All posts by Mary Sutherland

Turkeys

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The mention of Thanksgiving or Christmas always brings up thoughts and smells of roasting turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes covered with gravy, turnips, bright red cranberry sauce and fizzy cranberry drink with ginger-ale. There are also the family hors d’oeuvres; crackers, often Ritz, with cheese and an olive slice or just an anchovy. This is our traditional holiday dinner and apparently my ancestors also enjoyed turkey.

I am lucky to have a few letters written by my great grandparents, Donald and Alice Sutherland and funnily enough, most of them mentioned turkeys. They might have raised turkeys at one time, on their farm in Bruce County. William Sutherland obtained crown land in Carrick, Ontario in 1855. He and his family cleared the land and began farming but they later realized that farming wasn’t in their blood. Donald and some of his siblings had left for Toronto before William sold the farm in 1876 to his son William. Even this William preferred the big city and by 1879 the farm was sold again and all the Sutherlands were living in Toronto. They  still had ties to the country as many cousins remained farmers in Bruce County. Although they preferred urban life, it seems they would rather have farm fresh produce on their table.

The first note written by Donald on January 6, 1899 said, “We received the butter and turkeys alright. They are very nice. We will forward the amount next week.”

On December 17th 1900, Donald writes a long letter about his trip to Scotland and London and in closing says, “I want to know if you can send us three or four good fat turkies for Christmas. If you can please ship them by express early on Saturday before Christmas and I think we will get them on Monday, address to store 288 Yonge Street. We will give whatever price is going.” One can just picture a crate of gobbling turkeys in the middle of the book store. Mail service must have been very reliable at the time! There was no haggling over the price.

The third letter was written by his wife Alice, December 19, 1901. Christmas was again approaching and and she wanted to know, “well what about turkeys if you have any to sell you might send us three or four, they were fine last year, if you have none to sell let us know as soon as you can.” She continues giving a little news about other family members and closes with“hoping you can let us have some turkey I remain your cousin Alice.” It seemed late to place a turkey order but they probably received them.

There was another letter in Carol’s book and of course it also mentioned turkeys. January 7, 1904, “Dear Cousins, I must apologize for delay in answering. The Turkeys came alright and was very acceptable. Thanks for same. We weighed the two largest ones but the smaller one was missed however as the two weighed 9 lbs each and the other not any more we will reckon 27 lbs @ 12 c = $3.24. You will find enclosed a P.O. Order for $3.25 to cover the three turkeys. If you have any more left and could send us other three we could use them. We never get beat eating Turkey although a little more expensive than ordinary meat yet they are good.”

When I received copies of the letters, I sent them on to my siblings. We all had a good laugh and this prompted, in many subsequent emails the mention of turkeys in every way shape and form. We thought these letters were really funny and have continued telling turkey jokes. It’s only a little thing but they bring the ancestors to life.

Bibliography:

Small, Carol A. The McIntoshes of Inchverry. Denfield, Ont.: Maple Hurst, 2008. Print.

Sutherland, Donald. Letter to Gordon McIntosh. 06 Jan. 1899. MS. 204 Younge Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sutherland, Donald. Letter to McIntosh Cousins. 17 Dec. 1900. MS. 288 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Sutherland, Alice. Letter to McIntosh Cousins. 19 Dec. 1901. MS 167 Seaton Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sutherland, Donald. Letter to McIntosh Cousins. Jan 7, 1904. MS 167 Seaton Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Postcard: The Montreal Standard’s Christmas Greeting card No. 9 printed in Canada

Call Me Ismael

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The Bruneau family in Montreal about 1899

 He arrived when the service was almost over. He walked to the pulpit and announced the last hymn “Seigneur Tu donne Ta Grace.” As the organ played he collapsed to the floor. So ended the life of Ismael Bruneau, my great grandfather.

His life began in 1852 as Ismaer Bruneau in St-Constant Quebec, just south of Montreal. Ismaer was the eleventh of thirteen children and the youngest son of Barnabé Bruneau and Sophie Prudhomme. He attended the French Protestant school in Pointe aux Trembles and one summer went to West Randolph, Vermont to work in the mills. He spent a lot of time thinking about his future. He had written for advice to the principal of the school, Dr. Tanner who encouraged him to return to his studies and take the classes for those considering the ministry.

He was not sure of that path. One day he was out walking in the woods and climbed to the top of a hill. He sat facing Canada and prayed to God about the decisions he must make. As he reported, there was a dark cloud on the horizon and a voice spoke to him as if from the sky, telling him to return home and study, then travel and spread the gospel.

Ismaer continued his studies at Pointe aux Trembles and was then admitted to the Presbyterian College in Montreal, which had begun teaching subjects in French. At this time he changed his name from Ismaer to Ismael which he thought was more biblical and added Prudhomme as a middle name in honour of his mother.

After graduating, he was sent to Saint-Anne’s Kankakee County, Illinois to work with Father Chiniquy. Father Chiniquy was a Catholic priest who had left Quebec in the wake of several scandals. His zeal for God remained intense but not his feelings for the Catholic Church, which he renounced. He made his beliefs known to his congregation and they all chose to follow him and convert to Protestantism.

One family living in Kankakee was the Girods, who had recently immigrated from Switzerland. When their daughter Ida, a teacher in Baltimore came to visit, she was introduced to their minister. Ismael had been very homesick and often wrote letters home. He began writing about the lovely woman he had met. Then in one letter, he wrote to his sister Anais, “ Wouldn’t you like to come out after the harvest and see my wife. It would be worth it for without a doubt she is one of the beauties of the world in my eyes.” Ismael and Ida were married June 12, 1886.

The Bruneaus had three children in Green Bay, Wisconsin, one in Holyoke, Massachusetts, three in Quebec City and the last three in Montreal. Ismael had wanted a biblical family, a child for each of the 12 tribes of Israel but in the end had only 10. Nine of the children survived. He continued moving and preaching, taking a charge in Cornwall, Ontario and finally in 1917 back to Quebec City.

In Quebec, he had a church in the Old City as well as a congregation in Portneuf. He would conduct the morning service, catch the train to Portneuf for an afternoon service and be back in Quebec City in time for the evening service. On January 27, 1918 the train was delayed because of a troop train. Arriving late in Quebec City he ran up the hill from the station. He entered the church before the service ended but while his spirit was still willing his heart was weak. His family suffered financial hardships after his death as there were no pensions and the Presbyterian Church sent his widow one cheque for the days he had worked that month and nothing more.

Bibliography:

Bruneau, Ida. A Short History of the Bruneau – Girod Families. 1993.

Duclos, Rieul P. Histoire Du Protestantisme Français Au Canada Et Aux États-Unis. Montreal, Canada: 1912. Print

Villard, Paul. Up to the Light: The Story of French Protestantism in Canada. Toronto: Issued for the Board of Home Missions of the United Church of Canada by the Committee on Literature, General Publicity and Missionary Education of the United Church of Canada, 1928. Print.

Here is a link to a story about Ismael’s wife Ida Girod.

https://wordpress.com/post/genealogyensemble.com/3674

Barnabé Bruneau, Why a Protestant?

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Barnabe & Sophie Bruneau

Whenever I tell someone my ancestors were French Protestants, I always get the reply, “Oh, Huguenots”, but that is not the story. Francois Bruneau came to Quebec in 1659 from France and he was a Catholic. He married Marie Provost a Filles du Roi in 1669 and they began our French Catholic line. The family remained Catholic until Barnabe Bruneau had a bone to pick with the church and became a Baptist. The reasons why depend on who is telling the story.

Barnabé was the son of Antoine Bruneau and Josephte Robichaud. He and his second wife, Sophie Prudhomme, the daughter of Jeramie Prudhomme and Louise Decarie, lived in Sainte Constant Quebec. There they farmed, raised their children and attended the local Catholic Church. Barnabé owned a number of parcels of land, one of which was just inside the border of Sainte-Catherine in the parish of La Prairie. 

In 1856 when the church was collecting the tithe due them from his land, both parishes wanted their tax. Barnabé refused to pay the Curé of Sainte-Catherine. He tried to stop his tithe obligation, by telling the Curé he was leaving the Catholic Church, but they still sued him. With his lawyer Joseph Doutse, who had the reputation of being a great adversary of the Catholic Church, Barnabé went to court and won. With that, he decided to attend the Baptist church, Eglise Baptiste de Saint Constant. He was the first person in the St Constant region to convert to the evangelical faith.

Barnabé’s parents had already died and were safely buried in the crypt of the St Constant Catholic Church, so they were not upset by his conversion. His brother Médard continued to attend the Catholic Church until one Sunday the priest preached that Protestants were devils with cloven hooves, who worshipped Satan and didn’t belong to the true church. Médard came home from church and demanded to see Barnabé’s feet. When they were not cloven, he denounced the priest as a liar and he too left the church and became a Baptist.

As there are notarial documents about the court case this is probably close to the truth but depending on which cousin you ask you will get other stories. One was that the Bruneau brothers learned that the local priest had been “fooling around” with some wives while the husbands were working in their fields and so they left the Catholic Church and became Baptists.

There was another version for those who didn’t want their family to have been involved in any scandals. The Catholics in the area saw that their tithes did not provide for any schooling while the Protestant church was very interested in educating their children and had begun setting up schools. The Catholics in the area tried to persuade the church to start a school but finally, in frustration, the whole congregation walked out of the Catholic Church and joined the Baptist Church.

They certainly did become Protestants. The family committed themselves to the Protestant church as Barnabé’s son Ismael, my great-grandfather had the calling and became a Presbyterian minister.

Bibliography:

Bruneau, Ida. A Short History of the Bruneau – Girod Families. 1993.

Duclos, R.P. Histoire du Protestantisme Francais au Canada et aux Etas-Unis. Montreal, Canada: 1912.

Prévost, Robert. Mon Tour De Jardin. Sillery, Québec: Septentrion, 2002. Print.

Gagné, Jacques. Baptist Churches of Lower Canada & Québec Compiled and researched by: gagne.jacques@sympatico.ca

Photograph of Barnabe and Sophie Marie Prud’homme Bruneau taken by Ayers Photo-Portraits in Jersey City, New Jersey in the 1870s.

This is the link to a story about Barnabe’s son Ismael https://wordpress.com/post/genealogyensemble.com/1237

 

Every Scrap of Paper

 I have stuff, lots and lots of stuff. I have letters tied with string, photographs in envelopes and albums, documents, census printouts and family trees in binders. I have boxes of stuff and filing cabinets of stuff.

One good genealogical process I hadn’t done for a while was to go back through all the information I had collected. You never know what might come out of it. As you learn more, things that meant nothing, suddenly make sense.

Recently, I looked through some binders searching for information I wanted to reference. I love looking through the stuff and reading old letters again and again. In one binder I found a piece of old paper. It looked like it came from a note book but didn’t fit the handmade one that was there. That note book belonged to my great great grandmother Susan Dodds. She married Alexander Bailey in 1843 just before they came to Canada from Ireland. It was sent to her by her sister Eliza and that is all I know about her siblings and families.

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The paper had a list of names and dates:

“Bob Dodd’s daughter born Oct 24 1884, Uncle Robert gied May 5 86, Mr Peil inducted buc 18 – 84, North West Rebellion was 1884, Ellin’s Bob died Dec 11, 1886 and Mary Dodds died 7, 1887.”

Who were these people and how did they connect to the family? Just looking up these dates on Family Search I found that in 1881, a Robert Dodds born about 1809 in Ireland, his son Robert and a servant Ellen Graham were all living together in Toronto. His wife Agnes had died. Robert Jr.(Bob) and Ellen Graham were married in 1883 and a daughter Gertrude was born Oct 24, 1884, also in Toronto. Gertrude appeared to be their only child. Robert senior died May 5, 1886 and then his son Bob soon followed, dying Dec 14, 1886. Both were buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. There was no further information on Ellen but in the 1901 census Gertrude was living with her Uncle Andrew Miller and his wife Eliza, both Irish. Was aunt Eliza, Bob Dodd’s sister? Gertrude married Samuel J Wilson and she died 18 May 1935.

I also found a Mary Dodds who died Feb 7, 1887 at 40 years of age. Was she also Bob Dodd’s sister? I confirmed all these dates in less than 30 minutes sitting in my recliner. Unfortunately, I still don’t know for sure how these people connect with Susan Dodds, but they must be related as someone, and I think it was Susan recorded these dates.

In with these family dates was the North West Rebellion 1884. This shows interest in what was happening in Canada at that time. This was the year Louis Riel was captured and hanged. I am still not sure of the meaning of Mr Peil or was it Mr Riel and Inducted buc 1884?

I also have a photo album a “Mrs Barber wanted to leave to Mrs Eagle.” Eliza Jane Bailey Eagle was Susan’s daughter. In it are pictures of a Mary Dodds, Robert Dodds and Eliza Dodds. Most of the pictures have names written underneath, probably by my grandmother Minnie Eagle Sutherland, so they are all people known to the family.

Maybe somewhere is another scrap of paper with answers to these questions.

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Bibliography:

“Canada Census, 1871,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M43R-1X4 : accessed 13 March 2015), Robert Dodds, St Partick’s Ward, West Toronto, Ontario, Canada; citing p. 4, line 15; Library and Archives Canada film number C-9970, Public Archives, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 4,396,300.

“Canada Census, 1881,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MVFS-PXP : accessed 13 March 2015), Robert Dodds, St-John’s Ward, Toronto (City), Ontario, Canada; citing p. 152; Library and Archives Canada film number C-13246, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 1,375,882.

“Ontario Marriages, 1869-1927,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FMJC-MZK : accessed 13 March 2015), Robert Dodds and Ellen Graham, 13 Sep 1883; citing registration 015093, Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,869,764.

“Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDG5-BNR : accessed 13 March 2015), Robert Dodds, 05 May 1886; citing Toronto, York, Ontario, yr 1886 cn 22384, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,853,483.

“Ontario Deaths, 1869-1937 and Overseas Deaths, 1939-1947,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JDR3-1XQ : accessed 13 March 2015), Mary Dodds, 07 Feb 1887; citing Toronto, York, Ontario, yr 1887 cn 19737, Archives of Ontario, Toronto; FHL microfilm 1,853,487.