Category Archives: Migration

Aime Bruneau- Jewels and Glasses

The Fall River Daily Evening News reported in Our Folks and Other Folks Column, “ He sustained an accident and narrowly escaped serious injury in Brookline on Saturday, by jumping from an electric without signalling for a stop. A sliver in the platform step caught in his shoe heel and threw him, as he jumped, and he was dragged some distance. He sustained severe bruises, his clothes were badly torn and his shoe, one of a new pair, was ripped from his foot.” This is one of the more interesting things written about my two times great uncle, Aimé B. Bruneau.

Aimé was a jeweller and studying to be an optometrist in 1897 when the accident happened. He must have been attending the Klein School of Optics in Boston’s South End. The school, founded three years earlier by ophthalmologist Dr. August Klein, was one of America’s first formal training programs in optics and refraction. After one year of study, Aimé could make glasses as well as jewellery.

He had travelled far from his roots. Aimé Benjamin Bruneau was born in Saint Constant, Quebec to Barnabé Bruneau and Sophie Marie Prud’Homme. He grew up on the family farm but as the seventh of 13 children, he had to find employment elsewhere. He left home as a teenager and went with his brother Dolphis to Adams, South Berkshire, Massachusetts where they were probably attracted by jobs in a mill.

I am not sure where he met Mary Floretta Mann. She lived in Rutland Vermont. Her husband, Steven Mann had died in 1869 and the widow was living with her three children. Four other children had died in early childhood. Mary couldn’t have been looking for financial support as she had real estate worth $16,000 and a personal estate of $5,000. When they married in 1871 Aimé was 26 and Mary 43.

The couple soon moved to Fall River, Massachusetts, which after the Civil War was the leading textile city in America. Aimé didn’t work in a mill but as a clerk in Fred Macomber’s jewellery store and eventually bought him out. It was a prosperous business in the Granite Block, a block-long commercial building in downtown Fall River and one of the leading jewellery stores in the area for almost twenty years.

Aime Bruneau on right in front of his jewellery store, Fall River MA.

Mr. Bruneau was of a very social nature and made many friends here (Fall River). He greatly lived out of door life and was noted as a walker, covering all the country about this city in his tramps. A walk to Newport or Providence, (almost 20 miles away) on a pleasant Sunday was an ordinary thing with him.

Then in 1897, his business fell off, he closed his store, sold his stock at auction and studied to be an optometrist. A year later he re-established in a smaller way as an oculist. In the next few years, he can be found in Leominster, Massachusetts, Dover New Hampshire and finally in Auburn, Maine with Aime’s occupation listed as a jeweller but also as an Insurance Agent working for the Manhattan Company Federal Street, Boston. During this time Mary appeared to be living in Fall River.

Aimé died unexpectedly of an internal hemorrhage in January 1910. He was 65 and still living in Auburn, Maine. His wife continued to live in Fall River, Massachusetts with her daughter Ida. Mary died there, just six months later at the age of 82. I can speculate about why he wasn’t living with his wife but the long and painful illness noted in her obituary might be the story.

Notes:

Aime B. Bruneau Obituary, The Evening Herald, Fall River Massachusetts. Tuesday 18 January 1910 pg 4. Newspapers.com December 25, 2021. The only Bruneau family member mentioned in his obituary was his brother Ismael as a Congregationalist minister in Montreal.

Our Folks and Other Folks column. Fall River Daily Evening News, Fall River Massachusetts. Tuesday, August 24, 1897. Page 1. Newspapers.com Dec 23, 2021. 

Death of Mrs. Mary F. Bruneau: Fall River Daily Evening News, Fall River Massachusetts. Tuesday Aug 23, 1910. Page 8. Newspapers.com Dec 23, 2021. 

The New England College of Optometry, NECO was founded as the Klein School of Optics by Dr. August Klein in 1894. Located at 2 Rutland Street in Boston’s South End, the Klein School offered a one-year program that centred on optics, anatomy, and refraction. As optometry quickly became a more established profession, the school’s name changed in 1901 to the Massachusetts School of Optometry. The school began offering a two-year program in 1909, and that same year the National Board of State Examiners in Optometry was established as other new optometry schools sprang up around the country.

The Mass School of Optometry also began requiring incoming students to have completed four years of high school and to possess “good moral character.”

Mary Died of a Broken Heart

I have no doubt that the real cause of my great-grandmother’s death was a broken heart. She had experienced one grief too many and after the death of her daughter, she gave up and her heart gave out.

Alice Mary Knight, my great-grandmother, was born in the small village of West Bromwich, Staffordshire in 1875.1 Mary’s love story started in Birmingham, about six miles away. She went to Birmingham to work and met John Deakin at the rooming house where they were living.2 John also came from a nearby village. They were single, away from their families, and most certainly lonely. They married in 1900 and almost immediately moved to Sheffield, 90 miles away.3

The move to Sheffield would have been difficult. While Mary and John had each other, they would certainly have been homesick. Especially as their son, my grandfather, George Deakin, was born soon after they moved. In a strange city with a newborn, far from her mother and sisters, Mary would certainly have missed living in the village.

John found a mining job in Sheffield and he possibly worked for the Tinsley Park Collieries, situated very close to where John and Mary lived.Mary would have been alone most of the day as miners often worked 12-hour shifts. This young couple could have no inkling that the mine would unravel their lives.

In 1905, their little family was complete with the birth of George’s sister, Alice Gertrude Deakin.4

When George finished school, he went on to apprentice as a fitter, also at a mine, and possibly the one his father worked at.5 Fitters repaired and maintained machinery. George always worked at the surface of the mine. But he knew that it would not be long before he would be asked to work below ground. He was a short man and therefore an ideal size for moving around in the close spaces below ground. “I did not want to work below ground in the mine,” Gramps would say every time someone asked him why he came to Canada.

When George came to Canada in 1922, he had not yet decided whether he would stay.6 As soon as he arrived, he went out west by train to work on the wheat farms, to bring in the harvest. When the work dried up on the farms, he returned east to Montreal and met my grandmother, Grace Hunter. He was content living in Montreal. He married my grandmother and they had two children, Jack and Patricia. He had a job he enjoyed and worked there all his life, even during the Great Depression. George went on with his life but I cannot help but think that his mother must have been sorry he was so far away. Mary must have regretted George’s job at the mine, the catalyst for his emigration to Canada. It is unlikely that George ever went back to England for a visit, possibly because he may have felt that he could not take the time off work. A week to get there, a day’s journey by train to get to his parents’ house, and then the return. My grandparents were not rich, so money would have also been a consideration.

In 1935, John and Mary received more bad news. John had laryngeal cancer. At the time they did not know it, but mining is now considered a risk factor for laryngeal cancer. John underwent surgery to address the cancer, but he had heart failure from the shock of the operation and died on the operating table.7

After the death of her husband, Mary and her daughter, Alice, decided to move back to the village of Smethwick, John’s birthplace. Both John and Mary’s family were in the area. At least Mary would be close to some family members. Mary purchased a house and Alice found a job as a timekeeper at W&T Avery, a spring balance manufacturer.8

Tragedy struck again about ten years later when Alice was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Alice Gertrude died in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on November 1, 1951. Alice’s friend and neighbour, Marie Evans, was the informant on the death certificate.9

Within a week of Alice’s death, Mary changed her will.10 She must have already been seriously ill and, although we don’t know for sure, the urgency would have been to dispose of the house. Mary died of a heart attack less than two months after the death of her daughter. She was a widow, her son lived far away, and her daughter had died. The sorrow would have been overwhelming.  Mary died at home on New Year’s Eve in 1951, in the company of her younger brother, Benjamin.10

Mary’s new will left 20£ to her brother, Benjamin, for being the executor of her estate. She left a few bequests of 5£ to some of her friends and to the Firth Alms House in Sheffield, Yorkshire. Mary required that all of her other possessions, including her house, be sold and bequeathed to her son, George, in Canada.11

Mary must have felt that she lost her son to Canada and that when her daughter died in 1951, that the future was bleak. When death gently came to claim her just two months after her daughter’s death, Mary did not fight back.

  1. Certified copy of an entry of birth, Alice Mary Knight, born April 17, 1875, extract dated May 4, 2021.
  2. Certified copy of an entry of marriage, John Thomas Deakin and Alice Mary Knight, November 25, 1900, St. Paul’s Church, Aston, Harwick, extract dated May 25, 2021.
  3. 1901 census, Tinsley, Yorkshire, John Deakin and Mary Deakin, referenced January 1, 2016.
  4. Copy of an entry of birth, Alice Gertrude Deakin, born July 19, 1905, referenced July 27, 2021.
  5. Declaration of passage, George Thomas Deakin, Form 30A, referenced October 2, 2009.
  6. Idem.
  7. Copy of an entry of death, John Thomas Deakin, died July 8, 1935, referenced October 29, 2021.
  8. 1939 Register, Findmypast, Deakin, Alice G. and Deakin, Alice M., Alice is registered as a timekeeper at a balance manufacturer. Mary is registered as unpaid domestic help, referenced June 24, 2017. 
  9. Copy of an entry of death, Alice Gertrude Deakin, died November 1, 1951, referenced August 29, 2021.  The informant was Marie Evans, neighbour and friend. The law is specific about who can register a death in England: a relative, someone who was present at the death, an employee of a public house where the death occurred, or the person making the funeral arrangements. As Marie Evans was not a relative, she was allowed to register the death if she made the funeral arrangements. As such, the death certificate states that Marie Evans was “causing the body to be buried.” This way Marie Evans was able to allow her to register the death.
  10. The Last Will and Testament of Alice Mary Deakin, dated November 1, 1951 and probate, dated February 6, 1952, referenced August 12, 2021.
  11. Copy of an entry of death, Alice Mary Knight, died December 31, 1951, referenced August 8, 2021.

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/

 

Irish Catholic Churches of Arthabaska, Compton, Frontenac, Mégantic, Wolfe Counties, Quebec

The research guide below is part of a series of seven compilations designed to help you find your Irish immigrant ancestors in mostly French-speaking Quebec. It explores Arthabaska, Compton, Frontenac, Megantic and Wolfe counties, the most easterly of the province’s Eastern Townships.

Few Irish people came to this primarily rural area until the late 1800s. The earliest church record I was able to trace in regard to the Irish of these counties was 1829, within the parish of Saint-Jacques in the then village of Leeds, Megantic County.

Parish records can help you find traces of the Irish setters who came to North America by the tens of thousands during the first half of the 19th century. Please note: The inclusion of an Irish Catholic churches in this research guide does not imply that parishioners were mostly of Irish descent, but implies that at one point in time, a minimum of 10% of the acts of baptism, marriage, death addressed Irish immigrants or their descendants.

A good place to start looking for English-speaking settlers in the Eastern Townships is the Eastern Townships Resource Centre, http://www.etrc.ca/. The Eastern Townships Resource Centre preserves the documentary heritage of the Eastern Townships and serves as an archival expertise resource for local heritage organizations. While its Archives Department concentrates on the acquisition of private archives related to the English-speaking community, the Centre’s mission, mandate and on-going activities are meant to be inclusive of all communities present in the Eastern Townships.

Thousands of documents such as diaries, letters, minute books, photographs, postcards, maps, plans and audio-visual material are made available to researchers. Assistance is also provided to genealogists tracing their family roots. You will find contact information for this organization at the end of the PDF research guide below.

Another research guide I prepared a few years ago may also be helpful to your search. See “British, Irish, Scottish, Loyalist, American, German, Scandinavian, Dutch and Huguenot families in Lower Canada and Québec” by Jacques Gagne, https://genealogyensemble.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/british-irish-scottish-loyalist-american-german-scandinavian-dutch-in-quebec2.pdf

townships map

This guide mentions a number of books about Quebec’s large Irish population. Two additional articles of interest are, “Pioneer English Catholics in the Eastern Townships” by T.J. Walsh, http://www.cchahistory.ca/journal/CCHA1939-40/Walsh.html  and “A.C. Buchanan and the Megantic Experiment: Promoting British Colonization in Lower Canada” by J.I. Little, https://hssh.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/hssh/article/viewFile/40265/36450

The attached research guide is an expanded and improved version of a similar guide I posted on Genealogy Ensemble in 2014. It includes a detailed list of the Catholic parish churches in these five counties where people with Irish names worshiped. It also includes links to help you find the cemeteries where they were buried, a recommended reading list and a list of archives and other repositories where further records can be found.

Click on the link to open the PDF:  Irish Catholic Churches of Arthabaska, Compton, Megantic, Frontenac, Wolfe counties