All posts by Claire Lindell

Claire Lindell is a retired school teacher with an interest in French-Canadian and Finnish genealogy.

The Future of Asbestos

Asbestos Part 3

In August 2019 my genealogy friend, Marian and I drove to Asbestos, a mining town among the gentle rolling hills of the Eastern Townships. We took the scenic route, admiring the lush farms as we drove along secondary roads, away from the hustle and bustle of the major highway between Montreal and Quebec City. The town is approximately a two-hour drive from the city.

location of the town of asbestos

Our family had moved to Asbestos in 1945. Our house was very close to the Jeffrey Mine, perhaps about 300-400 yards from the largest open pit in North America.

Jeffrey Mine, 1952
Jeffrey Mine 1952 with St. Aime Church #3 visible.

When we arrived in Asbestos on that warm summer day, we began our visit in what was once our very modern St. Aime Parish Church, that still maintains the beautiful Casavant organ where there are occasional organ recitals. The church is now transformed into the town hall, a local library, and a mining museum. The young lady librarian was knowledgeable and helpful with information and some suggestions, one of them being to make certain we visit the lookout.

It was in the museum section that I took a careful look at the huge diorama and noted the many identified expansions of the pit. It was difficult to comprehend all the changes that had taken place over a span of nearly 75 years, from my earliest memories when we first arrived in Asbestos. The large diorama indicated where our home once was. All the childhood visions came to the forefront. This  created a deep feeling of loss, one that permeated most of that day.

We left the library and drove around looking for places and landmarks that might be remotely familiar. There were no traces of childhood haunts. They were long gone! Our house, our neighbour’s homes, the Main Office, the hospital, the school at the end of our street, the movie theatre, the bowling alley, the outdoor skating rink, the hardware store and so many other buildings along the main street have become a part of the history of the town now only to be seen in photographs! They are forever etched in our data banks, along with multitudes of childhood memories.

New areas were built away from the open pit as it grew and expanded.

We ventured over to the lookout and we both gasped at the enormity of what lay before us. Once this giant hole was active with several 200-ton trucks moving in and out along paved roads carrying tons of crushed asbestos rocks containing fibres up to the mill for processing.  There were no more trucks or roadways. Today, the pit is simply referred to as “the hole” by the townspeople, silently, slowly filling with water.

Jeffrey Mine
Jeffrey Mine 2019
Photograph by Claire Lindell

At one point the mine was the largest single source of asbestos fibres in the world. Today the size of the pit is now close to 2 kilometres across and 350 meters in depth. Oh! so much bigger than in 1945.

The company ceased all operations in 2012 and the consequences were devastating for the industry and community. The production of Asbestos was banned throughout North America and Europe, noting that asbestos is a carcinogen causing cancer of the lungs and chest wall.

Over the last few years the town has been working toward attracting and developing new enterprises, creating new business opportunities.  One of the main companies to invest in the town is Alliance Magnesium. They are extracting magnesium from the residues. of 400 million tons of tailings from the mine, accumulated over a period of more than one hundred years.

Magnesium Ingot

Magnesium is a light weight mineral that is used in everything from medical implants to electric cars.  It is 34% lighter than aluminum. It will lighten the weight of automobiles. making them more efficient and better for the environment. At the museum we were able to handle one of the first ingots produced by Alliance Magnesium.

Hemp Insulation

Hemp farming has been introduced to the area with the intention of replacing various insulations made of fibreglass, plastic and foam. Hemp is eco-friendly and non-toxic, among its many other attributes.

Brome Lake Duck has invested $30 million to setup a processing plant raising Peking ducks, to meet the high export demand while creating 150 new jobs.  

A microbrewery, Moulin 7, named after the last working mill, has gained recognition through their award-winning beers. We had a delicious lunch in the pub. The décor has a mining theme and the beers have names such as La 1949. References to the strike and “White Gold”

…and the winner is

Another interesting tourist attraction is the Slackline that spans the width of the pit. There is an annual Slackline Festival attracting people from around the world. Last summer a young lady from British Columbia crossed without incident from one end to the other, the entire 1.66 kilometres in :58 minutes creating a new world record.

This record was broken on July 27, 2019, by Mia Noblet of British Columbia and Lukas Irmler of Germany. Both managed to cross a 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) slackline suspended more than 200 metres (660 ft) above the open-pit Jeffrey Mine in Asbestos, Quebec, during Slackfest, a slackline and highline festival. Noblet completed her crossing in 58 minutes.

Marian and I took one more quick drive around town and were pleasantly surprised at how businesses appear to be thriving. Success seems to be on the horizon.

We drove back to Montreal late in the afternoon, with a sense of satisfaction knowing that  my hometown has survived several setbacks over the years and now appears to be heading for success in new business ventures and perhaps a name change, or a new identity.

It will be interesting to follow the possibilities that lie ahead for Asbestos.






A Time of Prosperity

Asbestos Part 2

by Claire Lindell.

The Asbestos Strike of 1949 was a major historical event, that touched the lives of many. In a recently posted blog on Genealogy Ensemble, ‘A Turning Point in Quebec History, reflects the turning point through the eyes of a nine-year-old living in the town during the strike”. At the end of WWII created a huge boom in construction. There was a great demand for asbestos fibre products. These products were. fire-resistant. Insulation, outside shingles, roofing tiles, floor tiles and a myriad of other products were being used in construction. The company was thriving and continued to do so throughout the next twenty years.

My Dad, Karl Lindell, played a minor role behind the scenes throughout the five months the workers were off the job. When the strike was over and the workers resumed working in the pit, underground and the mill, management realized that changes in their operations were necessary.

The Canadian Johns-Manville Company (CJM)developed a long-term plan to enlarge the open pit. In doing so, they expropriated large portions of the town and expanded in new directions. Underground operations continued. As part of these changes, in January of 1950 Dad took on a major role and was named Mine Manager of Jeffrey Mine, the largest open pit in the Western hemisphere. His responsibilities within the company were to bring stability between the workers, the union and management while producing enough asbestos to meet customer’s orders.

         Hitachi advertisement for a 200 ton truck 

 Enormous tires                                

Some of the major changes within the operations revolved around phasing out the old railway system that had been in use for many decades. The company invested in an efficient roadway within the pit and purchased several humungous 200-ton trucks to haul the crushed rock, the results of the blasting that took place several times each day. The trucks hauled their loads to the new Mill #5 to be processed removing the valuable veins of fibre in the mill where the company installed a huge dust filtration system that monitored the air quality. The fibre was extracted from the rock, bagged, ready for shipment to factories and countries around the world. The trucks were also used to haul away the residue (leftover crushed rock) often referred to as ‘tailings’, to a site outside of town.

ETRC Asbestos fibres

Dad was responsible for the many changes and the daily operations. It was noted in the minutes of a National Employees of the Mining Industry meeting in January of 19501. That at one of his first meetings with the employees after taking on his new position, he assured them that every employee was equal, no matter their position in the company. He noted that there were errors committed by both the company and the union during the strike.

He earned the respect of the workers and the Union. throughout his working days with CJM.

Operations ran smoothly. As time went on, there was a need to develop a specific division relating to the sale of products. The company created the Asbestos Fibre Division and Dad headed that operation. At the time he had an opportunity to move his family to Montreal where the Division had offices. He chose to remain in Asbestos. This permitted him to maintain a good relationship with the workers.

Aerial view of Asbestos circa 1980 Flickr

Dad retired after 25 years (1945-1970) of devotion to CJM and the Asbestos community. He had traveled the world on behalf of the Asbestos industry. His contributions to its growth and development were recognized by the industry and the citizens of Asbestos.

In the latter years of Dad’s time with the company, there were deep concerns about asbestos fibre being a health hazard. By the 1980s the industry declined at a rapid rate. For a time, the Quebec Government was supportive of workers, however, over time there was an outright ban on the production of asbestos fibre. This left may workers without jobs.

How would the town survive? Could the town survive?

Part 3 will highlight some of the ways the community coped with the lost jobs and the numerous strategies that have been used since the 70’s . Did Asbestos become a ghost town? Did it find new ways and means for those who lost their jobs when all operations shut down?


1. SAHRA. Fonds de la Federation de la Metallurgie P5. Cahiers des process-verbeau des reunions de la federation Nationale des Employees de l’Industrie Miniere. Janvier 1950, p.99-100, Asbestos filons d’histoire 1899-1999, Lampron, Rejean, Cantin, Marc, Grimard, Elise, Imprimeries Transcontinental inc., Metrolitho 1999 Jeffrey Mine, Asbestos, Les Sources RCM, Estrie, Québec, Canada The geological map is copied from Horváth et al. (2013) Local Geology: .… A Town Called Asbestos – UBC Press…-a0315506063      asbestos fibres CIM Bulletin, 1955

Click to access 3r.pdf

A Turning Point in Quebec History

This year is the 70th Anniversary of the Asbestos Strike. (1949-2019) It has often been singled out as a turning point in the history of the province of Quebec and has also been referred to as the beginning of the Quiet Revolution.

Asbestos, Quebec is a mining town located in the Eastern Townships midst a beautiful rolling countryside, approximately 120 kilometers from Montreal. It was a company town with an open pit (Jeffrey Mine) where asbestos, a non-flammable fibrous mineral was extracted. They also mined underground and the fibres were extracted and processed in the mill.

For several months before the strike in early 1949 the miners were becoming more and more disgruntled with the working conditions. They sought an increase in wages, better working conditions and an improvement in health care.

Our parish church, St. Aime, was the meeting place for the workers. The parish priest, Father Camillrand was deeply involved in the miners’ plight. The government of Quebec under the firm hand of Premier Maurice Duplessis was aligned with the Canadian John-Manville Company, (CJM) the employer and owner of the entire mining enterprise.

On the eve of Valentine’s Day, 1949 the miners gathered in St. Aime Church in Asbestos. They voted overwhelmingly to go on strike the following day.

I was nine years old during the strike and although It was difficult to comprehend what was happening in our community, I knew that something was awry. I have vivid memories of several events that took place over five months.

Our Girl Guides and Brownies always held their gatherings in the nurse’s residence. At the time of the strike I was a Brownie. Our meetings were put on hold.

1st Asbestos Brownie Pack

At school there was taunting. Some of the students’ parents were on strike while others continued to work. This lent itself to an unpleasant situation for many. Despite the turmoil all around, all in all, life went on as normally as possible for children while the media covered the event in detail. Most townsfolk were sympathetic toward the miners. They were very generous with donations. Many workers did not have money to provide adequately for the families.

The newspapers covered the events daily and, in our home, we received the now defunct Montreal Star and Toronto Daily Star, that always arrived two days later than published. I was eager to read about the strike. At that time, I read articles by Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Gerard Pelletier, both journalists and Jean Marchand, who was a union organizer. They wrote daily columns and kept the public informed. Years later they became members of Parliament and Pierre Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada.

Everyone in the town was affected by the strike, particularly the merchants. Most of the population in the town worked at one of the CJM operations.

CJM was the main employer, however, the Asbestos strike was not localized in the one town. It included many of the small mining companies in the area. The town of Asbestos had the largest group of miners. The open pit was the largest in North America and one of the largest in the world where they produced what was considered a magic mineral and was used in a multitude of ways. The construction boom after WWII created a large demand for asbestos products; roofing shingles, floor tiles, insulation and brake linings in cars.

Negotiators for the union and the company officials attempted to come to an agreement. It was not to be, and the violence began to escalate when the companies hired outside workers.

In May, Premier Duplessis sent in the Provincial Police. They were lodged in the nurses’ residence where their headquarters were also located.

I remember being frightened seeing the black Mariah bus loaded with burly policemen arriving in town and wondered if there would ever be an end to the ongoing troubles. Would they be able to quell the unrest before lives were lost?

The strike continued throughout May and June. The Provincial Police tactics were brutal. Several miners were seriously injured.  It was time to put an end to the strike.

Finally, in early July all parties negotiated a settlement. The strike ended with the employees having gained few of their demands, one being a small increase in hourly wages. Most of the workers went back to work, while others moved on.

They were tumultuous times that left indelible memories.

Sources: Photograph: Jeffrey Mine 1944 By Harry Rowed –, Public Domain,

There will be a follow-up to this article. ”Asbestos 70 Years After the Strike

Google Map showing Asbestos in relation to Montreal,
Trois Rivieres and Sherbrooke.
A 2018 Google Earth Pro aerial view of Jeffrey Mine no longer in operation.

Finding Emerie


Claire Lindell

Several years ago, on a pleasant drive home from Ottawa, the thought of stopping in Rigaud to visit the cemetery seemed like a good idea with the hopes of finding Emerie Chevrier, one of my ancestors.

There were so many Chevriers in the cemetery it seemed impossible that one would find Emerie! Every second or third headstone was a Chevrier. It became apparent that more specific information would be required to find the father of my great-grandmother, Marie Philomene Adele Chevrier, one of Emerie’s twenty-one children.

Nos origins 1
Census 2.

At the age of almost twenty, on the 20th of August 1839, he married young eighteen-year-old, Seraphie Cholet. Together they had fourteen children. One every year! In August of 1852, tragedy stuck and at the age of thirty-one she died, leaving him with a heavy heart, hands full, and a home filled with young children.

Upon Seraphie’s passing, Emerie realized he had a major problem that required immediate attention.  How could he tend to his farm and a home with fourteen children and no mother to care for them? One can surmise that the community came forward with a helping hand and introduced him to a new partner. It did not take very long before he was able to find a young woman willing to tackle the overwhelming task of helping him raise his family. She was one Mary McCarragher, almost twenty years old, of Irish descent. She and Emerie, still a young man of thirty-three, were married in the nearby village of Ste Marthe on January 11. 1853, less than six months after the death of his first wife.

Over the years Mary and Emerie had seven more children and he continued to farm the land. The family moved to Ste Justine de Newton, a small village near the Quebec-Ontario border not far from Rigaud.

After numerous searches to find information about Emerie’s death. 3 I was able to find his “sepulture”, the French church record of his death indicating where he is buried, a small burial ground, a fraction of the size of the Rigaud cemetery. This was the key to finding Emery. The headstone is situated beside the Catholic Church in Ste-Justine-de-Newton.

 Using Google Earth helped to determine the exact location of the cemetery. Armed with the details, with camera battery charged and ready for action, it was time to take a drive to the quaint village sixty kilometres from home.

Arriving in the small community, I parked near the church and walked to the graveyard, opened the gate and began the search. Much to my surprise, the headstone was about six paces to the left, inside the gate!

Although Emerie had passed away in 1889 and his wife Mary in 1884 their headstone was certainly not one that had endured the weather over one hundred years, but rather, it was a beautiful new headstone.4.Indeed, a fine tribute!



2., 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia ( Operations Inc),,, Year: 1851; Census Place: Rigaud, Vaudreuil County, Canada East (Quebec);

3., Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2008),,, Institut Généalogique Drouin; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Author: Gabriel Drouin, comp

4. Photograph of Emery Chevrier’s headstone taken by the author.

Jacques Archambault, Ville-Marie’s First Well Digger

When the well is dry, we shall know the value of water.

Benjamin Franklin

If your last name is Archambault there is a good chance you, too, are a descendant of Jacques Archambault of Charentes Maritimes in southwest France, a 17th century pioneer who emigrated to New France in 1645 and built Montreal’s first well and participated in North America’s first health insurance scheme.

In 1605 Antoine Archambault and Renée Ouvrand gave birth to their son Jacques, my 10th great grandfather.1. On January 24th, 1629 he married Françoise Tourault at Saint Phillbert du Pont-Charault and they had 7 children.2.

He was a laborer and a wine maker by trade. About 1645 at the age of forty, Jacques, Françoise and six of their children left France for New France. One child had died prior to their departure.

At that time, it was extremely unusual for entire families to emigrate, the cost being prohibitive. One might ask what the reasons were behind this exodus? However, around that time in their home country, Cardinal Richelieu had been persecuting Huguenots. Is it possible that Jacques and his family fled to escape these events?

The family was presumably sponsored by Pierre Legardeur de Repentigny, Director of the  Compagnie des Habitant. They set sail, most probably on Legardeur’s ship ‘Le Cardinal’.3 They arrived in Quebec City and stayed there for several years. Unfortunately, Jacques was indebted to the ship owner for the exorbitant amount of 898 livres and 10 sols. At the time 1 livre was equal to 1-pound sterling silver.

 To pay off his debt Archambault became responsible for taking care of Legardeur’s farm where Jacques also lived with his family.  In 1651 Quebec Governor Louis d’Ailleboust granted Archambault a concession of 4 arpents of frontal land “on the great river Saint Laurent in the place called le Cap Rouge”.4. a small settlement to the west of Quebec. Legardeur de Repentigny died on one of his own ships while returning to New France.

Soon thereafter, when his contract tending the farm was nearly over Jacques was contacted by Paul de Chomedy, Sieur de Maisonneuve, Governor of Montreal. There was a growing need for colonists to settle in Montreal. On November 18, 1652 de Maisonneuve gave Jacques 500 livres with a promise from him that he would live in that colony. Archambault also received large strip of land in Ville Marie, in the area that is referred to today as Old Montreal near Place d’Armes.5.

This is when Jacques Archambault enrolled in North America’s first health insurance scheme.

“During the winter of 1655 Jacques and several residents of Ville-Marie made a deal with the master surgeon, Etienne Bouchard, who was hired on March 30 to dress and give medications for all sorts of things, illnesses both natural and accidental, except for the plague. To the signers and their families for the yearly amount of 100 sols or 5 livres. If Archambault was part of the scheme, it is because he had decided that it was very useful for his family living in the territory.”5                                                                                                                                                                                             

It was in October of 1658 that de Maisonneuve agreed that Jacques would dig that historic first well in Montreal. It was to measure five feet in diameter with a guarantee of two feet of water in the bottom and was promised 300 livres and 10 pots of eau de vie (brandy). Having accomplished the first well he was asked to dig another in the garden of the hospital. His former career as a wine-maker was far behind him. He became proficient at dowsing and digging wells and was asked to construct many more.

“Near here at the Place d’Armes of the fort, Jacques Archambault (1604-1688), sole ancestor of the Archambaults of America, in 1658 constructed the first well on the Island of Montréal at de Maisonneuve’s request”.6

The first well of Ville-Marie certified by notary, 8 and dug by Jacques Archambault

Nº 58 Contract for a well

between M. Paul de Chomedey and Jacques Archambault

Dated Octobre 11, 1658

De MaiSonneuve, Bouchard L. close , BaSSet with paraphe Clerk of the court


Success in business came naturally to Jacques, winemaker turned well digger, however, he did experience several setbacks. The first being the death of his oldest son, Denis. He was killed in 1651 as a result of a canon explosion while fighting the Iroquois.9 On December 9, 1663 his wife of over thirty-three years, Françoise died at the age of 64.10

After a lengthy period of mourning, June 6. 1666 in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Canada, New France  Jacques married, his second wife, Marie Denot de Lamartinère, the widow of Mathieu Labat.11. (The brewers). They settled in Verdun. At the age of 74 Jacques was no longer able to work. His children showed deep gratitude toward their father and gave him a yearly allowance of 100 livres for life.

On February 15, 1688, after 84 years of active life, of which more than half was in New France, Jacques Archambault was buried in the Notre-Dame de Montréal Cemetery.

Extracted from the Death Registry of Notre-Dame of Montréal, dated February 15th, 1688.12



 2. Ibid.



 5. Ibid.






11. Ibid.



A plate in the back of the Pointe-à-Callière Museum of Montreal commemorates Jacques Archambault’s digging the first water well, near what is now known as Place-d’Armes, on October 11, 1658, upon request by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve.

Important facts about water:

  • Civilization has historically flourished around rivers and major waterways.
  • Currently, about a billion people around the world routinely drink unhealthy water.

Family Reunions

There are moments in time that never seem to disappear from our memory. It is as if they were yesterday. As a fledgling genealogist surfing the internet on Yahoo late into the evening some years ago, I came upon the Finnish American Heritage Society. A tiny photograph caught my eye and sparked interest. Once I read the caption, I realized I had found a treasure I could never have imagined!   

The first thing I did was enlarge it and print it. As my printer went from side to side, I felt like the photographer waiting for the image to take shape in the developing tray. When I saw the printed copy my curiosity was heightened, as I imagined, and perhaps even then realized that all the folks in the photo were most likely relatives.

I could see my father as a young fourteen-year-old wearing a crisp white shirt and long slender tie standing directly behind his grandfather, Johan. Who were all the other people?

The picture on the computer monitor.

Altonen, Kuivinen, Karhu and Lindell Family Reunion 1919 Ashtabula, Ohio

I immediately sent an email to the webmaster inquiring about the picture. Before I knew it, I had a response from a cousin, Chuck Altonen (in Ohio) and he reassured me that all the people in the photo were my relatives, descendants of Johan and Sanna Karhu, my maternal grandmother Ida Karhu’s parents. He informed me that he was the historian in the family.

Growing up in different countries we had little contact with our American relatives.  

Many years passed. I kept in touch with several relatives in Ohio.  During the summer of 2010 I drove to Ashtabula to take part in the Altonen, Karhu, Kuivinen Lindell Family reunion.

2010 Altonen, Kuivinen, Karhu and Lindell Family Reunion Ashtabula, Ohio

Finally, I met long lost cousins. They showed me around Ashtabula Harbour where grandfather had his shop, the family farm outside town, the famous swing bridge and the lighthouse. I visited the original Bethany Lutheran Church that my relatives attended and where my Dad was confirmed.

The little photograph I first saw on the computer screen has been an inspiration over the years. I have dabbled in our family history and the reunion in Ohio in 2010 was the catalyst behind a Canadian Lindell Family reunion during the summer of 2012. Forty direct descendants of our parents, Karl and Estelle Lindell, my siblings and their extended families from across Canada and the U.S. spent the weekend together at our brother Karl’s home at Cedar Farm in Walter’s Falls, Ontario. Unfortunately about twenty family members residing in Nunavut were unable to attend but were with us in spirit.

One of the rooms in the studio had been transformed into a mini-museum with a huge family tree  showing all the descendants of the Canadian Lindells. The younger generation were interested in the family tree which had photographs. Some of the young people were meeting for the first time and relationships were immediately established. Teen-agers and little ones alike.

The weekend passed ever so quickly. Some of the adults enjoyed a sauna, children splashed in the pool and burnt off energy on the huge trampoline. Many of the youngsters took a trip to the the neighboring farm to visit the family horses.  Others tended the bar  and BBQ, so no one went hungry or thirsty. During the  first evening we sat around a campfire, sang and  reminisced about past exploits.

Saturday evening we gathered in a local community hall and shared in a catered meal. As the family historian I was asked to share several stories about our parents and their ancestors.  We adjourned to the main hall where music was provided by the younger set and everyone got in to the dancing spirit.

Sunday morning between rain showers we managed to get the entire group together for a family photograph when the sun made an appearance. Before long it was time for some of us to begin the long drive home, after having spent a wonderful weekend.

It was a simple family weekend. One to remember.

Lindell Family Reunion 2012 Cedar Farm, Walter’s Fall, Ontario



François Eugene Jodouin



During the war years Canadian citizens were kept informed by newspapers. The Ottawa Citizen had a column CANADIAN CASUALTIES.  In the 10th of June, Monday Edition 1918. It listed under the Title Gassed, Gunner Eugene Jodouin from Sudbury, Ontario.1.

Ottawa Citizen June 19, 1918

Many young Canadian men and women made patriotic decisions to serve their country during the years 1914-1918. Some may have been reluctant, not really knowing what lay ahead, while others perceived it as a great adventure. One thing that was most likely uppermost on their minds, was a deep obligation to serve their country. They went to recruiting offices across the country and signed Attestation papers.

One of those young men was my Uncle Eugene. He was nineteen years old, a month short of his next birthday. He signed his attestation papers on September 15th,1916 in Sudbury, Ontario and took the oath to bear true allegiance to His Majesty King George the Fifth.

Joseph François Eugene Jodouin was the second child, the first son of Louis Joseph Jodouin and Louise Fortin. He was born on the  17th of October 1885 in Sudbury.2 As a young man he began working as a miner. From the mid-1880’s and onward Sudbury was a major hub of activity. Surveyors were busy, and  prospectors had found precious metals, such as copper. However, predominantly nickel ore was most sought after. The village was growing by leaps and bounds with the building of the railroad, the center of activity. Young men with families were settling in the area. Jobs were plentiful. Nevertheless, Eugene enlisted and joined the Canadian Expeditionary Forces.

Uncle Eugene signed his attestation papers and underwent the standard medical exam. It was noted that he was a short man, only 5’2”and his medical report stated that he did not meet the regulations for artillery, nevertheless, it was not a drawback. He served willingly.

He was assigned to the 72nd ‘Queen’s’ C.F.A. Battery C.E.F.

Is that Uncle Eugene on the far left? Maybe.

A large contingent of young soldiers gathered aboard the S.S. Grampian in Halifax on October 24th, 1916 bound for duty in France. After a lengthy journey they arrived in Liverpool, England on November 5th. They were transferred to “Shorncliffe a staging post for troops destined for the Western Front during the First World War”.3. Shorncliffe is located in Kent, England. 

S.S. Grampian

Records received do not indicate where Eugene was stationed in France, in which battles he saw action, although one might surmise the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme. His documents indicated he saw action in both France and Belgium.

On the 10th of March 1918, 1 Brigade C.G.A, Eugene’s unit was granted a short leave. They rejoined the unit in France on the 31st of March ready for continued active duty.”To break the deadlock of trench warfare on the Western Front, both sides tried  new military technology, including poison gasaircraft and tanks.”4 … “The skin of victims of mustard gas blistered, their eyes became very sore and they began to vomit. Mustard gas caused internal and external bleeding, attacked the bronchial tubes, stripping off the mucous membrane. This was extremely painful. Fatally injured victims sometimes took four or five weeks to die of mustard gas exposure” 

Effects of mustard gas

Many soldiers suffered from shell gas and mustard gas. Eugene was no exception. His first experience was on May 29th, 1918. He was sent to Camiers and on the 5th of June, 1918 he was admitted to the 73 Gen. Trouville Hospital and again on June 13th. On the 16th of August 1918 he was hospitalized at Base Dep Étaples the largest British Military base in the world and… “the Étaples base hospital complex hosted as many as 20 hospitals by 1917”,this time the diagnosis was mustard gas. 4. Later that year he was again hospitalized several times for scabies.


On the 25th of January 1919 Eugene was granted a seven day leave in Paris. No doubt, he and his comrades were cheered by the people of Paris. War was over. Armistice had been declared. France was finally liberated.

On April 5th, 1919 Eugene proceeded to England and on the 3rd of May 1919 he embarked on the S.S. Mauretania in Southampton, England. They were heading for Halifax where he and many other young men and women whose lives had been changed forever finally landed on Canadian soil, the 6th of May 1919.

On May 11th, 1919 Joseph François Eugene Jodouin was officially(Discharged from. H.M.S.) No. 2 Depot PART II D.D.136, Toronto,March 23, 1921

Eugene married a young widow, Della Sinnett. In two years he was to lose her. She died of septicemia on the March 5th, 1923 while giving birth to their second child. She was only 25 years of age leaving him with his young son, Frankie. Della is buried in Sudbury in the Jodouin gravesite. At 61 years of age, Frankie was also laid to rest beside his mother and grandparents in Lasalle Cemetery in Sudbury, Ontario.

Eugene and Della’s Wedding Certificate

Uncle Eugene moved to the Kirkland Lake where Voter’s Lists indicate he worked as a shift boss in a mine. In 1940 he remarried. He died in 1969 and is buried in the Kirkland Lake Cemetery.



2.  Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1802-1987

3.  https:/



Staggering statistics “a war which would last 1,566 days, cost 8,528,831 lives and 28,938,073 casualties or missing on both sides.”


You might wish to read Dad’s Favourite Christmas Story about young Frankie’s Christmas caper at

Reunited at Last

In early September of 2018 members of the Lindell and Valiquette families gathered together in Labelle, a village in the Laurentian mountains, north of Montreal. There was a chill in the air as they chatted while waiting for a unique memorial honoring both John Louis Lindell and his wife, Pierrette  Laurence Valiquette, to begin.

picture 1

John Louis Lindell was born in Sudbury, Ontario on July 9th, 1936, the son of Karl Victor Lindell and Estelle Anita Jodouin .[1] His early years were spent in the Sudbury area. In 1945 the family moved to Asbestos, a mining town in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. His dream was to become a professional golfer and it was in this town that he learned to excel at golf, winning the Club Championship at a young age. His father had other plans and insisted on a good education for his son.

It was the 1950’s and a career as a golf pro didn’t seem promising.

John was an older brother. There was an age difference and we didn’t see eye to eye on many things, except golf. We were not close; however, we did enjoy family golf games during a weekend when Dad was home. John was always focused on his golf.

John excelled in high school and won a four-year scholarship to McGill where he attained a degree in Commerce. He became a Chartered Accountant.

It was at university where he met Pierrette. [2]. She was the daughter of Philippe Valiquette and Laurette Bruneau. They married in Montreal at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chapel in Notre-Dame Church in Old Montreal on January 30, 1960.

Over the years, John worked as an auditor for well-known companies. One of those companies was in the Toronto area where he became a member of the prestigious Toronto Board of Trade Golf Club. One year he won their Club Championship.
He blended work and golf masterfully throughout his life. Pierrette, his wife, soon learned the game and they enjoyed playing together in mixed golf events.

John’s last position was with Brown Shoe Company in Perth, Ontario, a quaint Heritage town. He had been given a specific mandate to verify their accounting procedures. He earned respect while accomplishing the task. He enjoyed living in a small community where it took only a few minutes to travel back and forth to work, giving him leisure time to drop by the golf course after work. There, too, he won the Links O’ Tay Club Championship numerous times over fifteen years.

Maybe his dream of being a professional golfer hadn’t been so far-fetched.

At the age of 62, John fell on the stairs in his home, causing much trauma. He was airlifted to the Ottawa Civic Hospital where within the week he died and was cremated. A Mass celebrating his life was held a St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Perth. Pierrette chose to keep John’s ashes in their home. There was no funeral or wake, no closure for his family. It has taken almost twenty years for us to understand why.

John’s wife, Pierrette died in February of this year. Prior to her death she outlined her wishes to Peter, her son, hoping that he would fulfill them. He was true to his word.

intern 1
John and Pierrete’s children. Peter, Anne-Marie and Mark

The ceremony began as Peter strummed the guitar while we were singing, walking toward the grave. In front of the site were two bouquets of flowers, the urns and a small opening where the urns would be placed. Their daughter Anne- Marie guided us through the ceremony.

Anne-Marie and Peter began placing the urns in the plot. John and Pierrette, as in life, were now to be side by side, sharing their everlasting love, forever.

They had been together for almost forty years in marriage, separated by death for close to twenty years and on that peaceful September day in 2018 they were being reunited for all eternity. It is a moment in time that will be remembered by those of us who had the privilege of knowing them throughout their lives and were able to share in this family tribute.

John Louis LIndell    Pierrette Valiquettes

John Louis Lindell                                  Pierrette Laurence Valiquette
1936 – 1999                                                       1932-2018

Picture 3
Au revoir John and Pierrette


There is a personal tribute to Pierrette on our Genealogy Ensemble blog entitled “A life Well-Lived”

1. Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1802-1967 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2007. Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.
2. 1997-2018 Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records ( Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 for Marie Laurence Pierrette Valiquette

Stanley Anthony Savaryn, Staff Sergeant USAF

In the fall of 1945 World War II had drawn to a close. The troops were coming home, rationing was over. It was hoped that the war  was behind us. Nations from around the world gathered together to form the United Nations, their goal, to establish peace in the world, yet there was still unrest on the horizon. Before long, there was another war. This time it was in the Korean Peninsula, which even today, 70 years later has not been resolved. Treaties have not been signed by the North Koreans, the South Koreans and the United States of America, although discussions are still ongoing.

Stanley Anthony Savaryn

Stanley Anthony Savaryn was born on the 16th of August 1931 in South Bound Brook, New Jersey, the son of Stanley Savaryn Sr., a cabinet maker and Rose Luta. Shortly after completing High School, Mige, as he was known by his friends and family joined the United States Air Force. He became a mechanic and served his country for four years. (1950-1954). During this time he was an in-flight refueling operator.

The Americans had a base in Kevlafik, Iceland and most of the refueling of aircrafts was done over Greenland during the Korean War.

planes                                                   In Flight Refueling Operator

“In Flight Refueling Operator – Operates air refueling systems aboard aircraft tanker to refuel airborne aircraft: Confers with receiver aircraft pilot to direct aircraft into air refueling position, using radio. Presses buttons and switches on control panel to extend in-flight boom and connect tanker and receiver aircraft. Presses button to start refueling process. Monitors control panel light to detect equipment malfunctions. Contacts receiver aircraft pilot, using radio to inform pilot of progress being made during refueling, to advise pilot of action necessary to maintain safe refueling position, and inform pilot of steps to be taken during equipment malfunction or emergencies. Calculates in-flight weight and balance status of aircraft and notifies tanker pilot of necessary flight correction..”

 After his tour of duty in the Air Force, Mige returned home and worked as a mechanic. In the summer of 1957 he married my sister, Ruth and they settled in Martinsville, New Jersey and had two sons, Peter and Joey. Mige was a handy man. In his spare time he could be found in his workshop or in fine weather tending to his huge vegetable garden. One of Ruth’s loves was their in-ground pool. Mige kept it pristine.

Mige began working as a purchasing agent for a chemical company and although it was a long daily commute, it still gave him more time to work on projects. He always had a project on the go and if he didn’t, you can be sure Ruth would find one.

Years went by and Mige never talked about his time in the service and it was only in his later years that he would often think about his buddies who didn’t come home. He informed his sons that he wished to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery outside of Washington, DC. and that my sister, Ruth was to be buried with him.
arl cem

Arlington National Cemetery Photograph by Paul Lindell

Mige passed away in November of 2008 and Ruth followed him in February 2010. It took quite some time to plan the burial ceremony. November 1, 2012, a bright sunny autumn day, we gathered in Arlington National Cemetery to witness an emotional ceremony. There was a twenty-one gun salute, the playing of taps in the distance and the traditional folding and presentation of the flag to the oldest family member of the immediate family. In this case it was my nephew Peter, their oldest son. We then made our way to the columbarium section and placed several items within. I asked nephew Joe to place a Canadian dime with the ‘Bluenose’ in the columbarium for the couple to sail away to Paradise and in honour of Mige’s service, a Canadian Quarter with the bright red poppy in the centre was also placed beside the dime.


Photograph by Claire Lindell

Our day was not over. We made our way to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Changing of the Guard. There, while witnessing the changing of the guard we experienced tearful moments watching, with many others, as the soldiers honoured their fallen comrades. It was a very moving tribute that is repeated continuously day in day, day out.


Tomb of the Unknown Soldier  –  Changing of the Guard

Photograph by Claire Lindell


Tea Leaves

Who knew that simple tiny tea leaves could create such joy and laughter?

Almost seventy years ago, my mother drove us to Sudbury, Ontario for a family visit and it was during an afternoon tea at our Aunt Alice’s home that one of the most memorable moments of that trip occurred. There were many wonderful moments, however, this one has stood the test of time.



Granny Jodouin and Aunt Alice 1893

Aunt Alice was the first-born child to Louis Joseph and Louisa Jodouin. They had nine healthy children, six girls and three boys.

Mary Louise Alice was born on the 10th of October 1893, a nineteenth century baby.1. Not for long, though. She was a woman ahead of her time and would more than likely be comfortable in today’s world.

As a child she was taught by her mother and learned to play the piano. A talent which served her in good stead later in life, one she came to rely on when tragedy struck.

When her father, Louis purchased one of the first cars in Sudbury, but was unable to drive, due to a soccer accident,  this pert young woman began driving his car. She became his personal chauffeur. All the “Jodouin girls” learned to drive a car when they were young. Mom was fourteen and didn’t think twice about driving the family to Temiskaming to visit relatives.

William France Percival , a clerk dispatcher working for the railroad, originally from Antigua,  British West Indies became very fond of Alice and asked for her hand in marriage. They were married July 3rd, 1917 in Ste Anne’s Church in Sudbury.2. Together they had five daughters and lost a son at birth.

Uncle Bill passed away at a very young age. I have yet to find any documents, however, according to my brother, Karl who knew him, he believed it was in the early 1940s. Aunt Alice, now a single parent had the responsibility of providing for her five daughters and she relied on what she knew best. She became an organist at a local parish and continued to do so for many years.

Aunt Alice border


Freddie, Billy, Natalie, Aunt Alice, Mary and Madelyn

During the summer of 1948 while on our trip to Sudbury we spent an afternoon at Alice’s home. Granny, Mom, Aunt Alice, Aunt Ted (Adele) and Aunt Dickie (Louise) and I were outside on a warm sunny afternoon in July. Aunt Alice served tea and cookies while the ladies chatted. Before long the tea cups were empty and then the fun began. Each one in turn began reading their tea leaves. (tea leaves were not in little satchels back in the 40’s) Each one was trying to outdo the other. If the leaves looked anything like the Eiffel Tower, then there was a trip to Paris in the offing for the owner of that teacup. If the leaves looked remotely like a dollar sign, that person was going to inherit money. This went on for quite some time. They all had their turn. As a child it was marvellous to witness these sisters with their mother, regaling each other with their creativity and vivid imaginations. All in good fun!




  1. Ancestry Sources, Archives of Ontario: series: MS929; Reel: 114. Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967
  2. and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada) Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1825-1936 {database on-line}. Provo, UT. USA: Operations, Inc, 2010
  3.   of-reading tea leaves.