Home » Family History » Great-Great Uncle Eugene Jule Pleau: Rough Times

Great-Great Uncle Eugene Jule Pleau: Rough Times

As with his brothers, Eugene had his own rough times; some by chance and some brought on himself.

On April 30, 1899, 18-year-old Eugene had boarded the Rochester and Irondequoit Railroad (a.k.a. the “Bay Railroad”, sometimes called the Rochester and Ontario Railroad in the newspapers) going northbound.  The three railcars were jam-packed and overcrowded, as well as running somewhat late.  To make up for lost time, the train ran faster than usual.  As it rounded the 90 degree curve near the corner of Ridge Road and North Avenue, the first car derailed and tipped over.  Two people were killed, and Eugene was among the nineteen (according to the railroad) injured. I don’t know the extent of his injuries, but he, along with the other victims, filed suit against the railroad on May 9.  For some reason, none of these plaintiffs or their representatives showed up to court, and the case was dismissed on September 7.

A typical Rochester excursion train

A typical Rochester excursion train

This accident, of course, did not stop Eugene from riding the rails, for it was probably the best way to get around the area.  Three years later on November 25, 1902, he and a 16-year-old friend, James Valentine, traveled to Batavia, New York.  While there, they stole a coat and hat off a rack on the No. 77 Westbound train before 8:25pm and took off to the Central Hotel on Jackson Avenue.  The gentleman who owned the items saw Eugene and James commit the act and was able to describe them, which led to a search of the area.  Finally, they were found and arrested, with the Rochester authorities being notified.

The last item of trouble I’ve been able to find is Eugene’s marriage to Ladonna Jackson.  I have to admit, it is pure speculation that they had divorced.  Given his brothers’ marital track records (and we haven’t even talked about Charles yet!), I am assuming that Eugene followed suit.  However, it is entirely possible that Ladonna could have died; after all, she dropped out of his life in 1918 when there was a nationwide influenza pandemic.  In any case, she was listed with him in the Rochester City Directories from their marriage only until 1918.  When Eugene registered for the draft on September 9, 1918, he listed his closest relative as his sister Evelyn Weilert, not Ladonna.  I have found no evidence toward divorce or death; I just know that Eugene was a single man after this time.

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One thought on “Great-Great Uncle Eugene Jule Pleau: Rough Times

  1. Pingback: Great-Great Grandparents George and Marie Emma E. (LeClair) Pleau | Beautiful Water Genealogy

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