Category Archives: Quebec

Living in Westmount

One Sunday after the service at St. Andrew’s United Church, Westmount, a friend of my mother’s commented on an article in the Westmount Examiner. My mother said she didn’t read that paper as she’d never lived in Westmount. “Yes you did dear,” my father replied, “but you didn’t like it!”

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My parents, Donald William Sutherland and Dorothy Isabel Raguin were married on June 25, 1948. The recent war and the return of the soldiers made finding apartments very difficult. That summer they lived in Dorothy’s family home on Woodbury Ave in Outremont. Her parents, Beatrice and René Raguin were spending the summer at their cottage in Dunany, north of Montreal. Come fall and the return of the Raguins, there was no room for them there so they moved in with Donald’s mother, Minnie Eagle Sutherland and his sister, Dorothy on Arlington Avenue in Westmount.

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My mother found it difficult being a new bride and living with her mother-in-law. She didn’t have much to do. Two women came in to do the housework. Mrs Mikalachki did the heavy work and Mrs Boutilier the light cleaning and ironing. When Mom tried to do things for her husband she came up against Minnie Sutherland, a proud, willful woman who wanted all things done her way. Dorothy had been a Wren during the war and worked as a sick berth attendant in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  On leaving the navy, she renewed her teaching certificate and taught at Iona School in Montreal up until the day of her marriage. Sitting around listening to her mother-in-law tell her how things should be done wasn’t making her happy. She certainly didn’t want to start a family living there.

Luckily, one of her husband’s friends had an apartment on Maplewood (now Edouard Montpetit). He and his wife had bought a house and offered to have the apartment lease transferred to Dorothy and Don. My mother was thrilled with her own place but my father hated paying rent. My sister, Elizabeth Anne was born there and it was up to my mother to push the baby carriage to the post office to pay the monthly rent.

In the early fifties, the construction of new houses increased so my parents looked for a home to buy. What had been farmland and apple orchards in western Notre Dame de Grace were now streets with semi-detached brick houses. The show house on Cumberland Avenue, little longer and wider than others on the street was the one my father wanted. It had three bedrooms, a large basement and a good-sized backyard. The house was purchased on February 21, 1951, my sister’s first birthday. It was bought for $19,000 with a small mortgage. My father hated the mortgage payments and paid it off as quickly as he could.

One child soon became four with the births of Mary Ellen, Donald John and Dorothy Jean. The house became too small. My parents considered moving, although they liked the area. They looked at houses in the West Island of Montreal, but none were just what they wanted. So, in 1960 they had an addition built onto their house. A bedroom, bathroom and den were built over the garage and the kitchen was enlarged, including a laundry room.

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In the mid-sixties, it became apparent that both grandmothers would soon need help. My parents considered buying a bigger house with a grannie suite, so both grandmothers could live with the family. This time they did look at houses in Westmount. My maternal grandmother lived with us for a short while but in the end, we didn’t need to move as both grandmothers died in 1967.

My mother continued to live in the house after my father died. She went into a residence in NDG in 2011 where she died in 2017 and never moved back to Westmount.

 

Notes:

This Sunday was mother’s Day  and May 11, 2020, would have been my mother’s 98th birthday so I posted this story as a remembrance of her.

My mother’s story of serving as a Wren https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/genealogyensemble.com/4470

Personal recollections by Dorothy and Donald Sutherland told to the author.

One house in Pointe-Claire had a large closet with sliding doors in the upstairs hall where two little girls put their dolls during the visit and forgot them. The agent returned to look for them but they were gone and never seen again.

The Antoine Pilon Home

In the mid 1600’s New France welcomed many of my ancestors from France. Among them, Genevieve Gamache a ‘marriageable young woman’, contracted to marry. She is, a sixth great grandmother, who was privately sponsored. She settled in the Quebec City area.

At the request of Louis XIV who offered incentives for people to settle in a new country  Anne Thomas, also a sixth great grandmother, in 1665 along with 90 other ‘filles du roi’ (young women) boarded the ‘St. Jean Baptiste’ and sailed from Dieppe to Montreal.1.

At about the same time, in the town of Bayeux, Normandy, France, where the famous tapestry depicts the Norman Conquest of 1066, there was a young man seeking adventure. Antoine was born on the Feast of St. John the Baptist in 1664 (June 24th).2. His father Thomas Pilon, a butcher and his wife Madeleine Hugues dit  Rouault had 5 children.

At the age of twenty-four Antoine left his homeland to cross the Atlantic seeking a new life in what was then a fledgling country where he became a farmer and later a landowner.

hommage

 

Capture.JPG Pilon lease on a farm 1693

30 oct   no.2656   Notarial Record – Lease on a farm 3.

Shortly after his arrival in Ville Marie Antoine, my 7th greatgrandfather chose his bride to be, Anne Brunet. Michel Mathieu Brunet dit L’Etang and Marie Madeleine Blanchard brought Anne into the world on January 1, 1672.4. Michel was a farmer and a prosperous fur trader. At the time of Anne’s birth, the family was living near Trois Rivieres. The family moved to Lachine at a later date.

Antoine and Anne were married in Notre Dame parish church in Montreal on January 29, 1689. Their first child, Jeanne was born in Montreal, December 9th of that same year. Over a period of 24 years the couple had 14 children.6. The first 3 children were born in Montreal, two, in Laprairie and the others in Lachine and Pointe-Claire. In those days not all children survived, and they lost three infants. However, several of their children lived well into their 80`s.

Capture.JPG Marriage Church Record Notre Dame

Church record of the marriage of Antoine and Anne 5.

Translation:

On the 20 of January 1689  a solemn marriage between Antoine Pilon, son of Thomas Pilon and Madeleine Hugues, the father and mother on one hand and Marieanne (Anne) Brunet daughter of Michel Mathieu Brunet and Marie Blanchard, the father and mother on the other. Mathieu Brunet was a witness.

Capture.JPG Notarial act marriage Antoine Pilon and Marieanne BRUNET copy

1689   2 janvier    21551    Notarial record of marriage 5.

Antoine was not as fortunate as his children. He died at the age of 50 on February 24th, 1715.7. He is buried in St. Joachim Ancient Cemetery beside the church in the village of Pointe-Claire not far from the home he built.

Antoine Burial

Church Record of Antoine Pilon’s burial

During those early years Ville Marie, as Montreal was called at that time, experienced numerous Indian raids. One of them being the devastating Lachine Massacre in August 1689. Many lives were lost. During the next few years efforts were made to find a peaceful resolution.

The Great Peace of Montreal (FrenchLa Grande paix de Montréal) was a peace treaty between New France and 39 First Nations of North America. It was signed on August 4, 1701, by Louis-Hector de Callière, governor of New France, ….and provided 16 years of peaceful relations and trade before war started again.”.8.

After the signing of the peace treaty, the Sulpicians, administrators, and seigneurs of the land began conceding properties. Several of my ancestors were among those who benefited from this opportunity. They chose to move westward to what we now refer to as the West Island. The first, Sebastien Cholet dit Laviolette,  my 6th great-grandfather, a weaver started the trend along with his wife Anne Thomas, the ‘fille du roi’. He and his family settled in the community of present day Dorval. Their home lay  on the eastern tip of Valois Bay in a small cove that bears his name, overlooking Lake St. Louis.

Antoine Pilon my 7th great-grandfather also chose to settle west of Ville Marie, following in Sebastien’s footsteps, He also purchased land in Pointe-Claire with frontage on the shores of Lake St. Louis. 9.

map of Cholet cove copy

All the land transactions, from the original owner Pierre Sauvé to Antoine Pilon are all documented to the current date.10.

The Antoine Pilon House lies on lot 88 of the present survey, forming a part of lot number 154 in the original land registry of the Island of Montreal. Lot 154-D was conceded by the Sulpicians to Pierre Sauvé dit Laplante on November 24th,1698. Then, the size of the property was 3 acres of frontage and 60 acres deep, on the shore of Lac Saint-Louis.

Pierre Sauvé and his wife Marie-Michel sold this land to Jean du Tartre dit Desrosiers on October 27th, 1700. Two transactions took place on the same day, September 19,1706. DuTartre gave a concession to Madeleine LeMoyne, already in possession of the adjoining lot. She immediately sold lot 154-D to Antoine Pilon, having already purchased from her the adjoining lot 155-D.

Anne Brunet, Antoine’s widow, inherited the lot after Antoine`s death and she gave the land to her son Mathieu on January 22nd, 1729. The deed (acte de donation) indicates land of 5 acres of frontage to 20 acres deep, consisting of lots 154-D and 155-D. In this deed we learned that the lot contained a house, and a small barn, possibly built during the summer of 1707.

The house Antoine built remained in the Pilon family, passed on from his wife, Anne to their son Mathieu and then from father to son for 120 years.11. Remarkably it is still standing today. One can see the home when driving along 258 Lakeshore Road-Bord-du-lac near the entrance to Pointe-Claire village.

maison_antoine_pilon

Antoine Pilon House

      Footnotes:

  1. http://www.migrations.fr/ACTESFILLESDUROY/actesfillesduroy_index.htm
  2. http://www.piloninternational.ca/international/genealogies/bayeuxplus.htm
  3. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec; Montréal, Quebec, Canada; Collection: Fonds Cour Supérieure. District judiciaire de Montréal. Cote CN601. Greffes de notaires, 1648-1967.; District: Montréal; Title: Saint Martin, Antoine Adhemar dit (1668-1699)com. Quebec, Canada, Notarial Records, 1637-1935 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. Repertoire de notaires (Notarial catalogs), Montreal. Maugue, Claude (1677-1696)
  4. http://www.francogene.com/genealogie-quebec-genealogy/000/000796.php
  5. Ancestry.com. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621- 1968[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008.Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968
  6. http://www.francogene.com/genealogie-quebec-genealogy/005/005837.php7
  7. .Ancestry.com. Quebec, Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families (Tanguay Collection), 1608-1890[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data: Tanguay, Cyprien. Dictionnaire généalogique des familles canadiennes depuis la fondation de la colonie jusqu’à nos jours. Québec, Canada: Eusèbe Senécal, 1871-1890. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Canada
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_treaty
  9. http://www.genealogie.org/famille/cholette/eindex.html
  10. https://www.wikitree.com/photo/jpg/Pilon-239
  11. https://grandquebec.com/montreal-touristique/maison-antoine-pilon/

 

BAnQ Advitam

The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (Library & National Archives of Québec, or BAnQ,) recently introduced a powerful new online search engine.  Known as Advitam, it replaces the previous search engine, Pistard. It points to documents, files, photos and other holdings in the BAnQ’s archives, some digitized, others only available in the BAnQ’s 10 branches across Quebec.

You can access this online search tool at https://advitam.banq.qc.ca/

Advitam (ad vitam means to life in Latin) offers online researchers two search options: Reherche simple (Regular online searches) and Recherche avancée (Advanced online searches.) Unless you are familiar with the French language and the way archives are organized, the regular search is probably easier to use.

Type in the name of the person, place or topic you are searching for. The results will come up in two parts: on the right are the photos, maps, documents, collections, etc. stored at the BAnQ, while on the left is a list to help you filter your results. The filter choices are written in French, but they are not difficult to figure out. If you have difficulty, try using an online translation tool such as Google Translate or DeepL.

You can also use the bar at the top left to focus on the time period you are interested in. New France existed 1604-1759, the British period was 1760-1790, and Quebec was known as Lower Canada 1791-1841.

You can also filter your searches to look for Quebec civil registers, judicial registers or notarial records. You can search for the names of cities, towns, townships, seigneuries, villages, counties and even modern-day MRCs (regional municipal regions or districts.) You can look for events (baptisms, marriages, deaths, divorces, legal proceedings, judicial inquiries and judgments, etc.) and find out about institutions such as religious orders, military regiments, government appointees, etc.

Here’s an example of how this search tool can help you find the record of an ancestor who lived in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, and who was baptized in the Catholic church there. An online search on Advitam for Pointe-Claire, (a suburban municipality on the Island of Montreal) brings 823 results addressing the city or village of Pointe-Claire from about 1713 to 2002.

The fourth result from the top refers to the Catholic Parish of Saint-Joachim-de-la-Pointe-Claire – Content 1713-1918 – CE601-S37 – Fonds Cour supérieure. District judiciaire de Montréal – État civil. BAnQ Vieux-Montréal Id 477622. This dossier addresses Parish Registers of this Catholic parish from 1713 to 1918, kept on five microfilms at BAnQ – Vieux-Montréal.

These church registers can also be found online through BAnQ Numérique – Registres de l’état civil, or on Ancestry.com, on FamilySearch.org and on Généalogie Québec, however these sources may not contain all of the church registers from 1713 to 1918. If you haven’t found your ancestor’s name elsewhere, try Advitam.

The BAnQ’s repositories are: BAnQ Vieux-Montréal, BAnQ Québec, BAnQ Gaspé,BAnQ Gatineau, BAnQ Rimouski, BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda, BAnQ Saguenay, BAnQ Sept-Îles,BAnQ Sherbrooke and BAnQ Trois-Rivières. If you do not reside in Montréal or near another BAnQ branch, try contacting the BAnQ to ask a question.

BAnQ Ask a Question  https://www.banq.qc.ca/formulaires/formulaire_reference/index.html?language_id=1

or

BAnQ Poser une question https://banq.qc.ca/formulaires/formulaire_reference/

 You can use these links to make a request for digitized material. A BAnQ clerk or librarian will help you download the material for free, but you need to facilitate the research process for the archivist. You should indicate the approximate year of an event (baptism, marriage, death) and be sure to specify the ‘’cote #’’ (dossier # or shelf #) as in the above example, 1713-1918 – CE601-S37 – ID-477622. Each file at BAnQ is identified by a similar description which can be found through your initial online search on BAnQ Advitam

 Email requests can be written in French or English, and your reply will be in the same language.

In most cases, if the above basic conditions to your request are respected, you should receive a reply within days by email. If your request is more complicated, contact the regional specialist librarian at the appropriate branch of the BAnQ.

 Please note: Due to Covid-19, all branches of the BAnQ are closed at this time. (2020-04-19)

BAnQ Vieux-Montréal 514 873-1100 – 1 800 363-9028, option 4 plus option 1 514 873-1101 # 6260 archives.montreal@banq.qc.ca

BAnQ Québec  418 643-8904 – 1 800 363-9028, option 4 plus option 2 archives.quebec@banq.qc.ca

BAnQ Gaspé  418 727-3500 plus option 6573 – 1 800 363-9028 plus option 6573  archives.gaspe@banq.qc.ca

 BAnQ Gatineau  819 568-8798 – 1 800 363-9028, option 4 plus option 7 archives.gatineau@banq.qc.ca

BAnQ Rimouski  418 727-3500 – 1 800 363-9028, option 4 plus option 3 archives.rimouski@banq.qc.ca

 BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda  819 763-3484 – 1 800 363-9028, option 4 plus option 8
archives.rouyn@banq.qc.ca

BAnQ Saguenay  418 698-3516 – 1 800 363-9028, option 4 plus option 4
archives.saguenay@banq.qc.ca

BAnQ Sept-Îles  418 964-8434 – 1 800 363-9028, option 4 plus option 9
archives.sept-iles@banq.qc.ca

BAnQ Sherbrooke  819 820-3010 – 1 800 363-9028, option 4 plus option 6
archives.sherbrooke@banq.qc.ca

BAnQ Trois-Rivières  819 371-6015 – 1 800 363-9028, option 4 plus option 5  archives.trois-rivieres@banq.qc.ca

Researched and compiled by Jacques Gagné  gagne.jacques@sympatico.ca

2020-04-16

 

Abandoned

My mother-in-law stood on the front porch as two women approached her from a parked car. I could see that they were speaking but I could not hear their words. One reached out to her.

Abruptly, avoiding what she must have the perceived as an embrace, Flora entered the cottage, slamming the door shut and crying, “I have no sisters!”

Flora Tremblay Tarrant did in fact once have a sister. Flora and her sister Lily were born in La Tuque in 1910 and 1912 respectively. Their mother, Mary Mercier, and her third child died during childbirth when Mary was just twenty-two.1

The girls’ father, Ligouri Tremblay, had migrated to LaTuque from the Lac St. Jean area seeking employment when the St. Maurice Industrial Co. opened a pulp and paper mill in 1908. Ligouri met and married Mary in 1909. 2

Following Mary’s death in 1914, Ligouri abandoned his young children to their grandmother, Caroline Mercier, and moved on to the pulp and paper towns of northern Ontario. Lily died of whooping cough shortly after. 3

Caroline Mercier was born Caroline Beads at Rupert House on James Bay north of La Tuque. 4 Her father, Robert Beads, was the grandson of either John or Thomas Beads, brothers from England who, in the early 1820’s, settled in the area while in the employ of the Hudson Bay Company and married into the indigenous Cree community. 5

Caroline married Joseph Mercier from Riviere Ouelle 6, a French-Canadian river-man on the St. Maurice River who delivered mail to the hinterland beyond La Tuque. Any shadow of Indian blood lay heavy over a family at that time and so it was with Caroline’s family. It took another two generations before Flora’s grandchildren would proudly proclaim native ancestry.

Flora was initially raised by her grandmother and later by Elizabeth (Lizzie), a deaf maiden aunt. Fortunately, her cousins Mary, Peggy and Grace Thompson were as close to her as any sibling would be.

When she was sixteen, Flora’s aunt heard from Ligouri. He was remarried with a young family and now wanted Flora to live with them. “You won’t leave here to be a maid and babysitter”, were evidently Lizzie’s words. She demanded that Ligouri pay the cost of Flora‘s room and board over the past twelve years. She never heard from him again. Flora would forever claim that Lizzie saved her from a fate worse than death.7

Flora married Laurence Tarrant from Bury in the Eastern Townships, a WW1 veteran who had spent three years in British hospitals recovering from his injuries (see A Soldier’s Fortunate Care). Like many Quebecers before him, he travelled to La Tuque to find work in the paper mill and settled there 8.

Flora gave birth to four children. She was widowed in 1964 at the age of 54 when her youngest child was only seven.

Ironically, following her husband’s death, Flora found work as a housekeeper and babIMG_3830 (002)ysitter at the Indian Residential School across the road from her home 9. She cared deeply for the children living far from their families and stripped of their language and culture. Likely she empathised with their feelings of abandonment.

Flora never remarried. “I’ll not wash another man’s dirty socks” were her words, perhaps a throw-back to how she believed her father treated her.  And she would never accept Ligouri’s children as her sisters.

 

 

Notes and Sources

  1. Handwritten family tree in possession of the writer.
  2. com. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 20081891
  3. Handwritten family tree in possession of the writer.
  4. Census of Canada, database. Ancestry.com (ancestry.ca: accessed June 5. 2017), entry for Caroline Beads Citation Year: 1891 Census Place: Unorganized Territory, Champlain, Quebec; Roll: T-6390; Family No: 39
  5. George Robertson.” Biographical Sheets, Hudson Bay Company, www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/hbca/biographical/index.html. Accessed 5 June 2017
  6. Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967
  7. Personal conversations with Flora Tarrant.
  8. Family Records and documents on file with the writer
  9. https:/www.anglican.ca/tr/histories/la-tuque-quebec/

 

Letter to My Grandson

Dear Grandson,

You will be born tomorrow, April 2, 2020. At this time, Montreal has 2,097 cases of the Corona Virus (COVID-19). In Quebec, this flu virus has caused 33 deaths. 1

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Almost every country in the world is currently in some type of lockdown. As governments manoeuvre through this crisis, trying to maintain health care systems and the basic needs of their citizens, families face individual struggles.

Schools, daycares, and businesses that are not considered essential services are closed.  Public health messages tell people to stay at home, to practice social distancing, a new term that means we do not congregate and that if we do need to have contact, to maintain a two-metre distance from each other. Playgrounds, libraries, sports complexes, cinemas, theatres, and shopping centres are shut down.

But love is not cancelled. We already love you so much. Normally we would be preparing for tomorrow, planning on meeting you at the hospital, with balloons, flowers and other gifts. Right now, no visitors are allowed.

Just a month ago, in what now seems to be a carefree world, I would have been planning to greet you at home, waiting to cuddle you in my arms, and lovingly admire your every feature. At this time, we do not know when we will visit you.

A little over a hundred years ago, my family lived through the Spanish Flu of 1918 in Montreal. It must have been just as frightening as today’s health crisis. The McHughs were a large family. My grandfather, Thomas, and his wife, Elsie, had eight children living at home. Grandfather Thomas’ mother, his two brothers, and his sister’s family lived close by. Thomas and Elsie’s daughter, Anne, and her husband, Norman Smith, had their first son, Thomas, just a few months before the Spanish Flu outbreak reached Canada.  They must have been terrified.

It is estimated that 20,000 people in Montreal died of the Spanish Flu. This is out of a population of over half a million.2 Many years ago I asked my aunt why no one in the family died during the Spanish Flu and she answered that the family stayed home. Only those who worked went out. They left the house as little as possible to buy food. They didn’t go to church. The children stayed home from school. And they did not visit anyone. In light of today’s crisis, it seems like they did the right thing.

Montreal was hard hit by the Spanish flu as it was a port city.3 Like COVID19 that has today spread quickly throughout the world due to travel, the Spanish Flu also spread rapidly this way. 4

It is believed that the Spanish Flu first came to Canada in two separate occasions, both on September 13, 1918. Polish soldiers coming through the U.S. to a military training camp at Niagara-on-the-Lake arrived with the flu. The same day, a group of Catholic clergy and parishioners arrived, also from the U.S., to attend a Eucharistic Congress in Victoriaville that hosted over 25,000 participants. By Monday, some of the participants were dead and the students who attended the Congress and who were not yet ill, travelled back home across Canada, spreading the virus rapidly.5

So dear Grandson, always remember that, no matter what, love is never cancelled. And, while you will be born in a time of great turmoil, I am optimistic for your future. You are lucky that you will be a citizen of a country with responsible government. Already the crisis has shown that creative solutions to problems can be found. A coat manufacturer is retooling to produce hospital gowns. Manufacturers of auto parts are set to change production lines so that they can deliver ventilators. Many distillers are making hand sanitizers instead of spirits.6 The provincial government has indicated that it will help farms in Quebec to expand so that they can produce more. One drug store chain has donated over a million face masks to the government.7

We will get through this.

Love,

Gran

 

  1. Government of Quebec website, Information about the Corona Virus, https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/situation-coronavirus-in-quebec/#c47900, accessed April 1, 2020.

 

  1. Wikipedia website, Montreal, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal, accessed March 22, 2020, Population in Montreal in 1911 was 533,341.

 

  1. Government of Canada, Parks Canada website, The Spanish Flu in Canada 1918 -1920, https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/culture/clmhc-hsmbc/res/doc/information-backgrounder/espagnole-spanish, accessed March 22, 2020.

 

  1. Global News, D’Amore, Rachael, Here’s How the Spanish Flu is similar and different from the Corona Virus, March 21, 2020, https://globalnews.ca/news/6707118/coronavirus-spanish-flu-comparison/, accessed March 22, 2020.

 

  1. Canadian Geographic website, The Outbreak and its Aftermath, Mitchell, Alanna, August 23, 2018, https://www.canadiangeographic.ca/article/outbreak-and-its-aftermath, accessed March 22, 2020.

 

  1. Ipolitics website, Pinkerton, Charlie, March 19, 2020, Trudeau says wartime production law could be used to boost manufacturing of medical equipment, https://ipolitics.ca/2020/03/19/trudeau-says-wartime-production-law-could-be-used-to-boost-manufacturing-of-medical-equipment/, accessed March 22, 2020.

 

  1. Le Journal de Québec website, Gagnon, Marc-André, COVID-19 Pénurie de masques d’ici 3 à 7 jours, March 31, 2020, https://www.journaldequebec.com/2020/03/31/en-directfrancois-legault-fait-le-point-sur-la-pandemie-de-covid-19-au-quebec, accessed April 1, 2020

Quebec Windmills and Seigneuries 

Find an old windmill (moulin) in Quebec and you will find a trace of an old seigneury, or estate.

In 2005, a heritage society in the Montreal suburb of Pointe Claire was looking into restoring the local windmill, built in 1710, but realized no-one had the knowledge to repair it. So, the Société pour la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine de Pointe-Claire (SSPPC) formed a partnership with Quebec’s national archives, the BAnQ Vieux-Montréal, to do some research.  A team of archivists, librarians and clerks compiled hundreds of notarial acts dealing with windmills in Nouvelle France, and in Quebec after the British Conquest of 1759.

The old windmill in Pointe-Claire, overlooking Lac Saint-Louis. Claire Lindell photo.

The resulting document, “Actes notariés transcrits sur les moulins du Québec,” (see link below) reveals a great deal about the history of Quebec’s moulins-à-vent (windmills) and moulins-à-eau (watermills,) and about the seigneuries where they were located.

It includes transcriptions of acts made by notaries concerning windmills. These documents, such as leases, sales, inventories and various contracts involving millers, shine a light, not only on windmill construction, but many other aspects of their use. Some of these notarized agreements date back to the 1600s.

Until the 20th century, Quebec’s economy was based on agriculture, with corn and various grains being the most common products. Most windmills produced flour, although some powered sawmills or tanneries.

In New France, in Quebec under the British, and during the Lower Canada period, the majority of windmills were owned by the seigneurs, the owners of seigneuries, or large estates of farmland and forest. The seigneurial system of land ownership, tenancy and feudal-based obligations was officially abolished in 1854, but it took many years before it completely disappeared.

Here is the link to “Actes notariés transcrits sur les moulins du Québec” https://www.banq.qc.ca/documents/archives/genealogie/outils/moulins.pdf

Most of the transcriptions in this large PDF are in French, but you can copy and paste sections that are of interest to you and make use of online translation services such as Google Translate or DeepL.

Built around 1730, this former mill in Verchères is a museum. Joann Egar photo.

Some windmills were owned by censitaires (tenants), but these private windmill or water-powered mill operators had to pay annual fees to their seigneurs. The fees were based on the number of tonneaux (wooden barrels) of farine (flour) and grains they produced on a yearly basis.

Most windmills in New France measured their capacity of production of flour, grain and corn by the number of wooden barrels they could produce per day or week.

If you look at biographies of settlers posted on Fichier Origine (www.fichierorigine.com) or P.R.D.H. (https://www.prdh-igd.com/en/accueil) or within the René Jetté books of pioneers, you will encounter the word tonnelier, a carpenter who specialized in making wooden barrels for operators of windmills, seigneurs and farmers. Most seigneuries in New France had their own tonnelier and/or windmill operator and/or operator of a water-powered mill.

Recruiters of families from France in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially within the northwest regions of France — Normandie, Poitou, Perche, Bretagne, Maine, Aunis, Anjou, Touraine, Beauce — would always recruit one or two tonneliers and one or two operators of windmills or operators of mills powered by water among the citizens who boarded sailing ships from La Rochelle and other seaports, destined for the French colonies of America.

The Fleming Mill in LaSalle is designed in Anglo-Saxon style. Janice Hamilton photo.

To learn more:

Most of the province’s many windmills have disappeared, however, several remain in the Montreal area, including in Pointe-Claire, LaSalle and on Île Perrot.

Liste des moulins à eau du Québec:  https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_des_moulins_%C3%A0_eau_du_Qu%C3%A9bec

This is a less extensive list of windmills in English:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_windmills_in_Quebec

René Jetté, Dictionnaire généalogique des familles du Québec: des origines à 1730, Montréal: Gaetan Morin, 2003.  No longer in print but available at the BAnQ and at the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal. Also available at many university libraries in Canada and at most French-language genealogical societies in Quebec, Ontario, and New England. Major libraries in Canada would also have a copy.

Gilles Deschênes, Quand le vent faisait tourner les moulins: Trois siècles de meunerie banale et marchande au Québec, Québec: Septentrion, 2009, https://www.septentrion.qc.ca/catalogue/quand-le-vent-faisait-tourner-les-moulins

Article on the seigneurial system in the Canadian Encyclopedia: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/seigneurial-system

 

 

Golf in Dunany

The Dunany Country Club will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2022. This nine-hole golf club, located north-west of Montreal in the lower Laurentians, near Lachute, has been of prime importance to my family and our history. My parents met in Dunany.

The Dunany area was settled in the mid-1800s by the Irish. These immigrants tried to farm the rocky Laurentian Shield carving small farms out of the forests. The area had already been logged but still, trees were everywhere. Small patches of land were cleared but it was subsistence farming at best. A post office was established in 1853 and it was called Dunany. The name came from a point of land in County Louth, on the east coast of Ireland. The four small lakes brought fishermen and cottagers to the area early in the 20th century.

My paternal grandparents, William and Minnie Sutherland first travelled to Dunany to visit friends, the McRobies. The long journey from Montreal, needed a car, train and horse and cart to complete, so one stayed a few days. Grandfather Sutherland enjoyed the country and so he bought some property and built a cottage on Boyd Lake. For them, it remained a long journey but he was said to be the first person to drive a car in from Lachute.

No one thought about golf until Katherine “Kit” McRobie challenged a friend to a game around the pastures and fields and so golf came to Dunany. A group of 20 people, including my grandfather, contributed money to buy land and in 1922 the Dunany Country Club was born.

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Wilson Sutherland putting on a sand green 1924
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Golf course equipment circa 1925
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Rocks and Rough Greens 1927

When my maternal grandfather Rene Raguin was interested in buying a country house in 1931, he too looked in Dunany. He knew of the area because his wife’s sister, lived in Lachute and she and her husband had a place at Lake Louisa, near Dunany. One evening, the Sutherlands visited the Raguins at their new cottage as Mrs Raguin and Mrs Sutherland knew each other from the United Church Women’s group. My mother was ten and she and her sister were sent to bed but spied on the visitors and their 15-year-old son Donald. With the age difference, Dorothy and Donald didn’t see much of each other until they met again after the war at a dance at the clubhouse. Two years later they married.

Everybody in the families at least tried golf. My grandmothers were not taken by the game but most other family members persevered. Some actually became very good players. The rough pastures and sand greens gradually evolved to smoother fairways and grass greens. The course grew from a couple of holes to a full nine. The layout of the course kept evolving. Then even sand traps were added. The trees have grown and some fixture trees have had to be cut down. The fairways are still not perfect but it is a country course played with preferred lies.

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The Golfer 1959

My father always lamented that he didn’t have proper lessons as his father taught him so he made sure we all had lessons with the visiting pro. My mother often took the four children over to the club so she could play. The well-behaved children could hit balls while those misbehaving had to sit on a bench and wait for the hole to be completed.

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The Sutherlands on the 1st green 1960

Four members of the family have had holes-in-one at Dunany. William Sutherland aced a hole that is no longer in play. He stationed his brother on a hill with a view of the green so he wouldn’t lose his ball and after he hit, all Wilson said was, “It’s in.” Isn’t that the point of the game! My mother Dorothy’s ball went into the hole after my father said, “Your mother just doesn’t hit the ball like she used to.” Her ball landed at the side of the green, bounced on and rolled in. My brother Don and I have also each aced a hole.

There are many trophies played for at the club. The Sutherlands have won a number. The Parkes Culross trophy is one that many family members have won. It is a low net competition played for on Labour Day weekend. Eight family members have their names engraved on this trophy.

The club continues to be the centre of the community. There are now plans for the log clubhouse to be renovated. Those who don’t play golf still attend the many functions, from dinners and bridge to music fests and art shows, sports nights and other junior activities. Mine isn’t the only family who found love in Dunany and so most people are related to somebody. Children who grew up and moved away have now returned and bought their own cottages. When you meet someone new you ask, “Whose house do you live in?” They think it is theirs but the spirit of all the old Dunanyites lives on.

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9th Green Grass & Sandtrap 2011

Notes:

Hammond Eleanor Hamilton, A History of Dunany. Printed in Canada by Zippy Print, Brockville, Ontario. 1990.

Eric Dauber, The Story of the Dunany Country Club, 1967.

Beth Sutherland Van Loben Sels, As I Remember Dunany.

Family winners of the Parkes Culross are Rene Raguin, Dorothy A. Sutherland, Donald W. Sutherland, Mary Sutherland, Donald J. Sutherland, Dorothy I. Sutherland, Sharon Leslie and Scott Ritchie.

A Trip to England in 1842

When Stanley Clark Bagg (SCB) and his father, Stanley Bagg, of Montreal, visited England in 1842, they were combining business and pleasure. The business involved selling property that SCB’s maternal grandfather had owned in Durham, England, and the pleasure involved a whirlwind tour of London, Scotland, Ireland and France, as well as visits with various great-aunts and great-uncles who still lived in England.

It was a good time for a trip: SCB had just finished a four-year apprenticeship with a notary and could now practice as a notary himself. It made sense to travel before he opened his own office.

A few months after his return to Montreal, SCB wrote to his cousin in Philadelphia, outlining the trip. Unfortunately, he did not include any details or impressions of their adventures, but the list of places they visited sounds exhausting. Passenger rail services were expanding in England at the time, but much of their travel would have been done by horse-drawn coach.

Crossing the Atlantic, however, was fast. The age of the trans-Atlantic steamship had arrived in the 1830s, and SCB wrote, “We made the passage to Liverpool from Halifax in the incredible short space of nine days and six hours, which was I believe the shortest passage ever made across the Atlantic. From Liverpool we went to London, thence to Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, York Darlington, Durham, Stockton, Sunderland, Newcastle, Shields, Tynemouth, Otterburn …. ”1

As they moved north to Scotland, they passed though many small towns, including Lesmahagow, and they explored both Glasgow and Edinburgh. On the way back to London, they stopped in Carlisle, in the north of England.

After a few days in London, they crossed the Channel to France, where they visited Boulogne, Paris, Versailles, Le Havre and several other spots before returning to London. SCB wrote, “We left London shortly afterwards for Ireland, and having visited Kingstown, Dublin and Kilmainham, returned to Liverpool, where … we embarked on board a steamship and after a boisterous passage of 14 days arrived at Boston exceedingly gratified with our tour.”2

Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral (jh photo)

Anchor-maker William Mitcheson, brother of SCB’s grandmother Mary Mitcheson Clark, lived in London, and the Baggs visited him there. While in County Durham, they visited more Mitcheson relations, including Mrs. Dodd (Mary Mitcheson’s sister Margaret) near Ryton, and Mrs. Maugham (Mary’s sister Elizabeth) at Sunderland.

It is clear that the visit to Durham was the highlight of the trip, but not because of the business they finalized there. In fact, SCB did not mention it at all in his letter. When SCB turned 21 in December, 1841, he gained control over the properties in Montreal and Durham that he had inherited from his grandfather John Clark (1767-1827). (He was just 14 when Clark died, so his father acted as executor of the estate until SCB became an adult. The property in Durham was generating rental income, but SCB wanted to sell it. In a notarized document dated after their return to Montreal, SCB’s father listed the sales of three properties in Durham.3

Meanwhile, SCB was interested in ancient legends, old coins, Norman castles and the like, and was enthralled with Durham. More than 20 years later, he presented a lecture to the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal on “The Antiquities and Legends of Durham.”4

He described the legend surrounding the founding of Durham city by 9th century monks. When Danes attacked England’s northeast coast, the monks fled their monastery on the Island of Lindisfarne with the miraculously well-preserved body of their former bishop. Eventually they built an abbey at the future site of Durham city and buried him there. Today, that bishop is remembered as Saint Cuthbert and pilgrims still visit the abbey church, Durham Cathedral.

In his 1866 lecture to the Numismatic Society, SCB opened up about his feelings on the trip. He recalled, “The first time I had the privilege of attending a divine service in Durham Abbey, I was enraptured with the sweet and masterly chanting, unsurpassed in the empire. My father and I obtained seats in the choir. The service was exceedingly impressive, so much so, that …. whenever the portion of the Psalter chanted upon that occasion recurs in the services of the church, it carries me back in imagination to the first service I attended in the venerable abbey of my mother’s native city.”4

This article was also published on Writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com

See also:

Janice Hamilton, “A Freehold Estate in Durham,” Writing Up the Ancestors, May 3, 2019 http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2019/05/a-freehold-estate-in-durham_92.html

Janice Hamilton, “Mary Mitcheson Clark,” Writing Up the Ancestors, May 16, 2014, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2014/05/mary-mitcheson-clark.html

Janice Hamilton, “Mary Ann (Clark) Bagg,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Nov. 29, 2013,   http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2013/11/mary-ann-clark-bagg.html

Janice Hamilton, “The Mitcheson Family of Limehouse,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Jan. 21, 2015, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-mitcheson-family-of-limehouse.html

Janice Hamilton, “Stanley Bagg’s Difficulties,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Jan. 10, 2014  http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2014/01/stanley-baggs-difficulties.html

 Sources

  1. Letter from Stanley Clark Bagg to Rev. R. M. Mitcheson, Dec. 6, 1842, probably transcribed by Stanley Bagg Lindsay; Lindsay family collection.
  2. Record in a passenger list of Stanley Bagg and S.C. Bagg travelling from Liverpool to Boston aboard the Acadia. Boston Courier (Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, Sept. 19, 1842, issue 1921;) 19th Century Newspapers Collection, special interest databases, www.americanancestors.org (accessed April 18, 2019.)
  3. Joseph-Hilarion Jobin, “Account and mortgages from Stanley Bagg Esq to Stanley Clark Bagg,” 8 October 1842, notarial act #3537, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.
  4. Stanley Clark Bagg, “The Antiquities and Legends of Durham: a Lecture before the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Montreal,” p. 21, Montreal, 1866. https://archive.org/details/cihm_48731/page/n4 (accessed Dec. 27, 2019)

 

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.

Sources:

Ducks

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/duck-production-1.3731001

Hemp

https://www.ecohome.net/guides/3342/hemp-insulation/

https://hemplogic.blogspot.com/2018/03/hemp-insulation-comes-to-north-america.html

Identity

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/asbestos-quebec-change-name-1.5375703

https://www.asbestos.com/news/2016/11/07/asbestos-mining-town-canada-new-identity/

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/five-years-after-asbestos-mine-closure-quebec-town-seeks-new-identity/article31569391/

Magnesium

https://www.therecord.com/news-story/8352298-quebec-town-built-on-asbestos-may-find-new-life-in-byproduct-of-deadly-mineral/

Beatrice Bruneau Quiet Perseverance

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Rene Raguin & Beatrice Bruneau Wedding Day 1912

I am always looking through my files, searching for something I knew I had. Recently, I came upon a letter addressed to Miss C. Beatrice Bruneau, my grandmother.

“ In changing your profession to that noblest of all professions you have shown your elders a good example.” She left teaching to get married. “May that quality of quiet perseverance, which has marked your work among us go with you and crown all the enterprises of your life with success.” This one sheet of paper indicated a lot about her.

She was definitely my quiet grandmother, sweet and gentle. Grannie never raised her voice although sometimes she used firm words. My sister thought she had eyes in the back of her head, behind the two buns she always wore, so we couldn’t get away with anything. She always kept her hands busy, knitting socks or crocheting fancy potholders.

Although of French Canadian descent, Cecile Beatrice Bruneau (1889- 1967 ) was born in Green Bay Wisconsin. There, her father Ismael Bruneau, a French Presbyterian Minister, served a congregation of Swiss Protestants. Her mother Ida Girod, from the French part of Switzerland, had taught school in Baltimore, Maryland before getting married.

French Protestants were few and far between so the family moved a lot, from Wisconsin to Holyoke, Massachusetts, to Quebec City, and then Montreal.

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Some of the Bruneau Children; Sydney, Helvetia, Beatrice, Herbert, Renee, Edmee, and Gerald – Montreal 1907.

My grandmother did most of her schooling in Montreal. The family lived over the French Presbyterian Mission on Dufferin St (now De La Roche). The Mission was just north of La Fontaine Park, between Marie Anne and Mount Royal in an area now known as Le Plateau-Mont-Royal.

Beatrice, the oldest girl didn’t have an easy life, being a minister’s daughter, one of nine children and protestant in a catholic province. A minister didn’t make much money and the family relied on handouts from the church community. Two other protestant families lived on the block and according to her brother Sydney that marked them as an “unloved minority.” The sisters played happily with the neighbours but Sydney had a hard time. Small in stature the bullies followed him around.

There were no French Protestant schools available to them. The Catholics refused to have any Protestants in their schools and so English was the language of their schooling. After attending Mount Royal elementary school Beatrice went to The High School of Montreal. The five eldest children all earned scholarships from the lower schools so their parents didn’t have to pay fees.

The Bruneau children all received a good education. Beatrice went on to McGill’s Normal School, the Teacher’s College, where she received her teaching diploma. This program later moved from the downtown campus to MacDonald College in Saint Anne de Bellevue. She came 23rd out of 61 students and won the Superintendent’s prize in French. She received elementary and first-grade staff certificates and passed in cardboard work. Beatrice later earned her French Specialist certificate from the Protestant School Board. At that time, as they could only hire Protestants to teach in their schools, native French speakers had no problem finding a position. In 1907 Beatrice was hired by the Protestant Commissioners as a teacher without experience.

When Ismael and Ida made another move, this time to Cornwall, Ontario, Beatrice and two sisters, Herminie and Helvetia stayed in Montreal teaching in public schools. They all gladly left the crowded quarters over the mission hall to lodge with a fellow minister, a friend of their father’s.

The 1912 letter indicated that Beatrice had been teaching at Mount Royal School on St Urbain Street in Montreal, the same school she had attended. Her teaching career lasted only five years. She married Rene Raguin that July and never taught again. She quietly persevered in her family life looking after her husband and raising their five children.

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Notes:

Grannie told us one joke. I now realize it was connected to the area where she grew up. A woman was riding the bus up St Lawrence Blvd. The driver called out Rachel, the bus stopped and a woman got off. He then called out Marie Anne and another woman got off. The woman then went up to the driver and said my name is Suzanne, when do I get off?

Walking with God in Duquen, A. Sydney Bruneau 1960s, transcribed by his granddaughter Virginia Greene in 2017. A copy with the author.

The Gazette, Montreal Quebec, Canada. May 29, 1907, page 8. Downloaded Nov 16, 2019.

The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. June 14, 1907, Page 12. Downloaded Nov 16, 2019.

Cardboard Work was part of the manual dexterity training in elementary schools. The children used cardboard to make boxes and made other things of raffia and plastic material while the high school students did woodwork and metalwork.

There is a church structure on De La Roche between Mount Royal and Marie Anne. According to the Montreal Tax role it was built about 1912, so after the Bruneaus left. It is now two residences.

Rene & Beatrice 1961
Beatrice & Rene Raguin 50th Anniversary 1962

For a story about Beatrice’s father Ismael Bruneau see: https://wordpress.com/post/genealogyensemble.com/1237

For a story about Ida Girod, Beatrice’s mother see: https://wordpress.com/post/genealogyensemble.com/3674