The Lambeau Family Tragedy

It was a Monday at 4 o’clock, Oct 5, 1891, on the corner of Main St. and Webster Ave. when Victor Lambeau, Curly Lambeau’s grandfather, shot his wife with a 32-caliber revolver. Victor and Marie Lambeau had 7 children, ranging in ages from 4 months to 14 years old at the time. Marcel “Mac” Lambeau, the oldest child and Curly Lambeau’s future father, would turn 15 only four days later.

The fateful bullet struck Marie in the neck and her body immediately dropped to the pavement. Victor then pressed the gun to his right temple and pulled the trigger, the bullet quickly killed him. A number of concerned onlookers immediately ran to the scene. Thomas Couch, Fritz Kramer, Louis Klaus, and others were all nearby. Victor Lambeau was pronounced dead but his wife was still alive and conscious. The bullet had entered the neck just below her chin and exited through the other side. She was taken to a neighboring house where she was given prompt medical attention by Dr. Wolters and Dr. Lewis. Once stabilized, she was later taken to a nearby hospital where she completed her recovery.

A great crowd gathered about the corner where the body of Lambeau lay; children wept and women wrung their hands and men talked excitedly.

Green Bay Weekly Gazette
Oct 7, 1891
The corner of Main and Webster as it looks today. The 141 shield is where the two streets intersect. The former Ten-O-One Club is on the corner. Image from Google Maps.

Police Chief Tennis and a Justice Brice soon arrived and a coroner’s jury was assembled. They viewed the remains before the body was taken to undertakers, Lefebvre & Schumacher.

Mrs. Libbie Gagnon, who knew Marie Lambeau, told the newspaper that the shooting was born out of jealousy and that a week earlier Victor had threatened to kill his wife. Marie Lambeau, whom only spoke French, spoke via an interpreter and denied the speculation surrounding jealousy as a possible motive, claiming that money actually was the reason behind the shooting.

A week later the coroner’s jury heard testimony from John B. Rose. John was Victor’s partner in the masonry business. He posited that Lambeau had been drinking and was suspicious that his wife had been untrue. He said Victor was very excited, more than he had ever witnessed before. After hearing Mr. Rose’s testimony the jury returned a verdict of “temporary insanity.”

The day of the shooting Victor Lambeau had a tin box in his possesion that contained a life insurance policy for $3,000 payable to his children.

The deceased [Victor Lambeau] was one of the best stone and brick masons in the state and those who knew him say he was a straightforward, honest man. He, with his partner, John B. Rose erected many of the finest business blocks of this city.

Green Bay Weekly Gazette
Oct 14, 1891

Victor was a well-known masonry contractor who worked on a number of prominent Green Bay buildings including: old East High School, Kellogg National Bank building, Jorgenson Blesch Co., and St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.

Victor and Marie Lambeau share a headstone at Woodlawn Cemetery. Victor died in 1891 at age 38 and Marie lived until 1922, passing away at age 63.

As always, thank you to my wife and editor, Dawn Hoffman.

Sources – Victor Lambeau

Green Bay Weekly Gazette : Oct 5, 1891, page 3
Green Bay Weekly Gazette : Oct 7, 1891, page 2
Green Bay Weekly Gazette : Oct 14, 1891, page 1

Green Bay Press-Gazette : Dec 20, 1999, page 25

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