All posts by Mary Sutherland

The Mystery of Lavinia Patterson

Who was Lavinia Patterson? I found a cabinet photograph of her in one of the boxes from my mother’s cousin. Written on the back, her name, the date and place. It wasn’t in one of the albums, just in an envelope with other pictures. She was a good looking girl with what I thought was an unusual haircut. She had very long hair hanging free with bangs and a short boy cut around her ears. Cutting or shaving some of one’s hair is a style seen now but in 1886?

The first clue was the photographer’s name and address. Barnett M. Clinedinst Sr and Jr had a studio in Baltimore from 1880 to at least 1891. Clinedinst Sr. began as an artist and turned to photography after the Civil War. He built up a prosperous business in Staunton, Virginia and later settled with his wife Caroline McFee and children in Baltimore. His son followed him into the business and they opened a studio in Washington DC where they photographed Presidents, military men and societie’s elite. Barnett Jr became the official White House photographer for three administrations. They were also innovators and were some of the first to use flash lighting.

Much information about the photographers exists but what about Lavinia? In an 1887 Erie PA directory, Lavinia B. Patterson, a student, lived at the corner of 7th and Sassafras, the same address as a Revered James G. Patterson of Park Church. Two years later Rev Patterson resigned as pastor of the 2nd Presbyterian Church of Erie. There was also a Lavinia and Anne Patterson going to a school in 1881 but so far no proof that either is this Lavinia.

This picture was with other photographs that had belonged to my great grandmother, Ida Girod Bruneau. Ida taught school in Baltimore before she married Ismael Bruneau in 1886. Was Lavinia one of her pupils saying goodbye to Ida, a favourite teacher?

Notes:

The photograph was taken on June 8th 136 years ago.

Dolphis Bruneau – Life in North Adams

Many French Canadians left the farms of Quebec and migrated to the mills of New England in the mid 1800s. Some worked and then returned home while other like Dolphis Bruneau settled in the United States. 

Dolphis was the eldest son of Barnabé Bruneau (1807-1880) and Sophie Marie Prud’homme (1812-1892) my great great grandparents. One would think he would inherit the family farm in Saint Constant, Quebec but he had moved to North Adams, Massachusetts, long before his father’s death.

North Adams, a mill town in Berkshire County, grew at the convergence of two branches of the Hoosic River, which gave the town excellent water power for the developing industries. Dolphis arrived there 1864, at the end of the Civil War. He first lived in a rooming house and worked as an operative, presumably in a mill. At the same time, his younger brothers, Aimé and possibly Napoleon also lived and worked there.

He married Nellie Saunders the daughter of an Irish immigrant Thomas Saunders. She worked in a shoe factory. They started a family with Maude born in 1871 and another daughter Nellie three years later. Tragically, his wife died during that childbirth so Dolphis was left to raise his two daughters alone. He must have had help from Nellie’s family, as he didn’t move back to Quebec like his brother Napoleon and applied for his United States Naturalization Petition in 1895.

Dolphis’ wife Nellie Saunders

Dolphis continued his quiet life in North Adams. He worked as a carpenter possibly not at a mill but for for a cabinet maker. He kept in contact with his family in Quebec. Some pictures of his growing girls were taken in Montreal so they certainly went north to visit. He didn’t move much as his address, a rental property, is listed as 15 N Holden St for most of his life. His daughters continued to live with him. Maud seems to have kept house and Nellie worked as a bookkeeper.

Dolphis remarried eleven years after his wife died to a widow, Ester Mary Halse Tingue. Information about his second wife is scant and rather confusing. Ester received a Civil War pension from her first husband and so had some income. The census and city directories show them living apart although listed as married. He lived with his daughters and she lived with her daughter Emma Tingue. Dolphis died in 1909 and Ester in 1924. In her obituary she is refered to as Mrs. Ester T. Bruneau, living at 108 Quincey Street and survived only by Emma. “Her death will bring deep sorrow to her many acquaintances,” it said. Dolphis and Ester were buried in different cemeteries.

The year after her father’s death, Nellie married Arthur Henwood. They moved in with her sister Maud at 15 N Holdon Street. Nellie and Arthur never had any children. Arthur kept a steady job working for James Hunter Machinery as a machinist. His draft registration cards for both WWI and WWII showed him working at the same company. Nellie continued to work as a bookkeeper and Maude continued to keep house. Both sisters had a close involvement with the First Baptist Church.

Maude never married and after her sister’s death in 1939, she and her brother-in-law continued to live together for the next twenty plus years, still at 15 N Holden Street. Arthur died in 1960 and Maude then moved to the Sweet Brook Nursing Home in Williamstown, Massachusetts where she died two years later. Maude’s death ended the Bruneau line in North Adams although most of the family are buried in Maple Street Cemetery.

Bruneau Family Tombstone North Adams, MA

Notes:

Dolphis Bruneau Massachusetts, U.S., Death Records, 1841-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data:Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts.Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. Accesses March 15, 2022.

Dolphis Bruneau – Massachusetts, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950 [database on-line] NAI Number: 4752894; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: R G 85.  Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. Accessed Mar 12, 2022.

Nellie Bruneau Henwood Obituary.The North Adams Transcript (North Adams, Massachusetts) December 27,1939, Page 3. Accessed on Newspapers.com Mar 27, 2022.

Maude L Bruneau Obituary. North Adams Transcript (North Adams, Massachusetts) March 17, 1962, Page 3. Accessed on Newspapers.com Mar 23, 2022.

Mrs Ester T Bruneau Obituary. North Adams Transcript (North Adams, Massachusetts) Dec 19, 1924, page 14. Accessed on Newspapers.com Mar 30, 2022.

1900 Census: North Adams Ward 3, Berkshire, Massachusetts;Roll:632;Page:7;Enumeration District:0051;FHL microfilm:1240632Ancestry.com.1900 United States Federal Census[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls. Accessed Mar 2, 2022.

Arthur Henwood: Draft Card H. Registration State:Massachusetts; Registration County: Berkshire Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.Imaged from Family History Library microfilm M1509, 4,582 rolls. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Accessed April 5, 2022.

What Did He Do?

“Grande Ligne, July 10, 1898

I promise to my dear Anais never to use alcohol or tobacco

and not to lie to her anymore and to be good to her. 

E Patenaude”

This note found in a box of Bruneau family pictures, along with an invitation to Anais Bruneau and Etienne Patenaude’s wedding made me wonder. At first I thought it was a promise made before they married but then realized the date was ten years later. What had Etienne done?

Anais, the sister of my great grandfather Ismael Bruneau was the youngest of 13 children of my two times great grandparents, Barnabé Bruneau and Sophie Marie Prud’homme. She appeared to be my great grandfather Ismael’s favourite and only three years his junior. He wrote many letters to Anais and some survived but none of her replies. He traveled for his studies and his ministry while she remained close to home in Saint Constant helping their parents. When Ismael was ministering in Kankakee, Illinois, he wrote that he wanted her to meet his beautiful soon-to-be wife. He asked her to come and visit and said that he would find her a tall strong farmer for a husband. As far as I know, Anais never visited and she found her own husband.

Anais married Etienne Hilaire Patenaude on a Thursday at ten and a half in the morning in L’Eglise Ecossaise in Laprarie, Quebec. I thought it was a strange day and time for a wedding but Anais dressed the part of a bride in a fancy white dress and veil with a bouquet of flowers as their wedding photograph shows. She was 33 and Etienne only 27.

They seemed to live a quiet life on a farm south of Montreal. They had no children. Her mother lived with them for a time after their marriage and most likely until her death. Anais was the good daughter and following her brother’s instructions, continued to look after her mother after her father died. Although Anais had seven sisters only she remained near St-Constant.

Nephews Edgar & Gerald Bruneau with Anais & Etienne in Grande Ligne

Etienne died in 1931 and Anais a year later at 77 years old. They are both buried in the cemetery at St Blaise Baptist Church in Grande Ligne showing they led a religious life. This church was associated with the Feller Institute, founded by Henrietta Feller a Swiss missionary who came to convert the native population but had greater success with the French Catholics. Madame Feller and her partner Louis Roussy were responsible for the conversion of Anais’ parents. Etienne’s parents were also Baptists.

What did Etienne do to have him write this promise? They were both French Baptists and involved in the Mission at Grande Ligne where sobriety would be expected. Did he go off and drink, smoke and lie about it? Who saved this paper and how did it come to me? On the back is written, “What Aunt Anais made him sign.” So, according to family lore, it wasn’t his choice to make this declaration.

Notes:

Note by Etienne Patenaude translated by author.

Ancestry.com. 1921 Census of Canada[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2013.
Original data:Library and Archives Canada. Sixth Census of Canada, 1921. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2013. Series RG31. Statistics Canada Fonds.Images are reproduced with the permission of Library and Archives Canada.

Ancestry.com. 1901 Census of Canada[database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
Original data:Library and Archives Canada. Census of Canada, 1901. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2004. http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1901/Pages/about-census.aspxl. Series RG31-C-1. Statistics Canada Fonds. Microfilm reels: T-6428 to T-6556.Images are reproduced with the permission of Library and Archives Canada.

Ancestry.com. 1891 Census of Canada[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
Original data:Library and Archives Canada. Census of Canada, 1891. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2009. http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1891/Pages/about-census.aspx. Series RG31-C-1. Statistics Canada Fonds. Microfilm reels: T-6290 to T-6427.

Ancestry.com. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008. Original data:Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.

Emilien Frechette What a Guy

In Mount Royal cemetery, on the mountain in Montreal, lies the grave of Emilien Frechette. On the tombstone are the names of two of his three wives while in front is a little stone marker reading Marie and Ida. All his wives had a connection to the Bruneau family.

He first became a member of the Bruneau family in his early 30s when he married Marie Emilina Bruneau, daughter of Barnabé Bruneau and Sophie Marie Prud’homme. He must have he enjoyed his wife’s large family, she was one of thirteen children, because after Marie Emilina died he first married one and then a second of her sisters-in-law.

Emilien was born to Emilien Frechette and Philomine Laguë. His father was a Baptist and a farmer on Montreal’s South Shore near Iberville. After his father died, his mother, brother Philippe and three of his sisters moved to Worcester, Massachusetts between 1885 and 1895. Philippe was a carpenter and worked in the building trade while two of his sisters were teachers. I presume that Emilien stayed on the family farm.

With most of his family in the United States, Emilien must have spent time with the large Bruneau clan. In the 1891 census there appeared to be a daughter Alice, 3 who didn’t appear in later censuses. Was she his only child who died young?

After Marie Emilina died in 1922, Emilien must have been lonely on his farm. His brother-in-law, Ismael Bruneau, had died leaving his wife Ida Girod Bruneau a widow. Ida first moved her family from Quebec City to Lachute where she lived with her daughter Helvetia and then spent time visiting family in Switzerland. On her return, Emilien approached her and suggested as they were both alone and he had a large house, maybe they could live together and get married and so they did. My aunt Aline remembers her mother visiting grandmother Ida and coming back with baskets of berries that had to be sorted, cleaned and made into pies.

Emilien and Ida on his farm

Unfortunately, Ida was soon diagnosed with cancer and spent her last days in the Montreal General Hospital. She died in 1927 leaving Emilien a widower once again.

One thinks, Emilien liked the comfort of a wife and since another of his brother-laws was dead there was another sister-in-law to marry. In 1929, Emily Beauchamp Bruneau married Emilein Frechette.

Emily Beauchamp married Napoleon Bruneau in 1910. Neither had been married before. Emily was 41 and Napoleon 66 and so there were no children. Napoleon lived all his life in Laprairie, Quebec and kept himself busy. He was a farmer, a veterinarian, a mayor and a justice of the peace. They were both French Protestants. Unfortunately, in 1916 he was hit by a train while in Montreal and killed.

Emily was Emilien’s last wife and they continued to live on his farm in Iberville until his death in 1946. When Emily died in 1951 she wasn’t buried with her husband and his other wives but in her Beauchamp family’s private cemetery in Grenville, Quebec.

My mother remembered “oncle” Emilien. Her grandmother Ida died when she was just five but Emilien, a “nice old man”, kept in contact with all the family. What a guy!

Barnabe and Sophie Bruneau’s Children

Notes:

https://genealogyensemble.com/?s=Ida+Girod/

https://genealogyensemble.com/2015/11/04/call-me-ismael/

https://genealogyensemble.com/?s=Barnabe/

1881 Census Place: St Grégoire, Iberville, Quebec; Roll: C_13203; Page: 60; Family No:268Source Information Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1881 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009. Accessed November 24, 2021.

1891 Census: Place: St Valentin, St Jean, Quebec, Canada; Roll: T-6420;Family No: 157 Sub-district: St Valentin Source Information Ancestry.com. Accessed Nov 20, 2021.

Institut Généalogique Drouin; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Drouin Collection;Author: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Year: 1929 Ancestry.com. Accessed January 4, 2022.

Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Voters Lists, Federal Elections, 1935-1980Year: 1940 Ancestry.com. Canada, Voters Lists, 1935-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Accessed January 8, 2022.

The House on Main Street

There is a house on Main Street (now Rue Principale), in Lachute, Quebec that my mother said had ties to our family. We would drive by it on most shopping trips to Lachute from our summer cottage. Mom said her Aunt Helvetia and Uncle Eugene Jousse had lived there and for a short time her grandmother Ida Bruneau. I thought it was a different house but old pictures clearly show which was the house. It now looks out on a Canadian Tire gas station and a Tim Horton’s.

Eugene’s father Theophile Jousse, had the house built in 1887, as a copy of his family home outside of Paris destroyed by a fire during the Paris Commune of 1870-71.

The house, built in the French style, right on the street with a small overhead balcony and dormer windows stands out. To the west of the house was a croquet lawn. A small cottage was built behind for his parents.

Theophile Jousse was born in 1855 in Vincennes, a commune in the Val-de-Maren department in the eastern suburbs of Paris. His father the Reverend Jean Felix Jousse, his mother Gorgette Haerrig and the family lived through the Prussian War, only to be caught up in the Paris Commune of 1870-71. Soldiers of the National Guard had seized control of Paris, refusing to accept the authority of the French government and tried to establish an independent state.

Felix and Theophile immigrated to Canada around 1874 with the rest of the family coming soon after. When Theophile first saw Ephyse Piché at L’Oratoire, the French Baptist Church in Montreal he knew right away that she was the woman he would going to marry and they did in 1876.

Theophile, an apprentice watchmaker moved from Montreal to Waterloo, Quebec and opened a jewellery store. When his business failed he moved his family to Lachute as his wife Ephyse was originally from nearby Saint Scholastic. There he opened another jewellery store and his parents moved into the cottage behind. Felix Jousse died in 1890 while his wife Georgette lived in the cottage for almost 20 years.

Theophile and Ephyse had three sons, Paul, Albin who died as a child and Eugene 13 years younger than Paul. Both sons apprenticed as watchmakers and jewellers under their father. Paul moved to Vankleek Hill, Ontario, just west of Lachute and opened his jewellery shop while Eugene inherited the Lachute house and business from his father. This caused some family problems.

When Eugene Jousse married Helvetia Bruneau they moved into the small house behind the store as both Theophile’s parents had died. They lived there until Eugene’s mother Ephyse died and then moved into the big house to look after Theophile. While Helvetia had furnished and redecorated the cottage she wasn’t allowed to move or change anything in the big house. It had to remain as Ephyse had left it.

Helvetia and Eugene had two children, Eugene Theophile and Ephyse Marie. Theophile insisted his granddaughter be called Ephyse after his wife. When Helvetia’s father died in 1918 her mother Ida Bruneau and two younger brothers Herbert and Gerald came to live with them. They had the space as Theophile died in 1916 and they still had the two houses. Herbert finished high school in Lachute and Gerald was still living there in 1921.

In the twenties the jewellery business in Lachute couldn’t support the family so in 1927 they moved to Montreal and Eugene went to work at Birks.

The house is still there. It must have had many owners as the businesses have changed over the years. It has recently been renovated and a tattoo parlour and a clothing shop called Toxic have been replaced by a children’s clothing boutique. The grandmother’s cottage still sits behind but the croquet lawn is long gone.

Notes:

Letter from Ephyse Jousse Hawks to Donald Walcot October 10, 1986. Copy in author’s possession.

The Walcots of Montreal West by Donald T. Walcot. Toronto 1984.

Lachute Chapter IV The Period of Expansion. 1876- 1900.

The house was built in 1887 by a local builder Riddell and Sutherland but designed by Theophile Jousse.

In 1921 the house was number 57 and now it is number 601, 603 and 603A Rue Principale

In 1986 Ephyse Jousse Hawkes said the house housed a delicatessen. She looked through the window and didn’t recognize her old home.

The Jousses:

Jean Felix Jousse: 1825 -1890 He was a Limonadier and an evangelist

Georgette Caroline Eve (Mimi) Haerrig 1827 – 1908

Jean Theophile Jousse: 1855 – 1916

Ephyse Piché Jousse: 1858 – 1914

Eugene Marcelin Jousse: 1890 -1954

Helvatia Bruneau Jousse : 1891 – 1970

Eugene Theophile Jousse: 1913 -1992

Ephyse Marie (Fee) Jousse Hawkes: 1915 – 2008

James Sutherland Music Man

James Sutherland’s death from apoplexy (cerebral hemorrhage) was noted in The Music Trade Review published in New York in 1915. The Sutherlands were not known for their musical abilities so discovering that James had been the well known proprietor of Sutherland’s Old Reliable Music House in Toronto, was a surprise.

Music Trade Review 1915

James was born in Toronto in 1850. He moved with his parents, William Sutherland and Elizabeth Mowat to West Gwilliambury and then to Carrick, Ontario where his father had obtained crown land. He worked on the family farm and attended school until 1867, when he returned to Toronto. He was seventeen and lived by himself in a boarding house.

His brothers William and Donald, soon followed him to Toronto. All the Sutherlands, it seems, preferred being merchants to farmers. He and Donald were first book sellers. There was no mention of a music store until 1884. The store was then situated at 292 Yonge Street and perhaps a complement to Donald and William’s book store, Sutherland’s Dominion Book Store at number 286. In the late 1800s, music stores sold mostly sheet music rather than instruments. They sold some pianos but they were not an everyday purchase. In the early 1900s, gramophones became popular and so stores also sold the wax coated cylinders and vinyl discs.

James married Elizabeth Bridge in 1882. He was 32 and she only 17. She wasn’t a Toronto girl but from back home, born and raised in the Carrick, Ontario area. They had four children; sons James Russell, Alexander Uziel, Neill Clarence and a daughter Verney. James, according to his obituary, was an upstanding citizen and business man as his memberships show. He was a member of Knox Presbyterian Church, the Yonge St Mission and the Order of the Canadian Home Circles.

He died in 1915 at 65 years of age and his wife Elizabeth not long after, in 1921. They were buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery but not in the same plot. They are both lying in adult single graves.

With three sons, I was hoping to find a living relative with the Sutherland name. The eldest son, James Russel married Laura Bansley in 1914. He died of influenza in 1918. They had no children.

Alexander married Florence Petherbridge in 1915. He was an electrician and signed up for military service during WWI. He survived the war but like his brother died of influenza, in 1919. Florence then went back to live with her parents, Charles and Elizabeth Petherbridge taking baby Douglas with her. Twenty years later Douglas visited a friend in the US. His border crossing is the only further mention of him.

Neill Sutherland married Mabel Ashby July 9, 1926. His marriage certificate listed him as a 22 year old chauffeur and she was a 16 year old spinster. John their son, born in September 1926 unfortunately died in July 1927. I have not found any other children.

Daughter Verney born in 1891 leaves even less of a trail. She only appears in two census and her father’s 1915 obituary. Her name is spelled many different ways on the documents. While I would like to find out more about her she would not leave Sutherland named descendants.

I still find the Music Store a strange occupation for James. His brother Donald left a Presbyterian church when they were considering buying an organ as he felt the human voice was all that was needed to praise God. I wonder what he thought about his brother selling gramophones? At least he didn’t sell on Sunday.

Notes:

The Music Trade Review Vol LX No. 15 April 10, New York 1915

Toronto City Directories 1879 – 1915.

Toronto Daily Star: Obituary Mr James Sutherland. Page 11. Friday March 25, 1915.

Ancestry.com. 1871-1921 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2013.

Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familiarization/ark:/61903/1:1:2763-347 : accessed 18 May 2016), James Sutherland, 30 Apr 1915; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot Adult Single Grave 8 4954, line 33082, volume Volume 03, 1908-1919, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,617,217.

Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2763-8FM : accessed 18 May 2016), James Russell Sutherland, 14 Dec 1918; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot Adult Single Grave 8 4954, line 38164, volume Volume 03, 1908-1919, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,617,217.

Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2763-683 : accessed 18 May 2016), Alexander U Sutherland, 19 May 1919; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot Adult Single Grave 8 5404, line 38405, volume Volume 03, 1908-1919, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,617,217.

Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1989,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/2763-JZH : accessed 05 Dec 2014), Elizabeth Sutherland, 23 Feb 1921; citing Toronto, Ontario, Canada, section and lot Adult Single Grave 8 5404, line 41137, volume Volume 04, 1920-1931, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, Toronto; FHL microfilm 001617217.

Single graves aren’t necessarily single, as James and James Russel were buried in the same adult single grave and Alexander and his mother Elizabeth were also buried in another adult single grave.

Douglas Sutherland gave his Aunt Kate Petherbridge as his Canadian contact when he crossed the US border in 1938. Kate had visited her sister Florence Hatler, who I assume had remarried, in Detroit Michigan in 1928.

Born in Biloxi

It is always interesting when my husband shows his American passport as we go through customs. He was born in Biloxi, Mississippi and that always gets comments.

His parents, Arline Raebeck and William Baker were northerners from Belle Harbor, Long Island and Dedham, Massachusetts, so to have their son born in the deep south was unusual but it was wartime and they were both in the US Army.

Arline graduated from Brooklyn Friends School and Centenary College. She decided against a job at the Stock Exchange as typing with a dictaphone jack in her ear wasn’t for her. Wearing her white gloves and hat, as she learned at college, she got a job at the Personnel Finance Company on Long Island, then later at the Head Office of J.P. Penney’s in New York. All the young men around her were joining the military. She was getting restless and none of these jobs, “were the real me,” so one day she went to the recruiting office and signed up. She needed her birth certificate and had to ask her father, for it. William Raebeck thought she wanted to get married but she joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC).

She traveled down to Daytona, Florida by train to attend basic training and Administration School. The Army wasn’t ready for the women. They had no uniforms, no barracks and so slept eight to a room in little nothing hotels. They were right on the ocean but, “it just wasn’t perfect!”

After their training, Arline and over a hundred other WAACs boarded a train to Keesler Field, an Army Flight Corp base in Biloxi, Mississippi. The base already had some women, nurses and civilian secretaries but the Base Commander sent a letter to all officers saying, “these WAACs were not going to ruin our field’s reputation.” He expected these 100 or so women to lead the 40,000 – 60,000 men down the road to ruin. They initially had guards around them everywhere they went. There was to be no fraternization and special permits were required to meet with individual soldiers.

Arline was posted to the Classification office where the recruits received their postings. Here she had her first contact with William Perry Baker. Bill Baker had graduated from Harvard and worked in several jobs including administering aptitude tests before signing up as a conscientious objector. He refused an officer’s commission and was a Master Sargent. It was only a three-person office and Arline had more in common with the office Sargent than with Bill.

All the squadrons had parties to keep up morale. At one event in a small hotel on the gulf, Arline couldn’t reach the refreshments on the table and asked the man in front of her for a piece of celery. It was Bill. Later, while she was dancing with her date he came and tapped him on the shoulder. He offered Arline stalks of celery and had the salt and pepper shakers in his back pocket. That was the beginning but according to Arline, “It was a little more complicated. It didn’t happen as easily as all that!”

While she dated Bill a few times she also visited two soldiers she knew from home, one in Florida and one in Dallas but, “The whole thing was a mess.” After her Dallas visit, Bill came by and while leaning against a tree outside her barracks said to Arline, “Consider yourself engaged!” She wasn’t sure of this proposal and asked one of her friends, “What kind of a husband do you think Sargent Baker would make?” The answer must have been good as two months later they were married. Only Mildred Raebeck, Arline’s mother came down from Belle Harbor for the wedding. She liked Bill the first moment she saw him. Her husband didn’t come. He didn’t like travel or the hot humid weather in Mississippi so Major Harrison in his white dress uniform, gave Arline away.

They only took a weekend for their honeymoon. They drove a few miles west in a borrowed car to Pass Christian and stayed at a closed golf course. Her mother wanted to get home but most seats were reserved for servicemen. She did manage to board a train and then the soldiers were nice to her and made sure she had a room.

Arline, then a corporal, continued to work after their marriage but had to resign when she became pregnant. William Perry Baker Junior was born September 20, 1945, in Biloxi Mississippi. Bill hadn’t yet been discharged although the war had ended.

The one item my husband wished he got when his mother downsized was her celery dish. His father won the little oval glass dish at a penny arcade.

Notes:

Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) began May 15, 1942, as an auxiliary Army unit and on July 1, 1943, became an active unit, Women’s Army Corp (WAC). Everyone had to sign up again. Arline said it was like being asked after six months of camp, do you want to go home or do you want to stay. She took a long time to sign again because she was worried about her parents being home alone and what if something happened.

Arline Baker Wahn interviewed by her son Jonathan W Baker, March 19, 2010, in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Video of Arline Wahn at Thanksgiving dinner by William Baker, November 24, 2011, in Sudbury Massachusetts.

Arline Raebeck Baker Wahn 1921- 2016.
William Perry Baker 1914 – 1963.

Saint-Constant Militia Captain: Antoine Bruneau

One night in 1837, a party of twenty-five to thirty masked men, armed with rifles, axes and sticks invaded the home of Antoine Bruneau, my three times great grandfather. They forced him to renounce his commission as a Militia Captain by threatening to destroy his life and the lives of his wife and family. “That the said party, the same evening compelled the depositor to say that he was a Patriot and to shout hurrah for Papineau three times.” 2

Antoine Bruneau, probably participated in the War of 1812 but definitely served as a Militia Captain during the Rebellions of 1837-38. He did not fight with Les Patriots under the leadership of Louis Joseph Papineau, rather his loyalty was to the governing British.

He was born in La Prairie, Lower Canada, now Quebec, in 1773. The French had earlier been defeated on the Plains of Abraham, so he grew up under British rule. Antoine farmed in St Constant south west of Montreal, married Marie Josephte Robidoux, raised his family of ten children and attended the local Catholic Church. A seemingly simple life.

When war with the United States seemed imminent in 1812, all citizens of Upper and Lower Canada banded together to fight the Americans. Sedentary Militia were organized and men 16-60 were called upon to serve. Most of the Militia Captains were career officers. Others were doctors, lawyers, notaries and seigneurs, all people of “superior backgrounds”. It was a chance to improve ones social standing and gain power. Few farmers became Militia captains so did Antoine at this time? Initially, the best, healthiest and strongest men continued to work on the farms while the unproductive men were sent to the military.

After the war, Louis Joseph Papineau, then the elected speaker of the Assembly of Lower Canada wanted self government. The Governor General of British North America ignored all demands for more local control of the Legislature. Members were elected but Britain had veto power over all legislation. Papineau began organizing protests and rallying the French citizens who became know as Les Patriots. The French farmers suffered through an economic depression during the 1830s so many willingly joined the armed insurrection. These men wanted to free themselves from British rule. The continued protest rallies and calls for armed conflicts from the radical Patriots lost the support of the French moderate wing, most of its anglophone support as well that of the Catholic Church. The Church wanted a return to calm so as to continue their control of the population and preached their position to their congregations. The revolt came to a head in 1837 with the battles of St Denis and St Charles in the Richelieu Valley and later the battle of Ste. Eustache, just north of Montreal.

Antoine didn’t remain silent. He spoke out against the rebellion and gave numerous depositions to the government against his neighbours. These depositions were all signed Antoine Bruneau with his mark and an “X”.

One deposition recorded a time when his son told him that his life was in danger so Antoine loaded his gun and kept watch all night as at least 350 men engaged in the revolt passed by. He knew which of his neighbours were rebels and that they had secret signs he wasn’t party to.

In December of 1837 Antoine reported that after a reading of a proclamation from the Governor-General and the loyalist’s address to the Queen, Etienne Longtin, a member of his militia, responded with the coarsest expressions against the Queen and the British government. Antoine said that Longtin forgot his duties as a Militia officer and attempted to excite the people by the most seditious and revolutionary speeches that one could imagine. “He is a dangerous man in a word a rebel who seeks harm at every opportunity to help the revolutionary party.” 3

Later after another revolt, he reported that Augustin Beauvais, a tanner from La Prairie, was using his utmost influence to effect a rising of his neighbours to overthrow her Majesty Queen Victoria. Antoine believed Augustin Beauvais to be a determined rebel to anything British and the British government. He knew Beauvais left the province the previous winter during the troubles and had only recently returned. Last winter he was a principal leader and disturber in furthering the view of the rebel agitators to annihilate the British population of the province. 5

Antoine wasn’t deterred by attacks on his person or beliefs and continued to serve in the St-Constant militia as did his sons Barnabé and Medard. After his flurry of depositions the depositor said nothing more.

Notes:

All I knew about Antoine Bruneau, my three times great grandfather besides the BMD facts was that he was a Militia Captain. In looking to prove this fact I entered his name in the search function Advitam on the BAnQ (Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales du Quebec) website: https://www.banq.qc.ca/accueil/. After limiting the time frame to his life, up came all the depositions around the time of the Rebellions of Lower Canada.

These documents are difficult to read as they are hand written and mostly in French. Some had been transcribed and typed. The quotes are my translations of these documents.

1.Affidavit d’Antoine Bruneau, capitaine de milice, de Saint-Constant, contre Edouard Lanctot et Joserige, (dit Laplante) de Saint-Constant. 11 Decembre 1837. E17,S37,D79 Fonds Ministere de la Justice – BanQ Quebec.

2. Affidavit d’Antoine Bruneau, capitaine de Milice, Saint-Constant de de Saint-Constant, contre Charles Allard, meunuisier, de Saint-Philippe, maintenant de Montreal. 17 Decembre 1837. E17,S37,D87 Fonds Minirtere de la Justice – BanQ Quebec.

“Que le dit parti aurait le meme soir contraint le deposant de dire qu’il etait Patriote et crier Houra pour Papineau trois fois.”

3. Affidavit d.Antoine Bruneau, capitaine de milice, de Saint-Constant, contre Etienne Longtin, cultivateur de Saint-Constant, un homme dangereux. 6 Fevrier 1838. E17, S37, D78. Fonds Ministere de la Justice – BanQ Quebec.

” Que le dit Etienne Longtin est un homme dangereux en un mot un Rebelle qui ne cherche en tout que l’occasionde nuire et aider le parti revolutionnaire.”

4.Deposition d’Antoine Bruneau père, de Saint-Constant, contre Francois Camire et A. Dugas. 16 Novembre 1838. E17, S37, D1926. Fonds Ministère de la Justice – BanQ Quebec.

5.Deposition d’Antoine Bruneau pere vcontre Augustin Beauvais, de Laprairie. 20 Novembre 1838. E17, S37, D1899. Fonds Ministere de la Justice – BanQ Quebec.

Antoine Bruneau born June 2, 1773, La Prairie, Quebec to Joseph Bruneau and Marie Anne Longtin and died February 1847 in St Constant, Quebec.

He married Marie Josephte Robidoux April 15, 1796 in St Constant, Quebec. She was born Feb 10 1775 in St Phillipe, Laprairie, Quebec to Francois Robidoux and Marie Josephte Bourdeau and died in St Constant, Roussillion, Quebec.

They had 10 children:

Marie Josephte 1796-1880 m. Basile Emond

Marie Louise,1798-1885 m. Basile-Leon Lefebvre

Antoine, 1802-1844 m. Adelaide Dupuis

Julien 1804-1837

Vincent de Paul 1805

Joseph Barnabe 1807-1880 m. Sophie Marie Prud’homme

Medard 1811- m. Louise Dupuis then Seraphine Maigret

Simon 1813

Leon 1815- 1839

Marie Marguerite 1816-1834

The British defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham in 1759.

The Patriots took refuge in the church in Ste. Eustache which was fired on with cannons and cannon ball damage can be seen to this day.

Queen Victoria ascended the throne June 20, 1837.

Fly Me to the Moon: Why I am not an Astronaut

This week Perseverance landed on Mars, the latest rover sent to explore the Red Planet. The excitement of space exploration always stimulates my imagination.

When the first astronauts went up in space I attended elementary school. Televisions on tall carts were wheeled into our classrooms and we watched wide eyed as the rockets took off. The excitement of the count down kept us all on the edge of our seats; three, two, one, blast off!

With only male astronauts, most little girls didn’t even consider going into space, myself included. Still, as men first circled the earth and then the moon, finally landing there in 1969, dreams of space travel were limitless.

In 1983, Canada chose their first astronauts and among the men, a woman, Roberta Bondar. She followed Marc Garneau as the second Canadian in space flying on the Space Shuttle Discovery. In 1992, the Canadian Space agency wanted a new group of astronauts. How did they look for astronauts? They put advertisements in local papers. There in the Career’s section of the Saturday Gazette it said, The Canadian Space Agency Seeks Astronauts.

I had been working as a technician in a cancer research laboratory. My boss’s research grants were not going to be renewed and so I needed another job. A fellow at the camera club who applied on to be an astronaut in the previous search expressed pride at his rejection letter. So I thought, why not.

Surprisingly, I could say yes to all the qualifications to become an astronaut. You had to be a Canadian citizen, have at least a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university in engineering, physical science, biological science, medicine or mathematics. They only wanted at least three years of related professional experience and the candidate needed good communication and presentation skills and would undergo demanding physical and psychological examinations. So I applied, highlighting my background in a scientific lab with expertise working with instruments, biological and immunological assays, designing experiments, trouble shooting and working both independently and in a a team all abilities suitable for a payload specialist.

When I received the ‘we regret to inform you letter’ from the Canadian Space Agency, I expected it. Over 5000 Canadians applied and according to the letter; “ the Agency has had the challenging task of selecting a relatively small number of candidates from among the many diverse and interesting applications received. Your submission was carefully considered, but we are unfortunately unable to offer you employment. However, your application form will be kept on file for a period of six months. Should a suitable position become available within this period we will be pleased to communicate with you again.” I had no further communication.

The Canadians chosen to train as astronauts in 1992 included Chris Hadfield, Michael McKay, Julie Payette and Dave Williams but not me.

I must admit in my heart of hearts I didn’t really want to go into space. It is fun imagining being there but after training for years, the end result of all your work is to climb into a tiny capsule above a bomb to be blasted into space. I will be happy to watch from my armchair as a Canadian astronaut flies to the moon in 2023 on the Artemis II mission.

Sugarplum Tree

As Christmas fast approaches it stirs memories of my childhood holidays. The pungent smell of the balsam fir ready to be decorated, Christmas carols playing in the background, especially Joan Baez, the bright paper and ribbons waiting to wrap presents and the kitchen noises as my mother prepared all the holiday foods, including our favourites, the sweets. My mother baked all year round so we always had dessert but Christmas meant special treats.

November found my mother chopping dried fruits and nuts and mixing them in a big enameled wash pan, also used to bathe babies and soak feet. The fruit cake had to be started early so that after baking it could be wrapped in cheesecloth and regularly doused it in brandy. We liked fruit cake but we liked other things more.

Next came the shortbread cookies. I am not sure how much she enlarged the recipe because we seemed to have a mountain of cookies. While I make a log and cut slices or balls that I roll and flatten with a fork, my mother would roll out the dough and cut Christmas shapes. Stars, bells, candy canes and holly leaves all decorated with red and green cherries and silver balls would appear. Layers of cookies, laid between sheets of wax paper, filled a large canning pot put on the top shelf of the pantry to keep the cookies away from little hands. Luckily, with a step stool and a good reach, cookies could be extracted and enjoyed in ones own little space. Of course, many still remained for Christmas.

Cherry Bonbons made by my brother

We loved the Cherry Bonbons, a candied cherry covered in cookie dough, rolled into a ball and coated with pink icing. Then the Gumdrop Squares, a chewy and spicy cake fill with chopped gumdrops and nuts topped with white icing and more gumdrops filled another tin. Another favourite, Cornflakes Meringue cookies with chocolate chips and a cherry on top quickly disappeared. Lastly, the Christmas pudding, steamed on the stove ready to be served with hard sauce. Never my favourite!

The day before Christmas was the time to make the Sugarplum Tree. I am not sure when my mother started making this treat. She rarely baked with yeast. The recipe had been cut out of a magazine and stuck into her book, spotted with years of flour and greasy fingers. The dough, filled with raisins and citron raised in a warm corner, rolled into a rectangle, spread with sugar and cinnamon, the corners folded in and cuts made on the sides to form branches magically appeared. She iced it, added more gumdrops for decorations including one flattened yellow gumdrop cut to form a star. All done ready for Christmas.

Mom’s Recipe Book

In our house, when we woke up Christmas morning, we didn’t hurry downstairs in our pajamas. We had to brush our teeth, get dressed, make our beds and then sit on the stairs waiting until everyone was ready. My father would go down and light the tree and then we rushed to see if Santa had come. We could play with our Santa Claus present while my mother made breakfast. Along with the Sugarplum bun we had half grapefruits with crushed pineapple, red and green cherries in the center and Santa mugs for our milk. Some people would even eat cereal!

My sisters continued the tradition of making sugarplum trees. My older sister had Christmases at her home after she married so she has made many buns. My younger sister began her own tradition after my mother stopped visiting her and making the bun at Christmas.

I never made the treat until the Christmas after my mother died. I had her recipe book with the original magazine recipe, so in her memory, I made the bun. Not quite like hers, as I used ginger, no gumdrops and a cream cheese icing. Still, the delicious sweetness evoked fond memories and so I will make it again this year. I did and a few pieces are still in the freezer!