchant of this city stood him in good stead in his new vocation as a sugar planter, and while he was very firm in his dealings with his employees, he was also generous and just. Some time after taking possession of Claudet he discharged the overseer and replaced him with the present manager, Mr. Thompson Barillieux. The new overseer, ascertaining that a number of the resident hands were indolent, and as he terms it, “spoilt,” he immediately proceeded to order them from the plantation. This action on the part of Mr. Barilleaux (sic) caused considerable feeling among the employees, they attributing it altogether to the new owner, and their dismissal was in all probability the cause which led to the killing of Mr. Vergnole.
The morning following the murder found numerous parties of men scouring the neighborhood of the plantation in a search for the assassins. A number of footprints were discovered in the rear yard and were followed for a short distance, when all trace of them was lost. Deputy Sheriff Rich Frost made accurate measurements of the footmarks, which from their size and shape led a number of searchers to believe they belonged to white men. This theory was soon abandoned by the majority, although this idea is still held to by a few.
SUSPECTED PEOPLE ARRESTED
Deputy Sheriff Frost, a few hours after daybreak Sunday morning, arrested and jailed three negroes named Jos King, Jos Crossing and Cornelius Crawford, the latter being the old man who put in an appearance in answer to the agonized screams of Mrs. Vergnole a few minutes after the shooting, and the others were arrested on suspicion, they being two of the former laborers on the plantation discharged by the overseer.
Later in the day, Mr. Frost arrested three white men, tramps, they being seen in the company with the negro, Crossing, near Dr. Meyer’s office when the messenger arrived from the plantation. The man Crossing was also witnessed at 9 o’clock the night of the murder in company with Jos King and the negro Crawford walking through the streets of Thibodaux. These facts, together with Crawford’s opportune appearance so short a time after the shooting, were considered so peculiar that the entire lot were arrested. Dr. Meyers said, however, that Crawford assisted him in his examination of Mr. Vergnole and showed no traces of excitement or fear.
Who was Julien Vergnole?
He married Emma Marie Aimee Riondel in New Orleans on June 27, 1891. He had arrived in New Orleans after sailing from France at age 35 in 1878. He initially settled in New Orleans, where he made his living as a commercial merchant.
Julien and Emma had one child: Jeanne Laurance, born July 28, 1892, in New Orleans. This was the child who was with her mother when Julien was shot. Little Jeanne was not even 2 when her father died.
After her husband’s death, Emma and her daughter Jeanne moved in with Emma’s stepfather and mother at 629 St. Peter St. in New Orleans.
Emma and Jeanne later moved to California but soon returned to Louisiana. It appears that Jeanne never married.
What is probably the correct clew (sic) to the murder, and one which will receive a thorough investigation, is a report of a conversation which took place fully two months ago near the market place in Thibodaux and which was overheard by a resident of that town. The conversation did not appear of much importance to the listener, she thinking it mere idle talk, and consequently thought no more of it until it was vividly brought to her remembrance by the murder of Mr. Vergnole. It appeared that several negro men and women were discussion (sic) that gentleman and evidently becoming excited by the subject of their discourse, spoke very loudly. One of the women, her feelings getting the better of her discretion, cried out: “I don’t care. This man Vernole comes up from the city and wants to play big and smart out here in the country with the people on his plantation. He’s mighty smart, he is, and ought to be killed.” One of the men answered to the woman, saying: “You shut up and never mind about that. We are the ones to attend to that part of the business.” The party then walked away and the rest of the conversation the listener did not catch.
Acting on the information received, Deputy Sheriff Frost arrested three negro women named Eva, Dora and Melinda King, but subsequently released them, they not being identified by the person giving the information. It was also ascertained that a former employee of the plantation by the name of Joe Ellis had been disputing some months ago with Mr. Vergnole about a lot of hogs belonging to the former which were damaging the land and which Mr. Vergnole had ordered off, together with their owner. Ellis is at present, or was, living in a neighboring parish and had been in the neighborhood of Claudet recently.
THE WIFE’S ACCOUNT OF THE TRAGEDY
In company with Mr. Frost, the reporter drove out to the Claudet homestead to view the scene of the assassination and get such additional facts as would throw some light upon the motive for the killing. Many rumors were rife in the town of Thibodaux and the opinions were equally divided, some attributing the crime to a purpose to rob, and others to a fiendish desire for downright and premeditated murder.
Reaching the residence and ascertaining the willingness of the bereaved widow to receive him, the reporter entered the house and was shown the room wherein the killing took place, and the broken blind and window through which the fatal bullet was fired. In the rear of the bedroom is a small gallery, accessible by a series of high steps leading into the yard and separating the main dwelling from the kitchen and cistern. The murderers were evidently acquainted with the location of the rooms and the familiar with the habits of the inmates and entering the yard, secured a bar of iron from a scrap pile near the house, reaching the gallery by the steps described and at once attacking the window blinds made an aperture, breaking the glass and firing the first shot. What followed can best be described by the statement of Mrs. Vergnole, who, with tears streaming down her face, told the horrible story of a loved husband’s assassination and her sudden and terrible widowhood.
“My husband had retired a little earlier than was his usual custom, as he was feeling tired from a day of considerable worry. He was shortly aslepp and tiring of remaining up alone, I took my little girl and also went to bed. This was about 9:30 o’clock. Falling asleep, I was suddenly aroused by a crashing noise and as I opened my eyes and raised up from the bed I saw the flash from the pistol and heard the report and the next instant the glass from the window, shattered by the impact of the bullet entering the sash near the foot of the bed, fell to the floor.
“I at once sprang to the floor, and seizing my child ran into the adjourning room, expecting every moment to be shot. My husband also jumped out of bed, and grasping his pistol, although I tried to keep him away from the window and follow me, approached the window and asked: “Who is there: what do you want?” A man’s voice answered him, saying: “We will show you” and at that very moment the second shot rang out, breaking a second pane of glass and my poor husband crying out: “Wife, I am shot and badly” ran into the next room and sank on the floor.
“I was crazy. I knew not what to do. My husband lay there dying and the men were still hammering at the window blinds. I felt that we were lost and I called out for help as loud as I could, although I knew there was no one in the house but an old colored woman who slept upstairs. My screaming must have frightened the men away, for the noise ceased and I heard their footsteps going off the gallery and into the yard.
“By this time, the old woman up stairs was aroused and came down, and after a little while her husband, Cornelius Crawford, came to the house from the levee. He said he had heard the shots as he was on his way from Thibodaux and also my screams and came to see what was the matter. I sent him to awaken the overseer, Mr. Barilleaux, and when he came, with one or two of his men, I sent him to Dr. Meyer at Thibodaux.
“When I first awoke I distinctly heard the men talking, and I think the voices were those of negroes, and if I could hear them again I believe I would know them. There was a light in the room during the shooting.
“It was horrible. I am sure they tried to kill us while we were asleep, and the one who fired the shot was kneeling on the gallery as the first ball struck the window sash quite high and at an angle from the broken blind. I do not know why anyone should have done this, as to my knowledge my poor husband had not an enemy in the world. The only person with whom he had any altercation that I know of is not in the parish and if he were I would never suggest the idea of his committing the deed.”
Dr. Meyer said to the reporter that he had been called to attend Mr. Vergnole, the summons reaching him several hours after the shots had been fired. He had diagnosed the wound as fatal and endeavored to sustain life as long as he could. The pain from the wound was very intense and he had administered opiates to quiet the patient.
Dr. Stark, the coroner, made an examination and found that the bullet had penetrated the abdomen, severing the intestines and lodging in the spine. At the request of the relatives, Dr. Stark did not make a more extended examination.
From information gathered in Thibodaux there is every indication that a large reward will be offered by the planters of Lafource and also by the police jury, for the apprehension of the murderer. An effort was made by the sheriff to procure a pair of bloodhounds to follow the track of the men, but his efforts to secure the dogs were unavailing.
In connection with the death of Mr. Vergnole it is interesting to note that many of the dwellings in the French quarter of this city are decorated with crepe in respect to his memory.
Mr. Vergnole was a very handsome man and was about fifty years old.
ARRIVAL OF THE BODY
The body of Mr. Julien Vergnole, merchant and planter, who was assassinated at his plantation near Thibodaux in Lafourche Parish reached the city yesterday morning on the California express of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The remains were accompanied by his father-in-law, Mr. Bouchoux; his brother, John M. Vergnole. When the train pulled into the depot, there were a large number of the dead man’s relatives and friends present to take charge of the body. It was removed from the baggage car, placed in an undertaker’s wagon and driven to the residence of his father-in-law, 196 Royal street, from which place his funeral will take place at 10 o’clock this morning.
A reporter visited the house during the day. The body, encased in a handsome metallic casket, was in the front parlor. Around it sat the grief-stricken relatives and numerous friends. The high esteem in which the murdered man was held in New Orleans was demonstrated by the large number of friends who visited the house with expressions of condolence for the family and take a look at the features of their friend who had been so suddenly and brutally robbed of his life by the assassin’s bullet.
Mr. John M. Vergnole, brother of deceased, who left New Orleans and hastened to his brother’s home upon receipt of the telegram notifying him of his critical condition, was interviewed by the reporter. He said that when he reached the bedside of his brother the latter was speechless, consequently all he could learn of the assassination was what his frightened sister-in-law had heard and seen during the few moments that intervened between the time they were awakened by the breaking of the shutter and the shooting of her husband before her eyes. Of course the work of the murderers was so quick and the lady’s excitement so great that she saw or heard but little. When they were awakened by the breaking of the shutter with the piece of iron her husband jumped out of bed and rushed to the window. His advance in that direction brought forth the first shot from the assassin’s pistol. Evidently intending to see if possible who the midnight marauders were, and undaunted by the first shot, he went close up to the window. As he did so he exclaimed: “What do you murderers want; you assassins, what are you trying to do?” A voice from the outside replied, “We will show you what we want when we get to you.” His sister-in-law did not recognize the voice that made these remarks. “The piece of iron,” continued Mr. Vergnole, “which was used in breaking the shutter, and which was left by the assassins in their flight, proved to be a portion of an old pump on the plantation.”
He did not believe that the object for the murder of his brother was robbery. He is
convinced that his life was taken in a spirit of vengeance and by persons well acquainted with the habits of his murdered brother and his wife. They knew that both were in the habit, except in grinding season, of retiring very early. His brother was in the habit of going to bed about 8 o’clock, and his wife would follow him as quickly as she could get her baby to sleep. Both were generally in bed by 9 o’clock. Of this fact, Mr. Vergnole was satisfied the assassins were aware, otherwise they would not have been at their bloody work as early as 10 o’clock, but would have waited for a later hour. After all that medical skill could accomplish was done to save his brother, and leaving his last hours to be watched by other relatives, he started out to do all in his power to learn, if possible, some clew that might run to earth the assassins. The reason for believing that there were three in the murdering party was because of the sound of the different footsteps that Mrs. Vergnole thinks she heard as the parties left the gallery after firing the fatal shot.
“Three negroes,” said Mr. Vergnole, “were arrested because they had been discharged a week ago off the plantation.” He did not think that they were prompted to commit such a crime as they were discharged by the overseer of the place and his brother had nothing to do with the transaction. His next move was to notify the sheriff of the parish of the shooting of his brother. The sheriff did not appear in person, but sent a deputy to his brother’s house to represent him. The deputy upon his arrival looked around the place, examined the footprints on the gallery where the murderers were supposed to have stood when they fired the shots. He then conversed with a number of persons and left, promising to return with blood hounds to see if they could get on the scent of the murderers. Up to the time that he left yesterday morning with his brother’s body for New Orleans neither sheriff nor dogs had put in an appearance.
As he was leaving with his brother’s body for New Orleans yesterday morning he was informed that a white girl had made a statement that some time since, while marketing in the Thibodaux market she saw a negro girl conversing with two negroes. As she approached the trio she heard the girl remark, “Vergnole has got to die.” One of the men answered, “And we are the two that are going to do it.” The white girl said she was not acquainted with either the negro girl or the two negro men, but was satisfied that she would be able to identify all of them if she saw them again. The neighbors, who were doing all in their power to
ferret out the murderers, had heard of this story and were investigating it for what this statement was worth. In conclusion, Mr. Vergnole said that he was convinced that his brother’s murder was the result of a conspiracy and he believed that he knew who was at the bottom of it. He knew the motive, but in the absence of any direct evidence he would not mention names until the proper time in his opinion arrived.
Judge John M. Howell – this well known gentleman and former resident of Lafourche departed from this life last Tuesday, June 16th, in New Orleans at the residence of his son, Mr. Harry B. Howell.
The deceased wo had reached the age of 75 years, moved into this State about the year 1859 or 1860 from California where he had attained some prominence as a lawyer and served on the bench as district judge.
He lived many years in this parish, having been part owner of the waverly plantation, now owned by his son, Senator W. E. Howell, and Mrs. J.S. Perkins, and for a number of years resided in our town on Jackson Street, in the house now occupied by Mrs. J. A. Frost, which he owned at the time. He occupied several responsible positions in this parish, having been president of the police jury, trustee of the town, and a member of the Parish School Board.
Judge Howell was a man of affable manners and of a genial disposition which attracted to him those with whom he came in contact.
He was highly esteemed and respected by our people.
His remains were brought here last Wednesday over the Southern Pacific Road and interred from St. John’s Episcopal Church. Many relatives and friends followed them in sorrow to their last resting place.
He leaves a widow and several sons and daughters, all grown and settled in life, to mourn his loss.
Little Olivia Odilia Aubert, infant daughter of Mrs. Selina Dickson and the late L.C. Aubert, died on June 13th, 1896, and her remains were interred in St. John’s Cemetery.
The little child was only 5 months and 20 days of age, and has gone to her celestial home.
The weekly Thibodaux Sentinel – Feb. 29, 1896
On last Wednesday night, at the residence of his niece, Mrs. E.E. LeBlanc, in this town, Theogene Caillouet passed away from this life at the advanced age of 83 years.
The deceased was a native of the parish of St. James but lived the greater portion of his life in this parish, having lived here in his young days and returned again in later life in 1864 or 65 since which time he has always resided in the parish.
He was one of those rugged and honest characters who assert their individualities in whatever walks of life their lines may be cast and work their way to success. He was a planter by occupation and proved successful in his line, having acquired by his energy, enterprise and economy two plantations which he was still operating at the time of his death.
His funeral took place on Thursday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock at St. Joseph’s Church in the midst of numerous relatives and friends who had congregated to pay their last respects to the venerable octogenarian.
The deceased leaves a surviving wife who had been his help mate in life for over half a century and four sons, J. Norbert, Edward, Felix P. and Joseph T. Caillouet and two daughters, Mrs. Prosper Boudreaux and Mrs. Clay Caillouet, to mourn his loss.
The weekly Thibodaux Sentinel – April 25, 1896
Robert J. Perkins Sr., a highly esteemed and respected citizens of the state, died Thursday in Jefferson parish where he resided and his remains were brought here yesterday by the noon train and interred in St. John’s Cemetery.
The deceased was a former citizen of Lafourche, highly esteemed here by all, and was at one time President of the Parish School Board of Lafourche, which position he filled with marked ability. He has relatives in this parish.
His death was so unexpected that its announcement shocked his many friends.
——————– The weekly Thibodaux Sentinel – March 13, 1897
John A. Frost: This estimable, young man, after a long and painful illness, peacefully passed away last Tuesday morning at the home of his father, Mr. Henry W. Frost.
The deceased had just entered upon man’s estate, being only 21 years and a few months, but he had already acquired the friendship and esteem of his fellows and the respect of all who know him, by his manly deportment and gentlemanly ways.
His funeral took place Wednesday morning at St. Joseph’s Church and was largely attended by relatives, friends and acquaintances.
His untimely death proved a severe blow to his father and mother and he will long be grieved by them and by his loving brothers and sisters.
The weekly Thibodaux Sentinel – Oct. 30, 1897
On Tuesday, Oct. 19, 1897, at 12 a.m., Mrs. Onezime LeBlanc, aged 63 years. Funeral services took place at the Catholic church and were conducted by Rev. Father Branche. The remains were laid to rest in the Catholic cemetery. Mrs. LeBlanc had been a patient sufferer for a long time and her death was not unexpected. She was a good christian woman and died in full faith of meeting her reward in a better land.
The above dotice of Mrs. LeBlanc’s death is reproduced from the Rayne Tribune, near which town Mrs. LeBlanc died. Mrs. LeBlanc was well known in this parish, having lived here with her esteemed husband, Mr. O.C. LeBlanc, near Lafourche Crossing all her life, up to within a year or so when they moved to Acadia parish. She leaves here a son, Mr. Albert LeBlanc, and many relatives and friends to mourn to her loss.
Little Leo Frost Molaison, son of the late Leo Molaison and Virginia Frost, departed this life Thursday afternoon aged 1 year, 4 months and 8 days. His funeral took place yesterday afternoon at St. Joseph’s Church.
The weekly Thibodaux Sentinel – Aug. 21, 1897
Last Wednesday morning at five o’clock, Edgar Gros, a worthy young man of the fifth ward, departed this life at his home on the Greenwood plantation, at the age of 27 years, 11 months and 10 days. His funeral took place Thursday morning at 10 o’clock at St. Philomena’s Church, Labadieville.
Magloire Bourgeois, an old and well known citizen of Assumption, died suddenly at his home, a short distance above Labadieville, last Sunday in the forenoon. He was
apparently well that morning and had partaken of his breakfast as usual when he complained of a slight pain in the side of which, it seems, even he did not think much. Shortly after, he fell and was soon a corpse. His funeral took place Monday afternoon at St. Philomena’s Church, Labadieville.
The deceased was a native of this parish, a brother of Mr. J.B. Bourgeois, Mrs. Theodule Toups and Mrs. Thelesphore Toups, and leaves here many relatives. He had lived in Assumption for years.
The weekly Thibodaux Sentinel – Dec. 11, 1897
The remains of Felix Celestin, native of this parish, but for many years living in New Orleans with his mother, the venerable Mrs. Jean Celestin, arrived here by last Tuesday’s noon train, accompanied by his near relatives, and were interred in St. Joseph’s cemetery, in the presence of grief stricken relatives and sorrowing friends.
The news of his tragic death, which had preceded the coming of his remains, had shocked the community. While at work in the American Sugar Refinery, full of life and vigor, he lost his footing and fell a distance of 25 feet, fracturing his skull and crushing in one side of his body, from the effect of which he never recovered consciousness.
The deceased was only 26 years of age, a steady and industrious young man and competent mechanic. He was a devoted son and kind brother, much attached to his aged mother and two widowed sisters whose main support he was. He was one of a numerous family, five brothers and three sisters, besides his aged mother, surviving him, by all of whom he was greatly beloved and is now sadly missed.
The weekly Thibodaux Sentinel – Dec. 18, 1897
Last Saturday, December 11th, at 6:30 p.m. Mrs. Severine Foret, wife of HamiltonAyo, departed this life at her residence on Home Place after an illness of three weeks’ duration, aged 49 years. She was surrounded at the supreme moment when her spirit was called to its eternal home by a fond husband, loving children and grief stricken relatives who spared no pains to comfort her and alleviate her pains. All that science could do to save her was resorted to by her affectionate son, Dr. J.J. Ayo, aided and assisted by two brother physicians.
Mrs. Ayo’s funeral took place at Lockport on Sunday at 4 o’clock p.m. and was one of the largest and grandest funerals ever witnessed in that interesting town. Rev. Father Vigroux, the beloved pastor of St. Sauveur Church, officiated, being assisted in the ceremony by two brother priests.
Mrs. Ayo was a member of the well known and well respected Foret family and besides a large family connection she leaves a devoted husband and five children to mourn her departure. Her husband, Mr. Hamilton Ayo, is a gentleman of prominence in the parish having served several terms as police juror; a son, Dr. J.J. Ayo, is now coroner of the parish; the other son, Sam A. Ayo, is now a medical student at Tulane; her oldest daughter is a religious known in religion as Sister Mary Gabriel, and two daughters are single and now live with their sorrow stricken father.
The news of the death of Mrs. W. D. Roussel (nee Clara Perkins) who died in her home in Patterson last Tuesday night was received with profound regret in this place, her former home.
Mrs. Vasseur Bourgeois: This estimable lady of the third ward died at her home near St. Charles Chapel one day this week and her remains were interred in St. Joseph’s Cemetery.
Mrs. Julia E. Abadie: As we go to press we learn the death of this estimable lady which occurred yesterday morning at her home at the advanced age of 74 years. She had been ill for some time and her death was not unexpected. Her funeral will take place today at St. Joseph’s Church at 10:30 o’clock.
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.
There was an old time family reunion at Dr. H. Dansereau’s home for new year’s day. All the children were there, not excepting those who have left the family rooftree. Mr. and Mrs. R. S. McMahon and children were there from New Iberia, Dr. P.J. Dansereau of Labadieville, and Mr. H.C. Dansereau of Tulane Medical School all come to pay their devoir to their parents and to wish them and one and all a happy new year.
Edward James Doherty, second son of Mrs. Edward Doherty, of Lafourche Crossing, died last Thursday at his mother’s home. His funeral took place yesterday in the forenoon at St. Joseph’s Catholic church. The deceased was a dutiful son and a good young man whose loss falls heavily on his mother and other relatives. His death was unexpected and proved quite a shock to his many friends here and elsewhere.
Jan. 13, 1900
We regret to have to chronicle that Mrs. Thomas H. Roger, of Home Cottage, has been critically ill during the week. We are glad to be able to add that at the present writing (Friday forenoon) there is a change for the best and it is hoped that she will soon be restored to health.
Mr. Ernest Beauvais, of Schriever, died Thursday night at half past six o’clock after a long illness, aged 64. His funeral, which was largely attended, took place yesterday afternoon at half past three o’clock, St. Joseph’s church. The deceased was a native of this parish, where he passed his early life, and had been the railroad agent at Schriever since several years before the war. He was the oldest employee in the service of the road. He was a man of noble qualities and always bore an unblemished reputation. He was a patriotic citizen, a kind husband and indulgent father, and steadfast in his friendship. A surviving wife, a son and three daughters are left to mourn his loss.
Jan. 20. 1900
Joseph Oshwald, a native of this parish and well known barber of this town, departed this life on Wednesday about noon after a very short illness, having been stricken with paralysis the day before. He was only 32 years old and leaves a widow and some young children to mourn his loss. He was a member of the Y.M.B.A. of Lafourche and the members of this organization in a body attended his funeral which took place Thursday, at St. Joseph’s Church.
Judge John T. Pittman – this well known citizen of the 7th ward died at his home last Thursday of pneumonia. The deceased has been for many years a resident of this parish, having come here as a boy to live with his uncle, the late J.B. Pittman. H grew to man’s estate here and years ago he married Mrs. Ernestine Knobloch, daughter of Mr. E. E. Knobloch, an influental citizen of the 7th ward. His wife and several children survive him. He was at the time of his death, and had been for years, justice of the peace of his ward, an office which he always filled to the satisfaction of his people.
Last Wednesday, Sheriff Beary was called up to Raceland by telephone to come with the hounds to chase a man who had just shot his wife unto death. He first telephoned to some trusty man there to try and effect the arrest, and to communicate with Deputy Sheriff R.A. Frost, who was in the vicinage serving papers, and then started down with his hounds. At some short distance below Lafourche Crossing, he was surprised and delighted to meet Deputy Frost coming up with the accused. Mr. Frost had been informed of the crime, and at once effected an arrest, just as the accused was about to enter the woods a second time. On comparing notes the sheriff and his deputy concluded that the latter already had the accused in custody at the time that the former received the telephone message. In fact the crime was committed at 12 o’clock in the day, Mr. Frost arrested the accused at one o’clock and had him within the four walls of the jail at five o’clock that afternoon. Pretty quick work. The crime was committed on Utopia. The murderer is named Matthew Tapplin and the victim Celestine Braum. The cause of the homicide is jealousy.
Jan. 27, 1900
Mrs. Phoebe Tompkins, an old time resident of this town, died at her residence in New Orleans last Saturday aged 70 years. Her remains were brought over on Sunday’s train and interred from St. John’s Episcopal Church in St. John’s cemetery, in the presence of a large number of friends and acquaintances.
Mrs. Louis Toups, a resident of this town, died last Saturday at the matrimonial domicile, aged 22 years. Her funeral took place Sunday after noon at St. Joseph’s Church. The deceased had not been married long and leaves a fond young husband.
Born to Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Guillot on Tuesday morning a fine boy. Our congratulations to friend Albert.
One of my ancestor’s homes now sits not far from where I live in Baton Rouge. It is believed to be one of the oldest surviving Acadian homes in Louisiana.
Jean Charles Germain Bergeron and his wife, Marie Madeleine Doiron, had 11 children. Their son, Jean Baptiste, is my direct ancestor. This house has a large front room and two small rooms at the back. The ladder leads to a loft.
The home is at the LSU Rural Life Museum – which is a really cool place to visit if you have a free morning or afternoon. Lots of old houses set up to resemble a little town.
A plaque explains the Bergeron house’s history. The house used to sit on the banks of Bayou Lafourche near Labadieville in Assumption Parish.