Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Louis Gaspard Alfred Robillard From Sainte-Melanie

Today is not even close to being a "Wordless Wednesday" and I apologize, but I have a story tell..

Louis-Gaspard-Afred Robillard (1866 - 1914)

Brother to my great-grandfather, Joseph-Arthur-Robillard, Louis-Gaspard-Alfred Robillard was born on 15 April, 1866 and baptized the next day at the parish of Ste-Melanie in Joliette co., Quebec. His parents, Jerome Robillard and Sophie Riberdy(2) had 13 children, L-G was born fourth and the first child to survive past infancy. Raised in Ste-Melanie, I can only assume, since his father was an instituteur (teacher) and an agent, that he was highly educated when compared to the standards of the day.

Baptismal record for Louis Gaspard Alfred Robillard
My translation:
On the sixteenth of April, eighteen hundred and sixty six, we the undersigned priest, have baptized Louis Gaspard Alfred Robillard born yesterday of the legitimate marriage of Jerome Robillard, teacher, and Sophie Riberdy, of this parish. Godfather Antoine Alfred Robillard, undersigned; Godmother Marie Henriette Robillard, undersigned. The father has signed.
Jerome Robillard
Antoine Alfred Robillard
Marie Henriette Robillard
G. Jeannotte ptre
In 1881, Gaspard is the oldest child in his parent's household, as all of his half siblings from his father's previous marriage had left the home. He is 14 years old and is in school (+1). In 1883, at the age of 16 years, 11 months and 19 days, he marries Marie-Percide Parent (Isidore, Emilie Etu) at the parish of Ste-Melanie. Present at their marriage is, Jerome Robillard, Louis Gaspard;s father; Isidore Parent, the father of Percide; Marie-Louise Parent, Joseph Parent and Desiri Parent, all of whom are siblings of Percide; Louise Leontie Robillard, a sister of L-G and a Henri Benny, relation unknown. Unfortunately, Louis Gaspard and Percide's life together was cut short as Percide dies of causes unknown in 1888. Having not sired any children yet, L-G, an instituteur in Ste-Elisabeth, is determined to have several offspring so he marries Percide's sister, Elizabeth, seven months later.

In 1890, L-G, still an instituteur like his father before him, becomes a father for the first time. However, his first born, Joseph-Jerome-Isidore-Gaspard does not survive infancy. In 1891, L.-G.'s wife, Elisabeth, gives birth a second time to Joseph-Gaspard-Achille in June of that year. The baby is baptised on the 18th and his godparents are Joseph-Edouard Parent, notaire of St-Jerome and his spouse, Honorine Melancon.  It is also around this time that L-G. probably decides to go into the newspaper business. And in 1892 he becomes the editor and proprietor of Le Courrier Canadien: Commerce, Industry Literature et Education. This publication is a journal of sorts that is published in St-Jerome. I have only been able to find one copy of this journal and the copy that I found is the premiere copy, v.1, n1. However, in a Societe canadienne du microfilm inc. publication entitled Journaux du Quebec, Catalogue 2005 it is noted that Le Courrier Canadien (L.-G. Robillard, editeur), St-Jerome, made it's debut on 3 Nov., 1892 and published it's final copy on 17 Nov., 1892 with v.1, n.3, so there must have been three publications of this journal, Le Courrier Canadien.

By 1895, L-G's wife, Elisabeth, has given birth three times, but only baby has Achille survived, and will turn 4 this year. It is also in 1895 that L-G applies to be an inspector of schools, but his application is denied because there are no vacant positions available at the time. Shortly thereafter, in 1896, he becomes the the director and proprietor of  a publication from Montreal entitled La Nouvelle France. How many copies were published? I don't know. And like the previously mentioned publication, Le Courrier Canadien, I have only found one copy of La Nouvelle France and absolutely nothing else to offer me any further insight. Given the information that I do have in regard to L.-G.'s newspaper publishing enterprise, I can only surmise, at this point, that he went into the newspaper business for something other than money.  As I don't assume that the newspapers generated much income.

In 1897, L-G is finally appointed to be an inspector of schools by the Superintendent of Instruction in the Province of Quebec His first annual report on the Roman Catholic Schools, in his assigned district, is submitted to the Superintendent on 28 July, 1897. I hope to feature that report here on my blog at another time. In September of 1897, L.-G. resigns as an Inspector of Schools.
Around 1901, L-G purchases the Montreal publication entitled Le Pionnier, from an Amedee Denault and at this same time he, L-G, is also the president of L'Union Franco-Canadienne, a fraternal life insurance organization. Exactly when he went into the insurance business is not known to me. However, it is during this time he is accused of skimming money from the organization's reserves and with several lawsuits having been filed against him, it is written that he and his family fled Quebec for the United States. And in 1902, Louis Gaspard and his wife, Elizabeth Parent, are found entering the United States through Detroit, Michigan. With two children in tow, a boy and a girl, they move on to Chicago, Illinois.... To Be Continued.

The image above of Louis-Gaspard Robillard from the Revues d'un autre siècle collection at the Bibliotheque et Archives nationales Quebec (BAnQ) online is used with permission.  BAnQ allows, without special authorization, use of content from its Web portal for educational, private study or research purposes, provided the source of the images and/or texts is clearly indicated.
For information on the other sources used to create this post, please contact me.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Mr & Mrs. Charles Francois Therrien, circa 1894

This week for Wordless Wednesday I present to you, dear reader, a picture that was sent to me from my first cousin, one time removed, Kevin Maille (Emile J, Theresa Normandin). This picture is believed to be of Charles Francois Therrien (J-B, Marie-Celine Letourneau); his wife, Marie Provencal (Isisdore, Philomene Desrosiers) and their daughter Rose. The picture, sent to me in .jpg format, has been edited by yours truly, with a copy of the original having been retained. Written on the original, in red ink, were the words, Grandpa, Grandma and Rose. These words are thought to have been written by my grand uncle, John Maille (Cuthbert, Rose Therrien). Kevin said that this picture, along with some others, were found in my great-grandmother's home (which no longer stands) at 60 Wheeler Rd. in Dracut. My great-grandmother, Rose Maille nee Therrien, was born on 7 Feb., 1894 in Lowell. So, if the information that was written on this picture is correct, I am assuming that this picture was probably taken around that time.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Mrs. Lauretta (Ferron) Reedy, Cimetiere St-Joseph, Chelmsford, Massachusetts

Buried in section C, near her mother, father and grandparents, Lauretta is believed to have been born in Plattsburg, NY in 1911.

Published in the Lowell Sun, 24 Feb., 1976, pg. 23.
Mrs. Reedy
...Notre Dame de Lourdes

Mrs. Loretta (Ferron) Reedy of 33 Cosgrove St., widow of Joseph J. Reedy, died last evening at St. Joseph's Hospital. Born in Plattsburg, N.Y., she was the daughter of the late Alfred and Victoria (Ferron) Simoneau. At the time of her death she had been employed by K's Lounge in Lowell. Mrs. Reedy was a communicant of Notre Dame de Lourdes Church, and was a member of the Marguerite D'Youville Charity League of the Franco-American School, Boys Town, St. Anthony's Guild, St. Jude's League and the Association of Marian Helpers. Her survivors, besides her mother, include a son, Alan J. Reedy of Nashua, N.H.; two step-brothers, Maurice Simoneau of Nashua, N.H., and Roland Simoneau of Lowell; and three grandchildren, Tina M. Reedy, Michelle L. Reeedy , and Allan Reedy, Jr., all of Nashua.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Family of Victor Lefebvre and Marie Louise Leontine Robillard of Lowell, Massachusetts

Marie Louise Leontine Robillard was my great-grand aunt. Born to Jerome Robillard and Sophie Riberdy on 6 Nov., 1868 at Sainte-Melanie, Joliette, co., Quebec. She was the 17th child of 23 born to her father and his two wives.

[Gabriel Drouin, Institut Généalogique Drouin, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Le Fonds Drouin 1621-1967, Quebec vital records, 1868, Ste. Melanie d'Aillebout, Co-Joliette, PQ, pg. 17, B.69 Marie Louise Leontie, Register Photocopy to the Greffe of Joliette]

Leontine married Victor Lefebvre (Joseph, Eugenie Jacob) in Lowell, Massachusetts on 6 Sept. 1887.

I have not been able to find a birth record for Victor to confirm his date of birth or who is parents were.

On the 10th of April in 1891 the family of Victor and Leontine are enumerated in the 1891 Canadian Recensement and are found living in Ste-Melanie, Joliette co., Quebec. Victor is enumerated as being 23 years old, his occupation at this time is that of a boulanger. His wife, Leontine, as I call her, is 22. The couple, at this time time, have two children, a daughter, Rosanna, born in E.U. (Etats-Unis) is 1 year and 4 months old and a son, Achille, born in Quebec is only 4 months old. has an alternate name listed for Victor's wife, Leontine, in this census. The name is Marie Louise Riberdy. Which is wrong. I wish people would thoroughly research before they go adding alternate names.

[1891;Canadian Recensement: Dist.#158, Ste Mélanie, Joliette, Quebec. Roll: T-6398, Family No: 40.]

On 5 June, 1900 I find the family of Victor and Leontine enumerated in the census by an Alexis F. Fecteau, and living back in Lowell at 196 Perkins St. Victor who is the head, is enumerated as being 32 years of age and has a birth date of April of 1868, born in Canada-French, as are both his parents. Married 12 years, he immigrated into the United States in 1884, he's been in the states for 16 years and he is an alien. Renting his home and working as a cotton weaver, he can read and write but he can't speak English. Leontine, who is enumerated as being 32 and born in Nov of 1867 [sic], has given birth 8 times with only 5 children living. Married 12 years, this census also enumerates her as immigrating to the states in 1884. She can read, write and speak English.

Victor and Leontine now, in 1900, have five children.
  1. Rose A./daughter/w/f/Dec./1889/10/s/Mass/Can-Fr/Can/Fr/at school/10/yes/yes/no
  2. Achille/son/w/m/Dec/1890/9/s/Canada Am Cert/Can-Fr/Can-Fr/at school/10/yes/no/no
  3. Amede A./son/w/m/June/1892/s/Canada Am Cert/Can-Fr/Can-Fr/at school/9/yes/no/no
  4. Fabiola/daughter/w/f/Nov/1893/6/s/Mass/Can-Fr/Can-Fr/at school/8/no/no/no
  5. Alexis/son/w/m/Mar/1896/4/s/Mass/Can-Fr/Can/Fr
[1900; Census Place: Lowell Ward 7, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll  T623_661; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 809]

Now, in 1910, I find Leontine as the head, enumerated as living at 21 Hancock Avenue in Lowell, MA. She and her brother, Louis Joseph Zenon Robillard, and his family, reside in the tenement. Leontine, a this time is enumerated as being 41 years of age and widowed. 9 children born with 5 living, she was born in Canada-French as were both her parents. Immigration year is 1894 and she speaks English. Working as a weaver in a cotton mill, she has not been out of work in the past year. She can read and write and she rents her home.

[Year: 1910; Census Place: Lowell Ward 6, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll  T624_600; Page: 44A; Enumeration District: 861; Image: 609]

It's funny, in an odd kind of way, that Leontine has claimed herself as being a widow in the 1910 census. Because her husband, who is clearly estranged at this time, doesn't die until 1911. Sadly, I can only surmise that they, Victor and Leontine, had some rather serious marital problems as Victor commits suicide on the 29th of June in the year 1911. Below is an article from the Lowell Sun published on the front page of the evening edition on that same day. I must note, for you dear reader, that on Victor's certificate of death it documents his birth as being in April 1870 in New York and that his burial was at St-Joseph's cemetery in Chelmsford, MA. However, when I went to go find his final resting place, the cemetery had no record of his burial. His wife, Leontine, according to burial records, was buried 1 Dec., 1911 in section J, lot 514. For a copy of Victor's certificate of death please click here, and for more information in regard to my research on the families of Victor and Leontine please contact me.

Edmond Forget Made Heroic Attempt to Rescue Drowning Man

Brooding over family troubles and in a state of temporary aberration of mind, Victor Lefebvre, aged 46 years, committed suicide this morning by drowning in the Pawtucket canal. Edmond Forget, a young man living at 230 Cheever street made an heroic effort to save the man's life, but although the drowning man was brought to the edge of the canal, he died in Forget's arms before he could be pulled to the surface.

Victor Lefebvre, who was also living apart from his for thre past four years, was employed in a mill at South Boston as weaver. According to his son Achille, he had not been feeling well for the past few weeks, and two weeks ago he came to this city for rest abd stopped with the latter at his room, 152 Ford street. For the past two or three days the boy noticed that his father was acting strangley and he did the best he could to cheer him up and bring him to his senses.

Last night the father refused to retire and did not sleep all night. At 5.30 o'clock this morning he went out and was seen running up and down Ford street several times in an excited manner. His son went after him and took him into the house. A few minutes later he went out again and at 5.45 o'clock Mrs. William Smith of 239 Cheever street saw him jump over the fence of the canal opposite James street, and then into the water. Mrs. Smith screamed and attracted the attentiopn of Mrs. Edmond Forget, a neighbor. The latter awoke her husband and Mr. Forget, jumping out of bed, slid on a pair of tights and running around the building dived into the canal.

In the meantime Lefebvre had gone to the bottom, but shortly after he was seen floating and making efforts to sink. Forget swam across the canal and catching the man around the neck, swam to the canal's edge. There, however, he was handicapped for the wall was some two feet higher, and it was impossible to climb with Lefebvre who was still alive. The rescuer called for help and a few minutes later a young man named Leo Vigeant was on the scene, but his efforts in trying to pull the two to shore were fruitless. Forget was still clinging to the wall with the now lifeless body of the suicide. Undertaker Joseph Albert and patrolman Charles Jennell were notified and with the aid of a rope tied around the body of Lefebvre,
The ambulance was summoned, but it was useless, for the unfortunate man had expired. The body was remoced to the funeral parlors of Undertaker Joseph Albert and later to the home of the deceased's sister, Mrs. Elzear Harvery, 200 Perkins street.

Forget is to be congratulated on his heroic act, and had it not been for the fact that the water was somewhat lower than usual, he could have saved Lefebvre's life. Mrs. Smith, who saw the man jump into the water, said that Forget must have held the prostrate form of Lefebvre for at least seven minutes, clinging to the wall with one hand while waiting for help.

The deceased is survived by a wife, Leotine Robillard Lefebvre, and five children., Victor, a student at Poughkeepsie, N. Y., Rosanna and Achille, Mesdames Ernest Paquin and Alfred Waterhouse; his father, Mr. Joseph Lefebvre of Mechanicsville, N. Y.; five brothers, Auguste of Mechanicsville, N. Y., Theotime of Bangor, Me., Lucien, Emile and Alfred of Lowell; four sisters, Mesdames Joseph Tremblay and Elzear Harvey of this city and the Misses Malvina and Virginie Lefebvre of Lowell.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Death and Burial of Marie Percide Parent, Ste-Melanie, Joliette co., Quebec

Continuing on with the research of Louis Gapspard Robillard and his family, I find that his first wife, Marie Percide Parent, a daughter of  Isidore Parent and Emelie Etu, died at the age of 26 on the 20th of September, 1888 at the parish of Ste-Melanie and was buried in the vaults of the church on the 24th Sept. in that same year.

 [Gabriel Drouin, Institut Généalogique Drouin, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Le Fonds Drouin 1621-1967, Quebec vital records, Sainte-Melanie d'Ailleboust, co. Joliette 1888, P.Q., pg. 16, S. 33, M. Perside Parent, register photocopy to the Greffe of Joliette]

I am trying to learn to read French as I research so I have included how I have read the burial record above:
Le vingt-quatre septembre mil huit quatre vingt huit, nous pretre sous signe avons inhume dans les voutes de l'eglise de cette paroisse, le corps de Marie Perside Parent epouse de Louis Gaspard Robillard, instituteur de Ste-Elisabeth, decedee le vingt du courant, agee de vingt-six ans. Etaient presents Louis Gaspard Robillard epous de la defunte, Joseph Parent ecuyer Notaire frere de la defunte lesquels ont signe ainsi que plusieurs parents et amis. Lecture Faite.
Gaspard Robillard
C. T. Morel, M.D.
unknown Lacasse
R.H. Beaulieu
J. Parent
Clement Fontaine
Joseph Poulet
Joseph Lavoie
A.C. Dugas Ptre.
L.F. Bonin Ptre.
F. Jeannotte Ptre.

And my translation:
The twenty-four September, one thousand eight hundred eighty eight, we the undersigned priest have buried in the vaults of the church of this parish, the body of Marie Percide Parent, wife of Louis Gaspard Robillard teacher of St. Elizabeth, deceased on the twentieth day of the current month, age twenty-six years. Present were Louis Gaspard Robillard husband of the deceased, Joseph Parent squire Notary brother of the deceased which have signed and several relatives and friends. Reading was given.

Like I said, I am trying to learn how to read some French as I research my ancestors, and I enjoy it, but sometimes it proves to be to difficult for me and because I am just learning  I often question my research. For example, in my translation, I am a little skeptical in regard to the actual date of Marie Percide's death. If you look at the copy of her burial record you will read, what looks like to me, "decedee le vingt du courant. Now, to me, this translates to the 20th day of the current month. But I'm not so sure, is that "du" really meant to be a "deux"? Or am I analyzing those these words a little to much? Maybe. So, some times when I am not so sure, I ask for a second opinion, and more often than not, and I hate to admit this, I am wrong. So I think I'm going to ask a few of my gena friends, who can read French much better I,  to take a look at this and see what they have to say.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: A L'Occasion des Noces d'or de M. et Mme J. A. Maille - 1881 - 1931

On the Occasion of the Golden Wedding of Mr. and Mrs J.A. Maille 
1881 - 1931

Earlier, during the summer, I had attempted to feature the 50th Anniversary of my maternal g-g-grandparent's, Joseph Adam Maille & Marie Amamda Prud'homme. Married at the Immaculate Conception rectory in Lowell, Massachusetts on 30 Jan., 1881, I had planned on featuring, in installments on Treasure Chest Thursday, a four page card that they received from their children in honor of that celebration. The card, as you can see below, is written in French and I had originally planned to feature 1 page a week for four weeks. Unfortunately, along the way I realized that my translation skills just were not up to par. Even with help from Google translate, all of the words just did not seem to make sense all the time.

Click images to enlarge
   Fortunately, while I was in the process of translating the card, I was contacted by my cousin Ron Maille via e-mail. Ron is actually my mother's 1st cousin, he is my 1st 1x removed. Anyway, while Ron and I were corresponding I mentioned the card and asked him if he could translate. Ron told me that he had been told that he spoke French before English when he was baby and that his French vocabulary skills were quite good at one time. But not worry, because he had a friend from his years in the Navy that was fluent in French and he would contact this friend for me.

Well, I thought that was just wonderful, and a few weeks later Ron wrote back and told me that his friend, Herman 'Frenchy' Ouellette in Florida, would help me out and that I should contact him. If you follow me on facebook you already know all about this, but for those who don't, I'll tell you. So, I contacted Herman and he was so nice. Willing to translate the card, I sent him 3 pages of the text. He told me to give him a few days and that he would be back in touch.. We corresponded a bit during the process and 5 days later I had the full translation and it's wonderful. It reads like fine poetry and I have to admit, with my poor translation skills, I never would have been able to do it any justice. In his final e-mail to me, Frenchy wrote, "..I enjoyed doing the translating and took great pleasure in reading this fine prose. No one writes like this nor in the Old French anymore."

I  am so grateful to Ron and Frenchy for the help they offered on this lil project of mine. I wouldn't have been able to do it and have it make sense with out their help. Thank-you both.

So with out further ado, I bring you Frenchy's translation:

January 1930

Dear Parents,

January 1931 brings to your children the incomparable happiness of celebrating the Golden Anniversary of your marriage.

The holidays are evocative:  Let us carry our thoughts back to 30 January 1881; the priest blesses a cutting of the ancestral oak, transplanted in the fertile soil of Lowell.

The young stem took root, grew strong, grew tall, and produced ten branches, of which, one, whose sap was so religious only found her corresponding ideal in the hothouse of the monastery.  Four detached themselves in turn from the Mother tree to multiply, for example, the field of the Master; four children, too weak to brave the storms, succumbed to the first Northwind; and to protect the trunk, weakened by so many losses, by the years of hard labor, consecrates to the training of these beloved limbs, by the shock of the years, there remains only one branch, but so strong, so solid, that is resists all the winds of storms, and stands upright, that stem, old woman of fifty years; she preserves the foundation and has affection for her cherished, tender foliage.

So this faithful branch keeps for us this Golden Relic, until the Diamond Wedding.

This is the wish to Heaven for you – Beloved parents.  From your Grateful children.

Beautiful, isn't it?

To read more about the 50th anniversary of Joseph and Marie Maille please see this previous blog post that features an article from the Lowell Sun which was published on 2 Jan., 1931.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Our Robillard Men

Taken in 1978 at a family reunion our family had when I was 9 years old. This is a photo of my paternal uncles, grandfather and my father. Moving left to right, from the oldest brother to the youngest and their father in the middle; Jim, Joe, Frank, Joe, Bob, Richard and Jerry. Does anyone remember where this reunion was held?