Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Franco-American War Veterans' Memorial, Cimetière Saint-Joseph, Chelmsford, Massachusetts

For this week's Tombstone Tuesday I made a special visit to the Franco-American War Veterans' Memorial at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

The monument, which was dedicated on Tuesday, May 30th, 1933, sits at what was once the main entrance of the cemetery along Riverneck Road and is made from the highest grade granite. It is twenty-one and one-half feet long, five and one-half feet in height, by one and one-half feet wide, and is surmounted with 3 flag staffs.

On the left and right sides of the monument there are the following inscriptions; A LA MEMOIRE DE CEUX QUI TOMBERENT, and  EN L’HONNEUR DE CEUX QUI SERVIRENT  which translate to: IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO DIED, IN HONOR OF THOSE WHO SERVED. In the center of the monument there is the inscriptions GUERRE MONDIALE, 1917-1918 and LES FRANCO-AMERICAINS RECONNAISSANTS. which translate to:  WORLD WAR 1917 - 1918, GRATEFUL FRANCO-AMERICANS

According to Albert V. Cote's website, The Franco-Americans in Lowell, Massachusetts, the monument was refurbished by the Franco-American War Veterans, Post No.4 of Lowell, MA, in the early 1990s. This refurbishment added two brass plates (I did not find) and the English translations of the left and right side inscriptions. Also added was the inscription, FRANCO-AMERICAN WAR VETERANS POST NO. 4 1995. And to the back of the monument, Refurbish Committe May 27, 1995. Ronald Sevigny, Roland Provencher, Arthur Papillion, Ronald Guilmette, Leo Cloutier and Leo Martin.

The first Veteran to be buried at the memorial  was *Alfred Peter Barron, Seaman 2 Cl., USN. He died on 11 October, 1933 and was interred on 14 October.

Also laid to rest, in order of interment, are:

Hormisdas Gauthier
*Ernest Villandry
*Oscar Rene
*Peter Dufour
Joseph Forbes
Alexandre Gagnon
*Mathias St. Laurent
Gilbert Richard
*Harry Porter (Ira F. Porter)
Ovila Briere
Salluste Fournier
Joseph Bedard
*Walter St. Hilaire
*Peter Desmarais
*Louis Dube
George A. Richard
Louis Provencher
Rocky Ambrosino
Ovila Frenette
Antonio Roussell
Joseph R. Laferriere
Victor Charette
Rosario Martineau
Raymond O. DeMange
Raymond A. Ferris
Roland Gagne
Henry J.Couture
Armand J. Carbonneau
Leo S. Harnois
Raymond P. Vincent
Perley R. Munsell
Omer Frechette
Raymond. E. L'Heureux
William B.Aresenault
Paul J. Pare
Arthur J. Proulx
Gerard R. Gauthier
Paul L. Greenwood Sr.
John H. James Jr.
Franklin D. Ambrosino
Walter, J. Ciesla
Raymond J. Landry
George N. Gilbert
Joseph R. Corcoran
Joseph Leo Lacourse
John J. Mele Jr.
Eugene Sylvain
Daniel Lavoie
Calvin Simpkins
Robert W. Finn
Leo R. Plante Jr.
Norman M. Ayotte
Daniel A. Thompson
Ralph N. Biron
Richard J. Marshall
Donald G. Foote
Paul H. Durand
Thomas Olivera
Armand Bibault

On May 31, 1933, there was an article that appeared in Lowell Sun describing the dedication ceremony of this memorial on pages 6 & 7. I have extracted some of that article below. 
Erected to honor the memory of Franco-American war heroes, this monument was dedicated on Tuesday, May 30, 1933 in an open air ceremony at St. Joseph's cemetery in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. The dedication was largely attended and a musical program was provided by an augmented choir under the direction of Telesphore Malo, director of the choir at St. Joseph's parish.
Delegations from the many Franco-American organizations in the area were there, as well as: Guard St. Louis, Sacred Heart Guard, Franco-American veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, United Spanish War Veterans, Boy Scouts of America, the C. M. A. C. and the Jewish War Veterans. There was a mass and the eulogy was delivered by Rev. J. A. Fortier, OMI, a former war chaplain and pastor of Notre Dame de Lourdes church in Lowell . The monument, unveiled by Spanish war hero, Lieut. Georges Charette, U. S. N. retired, was presented to the Franco-American population by Arthur H.R. Groux, president and general chairman of the committee in charge of erecting it. Received and accepted by Rev. Louis G. Bachand OMI, superior of St. Joseph's parish, he gave a brief acceptance speech. Also, a burial plot was presented to the American Legion and accepted by Commander James H. Rooney, followed by a few words by Rev. Willliam F. Mahan, OMI, chaplain of the post.
Among those in attendance were Rep, Edith Nourse, Mayor Charles H. Slowley, Rep. Henry Achin Jr., Col. Charles A. Stevens, Rep. Frank E. Maclean, Postmaster Xavier A. Deslise and the following goldstar mothers: Mrs. Olivier Renaud, Mrs.William H. Cloualre, Mrs. Philomene April, Mrs. Eugene Lajeunesse, and Mrs. Ralph Lashua. The following delegations represented Franco-American societies: CMAC, Alphonse Fortier, Leo Barou, Ferdinand Rousseau; Council J. N. Jacques of  l'Union St. Jean Baptlste d'Aremique, Telesphore Leblanc, Edouard Casaubon, Eugene Gullbault; Council Ste. Therese, Mrs. Eva Michel, Mrs. Florida Nadeau, Miss Adeline Martin; Council Carillon, Olivier 'A. Page; National Benevolence union,; Louis N. Milot, Eugene Longval,; Donat Vadeboncoeur; Court Pawtucketville ACF, Pierre Leblanc, Joseph E. Lambert, Josephat Sawyer; Pawtueketville Social club, Origene Descoteaux, James St. Hilalre, Emilien Leblanc; CCA, George Pednault, Achille St. Pierre, Alfred Beauchesne; Court St. Antoine OFC, Onesime Tremblay, Joseph Magraa, Armand Beauchesne; St. Joseph's alumal, Stanislaus 0. Paquln, Rev. Brother Alphonse, Richard L. Provencher; Court Ste. Marie, ACF, "Joseph A. Plante, Albert Morln, Zotique Sauvageau; Franco-American Educational association, Mrs. Louis P. Vincent, Mrs. Napoleon Lozeau, Mrs. Clarina H. Morier, RN; Franco-American Civic League of Massachusetts, Lowell branch. Joseph A. Legare, Joseph A. Routhior, Albert J. Blazon; Cercle St. Louis, Elzear J. Dionae, Orlando P. Viau, Joseph A. Biron; Club Lafayette, Dr. Raymond Gendreau, Alphonse Coutu, Georges D. Dozois; Ste. Marie's parish, Edouard Gadreau, Edmond Gendreau; Notre Dame de Bon Secours society, Miss Julia Landry, Mrs. Eugenie St. Ives, Mrs. Jeremie Champagne; Court Ste. Eveline ACF, Mrs. Jules G. Deschenes, Miss Rosa Gagnon; SI. Jean Baptiste ACA, Charles Brousseau, Donat and Omer Joyal; United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, local 1610, Philippe Chaput, Damiens Descoteaux. Victor Breton; Franco-American Naturalization association, E. Lajeunesse, Emllien Leblanc, Louis Harnois.
The committees in charge of arrangements follow: General committee, Arthur H. R. Gtroux, president; Maxime Cornellier, secretary; religious program, Maxime Cornellier, chairman; Joseph T. Dusseault, Louis Renaud, Joseph Payotte, Joseph I'Heureux; invitations committee, Dcwey Archambault, chairman; Arthur Monty, Elphege Phaneuf, Onesime Tremblay, Paul Dostaler; committee on speakers, Donat Brunellc, chairman; Zenon Chouinard, Hector Duputs, Barnabe Dusseault, Joseph Robillard; transportation, Heclor J. McDonald, chairman; Alfred S. Gagnon, Donat Dery. Edmond I,. Belley; reception committee, Hon, Arthur I,. Eno, chairman; Albert L. Bourgeois, Paul R. Foisy, Lucien R. Brunelle, Lazare Boule. and Rozider Leclair.


  1. Very nice Michelle, that was a lot of work. I only know of two people buried there, father and son, with surname Villandry (as in your photo, but don't know if they were related). They were former co-workers of mine at Father John's Medicine Co. Theodore and Lucien "Sonny." Did you know them?

  2. Thanks Barbara. I don't know any Villandrys at all and there aren't any in my database. Maybe Ernest is related to the Villandrys you once knew. I am doing a little research on the earliest veterans that are buried here so if I find anything out I will let you know.

  3. Anonymous2:17 PM

    Hi I just came across this site and will be making a trip to Chelmsford to view this Memorial. I am vice president of the Charette-Charest Family Association and in this article saw where in 1933 Lieut Georges Charette unveiled this monument! He is a Medal of Honor winner as well.

  4. Thank you for your comment. I have copies of the original newspaper article, if you would like a copy please let me know. Enjoy your trip!

  5. Hi Michelle. I was so surprised to see your post about the Franco American Monument. My grandfather was Ernest Villandry. He died when my father was only 5 years old. I live in Texas and have never met any of my father's family. I do have the obituary on my grandfather and have always wondered about him. His brother was Theodore. I can give you more info about them. I actually met one of my cousins on Facebook who lives in Lowell about 2 yrs. ago. We have learned much about our family together! The internet is a wonderful tool! Thank you for all your help!

  6. Good morning Luretta,

    You are so very welcome! I'm glad that I could help. If you would like to correspond via email you can reach me at callmeshell at gmail.com or on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RowBEEyar. Take care!