“Grande Ligne, July 10, 1898
I promise to my dear Anais never to use alcohol or tobacco
and not to lie to her anymore and to be good to her.
This note found in a box of Bruneau family pictures, along with an invitation to Anais Bruneau and Etienne Patenaude’s wedding made me wonder. At first I thought it was a promise made before they married but then realized the date was ten years later. What had Etienne done?
Anais, the sister of my great grandfather Ismael Bruneau was the youngest of 13 children of my two times great grandparents, Barnabé Bruneau and Sophie Marie Prud’homme. She appeared to be my great grandfather Ismael’s favourite and only three years his junior. He wrote many letters to Anais and some survived but none of her replies. He traveled for his studies and his ministry while she remained close to home in Saint Constant helping their parents. When Ismael was ministering in Kankakee, Illinois, he wrote that he wanted her to meet his beautiful soon-to-be wife. He asked her to come and visit and said that he would find her a tall strong farmer for a husband. As far as I know, Anais never visited and she found her own husband.
Anais married Etienne Hilaire Patenaude on a Thursday at ten and a half in the morning in L’Eglise Ecossaise in Laprarie, Quebec. I thought it was a strange day and time for a wedding but Anais dressed the part of a bride in a fancy white dress and veil with a bouquet of flowers as their wedding photograph shows. She was 33 and Etienne only 27.
They seemed to live a quiet life on a farm south of Montreal. They had no children. Her mother lived with them for a time after their marriage and most likely until her death. Anais was the good daughter and following her brother’s instructions, continued to look after her mother after her father died. Although Anais had seven sisters only she remained near St-Constant.
Etienne died in 1931 and Anais a year later at 77 years old. They are both buried in the cemetery at St Blaise Baptist Church in Grande Ligne showing they led a religious life. This church was associated with the Feller Institute, founded by Henrietta Feller a Swiss missionary who came to convert the native population but had greater success with the French Catholics. Madame Feller and her partner Louis Roussy were responsible for the conversion of Anais’ parents. Etienne’s parents were also Baptists.
What did Etienne do to have him write this promise? They were both French Baptists and involved in the Mission at Grande Ligne where sobriety would be expected. Did he go off and drink, smoke and lie about it? Who saved this paper and how did it come to me? On the back is written, “What Aunt Anais made him sign.” So, according to family lore, it wasn’t his choice to make this declaration.
Note by Etienne Patenaude translated by author.
Ancestry.com. 1921 Census of Canada[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2013.
Original data:Library and Archives Canada. Sixth Census of Canada, 1921. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2013. Series RG31. Statistics Canada Fonds.Images are reproduced with the permission of Library and Archives Canada.
Ancestry.com. 1901 Census of Canada[database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
Original data:Library and Archives Canada. Census of Canada, 1901. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2004. http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1901/Pages/about-census.aspxl. Series RG31-C-1. Statistics Canada Fonds. Microfilm reels: T-6428 to T-6556.Images are reproduced with the permission of Library and Archives Canada.
Ancestry.com. 1891 Census of Canada[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
Original data:Library and Archives Canada. Census of Canada, 1891. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Library and Archives Canada, 2009. http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/census/1891/Pages/about-census.aspx. Series RG31-C-1. Statistics Canada Fonds. Microfilm reels: T-6290 to T-6427.
Ancestry.com. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008. Original data:Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.