Saturday, September 27, 2008

And When They Met, It was MURDER!!!

The 57th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy asks us to "share some aspect about your family history that you learned about in a newspaper." In all the items in my collection, there is one article that stands out far above the rest and is the perfect fit for this carnival.

Several months ago, I inquired about getting some obituary copies from a Lousisana historical society. Apparently, my branch of Thibodeaux ancestors was unfamiliar to the lady with whom I was corresponding. She was surprised, as she thought she knew all the Thibodeauxs in the Acadia/St. Landry parishes. I casually mentioned that my great-great grandfather died young and I knew nothing about him or how he passed. I received my obits for everyone but him in the mail, and I thought that was the end of it.

However, the lady's curiosity was piqued and she went hunting for more information on my Thibodeaux. She sent me a set of three small articles that explained just exactly how Mr. Thibodeaux died in St. Landry Parish, Lousiana on April 21, 1889. The following paragraph explains the situation:

There was a shooting and killing scrape at Chris Ruppert's saw mill Sunday morning, the 21st nlt. Noel Thibodeaux was shot and killed by Onezime Taylor. From all reports it seems to have been a justifiable act. Most men find it all they can do to support one wife but Thibodeaux wanted two, and so coveted and took his neighbor's and then not satisfied with that took his horse, and still not having enough wanted his life, and so lost his own life, as Taylor was not willing to give his life to a man who had taken all else from him.

Well, that answers my question on when and how my great-great grandfather died. The longer article explains the building tension between the two. Apparently, Thibodeaux tried to kill Taylor before, but was interrupted by others passing by. Finally, Taylor couldn't take whatever Thibodeaux was dishing out anymore, so one day he walked up, exchanged words and shot him dead. Taylor then turned himself in at the sheriff's office. Whether the Taylors were separated or not at the time was debated. However, Thibodeaux was still married so what was going on there?

The articles are written in a colorful, dramatic, slanted fashion as most were in that time. Clearly, the reporter and others were not fans of my great-great grandfather. The reporter mentions that there were two sides to this story, but doesn't include the words of anyone speaking on Thibodeaux's behalf. Taylor's $1000 bond was paid by friends and townsfolk. So many rushed to pay in support of Taylor that many had to be turned away.

The articles do not provide the final details of Taylor's fate, but they hint at acquittal. In time, I'd like to go to the parish and try to locate the records of these proceedings. Until then, I have a great genealogy conversation starter.

[The articles referred to in this piece are from the Crowley Signal. The dates were April 27, 1889 and May 5, 1889.]


  1. Okay, Amy, you've got me. I am intrigued. If you ever find more details, count me in as interested. Nice post!

  2. Fabulous headline! And an interesting story to boot.

  3. Adds a little spice to the family tree!

  4. I would love to hear more when you find out! Very interesting, and leaving us hanging! Thanks for a great article!


  5. Wow, talk about skeletons in the closet! Good cliffhanger too, Amy. I'm queueing up with everyone else for the sequel.

  6. Great story...makes me want to know the outcome, too. Can't wait for you to uncover more about the incident and write about it here! Thanks, Amy, for sharing the account.