Genealogy

Petimezi

We were visiting my mother-in-law in Greece when my husband brought out a blackened cauldron from storage. He placed it on the table with great ceremony and announced that we were bringing it back to Canada. “But first,” he said, “we need to restore it.”

The next day we hauled the cauldron down to the Monastiraki area of Athens. Mainly this area has little souvenir shops and is a great place to go shopping. In the winding roads behind the shops you can find all sorts of workshops. This is where we found a coppersmith who could restore the cauldron to its former glory.

My mother-in-law believes that the cauldron may be around 125 years old. Her grandmother, Maria had gone to Turkey, around 1900. She was a young women then and had gone to work as a domestic in the rich homes of Constantinople. Maria came back to Greece and to her native island of Tinos during the Greek-Turkish population exchange of 1923. She brought back with her many objects from Constantinople and my mother-n-law believes that the cauldron was one of them.

My husband’s mother remembers her mother making petimezi in the cauldron over a wood fire. Petimezi (from the Turkish word pekmez)1 is made by boiling down the juice of the grapes, after removing the skins and squeezing the grapes through a sieve to extract the juice. The juice, or must, is then boiled down to a thick syrup. There is no fermentation involved.2 It is still made today on the island of Tinos but previously it was widely used by every family as a natural sweetener when there was no other sweetener available.

One can also add marl, a sterile soil. This soil clarifies the liquid and neutralizes the acidity of the must.3 Even today, some of villagers on the island of Tinos will add marl to the grape must.

Another family memory is that sometimes ashes were added to the petimezi when they were making it. Adding the ashes would ensure that the dirt would rise to the surface where it could be skimmed off, a way of sterilizing the must.4

Today this copper cauldron, completely restored, sits proudly in our home.

Cauldron

 

 

  1. Wikipedia web site, “Grape Syrup,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grape_syrup, accessed October 16, 2019.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Rafaelli, Lucia, We Love Istanbul web site, “The Healing Syrup of the Turks : Pekmez,” December 28, 2015,https://www.weloveist.com/pekmez, accessed October 16, 2019,
  4. Fonini, Real Greek Recipes web site, “How to make grape molasses – reduced grape must, https://www.realgreekrecipes.com/how-to-make-grape-molasses-reduced-grape-must/, accessed October 16, 2019.
Genealogy, Quebec

JOHN HAMILTON GRAHAM First Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Quebec

My family is a Masonic Family. My grandfather immigrated to Canada as a Mason. My Canadian-born father was a Mason. My husband is a Mason today. My husband and I are also educators and members of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers. The story of John Hamilton Graham resonates with us on several levels. It was thus an honour to be asked by the Grand Lodge of Quebec to research Graham’s history and write his story for the 150th anniversary of his installation as their first Grand Master.IMG_3699[295]

John Hamilton Graham

The Graham family  loved the view from their home on the hill overlooking the town of Richmond and the valley of the St. Francis River: the gently rolling hills, the scattered farms, the foliage ablaze with fall colours at this time of year: reds, oranges and golds. The house was on the campus of St. Francis Academy, a prestigious grammar school for boys where Hamilton Graham was headmaster. Affiliated with McGill University, the curriculum included two years of university courses. It served a vast district extending from Chicoutimi on the Saguenay River to the New England States.

Scottish born John Hamilton Graham and his American wife, Almira Jones, emigrated from Northfield, Vermont when, in 1858, Graham accepted a teaching position at the school. Their first-born, Mira was just a year old. Her siblings, Abigail, George, James and Caroline, were all born in Richmond. I assume the boys attended the grammar school while the girls went to school in the village.

Richmond was largely settled by New England colonists in the late 1700s so the Graham family must have felt at home among their neighbours.  Graham arrived as a Presbyterian and a Mason and soon joined the local church and the St. Francis Lodge. As she grew, Mira likely led her siblings in trying to weasel out various Masonic secrets. “Just show me the secret handshake, daddy”. But off daddy would go to another night at Lodge with none of them any wiser. His Masonic career included becoming the Master of St. Francis Lodge, the Deputy Grand Master of the Eastern Townships District and, ultimately, the Registrar of the Grand Lodge of Canada.

In 1862, Graham was made headmaster of St. Francis Academy. His interest in education, however, went well beyond discipline and instruction in his own school. While teaching in Vermont he had taken an active part in the movement to establish normal schools in the state and served at different times as president of three teachers’ associations. He continued to work with teacher  associations in Canada and in 1870, he and Jasper Nicolls, president of the St. Francis Teachers’ Association, established the Provincial Association of Protestant Teachers known today as the QPAT, the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers. Graham was the first president. As president, he protested the Roman Catholic dominance of education in the province, the underfunding of Protestant institutions, the importation of textbooks rather than the development of Quebec texts, and the separation of church and state in our schools. Clearly a man ahead of his time.

In 1872 Graham resigned as headmaster to run as a Liberal in the federal constituency of Richmond and Wolfe. He was referred to as a “Scotch Radical”. Following his defeat, he found a job as a railroad manager, Richmond being the railroad center of the area, and devoted much of his free time to private teaching, to writing, and to Freemasonry. He was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Vermont and McGill University.

With the coming of confederation, Graham took the lead in a movement to create a grand lodge in the new province of Quebec. The founding of the Grand Lodge of Quebec aroused a great storm within Canadian freemasonry because the new institution was created out of, and in competition with, The Grand Lodge of Canada. Graham engaged in ongoing disputes with several lodges in Quebec that continued to act under warrants from the grand lodges of Canada, Scotland and England.

In 1869, one hundred and fifty years ago, Graham became the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Quebec. Hopefully his wife and children were they proud of his achievement and did not resent the hours and days away from family that it took him to get there.

Graham was widowed in 1881. His eldest daughter Mira was 24 and a teacher, Abigail was 21, George 18, James 14, and little Caroline only 4. Likely Mira kept house for her father following her mother’s death and raised her youngest sister. I suspect, too, that this responsibility limited her chances of marriage.

The 1891 census records Graham as a lodger in a boarding house without any of his children. Later records show all siblings, save for Mira, married and living in various parts of the United States until their deaths. Where Mira ended is unknown.

In August 1899, Graham died suddenly at age 75 in Hartford Connecticut during a visit to New England. His body was returned to Richmond where it lay in state at the Town Hall. The funeral was the largest in the region for many years: local Masons, prominent Masonic officers from all over Quebec, family, friends and neighbours. He was buried beside his wife in St. Anne’s Cemetery and given full masonic rites at the gravesite. Ten years later the Grand Lodge of Quebec unveiled a monument to him.

In the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Graham’s career is described as following a pattern established by many Scots Presbyterians in Canada in the 19th century: hard work and a taste for controversy producing modest success.

Sources:

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography. http://biographi.ca/en/bio/graham_hamilton_12E.html

The Sherbrooke Examiner: http://numerique.banq.qc.ca/patrimoine,details/52327/2985600?docpos=4

Townships Heritage WebMagazine. http://townshipsheritage.com/aeticle/st=francis-college

Healy, Esther. St. Francis College. The Legacy of a Classical College. 1854-1898. https://openlibrary.org/

Hamilton Graham. Ancestry.ca

Conversations with Jody Robinson, Archivist, The Eastern Townships Resource Centre, Bishop’s University, Lennoxville, QC. www.townshipsarchives.ca

 

Genealogy

The Man of the Family

I was just eight years old when Grampy, my mother’s father, died, so I have few memories of him, only photos. There’s one of him holding me on his lap when I was about a year old, and another that shows him playing a toy musical instrument. A shot of him demonstrating his stone-skipping skills on a Maine beach was probably taken in 1956, during the last summer of his life.

At that time, children were to be seen and not heard; not all grandparents were as involved as he was, and that makes these photos all the more special.

In fact, he was close to all the women in his family, young and old, as he provided moral support and financial guidance to his mother and his three unmarried sisters, as well as to his wife and his daughter.

4-2-1

Frederic Edmund Murray Smith was born in Montreal in 1879 to Jane Mulholland and her husband, John Murray Smith, a bank manager. Fred was the third of their six children. His was a life of privilege, as the family lived in a grey-stone house on McGregor Avenue (now Dr. Penfield Avenue), on the slope of Mount Royal. They also had a summer cottage on the shores of Lake St. Louis, in what is now one of Montreal’s West Island suburbs.

In 1891, Fred’s seventeen-year-old brother, Henry, died of appendicitis. Three years later, when Fred was just 15, his father succumbed to a heart attack, and Fred became the man of the family.

Women supposedly did not understand money matters, so his mother and sisters looked to him for advice. For example, many years later, when his sisters finally sold the house on McGregor, the task of handling the sale and helping them move to an apartment fell on Grampy’s shoulders.

Fred decided not to attend university, but started his career as a messenger. It did not take long for him to move up the corporate ladder. In 1918, he was a manager with the Royal Bank of Canada, and in the late 1920s, he was with Verret Stewart Co., a firm that was an agent for Windsor Salt.  Between 1930 and 1936, there was no profession listed beside his name in the Montreal Lovell’s street directory, but he went to work as treasurer of Champlain Oil after the depression and stayed there until he retired.

He lived at home with his mother and sisters and remained an eligible bachelor until age 37, when he married Gwendolyn Bagg. Their only daughter, Joan, was born two years later, in 1918.

Fred and Gwen were both quiet people, more interested in spending time with family than in enjoying Montreal’s night life. In fact, Fred was a strict Presbyterian who never appeared at the dining table without a jacket and tie, and would not allow my mother to play cards on Sundays, but my cousin who is 10 years older than I am remembers him as kind and having a good sense of humour.

In a 1946 letter to my father, Fred described his view of marriage: “We … hope that you both may have as happy a life together as your future father-in-law had in his married life, keeping in mind that it is a partnership, which means both of you have to give and take, and that in the home, it is the woman’s department.”

musical toy
Fred, Joan, Janice, Gwen.

For the first dozen years of their lives together, the Murray Smiths lived on tiny Selkirk Avenue, near the corner of Cote des Neiges and Sherbrooke streets, two short blocks away from Gwen’s mother’s house and several long blocks from Fred’s mother’s house.

In the late 1920s, my grandparents decided to build a larger house. According to my mother, when they looked at the architectural plans, they did not realize how big it would be. Not only was the house more than they needed, but their timing was bad since Fred lost his job during the depression. Fortunately, Gwen’s Aunt Amelia Norton helped out financially, but this must have been hard for Fred. He was accustomed to helping others. My grandparents lived in that house for the rest of their lives, and he died there, of a heart attack, at age 77.

Grampy is buried in the Murray Smith family plot at Mount Royal Cemetery with his father, mother, brother, three sisters and wife. My mother is buried with them.

This article is also posted on writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com

Notes:

Legally, the family name was Smith, however, because Smith was such a common name, the family used Murray Smith as if it were a hyphenated last name.

The row house on Selkirk Ave. is still there, the Murray Smith family home on McGregor was demolished to make way for a high-rise apartment building, and my grandparents’ house on Saint-Sulpice became the Iraqi consulate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genealogy, WWII

Kitty Freeman: WWII Heroine and Food Research Pioneer

This week, we commemorate the public service contributions of trained dietitian and Montreal philanthropist Mary Catherine “Kitty” Freeman. Freeman was born in Prescott, Ontario 98 years ago Sunday.

During the war years, Freeman helped feed wounded soldiers using limited rations at hospitals in Liverpool, England and Bruges, Belgium . She described her experiences to Bronwyn Chester in 2004 for a newsletter article.

If someone became diabetic, for instance, you’d look after that,” she told Chester. “But mostly you did the best you could with what you had. We had 600 patients at one time, and to break the monotony of meat with a lot of fat in it, along with potatoes and canned and dried food, you’d just go out and buy strawberries.”[1]

Freeman frequently donated to McGill during her lifetime. She also left Macdonald College a million dollar endowment after her death on March 13, 2009. Today, a well-equipped 12-person food laboratory commemorates her contributions. Another $25,000 went to the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research.[2]

Clearly, the study of food and nutrition meant a great deal to her, perhaps because she grew up during the Great Depression.

As a young woman, Freeman pursued a Bachelor of Household Science from Macdonald College and dietitian training at Royal Victoria College.

She signed up for the Canadian Army’s Medical Corp as soon as she turned 21 and became eligible for service.

Freeman told Chester that she travelled from Halifax Canada to Liverpool England as the only dietitian on one of three Army hospital ships.

Hospital Ship Travel

Hospital ships carried wounded soldiers from Europe to Pier 21 in Halifax. There, trained technicians transferred patients to hospital trains sent to hospitals across Canada. Military personnel and soldiers then boarded empty ships, just as Freeman did. The ship then returned to Europe for more patients.

Painted white hospital ships displayed large red crosses on each side to indicate that they should receive safe passage.

You can see a photo of one such ship on Roger Litwiller’s website. We can assume that this photo shows a later probably larger ship than the one Freeman sailed on. The Lady Nelson hospital ship didn’t exist until April 1943. It boasted an operating theatre, x-ray machine and wards for 515 people. The December 1944 Index to British Warships document shows only the Lady Nelson in existence that particular year, only two years after Freeman’s passage.[3] That couldn’t be accurate, however. The Letitia hospital ship was refitted with 200 medical personnel and the ability to ship 1,000 patients in 1943 and continued to sail in 1944.

The Geneva Convention specified that enemy bombers and submarines weren’t supposed to target hospital ships, but there were no guarantees. According to Wikipedia, 25 hospital ships were sunk during WWII.[4]

Military Contribution

The hospital ship Freeman was on arrived safely in Liverpool with its two mates in 1941. There, her expertise became a much-needed commodity. Britain struggled to feed itself. Canadian exports accounted for 77% of the wheat and flour consumed in the country. The following year, rations would be introduced across Canada to ensure that enough food went overseas.

Freeman took charge of the military hospital food service. Later, they sent her to Belgium to perform a similar role in harsher conditions. After five years of service, she returned to Montreal. She immediately joined the staff of the veteran’s Saint Anne de Bellevue Hospital as a dietitian

She moved to Queen Mary’s Veteran Hospital before retiring in 1978.

According to a 2005 Veteran’s Affairs pamphlet, Freeman’s experiences were duplicated by many women of her generation.

No account of military service in the Second World War would be complete without mention of the contribution made by the four special branches of the nursing service – the Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Dietitians and Home Sisters. Also, the sisters who served on the hospital trains returning the wounded to destinations across Canada. The end of the Second World War brought the closure of military and station hospitals across Canada. A total of 80 nurses, 30 RCAMC, 30 RCAF and 20 RCN sisters joined the permanent force and served at military establishments across the country; many more staffed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ hospitals to care for hundreds of returning Veterans.[5]

We need to remember the service of these courageous women, including Mary Catherine Freeman.

Sources

[1] Chester, Bronwyn, “Fueling the Forces,” In Focus Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, McGill, Spring 2004, p15, https://www.mcgill.ca/macdonald/files/macdonald/InFocusSpring2004.pdf, accessed September 24, 2019.

[2] “Generous legacy supports dietetic and nutrition research, CFDR Keeping in Touch, Fall 2009, p3.

[3] Index to British Warships, Division of Naval Intelligence, December 1944, http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ref/ONI/ONI-201/ONI-201-I/ONI-201-I.pdf, accessed September 24, 2019.

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hospital_ships_sunk_in_World_War_II, accessed September 24, 2019.

[5] “The Nursing Sisters of Canada,” Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada represented by the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 2005. Catalogue No. V32-146/2005 ISBN 0-662-69038-9 Accessed September 24, 2019, http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/those-who-served/women-and-war/nursing-sisters#sisterhist3

Genealogy

To the Lighthouse Part 3

myfatherugby

Senior Rugby, St Bee’s School, 1939. Peter Nixon, top row, fourth from left

(To the Lighthouse Part 1: Geological Time, Historical Time, Genealogical Time.)

(To the Lighthouse Part 11: You Don’t Want to be Me.)

To the Lighthouse: Part 111. One Mean SOB

I think, once again, of the thick- legged cads on the colliery team. Tough as nails.  It would be a shame for them to beat us on the rugby field – or on the battlefield.

A pair of kittiwakes soars sand shriek 15 feet over us, just as the eight students approach slowly from the south, at a jogging pace,  two of them cupping their pockets and looking very self-satisfied.

“We got three big eggs,  and one just for you, Nixon,” speaks up Armstrong in a flattering tone.  He’s normally the most belligerent of my young charges. Another with Border Reiver blood. It’s a bribe and a most worthy one.

The Nixon clan was once in thrall to the Armstrong clan, I recall  Grandfather Nixon, a sawmill worker, telling me a few years ago as we walked the well-trod path from his home in Helmsley North Yorkshire to nearby Rievaulx to see the stone quarry where he had laboured as a young man, the famous cathedral ruins and the small thatched cottage, Abbot’s Well, where Mary Ellen Richardson, his wife, my grandmother, grew up. She was a tailor’s daughter.

abbottswellrievaulx

Abbot’s Well Rievaulx, North Yorkshire

“They are falcon’s eggs, we think” interrupts Bell, Armstrong’s sidekick, also of Border Reiver blood. You should have seen the mother. She attacked us with her enormous beak and flapping wings.” Falcon? I now understand this to be a ruse. Or is it?

Can miracles of nature happen? Can schoolboys steal some eggs from a falcon’s nest? Might the war in Europe never really start?

The smirk on the faces of all the young chaps tell me there will be no eggs, gull’s or falcon’s, for luncheon today. It is all a big joke.

“Well, let’s turn around them, we’ll never make to the lighthouse and back with those falcon’s eggs intact,” Armstrong says, stubbornly sticking to his story.  I can taste the savoury most-likely fictitious fried eggs  and it STILL makes my mouth water.

“The headmaster told me to take you to the lighthouse and back,” I say, nonchalantly exercising my power over them as is my right.   The boys groan. I start to run, outpacing them but staying close enough to make sure they don’t delay.

We pass the ruins to the entrance of the old King Pit, once the deepest shaft in the world. 160 fathoms deep built in 1750 by the Lowther family. Or so says a plaque next to it.  I once again think of the boys on the colliery team and their ancestors who worked within these mines. The rise of all the towns around here, Whitehaven, Maryport, Workingham is thanks to the 18th century coal trade with Ireland. The collieries on the coast once covered thousands of acres. I must have read that on another plaque somewhere else.

I have no coal miners in my family tree. We are too tall. I come from farmers, mostly.  My father, Robert Nixon, was a footman at elegant Dunscombe Park in Helmsley before he took the Lutzer ocean liner out of Southampton to Singapore in October, 1912.

He probably already was acquainted with  my mother, Dorothy Forster, as her father, John, was preaching in Helmsley at the time.  Who knows when they got engaged.  Dorothy, a land girl during WWI, a titch of  a woman tasked with leading the enormous Clydesdales through the forests with their loads, followed him to Malaya in December 1921, a mere ten months before I was born.

Robert is  6 foot 4. The gentry like their footmen tall and presentable. Still, Robert preferred to try his luck out in the bug-infested jungle. Perhaps it was Dorothy who insisted, she not wanting to be married to a lowly servant. He started out as a labourer, wielding the whip, but soon rose to be manager of the Batu Caves Rubber Estate in Selangor with almost life and death power over the Indian workers. He was born a servant in England but became a demi-god in Malaya. His imposing height helped him there, too, no doubt. And the fact he is one mean SOB.

Right now, he has the management of two rubber estates in Selangor, just to make ends meet. The economic downturn has made it hard on him and my mother. My mother has taken on a job as the librarian for the Kuala Lumpur Book Club.

BATUACES

Batu Caves Religious Resort, Selangor, Malaya

This war in Europe will not affect them, thank goodness.

I  continue to run into the past, toward Whitehaven on the Cumberland Coast. Sandstone cliffs and igneous outcrops and beaches covered in pebbles. Geologic time, historical time, genealogical time, historical memory, family myth. The rest of the boys follow with Cowen, his cheeks as red as a robin’s chest, slipping behind. I slow down the pace just for him. My little friend.

We pass ‘the candlestick,’ the old chimney of the Wellington Pit.  We’re almost at Whitehaven now.

But an armed guard, an old man in his grey-blue denim LDV jacket, with a gold star on the sleeve, waves at us with his rifle and says, “ Go back!   The lighthouse is off limits. There are motor launches out on the water looking for German subs. Can’t you see?”

The boys gather in a circular group and they all cup their eyes with their hands to look out to sea. A few with very good eyesight, like mine, point in the direction of the boats.

The  old armed guard waves us on.

“Haven’t you St. Beghian’s heard?” he says. “The Huns have attacked Denmark and Norway. The war is on for real.”

And just as he speaks, a lone steel and wood bird buzzes into view. I am the first to see it with my impeccable long range vision, but soon all ten of us stop running and turn our eyes toward the misty sky to gaze into our future.

  1. My father ended up in the RAF, posted at Dorval in Montreal, headquarters of the Ferry Command, where he met my French Canadian mother at a meet-and-greet at the Mount Royal Hotel.

 See  Night Flight, here on this blog

As it happens, one of the St Bees Village boy, a printer’s apprentice, signed up in 1939 and distinguished himself early on. He was then posted in Dorval and died on a flight mission to the Bahamas in 1941. I have no idea whether or not my father knew him, before or after enlistment. He never mentioned this.  There is information on this man, Alan  Rodgers, posted on the St. Bees Village website.

In January, 1941, a few days after Pearl Harbour, the Japanese invaded Malaya, dropping bombs on the ‘green’ in Kuala Lumpur, also hitting the building housing the Kuala Lumpur Book Club.  Four died there in the rubble, but Dorothy, my grandmother, hid under a desk and survived.  She and her husband, Robert, ended up interned at Changi Internment Camp.  Read about it in Beads in a Necklace, our book. Also here at the Globe and Mail. Read  or LISTEN TO a one act play about John Forster’s dementia in A Stranger in his/her Bed.  

Or read the complete story of Dorothy Nixon’s life in the colonies here in my e-book, Looking for Mrs. Peel.

 

France, Genealogy, Immigration, Montreal, Quebec, Quebec City

La Fermière Louise Mauger

Louise_Mauger_sculpture

Women are rarely commemorated with a statue. There is one, La Fermière, in front of Marche Maisonneuve in Montreal’s East End. It depicts a woman holding a basket of produce. It was sculpted by Alfred Laliberté and he dedicated it to Louise Mauger, as a glorification of traditional rural values. She was one of the early settlers of Montreal and not the only person celebrated with a monument. Louise was my eight times great grandmother.

1024px-Marché_Maisonneuve_3
La Fermiere statue in front of Marche Maisonneuve

Both Louise (1598) and her husband Pierre Gadoys (1594) were born in Saint Martin d’-Inge in Perche, France. They came to New France about 1636 as part of a settlement initiative by Robert Giffard de Moncel, the first Seigneur of colonial New France. Records have them living and farming on the Beauport Seigneurie in 1636 and Pierre employed by the Société Notre-Dame de Montréal pour la Conversion des Sauvages, at Sainte-Foy or Sillery from 1643 to 1645.

Tracing families back is quite easy in Quebec as the church records of births, marriages and deaths, kept from the beginning of the colonies have been well preserved. My maternal grandmother was a Bruneau and her direct male line goes back to Francois Bruneau, my seven-time great grandfather, who arrived in New France in 1659.

The Bruneau family tree is just part of my story. There are all the women back through the tree who were only a name, their families not mentioned. A seventh times great grandfather is one of 256 grandfathers which means there are also 256 grandmothers who have their own stories.

I started with Sophie Marie Prud’homme who married Barnabé Bruneau, my two times great grandparents. Tracing back the Prud’homme line I arrived at Louis Prud’homme who arrived in New France in the 1640s, where he met and married Roberte Gadoys. Roberte came from France in the 1630s with her father Pierre Gadoys, her mother Louise Mauger and her brother Pierre.

Pierre Gadoys (Gadois, Gadoua) my 8th time’s great grandfather moved his family to Montreal shortly after this because of the many attacks by the Huron and Algonquin on settlers around Quebec City. Montreal was fortified. In 1648, he was the first person to be granted land in Montreal (Ville-Marie) by the governor, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve. He was known as the “Premier Habitant or first farmer”1. The 40 arpents grant was from the current St Paul Street north to the Petite Riviere between St. Pierre and Bleury. In 1666 he was granted another 60 arpents for helping Charles LeMoyne fight the Iroquois.

Just as important as the first farmer is the first farmer’s wife. Louise had a lot of work to do. The couple had six children, possibly seven. Roberte, Pierre and Etienne (is the question mark) were born in France, while Francois, Jeanne and Joseph on the Seigneurie of Beauport and Jean-Baptiste was born in Sainte-Foy when Louise was 43. Jeanne died at birth, Joseph died in his first month and there is no other information about Francois. According to the 1667 census they had 40 acres under cultivation, six cows and a hired servant.

While Pierre Gadoys died in 1667, Louise lived another 23 years and died in Montreal at the age of 92.

Pierre also has a monument but it is a small trapezoid stone marker in Place d’Youville installed in 1992 as part of Montreal’s 350th celebration. It looks more like a concrete form used to block off a road than a commemoration. It is not a lovely bronze statue in the middle of a fountain.

Bibliography:

1. Dollier de Casson, Francois. Histoire du Montreal 1640-1672. pg 88

Jean-Jacques Lefebvre, “GADOYS, PIERRE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed November 29, 2018, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gadoys_pierre_1E.html.

Fournier, Marcel. 1642-1643 Les Origins de Montréal Diffusion au Canada, 2013.

Le Bulletin Recherches Historique Vol XXXIII Levis – Mars 1927 Nos 3 Les Colons de Montreal de 1642-1667 pgs. 180,181.

PRDH-RAB; Origine des Familles Canadiennes; Parchemin Ancestry accessed January 2019.

Sulte, Benjamin: Histoire des Canadiens Français [1608-1880]: origine, histoire, religion, guerres, découvertes, colonisation, coutumes, vie domestique, sociale et politique, développement, avenir January 1, 1882 Wilson et Cie

Senécal, Jean-Guy(senecal@fmed.ulaval.ca); Sep 27, 1998, compilation OCR de trois documents Word disponible en ligne, ses documents se référant principalement au Tome IV & V, Chapitre IV du livreHistoire des Canadiens-Française de Benjamin Sulte, édition 1977.

Notes:

The statue La Fermière was made by Alfred Laliberte in 1915. It was part of a continent-wide city beautification project.

Pierre Gadoys’ sister Françoise was married to Nicholas Godé. They were present at the founding of Montreal.

It is possible but not proven that Pierre and Louise were in Montreal in May of 1642 for the founding ceremony. Their son Pierre, then 11, was said to have attended with his Aunt and Uncle, Francoise and Nicholas Godé. It was thought that Louise was not at the ceremony as she was attending to Jean Baptiste who was only a year old. Pierre first settled in Sillery with his family but had gone to Montreal in the early 1642 and then returned to Sillery as he was there in 1645.

After his death, Saint-Pierre street was named in his honour.

1666 Census – Pierre Gadois the eldest, 72, inhabitant; Louise Moger, 68, his wife; Jean-Baptiste, 25, gunsmith; Pierre Villeneuve, 25, hired servant. 

1667 Census – Pierre Gadoys, 65; Louise Mauger, his wife, 65; Pierre Villeneuve, domestic, 24; 6 cattle, 40 acres under cultivation.  She was buried March 18, 1690 in Montreal. 

Pierre Gadoys: 1594 – Oct 20 1667 Married 1627 de Igé, Saint-Martin, Orne, France.

Louise Mauger: 1598 – Mar 18 1690

Roberte Gadoys: Baptised Sept 15 1628 France – Sept 14, 1716 Montreal

Pierre Gadois: Nov 17, 1631 or 1632 France– May 18, 1714 Montreal

Etienne Gadois: Baptised Nov 17 1631 France – ? Are Pierre and Etienne the same person??

Francois Gadois: Dec 2 1632 Quebec – ?

Jeanne Gadois: June 26 1638 – June 26, 1638 Quebec

Joseph Godois: Sept 28 1639 – Oct 1639 Quebec

Jean-Baptiste Gadois: Mar 1, 1641 Quebec – April 15 1728 Montreal.

The inscriptions on Pierre Gadois Monument In Place d’Youville, Montreal reads, C’est d’ici que Le 4 Janvier 1648 Maisonneuve determina les bornes de la premiere concession accordee a Pierre Gadoys il fixait ainsi l’orientation des rues de la future Ville” and on another side, Stele erigee grace a L’Ordre des Arpenteurs- Geometres du Quebec, a L’Association des Detaillants de Monuments du Quebec, aux Archives Nationales du Quebec, aux Productions D’Amerique Francaise et Au Groupe de Recherche de Raymond Dumais Archivist.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genealogy

A Turning Point in Quebec History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st Asbestos Brownie Pack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They were tumultuous times that left indelible memories.

Sources: Photograph: Jeffrey Mine 1944 By Harry Rowed – https://www.flickr.com/photos/lac-bac/31123426351/in/album-72157665191042359/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56279338

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

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

The Family Jewels and Other Treasures

Jewelry

My favourite piece of heirloom jewelry belonged to my Aunt Mary (1920- )My Formidable Tante Marie. She wore the delicate turquoise and pearl necklace while posing for one of her promotional photos during her theatre days in Montreal in the late 1940’s. I wore the very same necklace for my wedding day some 50 years later. 

My great grandfather, Dr. J. P. Hanington (1846-1927)Pharmacist then Doctor, gave his bride-to-be, Gertrude Thorpe Davidson (1852-1950)The Matriarch (A Remarkable Memory), an exceptional gold locket when they married in 1874. The back of the locket, engraved with the words “Sapienter Si Sincere” meaning “Wisely if sincerely” is the Davidson Clan Motto. The two photos inside the locket are of Dr. Hanington and their first daughter, Mary Thorpe, who died of diptheria when she was five years old.

Another couple of heirloom pieces, a delicate cameo brooch and a spectacular 89 Seed Pearl Pendant, belonged to my great grandmother, Mary Heloise Bagg Lindsay (1854-1938)Great Granny Bagg (Kittens on the Wedding Dress). However, neither of the pieces were wedding-related to my knowledge.

Furniture

The Gill Cradle was first used by my 4x Great-Grandmother Phoebe Clark Gill (1777-1864). When only three weeks old, Phoebe was taken on horseback by her mother to a place of safety in Philadelphia away from the British in September 1777. The simple mahogany cradle stayed in the family for the next 230 years gently rocking several generations of babies. There are numerous photos taken of us in our christening dresses in that wonderful old cradle. The family donated it to the McCord Museum in 2005 so that it could be preserved for historical purposes and displayed with their collection.

The Gill Cradle - photo

The Carpet Chair was rescued from a fire in 1916 when Rose Cottage, the family home in Shediac, New Brunswick, burned down. It was the family home of my 2x Great-Grandfather Daniel Hanington (1804-1889)“Roaring Dan” and his wife Margaret Ann Peters (1811-1887). It is a useful “catch all” chair as it folds up nicely. I believe the carpet seat is the original one and, for that reason, it is not used as a chair.

Carpet chair - Hanington

The sewing tables of both my grandmothers fit nicely into different corners of the house. One belonged to my paternal grandmother, Josephine Sherron Anglin (1893-1964)Social Media – Then and Now, and it is a pedestal table. The two drawers are partitioned perfectly to hold sewing supplies and the top folds open to double in size. The other one belonged to my maternal grandmother, Millicent Hanington Lindsay (1895-1982)Granny-Lin, and can be found in The Book of Canadian Antiques1. According to the entry, the Anglo-Quebec style mahogany sewing table is from circa 1830. It has two flaps that open up to extend the work surface as well as a couple of drawers without partitions.

China and Silver

The silver tea set requires polishing several times a year. But once polished – oh my – what an impressive sight! My husband likes to put a tea towel over his arm and serve tea to my friends when we host tea parties. Proper tea parties have become popular again and several tearooms around the city have resurrected the tradition. The set belonged to my Great-Aunt who gave it to my Aunt Mary. When my aunt gave up her home she gave it to me. It must be almost 100 years old.

There are two china figurines that are very close to my heart. They belonged to my mother, Ann Lindsay Anglin (1926-1961)The Courtship of Ann and Tommy – Part 1, who died at the young age of 35. They remind me of her. One is a popular Royal Doulton lady figurine kept in the corner glass cabinet in the dining room with some other collectibles. The other figurine is a lovely lady in a spectacular blue gown seated on a loveseat with a blue matching bonnet beside her fanning herself. She is kept on my bedside table. 

China figurine

Kitchware

Another treasure is an old box from Henry Morgan & Co. Limited with “Tins for Wedding Cake” written on the cover in my grandmother’s familiar scrawl. Inside the cardboard box there is an old tin icing canister with five different tin piping tips and a folded tired stained printed paper with a recipe for “Wedding Cake – 3 layers”. My grandmother was a fabulous cook and must have baked this cake for her three wedded daughters. Priceless! 

Wedding Cake Recipe and Tins (2)

Photographs, Letters and Diaries

Photos, letters and diaries may have no particular monetary value but they are invaluable to us genealogists trying to glean whatever we can from the lives of our ancestors. My dusty old boxes Dusty Old Boxes of cherished paper memorabilia contain heaps of pure joy. A treasure indeed!

1The Book of Canadian Antiques, Donald Blake Webster, p. 62.

Genealogy, Quebec

Discovery and Imagination

Historical walking tours are a great way to walk in your ancestors’ footsteps. Even if you know a lot about the place your ancestors lived, you are sure to learn a few new facts. I recently visited Drummondville, where my dad, Edward McHugh, lived for eight years during the Great Depression. He, as well as his brother, Thomas, and his sister, Sarah Jane, had gone to Drummondville in 1933 after being out of work in Montreal. They were employed by the Celanese, one of the biggest employers in Quebec during the 1930s. The Celanese was a textile plant and my dad worked in the Silk Factory as an electrician. The Celanese plant in Drummondville was one of the main reasons why Drummondville hardly felt the effects of the Great Depression.

The walking tour I went on was a free tour offered by the Société d’histoire de Drummond (historical society of Drummondville).1 The tour started at Parc Woodyatt, named after James Blain Woodyatt, Director General and member of the Board of Directors of Southern Canada Power. Southern Canada Power built, owned and operated the hydroelectric complex In Drummondville. The public park Woodyatt opened in 1930 and included sports facilities such as a pool, a skating rink and tennis courts.2

My dad, who loved to skate and swim and was an avid tennis player, would have gone to this park regularly.

My dad also loved to go to the theatre and I can easily imagine him spending his Saturday evenings at the Théâtre Capitol, built in 1937. He would have been excited when the theatre opened. This lovely art deco building is currently a multi-screen cinema complex.

Across from the town square is the impressive Roman Catholic Basilica Saint- Frédéric. When the McHugh siblings lived in Drummondville in the 1930s, this church was not yet a basilica. The first church was a chapel built in 1822 and demolished in 1879 as it became too small to accommodate the parishioners. The second church was situated where the Saint-Frédéric Park is now, just in front of the current church. The second church burnt down in 1899. The third church, built at the church’s current location, was completed in 1907 and was the victim of arson in 1921. The fourth church is the one currently standing and it was completed in 1922. It is truly magnificent. It was named a minor basilica by Pope Francis in 2015.4

Image result for eglise saint frederic drummondville

In 1937, my uncle Thomas McHugh and Simone Cloutier, a young lady from Drummondville, were married in Saint-Frédéric.5  A Casavant organ, built in 1930, would have played at their wedding. Fourteen Stations of the Cross grace the church. Stained glass windows represent the life of Saint-Frédéric, an archbishop in France.6 The McHugh family was a large one, with nine siblings. They would probably have all attended the wedding, and would have most likely travelled from Montreal by train.

McHugh, Thomas with Simone Cloutier (maybe)

Sadly, they returned to visit this magnificent church less than one year later. Thomas McHugh died of an illness in the hospital.7 My father, along with his other brothers, signed the register as pallbearers.8 Thomas McHugh is buried in the Saint-Frédéric cemetery on Saint-Joseph Boulevard, not very far from the church.

From the outside I saw the Hôpital Sainte-Croix where, sadly, my uncle would have died. The current site of this hospital was founded in 1927 and, at the time of my uncle’s death, had 18 beds and one operating room. It was run by the Soeurs de la Présentation de Marie. 9

We finished our day by driving through the working class district of Drummondville where the workers of the Celanese lived. I know my dad lived on the top floor of a duplex. He had no car so he would have lived in walking distance from work.

It was truly a day of discovery and imagination.

 

 

  1. A sincere thank you to the Société d’histoire de Drummond for this walking tour and for all of the valuable work that they do to preserve the history of Drummondville.
  2. Société d’histoire de Drummond
  3. Société d’histoire de Drummond
  4. Société d’histoire de Drummond
  5. Registration of the marriage of Thomas McHugh and Simone Cloutier, July 17, 1937, Paroisse Saint-Frédéric de Drummond, Registres photographiés au Registres de Arthabaska
  6. Church pamphlet entitled Guide – Visite et histoire de la Basilique Saint-Frédéric de Drummondville
  7. The Drummondville Statesman, “Thomas McHugh Passes Away,” May 27, 1938, accessed March 19, 2016
  8. Registration of the death of Thomas McHugh, May 25, 1938, Paroisse Saint-Frédéric de Drummond, Registres photographiés au Registres de Arthabaska
  9. Société d’histoire de Drummond
Genealogy

A Blacksmith’s Legacy

How does a gardener in a failing economy afford to purchase passage on a ship for a family of four in the hope of bettering his life in Canada? The answer may lie with a blacksmith.

The gardener was my great-great- great-grandfather Charles Brodie, born 1796 in Innerleithen, Scotland. The extended Brodie family lived in three neighbouring villages along the River Tweed: Peebles, Innerleithen and Traquair. The economy of the area rested on raising sheep augmented by wool-weaving. Hand weavers, however, were replaced by machines following the introduction of the steam engine at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Factories were built in cities close to cheap transportation routes forcing workers to leave their farms to find employment. The Scottish border towns fell into economic decline.

The blacksmith was Charles’ great-uncle, Alexander Brodie (1733 – 1811). Alexander was born in Traquair but reached the status of a master blacksmith in London. He designed The Register Stoves and Fire Hearths for Ships. Wood-burning iron stoves were a central feature of ships in those days, essential for cooking and warmth, but at the same time very dangerous. Many ships went to watery graves in flames. Brodie’s design was not only bigger but safer. The Royal Navy placed his stoves in all its ships “to the preservation of many valuable lives” according to a plaque in Traquair’s parish church commemorating his achievement. Alexander was handsomely rewarded for his design.

After the untimely death of his wife and two children, Alexander returned to Traquair. There he put his fortune to work to improve the lives of his fellow villagers. He eventually opened a woolen mill in Innerleithen, ushering in the industrial age. When Alexander died in 1811 his estate, worth over half a million pounds, was distributed, following a twenty-year court feud, among seventeen nieces and nephews. Charles’ father William (1751-1836) was one of the inheritors. Shortly thereafter Charles immigrated to Canada. One can only assume that the money came from his father’s inheritance.

Charles and his wife Elizabeth Kerr (b.1805) arrived in Canada in 1831 with two sons, Charles age twelve (1819-1859), and William age two (1829-1908). They settled in Montreal where the family grew to include two more sons, Robert (1835-1905) and Thomas (1838-1894). Charles was my great-great grandfather.

In 1850 Charles Jr. moved to Quebec City and opened a flour and grocery business. Robert, William and Thomas eventually joined him. Following Charles’ death in 1859 Robert and William formed a new partnership, the W. & R. Brodie Co. This company monopolized flour distribution in Quebec City and was the beginning of what today is the Brodie Flour Company.

In Quebec City’s Mount Herman cemetery, a granite monument stands high on the cliff overlooking the St. Lawrence River. The four sides of the monument detail the life of each Brodie brother. Two sides include the inscription “Born at Innerleithen, Scotland. Died at Quebec“. A blacksmith’s legacy.

Brodie Grave Stone (2)

 

 

Notes and Sources:

Brodie, Peter – ancestry.ca.  Blair Family Tree

http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/brodie_robert_13E.html

http://www.pastinnerleithen.com/alexander-brodie

William N. Boog Watson (1968) ALEXANDER BRODIE AND HIS FIREHEARTHS FOR SHIPS, The Mariner’s Mirror, 54:4, 409-412, DOI: 10.1080/00253359.1968.10659464