Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What was "Family Lore" is now known to be the truth!

My great grandmother Josephine Barr DuBell (photo here on the Blog), was the daughter of Keziah Griselda MacClanahan Barr Book Yosset.  She was married 3 times, her second marriage was to William Book and they had one son, John Book.  Great-great grandma Keziah remarried to a Charles Braun Yossett. 
The "family lore" I am referring to is this.  Keziah and Charles had a rocky relationship and he was very abusive to Keziah.  At some point, around 1880 her son John Book was present at one of these altercations and told his step-father, (Charles Yosset) "You can't treat my Momma that way." and shot him.  The story ended by saying he did not serve any time for the killing as it was deemed "Justifiable Homicide".  This has been a story I have heard for the last 20+ years

Over the years I have wanted to see if it this story was truthful.  I've traveled to the area, written letters to various offices, contacted distant relatives, they have written letters, combed old newspapers, and have found no documentation as to prove or disprove this story.  You can imagine the joy I felt this morning when I was following up on some links I have from Lisa Louise Cooke's podcasts and I found a newspaper article giving details of the shooting/killing!  I couldn't believe I was reading it!   The article tells the story in greater detail and it's so close to what our family lore has told us all along!  You see?  It's not always a fable when we hear these stories over the years, don't ever give up! 

Here is the article from the OCR translation:

Claihorne Guardian:
A man by the name of Yosset was killed by his step son. Johnnie Book, last week. The affair occurred five miles north of Vienna.    Yosset was an intemperate man, and treated his wife cruelly when drinking.  He had been on a spree, and Mrs. Yossat, had been driven from home in self-defence.   As she was traveling in company  with her son. Johnnie Book, they were met by Yosset. On meeting them he turned round and traveled with them trying to get his wife to return home with him. She refused, giving his cruel treatment as a reason. When they come to the Vienna and Shiloh road, Yosset attempted to make Mrs. Yosset take the Shiloh road.  . She wished to take the Vienna road. He caught hold of her horse's bridle and jerked the horse. He then picked up a stick and struck the horse. making it jump and very near throw Mrs. Yosset.  Johnnie Book remarked to him that he could not treat his mother in that way.  In a few seconds Mrs. Yosset heard a pistol fire, (her back was turned to them,) and thinking her son was shot she exclaimed "Johnnie, Johnnie," by this time she had turned her horse, and seeing her son still standing, and her husbanding missing, she looked behind a clump of bushes and saw him lying dead. She exclaimed, "oh. Johnnie, what have you done!" to which he replied, "Mother, do you suppose. I was going to let him shoot me down like a hog."   The pistol used was a derringer.  The ball entered the left temple and passed into the brain, causing instant death. The next day, Johnnie Book come to Vienna and surrendered himself to the sheriff. On Tuesday last he had his preliminary trial before Judge Graham. He was released, having made out a clear case of justifiable homicide.
Source information:
 Library of Congress, Chronicling America, Historic Newspapers
In the "Louisiana Capitolian"
Baton Rouge, Louisiana,
Tuesday, March 29, 1881
Vol. 3 No. 22
Page 3 Col. 3  
From the Claiborne Guardian

This has given me more leads as to where to go and hopefully obtain primary documents for this part of my family’s history.  I wouldn't have found it if I had stopped looking and especially if I had given up on the old newspapers!  You can't give up on one type of source because new documents are coming to light every day.  I can't say that enough, it is so important to keep looking and when you get to a point of thinking there isn't anything to find, start again. 

BTW, is you haven't heard of Lisa Louise Cooke and her podcasts, website, videos and blog you should check them out, you won't regret it! Lisa talks to "you" in such a way you feel as you have known her for years, almost as if she is having coffee with you in your kitchen.  Her site URL is:  I attended her webinar on using old newspapers and it had paid off, don't you think?   Thanks to Lisa Louise Cooke and her Genealogy Gems! 

That's it for now.. I have to go pick up my hubby and get back home so I can spread this news to my distant cousin who is working on this line, he's gonna love this!