In 1953 88 year-old Mrs. Esther Lauzon’s body was found decomposed near Lanark Village on a chilly day in October. She had been missing from her daughter’s home (Mrs. Allie Youill) in Carleton Place since February and her body located in a bush near the Lanark Village cemetery. Only two weathered five dollar bills in her pocket lay near her on a property owned by Gilbert Closs. Both local coroner Dr. A.C. Fowler and the OPP constable had decided that there had been no fowl play and she had been immediately laid to rest.
Posters of Esther had been circulated at the time of her disappearance, and although having no money she had paid $100 to Young’s Funeral Parlour in the village of Lanark for her funeral. What was never reported was that a bottle of Paris Green had been found next to her body, but none had been found in her body during the autopsy.
In December of 1953 her body was exhumed and in January an inquest was held. It was noted that Mrs. Lauzon had once owned a home in Lanark Village and sold it to move to Carleton Place with her daughter. At that time the money from the sale had been distributed to relatives which was later verified by the Carleton Place solicitor.
While living at her daughters, poor Esther had become ill a few times and each time a packet of Paris Green in her bed. The family had reported that Paris Green was also found in her trunk and at one time a suicide note was found along with it. A written report from Dr. Klotz showed no injuries from foul play on her body at the time and again no Paris Green was found inside her body.
So what happened to poor Esther Lauzon? Had life just become too much for her? I guess we will never know, but did I found another name spelled wrong. Esther’s maiden name had been listed as DENT but in reality it was DENY and she had married her husband Sylvester in Almonte in 1899 and was already a widow at 28. Then I went searching again and I found a documented wedding certificate that her husband Sylvester was 23 and she was 33 and a widow.
More for the Lanark Murdoch Mystery pages..
Sylvester Lauzon and Esther Dent–Married on Wednesday, May 10, 1899 in Almonte, Lanark, Ontario.
Rootsweb–(Lanark Co); Sylvester LAUZON, 28, Labourer, Ramsay, France, parents not given, married Esther DENY, Widow, 33, Ramsey, Darling, d/o Jaochine MAYOR or MAJOR and Sophia CARDINAL, wit; Thomas LANCH and Catherine HORAN, 10 May 1899, Almonte–widow of Napoleon Denys
Name Sylvester Lauzon
Event Type Marriage
Event Date 10 May 1899
Event Place Almonte, Lanark, Ontario, Canada
Birth Year (Estimated) 1876
Spouse’s Name Esther Deny
Spouse’s Gender Female
Spouse’s Age 33
Spouse’s Birth Year (Estimated) 1866
Spouse’s Father’s Name Joachine Major
Spouse’s Mother’s Name Sophie Cardinal
1903-1904—Paris Green- this was a form of suicide I had not yet read about when I began to write; most of the other cases were carbolic acid or other substances of that nature. I did have one or two cases that had Paris Green as the cause of death, and I found a few interesting things about this substance.
It was initially used in Paris as a rat poison, hence its name. It is also used in pigmentation and has an extremely vivid colour. In America it was blended with lead arsenate and used as a pesticide, so presumably it was not that difficult to get a hold of. Because of its vividness, it was used in paint, both as art and for practical purposes. In fact, Van Gogh and Monet experienced adverse side effects as a result of using this paint, and people who wore clothes dyed with this pigment usually died young, without the cause of death known at the time. Because of the extreme toxicity of Paris Green, it would be an ideal method for ending one’s life and easy to obtain because of its wide uses at the turn of the century.
1895–A 63-year-old male committed suicide by ingesting Paris Green. His wife was awakened in the night by one of her children who was crying. It was at this time that her husband informed her that he had poisoned himself. She sent for two doctors, but neither arrived in time to help her husband. She stated that he had been worried about the interest on their mortgage. The case summary page in the file recorded the manner of death as, “suicide by poison while insane.” I found this particularly interesting. It seems to allude to the social stigma or assumptions surrounding suicide at this time.
1896-An unemployed Pittsburgh laborer died when he ingested Paris Green and thus poisoned himself. According to History Magazine, Paris Green is an arsenic-based compound that was a popular pigment ingredient in paints, wallpapers, and fabrics
Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (US
Bitten by the Kissing Bug — A Shocking Conclusion to the Life of Carleton Place’s Daniel E. Sheppard