Family tree of Alain DE MONËYS D'ORDIÈRES



French victim of a crowd of angry villagers

Born on July 09, 1838

Died on August 16, 1870 in Hautefaye, France

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On 16 August 1870, France was losing a war against Prussia. Within three weeks, Emperor Napoleon III would be captured by the enemy and his regime overthrown by a self-proclaimed Government for National Defence.

Rural France, which had largely been faithful to Napoleon I and welcomed his nephew, was jittery. Many rural residents were illiterate and depended upon news of the war from the educated, often noble residents, which they resented.


During a fair at Hautefaye, matters turned ugly when an aristocratic cousin of a young nobleman named Alain de Monéys reported the war was not going well. Many villagers had been drinking and received the news poorly. They attacked the cousin, the Vicomte Camille Maillard Lafaye, son of the mayor of the nearby town of Beaussac. Frightened, the viscount and his party fled. In an alcohol-fueled patriotic ferver, villagers wielding pitchforks and cudgels turned their attention on young Alain.

They accused him of being a Prussian plant, a spy, and of financing Prussia in the war against France. They claimed he betrayed the emperor and nation. Both claims were in fact false, as Monéys was not a Republican and his patriotism was spotless, but a crowd gathered around him. The parish priest tried to calm the mob by offering drinks to divert their attention but, however well-meaning the effort may have been, it probably helped get the crowd even more intoxicated than they already were and more dangerous. The mayor, unable to show leadership in the face of drunken excitement, reportedly said "Eat him if you want".

For two hours, the mob tortured and battered Alain de Monéys. They nailed horseshoes to his feet and burst one of his eyeballs. The crowd finally burnt him in the village square (or a nearby lake bed), probably while still alive. People taking part in the killing collected fat dripping from his burning body onto bread, eating the resulting tartines. (The last statement has not been proved historical).

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Geographical origins

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