Sunday, January 19, 2014

52 Ancestors: #3 Maurice BONEAUX

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small has challenged the genea-blogging community to blog about one ancestor per week in a series called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. This week I will blog about my 2x great-grandfather, Maurice BONEAUX. He was the maternal grandfather and namesake of my paternal grandfather, Benford Maurice TRAHAN. He died just six months before Benford was born. Maurice has always intrigued me because of the family stories told about him and the fact that his paternal line was not Cajun French. Three out of the four 2x great-grandparents on my paternal grnadfather's side are Cajun French. Maurice is the only one who isn't.

The family story is that his father came over directly from France as a stowaway on a ship. I have not determined whether the stowaway part is true, but records do support the fact that his father was born in France. Maurice's son-in-law, my great-grandfather, Bienvenue TRAHAN, was very fond of Maurice. According to Bienvenue, Maurice never ceased to amaze him as he went from one business opportunity to another during the Great Depression, always making money. He told stories about Maurice selling gambling machines to various businesses. Bienvenue would be the lookout that stayed in the car to protect the money as Maurice went from business to business collecting his share of the gambling machine profits. He also told stories about Maurice selling cars. He would drive around until he saw a bunch of kids hanging out on the porch and then ask them if they wanted to see his car. Then he would tell the kids that they needed to help him get their dad to buy the car.

Here are the facts I know about Maurice:
  • According to a transcription of baptismal records from St. John's Cathedral in Lafayette, Louisiana, Maurice was born 13 Aug 1883 to Dominique BONEAUX and Marie Alida MOUTON.  He was the third and youngest child born to Dominique and Alida.
  • On 10 Sep 1908, 25-year-old Maurice married 17-year-old Marie Alice SONNIER, daughter of Numa SONNIER and Marie Edmonia DOMINGUE, at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Carencro, Lafayette, Louisiana. 
  • Marie Florine BONEAUX was born 11 months later to Maurice and Marie Alice on 7 Aug 1909 and baptized 2 Sep 1909 at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Scott, Lafayette, Louisiana. 
  • Sadly, Marie Florine died three weeks later and was buried on 19 Sep 1909. She was buried in the same church cemetery where she was baptized. 
  • Maurice and Marie Alice are found living in Police Jury Ward 1 of Lafayette Parish in the 1910 census. Funnily enough, the family stories about Maurice always trying new business opportunities is supported by his occupation on the census. He is listed as a barber, farmer, and salesman. They lived next door to Maurice's parents and his older brother, Joseph.
  • My great-grandmother, Beatrice Marie BONEAUX, was born to Maurice and Marie Alice on 26 Aug 1910. She was baptized on 1 Oct 1910 at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
  • In Sep 1918, Maurice registered for the WWI draft. He was living in Scott and listed his occupation as a self-employed farmer.
  • In 1920, Maurice, Marie Alice, and Beatrice are found in Police Jury Ward 1 of Lafayette Parish. Maurice's occupation was a self-employed farmer. There was a 15-year-old black male named Joe Green who was also living in the household. His occupation was given as servant for a private family. I presume he must have worked for the family, possibly helping out on the farm. 
  • In 1930, Maurice, Marie Alice, Beatrice, and now Bienvenue TRAHAN were found in Police Jury Ward 1. Beatrice and Bienvenue had married just a year earlier on 14 Sep 1929. Maurice had no occupation listed. Bienvenue was listed as an unemployed laborer of odd jobs. 
  • Maurice died at the age of 51 on 5 Sep 1934 in Scott, Lafayette, Louisiana, from tuberculosis. He was buried the following day in the Sts. Peter and Paul church cemetery. Sadly, he never got to meet his only grandchild who would be named for him 6 months later.
  • Maurice's wife, Marie Alice, continued to live on the family land for several more years. The land is still owned by my dad and his brothers today. It's about 40 acres of land just outside Scott. Maurice and Marie Alice's house is still standing (albeit in not so great condition). 
Maurice sounds like such an interesting person from the records and family stories. I would like to find some newspapers from the time period to see if he was ever mentioned. I imagine he would have made some good headlines.

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