THE MURDERERS OF MARTIN BEGNAUD IN JAIL. ...
TWO YOUNG FRENCHMEN NAMED ERNEST and ALEXIS BLANC.
Our entire population too well remembers the atrocious crime that was perpetrated during the night of April the 22nd 1896 at Scott, and which deprived us of one of the best citizens of that locality, a man admired and respected by all who knew him, this excellent man was Martin Begnaud.
Monster assassins, with barbarous characters, and with hearts as blackened in iniquity with a craving for gold, having robbed from his family a loving brother, a loving son, so much loved by these.
With no pity, and without mercy, the incarnate devils plunged the death instrument 52 times in the body of their poor, helpless victim, and not satisfied with having him at the first blow, were frenzied and maddened at the sight of the flowing blood and they turned into enraged brutes, his blood they must have, and to the last drop.
God be praised however, the murderers are now in the meshes of the law, and swift, summary justice will soon be meted out to the monsters, and the wretches have now but to prepare for death.
This crime has been the source of many conjectures, two men thus far innocent, have lain in Parish dungeons for nine long months, clothing saturated with blood, and an instrument said to answer to the description of that used, it has been asserted to have been found among the effects of one of the accused, and with ever so many more eT ceteras thereto. Even, the grand jury had found a true bill against these two parties. With the lapse of time, everything connected with the crime became shrouded in mystery ; every one seemed to be at sea when all of a sudden the inscrutable hand of an all just and all wise Providence, guided back to the scene of the crime, the two assassins who had been traveling far and wide over the world.
Friday night last, the 1st of January, two Frenchmen, brothers, by name of Ernest and Alexis Blanc, arrived at the small station of Scott, and betook themselves to the plantation of Col. A. D. Boudreaux where they had worked last year. These young men having worked together on this plantation, their sudden departure shortly after the assassination raised many doubts against them.
After much vain research to find their whereabouts, the task of locating them was given up.
Upon leaving the Parish they furnished as pretext that they had received $50 from their tutor in France, as as theirs was a hard lot at best here, thought to ameliorate their condition by going to New Orleans where they were promised employment by a friend living on Toulouse Street. However, upon inquiry, it was ascertained they never been to the place indicated.
As above stated, their sudden set off was looked upon as mysterious, and many were the conjectures raised against them.
They not even took the trouble or precaution to sell their share of the crop.
Two or three days prior to their departure these young men called at the office of Dr. Salles to have a day fixed for dental work, remarking that the price was no object to them, and that they wished to have first class work and material. The dentist was somewhat surprised at the mark of liberality on the part of men he knew to be in humble circumstances.
Immediately upon arrest, they were separated, one being placed in the Corporation jail, the other in the Parish jail.
This took place Sunday night. The day following, ex-sheriff Campbell, now an Atty-at-law called Sheriff Broussard, and Simeon Begnaud, called at the Corporation jail for an interview with Alexis Blanc (youngest of the two.)
Campbell propounded the question; "What have you been doing (unreadable words) ...dreaux?"
"First we traveled to New Orleans, then to St. Louis, where we secured some employment in a hotel, from then to Mexico and the West, and we have tramped back here."
"How much money did you have on leaving here.?"
"We had $50, sent us by two friends, Mesdames Norris and Fevre."
Thereupon he fell to thinking, saying of a sudden, - "have you seen my brother?" Having been answered in the negative, not one word thereafter could be gotten out of him.
"Very well" says Campbell, "we know enough to condemn you, we are willing to grant you more time for reflection, it is now 10:30 o'clock and we will return here by 12 o'clock."
"Very well," says he, "come back."
At this Sheriff Broussard, Campbell and Begnaud betook themselves to the cell of the older brother, who was taken out of jail and brought to the Court House.
The same questions were put to him. Give us an account of yourself since your departure. The same answers were made, with the difference they had been in France.
"As for the $50 we received these of a friend in two 20 and one green bank note of $10."
Campbell told him that he was lying, and promised him protection in case of a confession on his part. "Tell us where is the money?"
"We have spent it all" blurted out the man.
"Since you admit having spent all the money, relate to us how you killed Begnaud?"
"Being only day laborers on a plantation we had many hours of leisure, and employed this spare time reading.
"Through the courtesy of Mr. Charles Breaux, a neighbor, we secured the loan of a book treating the daring deeds of Jesse James. From reading this book originated the idea and our plans for the murder. Seeing how poor we were, and how difficult to otherwise better our situation, we made up our minds to emulate the examples inculcated by the book.
"With this determination we set about about the following as near as possible the precepts therein laid down, and which are to the effect that, as common day laborers, it were hardly possible to arrive at much in this world, less we resorted to the commission of crimes.
"For two nights we laid in wait round the store of Martin Begnaud with the idea to take his money, but met with obstacles to both occasions.
"The third night having repaired to the spot again, we found the store closed, with Martin Begnaud in the saloon of his brother only a few steps from his store we could with ease see all that was transpiring in the above saloon while we lay concealed in some tall weeds that grew in the vicinity of the store.
"From our place of concealment we could see all such as were leaving the saloon, but Martin Begnaud was the one we waited to see leave. At last this latter was left alone in the saloon with his brother, and was soon on his way to his store. Our intention had been to overtake and walk in with him, but he was in the store ere we could reach the door, which he had bolted; we feared to have missed our chance again, when one of us said, suppose we could ask him for a package of tobacco.
Upon knocking at the door, Begnaud asked who was there, the answer was Ernest and Alexis Blanc. Begnaud opened the doors. As you had just come in we thought you might open the door to give us a package of tobacco.
Certainly answered Begnaud laughing and opening wide the door. Come in. The tobacco was near enough to Begnaud he could reach same without turning his back to us. Our intention had been to seize hold of him at this juncture, but he having failed to turn his back we thought (unreadable words) again escape us.
It is getting on late says Begnaud jestingly, and it is about time I put you fellows out the store as I'm sleepy. He accompanied us to the door, but my brother cast a look of reproach upbraiding our cowardice and I made up my mind to act. Says I, I thought i had forgotten something, we have not had any supper and am hungry, can you let us have a box of sardines? Why of course said Begnaud, come in and you may have all the sardines you please. Again, thought our courage would fail us. I noticed my brother make several futile attempts to attack. While Begnaud was wrapping up the box of sardines, my heart beat wildly, as we walked up and down the store, watching one another. We were nervous and weakened, still we were ready to pounce onto our victim.
At this juncture, my brother picked up a mouse trap and asked Begnaud to explain the mechanism of it, which he did readily, after stepping out from behind the counter. Glancing at my brother, I saw in his eye that he had decided to attack, and we both drew our pistols simultaneously and covered. Begnaud, saying, make no outcry or you are a dead man. What do you wish asked Begnaud, in a quiet tone of voice! Your money open your safe at once. Begnaud seemed to think we were joking, but soon made up his mind to the contrary and opened the safe.
While my brother covered him with his pistol, I rifled the safe. I asked for the keys of the drawers but Begnaud answered there was no money. You lie says I, give up the keys at once. Without further parleying we secured a rope which we tied his hands behind his back. We then ordered him to walk to his bed, and then tied his legs as well. A handkerchief having been placed over his mouth and eyes, again I asked him where are your keys? In a small box to the right, said he through the gag. I found a key and the amount of money obtained was $3,100 and some odd dollars.
I killed Begnaud, my hand trembled. The triangular instrument burned by hand. I shut my eyes, held firmly the instrument, and plunged it into the heart, it went in deep and met with no resistance. A deep sigh or groan was heard, and the poor man keeled over, dead. Again and again, I plunged in the instrument, but he never more moved. We found sacks in the store which we used in carrying away the money.
The instrument used was a three cornered file, found on the premises at Co. Boudreaux, which we sharpened to a keen edge.
After the crime, the file as well as the box containing the money we secreted under a building in the yard of Col. Boudreaux. This box we buried awaiting developments.
For three weeks we laid our plans for this crime.
Ballain and Benton having been accused and arrested for the crime, we deemed ourselves safe from all suspicion, and decided to leave the country.
Campbell and Begnaud having apprised Alexis of the confession made by his brother, he also made a full confession, saying he did not care to live longer and that trouble and sorrow had been his only portion since he had taken Begnaud's money.
Ernest and Alexis have been transported to New Orleans, for safe keeping, and will be tried here this nest February.
The file has been found in the place indicated by the murders. The box also has been recovered and found buried, bus suspended in a way the paper money should not suffer from the dampness. The money they carried in belts around their bodies.
Ernest is 20 years, and Alexis 19 years of age.
Lafayette Advertiser 1/8/1897.
Lake Charles. - Jan. 6 - Parish prison inmates are not usually a happy lot but there is one man in the Lake Charles jail to-night, who is congratulating himself and clapping his long slender hands in pure delight. He is Gustave Ludovic Balin, arrested on April 24, 1896, charged with the atrocious murder in the little town of Scott, near Lafayette, on April 22 of the same year. He has been incarcerated ever since, under this charge, the officers having spirited away from Lafayette and brought here to avoid a lynching. Balin saw a copy of the Times-Democrat early this morning and read of the capture of the two French peasant boys, Ernest and Alexis Blanc, and of their having confessed to the fiendish work of murdering the bachelor storekeeper, Martin Begnaud. He read a little further and saw the account of his own arrest. Then it dawned on him that he would be free. He threw the paper in the air and he shouted for joy. A smile came over the pale lips that had been almost bloodless for nearly one year. At that moment there was a rush at the door and the sound of many feet. Balin was frightened. He thought it was a mob come to lynch him. But they proved to be friends. There were twenty of them, and they filed into the corridor shaking hands and congratulating him on his good fortune. When the Times-Democrat correspondent arrived he said:
Yes I'm glad. I always asserted my innocence, and could not see how they arrested me on such a charge. I was in Carencro the night the crime was committed. Scott and Carencro are miles apart. I was employ by Mr. Guilbeau, in Carencro, and did some oil painting for him. I was arrested on the 24th, two days after the deed, and placed the in the parish jail, where I was subjected to all the indignities possible. When arrested they searched me and found no weapon, and in order to prove that I did have not have any dangerous weapon whatever, I took my captors to my shop and showed my putty knife, which is a flat instrument and cound not harm a babe. I have been in jail for nine months now and can hardly realize my good fortune."
Gustave Ballain is a French artist and is 30 years old.
Benton arrived in Lafayette Thursday and Balin Friday afternoon to be released on bond.
Lafayette Advertiser 1/9/1897.
FOR SALE. - A large property situated on Washington street with residence containing 4 bed rooms, one parlor, hall, kitchen, store and warehouse. Galleries on both sides of the residence, two lots of ground adjoining 100x140, with orchard. Terms very reasonable. Selling because of departute. Apply to Mrs. J. D. LAFOND or at the Advertiser office.
Lafayette Advertiser 1/9/1897.
Surrey Races. - Races will take place to-day on the Surrey Track between DeClouet's Nelly Bly and Barlo belonging to Don Louis Herpin, Distance 7 arpents, and purse $200.00. Other races will also be run during the day. Lafayette Advertiser 1/9/1897.
The Boas Academy. - Prof. J. U. Rutherford, an experienced teacher of Nashville, Tenn, has been engaged as teacher in the Boas Academy. - A large number of pupils now be received, and will have every advantage of a thorough training in English, French, Music, Stenography and Higher Mathematics will be taught. Pupils may secure board by applying to Miss Maud Boas, Principal.
Lafayette Advertiser 1/9/1897.
Selected News Notes (Advertiser) 1/9/1897.
Mr. Romain Francez of Carencro was in town Monday.
Hear President Carnots last speech at the Opera House to-night.
Mr. and Mrs. Crow Girard returned Monday from their bridal tour.
We learn with regret that the condition of Mr. A. M. Martin is not improving.
See the spirit of your departed friends at the Opera House to-night.
Chas. Lusted and family returned Monday from New Orleans where they spent the holidays.
A lecture on (Mormonisme) will take place at Falk's Opera House on Jan. 17. Admission Free.
Don't fail to hear that wonderful talking machine the Gramophone, at the Opera House to-night.
Wednesday was ladies night at the Century Club, and an enjoyable reception was tendered by the gentlemen members to their lady friends.
Prof. Trudeaux of the high school returned from holiday vacation last Wednesday. He attended the convention at Lake Charles, and from there went to his home where he was detained by the illness of his father.
Lafayette Advertiser 1/9/1897.
From the Lafayette Advertiser of January 9th, 1869:
We would call the attention of our planters to the article "subscriber" in our last number; if they had read the short article and weigh it well, they will readily perceive the importance of the move proposed, they will readily understand the necessity of regulating free labor by fixed rules, and how far the interests of all would be benefited by concert of action on the part of inhabitants holding real estate. We then again invite the planters of the Parish, to answer call made upon them, but in so doing, and to carry out the objects and purposes aimed at, they must be unanimous as to the rules of labor to be established, and these once established they must be unanimous in the enforcement of them, otherwise, the attempt to ameliorate our condition, and improve the country, would prove abortive. Lafayette Advertiser 1/9/1869.
Parish Court. - Our Parish Court is now in session Judge A. J. Moss presiding. There is a disposition on the part of the Bench and of the bar to clear the Docket of as many cases as possible. The criminal Docket will not be touched at this term of the court, all parties accused having claimed trial by Jury; we were happy to see on our side walks and in the Court room Col. A. DeBlanc of St. Martin. Lafayette Advertiser 1/9/1869.
School in Vermilionville. - We call the attention of our readers and of the public generally to the Prospectus of Mr. Alcee Judice. He will reopen his school in the town of Vermilionville at Mrs. Eastin's residence, on Monday the 11th inst. Mr. Judice has few superiors as a teacher, his varied acquirement, as well as tact in discipline, make him most worthy of public patronage, which no doubt will be cheerfully and liberally extended to him. Lafayette Advertiser 1/9/1869.
Liquor Stock Moved. - Our young friend Theodule Hebert has removed his stock of liquors from Butcher's to Godard's corner, which he has improved and stocked with liquors to suit amateurs of the most fastidious taste. We hope that the success which crowned his efforts at the old, will follow him at the new stand -- may he there thrive and prosper !!
Lafayette Advertiser 1/9/1869.
THE NEW ORLEANS AND OPELOUSAS RAILROAD.
We are credibly informed that Charles Morgan will favor the enterprise entered into by Gen. Price and Mr. Chouteau in relation to extending the Opelousas Railroad to the Sabine, to connect with the Houston and Orange Railroad. If this is be so the road will be speedily built. Will any man of capital of this place, in this State, or Texas oppose this important movement? We trust not. On the contrary, we hope to see all who can throw the weight of a feather in favor of the movement does.
If agents are needed to bring this grand scheme to a practical, working point, let them be working, efficient agents. Let us leave no silk glove, high priced, ( 2 paragraphs of unreadable words.)
But now let us see if we have come to the end of those troubles, and if a brighter future draws upon us. It is for the people who are most interested in this road to say whether it shall be built at once, or not. What say the people Louisiana and Texas? We look to the papers of New Orleans and Houston to answer these questions. -
From the Banner and in the Lafayette Advertiser 1/9/1869.
From the Lafayette Advertiser of January 9th, 1907:
OUR TRADE TERRITORY.
We publish in another column an article from the New Orleans Picayune which states that the Owen's road, known as the Crowley, New Orleans and Western, will be built, and that the information given out is that the same parties who are building the electric road from Baton Rouge to New Orleans are behind the project. Whether this statement is correct or not, nevertheless it is certain that it is only a question of time when a railroad will be constructed through the territory which this road contemplates passing through. That means a great deal to this town, for the road will pass within five of six miles south of here, cutting into the most valuable trade territory of Lafayette. This is decidedly worth considering by the business men of Lafayette.
We have a very satisfactory little town at present, but if we remain idle and let our supporting territory be invaded and divided we will realize much to our sorrow the result of inactivity and self content. Things do not stand still and as long as competition exists why we must recognize its existence, and do some competing ourselves. And the first way is to hold what territory we have and reach out for more.
Our obvious move is not to wait for a railroad to be built through the Milton and Mauriceville section to carry the trade to Crowley or New Iberia or absorb it into country stores; but to build one from Lafayette and make it the convenience of residents of that section to trade with us. We are all of one parish, what is to the interest is to our interest and vice versa. Give them easy access to Lafayette and they would prefer to do business in this city. As we see it, there are two best ways of accomplishing this: First by building good roads, for they are chief considerations for holding trade within six to eight miles. Good dirt roads should be constructed and then permanent roads of shell or other material. The durability and satisfaction shown by the model shell road built by the government experts in front of the Industrial Institute would suggest that the same kind of permanent road should be begun and added to yearly, along the main highways leading to town. And this can be done. All that is needed is united action on the part of the people of Lafayette, and with united action we can also accomplish the second object, which is to be build short railroads from town, radiating into the parish, making Lafayette the center in the parish's trade as it is the center geographically.
The motor power for these railroads could be, we think, satisfactorily supplied by gasoline motor cars. They are much cheaper than the electric trolley and will answer the purpose, we believe. But if after investigation it should be deemed advisable to install a trolley system, its cost will be no bar to its construction, if the people of Lafayette will stay united and work in harmony. The 1907 has a great deal in store for us if we will get together, stay together and push together; but unless we do, we greatly fear that that said to be cure for economic ills, competition, is going to give our fine little town a hard knock before another January rolls around. We are not disposed to be pessimistic but it is a folly to blind ourselves to the fact that there are forces at work sapping our trade sources - and the chief asset of town is its trade territory. This we must protect if we want to grow or even hold our own. To do this we must make a big effort and do it "all in good time".
Lafayette Advertiser 1/9/1907.
Horseless Mail Wagons.
The United States post-office department has determined to try the experiment of horseless mail wagons in New York shortly, for the purpose of gathering up and distributing the mails. The result of their operation will be watched with interest throughout the country, and if the postal service finds they are cheap and efficient, their use in other channels will soon follow.
In Paris and London the horseless wagons are used very successfully, and they are no novelty there. It is probable that they will be brought into general use in the great English metropolis next Spring, as fifteen large factories in England have set to work at manufacturing them.
The horseless vehicles running to and fro about the streets and country roads will be no greater novelty in this advanced age of invention and scientific research than was the electric street car when it was first brought into successful operation.
Truly the possibilities of man's inventive genius in utilizing and developing the hidden resources of nature seem to be unbounded. If the next century should record as rapid strides in the apparently limitless field of man's invention and scientific research as has the present, then, without intending to appear in the least degree sacrilegious, the thought occurs to us that the performers of those Biblical miracles in the days of Moses and the prophets will have a close competitor in mankind's genius of the 20th Century.
Original source unknown. Printed in the Lafayette Advertiser 1/9/1897.
The cheapest restaurants in the world are undoubtedly in Berlin. The effort to introduce horseflesh in New York as an article of food has brought all the facts concerning the Berlin restaurants promptly to the front. There are dozens of places where the meat of horses is eaten regularly, and they are endorsed by the health authorities of the German capital. These restaurant furnish a meal of horseflesh, bread and coffee for the moderate sum of six cents. This would seem to be the bedrock charge for a meal even in Berlin, but there is still a lower grade of restaurants. Very few tourists visit the restaurants on the outskirts and building districts of the city, where the very poorest Germans buy their meals. In these places there is a long bench place in front of the table, in which soup-plates made of tin are sunk into the wood. The plates will hold a little more than a pint of liquid. Opposite each plate or pan is a tin spoon chained to the table. The prospective diner enters the restaurant, places three cents opposite his plate, and then shouts "thick soup" or "thin soup," according to his epicurean desire. Then the comfortable and invariably very fat old woman who runs the restaurant waddles forward with a steaming kettle in her hand, fills the pan in front of the diner with soup, seizes his money, waddles back to the stove, and then returning slams a large and square lump of black bread down in front of the guest. The description is not alluring, but in reality everything about these cheap restaurants is so exquisitely bright and clean, the soup is so good and the bread so nutritious that no one need be afraid of it. Such places in the poorer districts of London and New York at the prices would be a blessing during the winter months.
From the New York World and in the Lafayette Advertiser of 3/14/1891.