Tag Archives: Montreal

The Goddesses of Expo67

My mother-in-law’s Expo passport. My husband’s family didn’t go to Expo often; there was a summer marriage.

I remember 1967 as the best of year of my childhood. In the US, 1967 was the Summer of Love (flower-in-your-hair hippies) and of war (Vietnam draft dodgers) and of civil unrest (inner city riots) but in Canada it was our Centennial Year, the 100th anniversary of Confederation. For children across the nation it was an especially giddy year: teachers from coast-to-coast were teaching their charges how to sing Bobby Gimby’s exuberant CA-NA-DA song, “one little, two little, three Canadians. We love you. Now we are twenty million.”

For Montrealers like me, it was the summer of Expo67, our fabulous world’s fair, situated just a short bus and metro ride away on two man-made islands in the Saint Lawrence River.

I visited Expo 50 times, if memory serves. I sometimes went by myself and I was only 12 years old!

I could go whenever I pleased because I was in possession of a shiny red passport that cost a whole 17 dollars. With his passport you could go from pavilion to pavilion and get it stamped, just like travelling the world.

I no longer have the passport, but it was not lost. My passport was given away by my mother to a beautiful young African woman – and this is how it came about.

Mentewab (probably) at the coffee bar from a Youtube Video
(See notes 1)

A friend of my mother’s had gone through official channels offering to chaperone Expo hostesses from foreign countries. Two Ethiopian hostesses, Hanim and Mentewab, were suggested to her. My mother got into the act and the two girls soon regularly visited our Snowdon home.

Hanim was shy and wore a caftan and hijab. Mentewab was ‘wild’ and wore a halter top, micro-miniskirt and white go-go boots when not in her official costume.

I do not recall having any specific conversations with these young ladies, but I can still see in my mind’s eye their pretty faces as they sat so graceful and ‘grown-up’ on our brown corduroy living room couch, Mentewab so animated, Hanim so quiet.

These women seemed to exotic to me: the reporter in the Gazette had called them ‘goddesses’ after all.

Hostesses from Montreal Star Insert. The media focused a great deal on the attractive and accomplished hostesses of Expo, from Canada and beyond.

I doubt that they were as impressed with us and our dingy upper duplex apartment. These girls must have been from the elite classes to have been chosen to host at Expo.

As it happens, on May 2, I caught a glimpse of their leader, Haille Selassie, as he passed through the Expo crowd to polite applause, a small, very proud-looking man followed by a tiny little dog, Lulu the Chihuahua, whose short legs were working very hard to keep up with her master. My mother, who admired powerful men, was very excited. “The Lion of Judah” she sang out as he passed.

On cold rainy days at Expo I spent a great deal of time in the coffee bar at the Ethiopian Pavilion, a shiny red tent with lion cubs on guard, probably pestering Hanim and Mentewab big time.

And then, in mid-October, Expo was over. I guess the women visited us one more time because that is when my mother gave MY Expo passport away to one of the girls. Upon learning that Mentewab or Hanim didn’t have a passport of her own, she merely grabbed mine and said, “Take this one.” (At least, that is how I remember it.)

Sometimes I wonder if Mentewab and Hanim are still alive (why wouldn’t they be, they were hardly older than me) and whether one of them, living in Addis Ababa or Paris or New York City, occasionally opens a drawer crammed with Expo67 memorabilia and shows to her many grandchildren a shiny red passport belonging to a pimply, brown-haired Canadian girl called Dorothy Nixon – and wonders, in turn, where I am today. I’d like to think so.

A World of Education. No kidding. The copy here acknowledges that Canada is multi-cultural the visuals not so much.
Ethiopian Stamp that was really a stamp.
My husband may not have visited Expo much, but he did keep the newspapers from the opening.
  1. A video about the Ethiopian Pavilion with images of Hanim and Mentewab (I assume) is here.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQAbaRTki-g

Black Market Baby

In 1984, at the age of 35, Harold Rosenberg discovered he had been adopted. Fourteen years later, he found out who his birth mother was – or so he thought. Today, he is still searching for his roots.

His adoptive parents never told him he was not their natural child, and both were already deceased when he learned the truth. His cousin Dinah, who was almost a generation older than him, could only recall that a Mrs. Baker, a matchmaker in Montreal’s large Jewish community, had done Harold’s adoptive father a favour and found the baby. The Rosenbergs had paid Mrs. Baker $1800 to make the arrangements.

Harold Rosenberg, age 8, in 1957.

Harold, who is my husband, tried to find out more, but there were no official records of his adoption and even the record of his birth kept by the synagogue was fake. He followed many false leads and ran into brick walls everywhere he turned.

In 1998, he opened The Gazette to see a front-page article about a group of women who had gathered in Montreal to search for their roots. All had been adopted into Jewish families, most eventually discovered that their birth mothers had been Catholic.

The article described a black-market baby ring that operated in Montreal in the late 1940s and early 1950s, trafficking about 1,000 babies to adoptive parents in Canada and the United States. A small group of doctors, lawyers and various intermediaries arranged these adoptions for childless Jewish couples who could not find babies through regular adoption channels. At the time, it was illegal in Quebec to adopt a child from another religion, and, while there were no Jewish babies available, there were lots of Catholic ones. Most of these babies were delivered at a handful of private maternity clinics in Montreal. The money went to the doctors and the people who arranged the adoptions, or who turned a blind eye to the transfer of small bundles. The mothers were not paid, but they were able to stay for free at the clinics during their last weeks of pregnancy, and they did not have to worry about medical costs.

When the ring was busted in 1954, The Gazette reported, several lawyers and a woman named Rachel Baker were arrested. Suddenly, Harold realized that Mrs. Baker did not just find a baby for his parents, she arranged for many under-the-table adoptions.

Years later, his cousin Moe told Harold that he had seen a tiny hospital bracelet with the name “baby Boyko” in the Rosenbergs’ safe deposit box, and he recalled that a girl named Mary Boyko had lived in his neighbourhood. Harold checked a list that a volunteer researcher had made of single mothers who gave birth in the late 1940s, and there was the name: Mary Boyko. She must have been his birth mother!

Harold asked a friend, a retired police detective, to look for her. It was a challenge because Mary had married someone named Tremblay, and Tremblay is one of the most common family names in Quebec. Nevertheless, three days later, the friend phoned to say that he had found her. Unfortunately, she was deceased, but he had tracked down her husband and her son. They said they had been looking for Mary’s baby for years, and they couldn’t wait to meet him.

Harold became good friends with his new-found half-brother, Sonny Tremblay. All the pieces seemed to fit, except for a few minor details. Meanwhile, he became an unofficial spokesperson for black market babies, participating in television documentaries in English and in French, and being interviewed for newspaper and magazine articles. He hoped to help other adoptees, as well as their birth mothers, learn the truth.

Harold in 2022

In 2020, our sons persuaded Harold to try to find his birth father. He did a DNA test, and he asked Sonny to do one also. Everyone was shocked when the results came back – they were not related! Just to be sure, Sonny’s cousin also took a DNA test, and it confirmed that the cousin is related to Sonny, but not to Harold. He then hired genetic genealogist Mary Eberle, of DNA Hunters, to help him make sense of his DNA results. He had many matches, but no one closer than a third or fourth cousin. Clearly, Harold is of Eastern European descent, and his birth father was probably Ukrainian. Many of his matches on his father’s side live around Cleveland, Ohio, an area where many Eastern Europeans settled.

Recently, he made a big break-through and got in touch with Lynne, a woman in Cleveland with whom he shares a whopping eight percent of his DNA. She is probably a first or second cousin and has been delighted to help out. Harold is still not sure who his birth father was, but at least he now has a genuine, close genetic cousin.

As for the identity of his birth mother, that remains a mystery. Was Harold really born at a Montreal hospital, as his cousin told him? And what should he now make of the story of the baby bracelet and the name Boyko?  Hopefully, he will find out some day soon.

This article is also published on my own family history blog, https://www.writinguptheancestors.ca.

Further information:

Ingrid Peritz, “’Black-market babies’ seek Montreal roots,” The Gazette, May 9, 1998, page 1, www.Newspapers.com

Adam Elliott Segal, “Black Market Babies”, Maisonneuve Magazine, July 18, 2017, https://maisonneuve.org/article/2017/07/18/black-market-babies/

CTV News Montreal, “Special Report: Black Market Baby”, Dec 18, 2017, https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=318300
This interview was done when Harold mistakenly believed that Mary Boyko was his birth mother. I have included it here anyway because it includes more background on the black-market baby ring.

My Census Life

We all know time flies but have you ever thought of your life in chunks of five or ten years at a time?

Census records are a vital resource for family historians researching their ancestors. They provide a snapshot of each household on a particular day over the years. Here is the snapshot of my life on census years.

1961

POP: 18,238,247-Prime Minister: John Diefenbaker(Conservative)

In the News: CUSO was formed and the CFCF (Canada’s First Canada’s Finest) Television Network began broadcasting.

Favourite song : Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me”.

Travels included the family summer cottage in Knowlton (Eastern Townships).

My mother died of cancer leaving my father with four children under the age of 12. I was only four years old. We all lived in the house my father built ten years earlier in Montreal (Quebec). My father ran his own engineering company.

Four-year old me – 1961

1971

POP: 21,568,311-Prime Minister: Pierre Trudeau (Liberal)

In the News: FLQ terrorized Montreal. Pierre Laporte and James Cross are kidnapped. Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act. Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons are a hit.

Favourite song: Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”.

Travels included winning a trip for two to Paris accompanied by my father and meeting up with my older sister living in England at the time and the Knowlton summer cottage.

I still lived in the same house…blessed with a stepmother (1964) and three more sisters. My youngest half- sister was born in June which gave me a focus to my 14 year-old angst-filled life. As a high school student in 1971, classes were regularly interrupted by bomb scares and evacuations to a shelter across the street. I regularly ran by mailboxes on my way to school “just in case”. I played badminton in the winter and, in the summer, tennis as well as horseback riding just like my older sister… never admitting that the beasts actually terrified me!

(Note: After 1971, the Canadian Census was taken every five years instead of ten.)

Riding “Sugarfoot” at the Knowlton Pony Club – 1971

1976

POP: 22,922,604 – Prime Minister: Pierre Trudeau (Liberal)

In the News: The Parti Quebecois won a provincial majority and Bill 101 (the french language law) was being finalized. Montreal hosted the Summer Olympics.

Favourite song: ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”.

Travels included a family trip to Kennebunk (Maine) beach and the Knowlton summer cottage.

All grown up at 19 years old, I worked at my first real job as a bank teller and moved out of the family home into my first apartment. By the end of the year, I had changed my mind and quit my job, moved back to the family home (with a cat) and signed up for courses at CEGEP (a Quebec college). Maybe I wasn’t quite finished growing up after all!

L to R – Me, my father, my three half-sisters, my Stepmother and my brother – 1976

1981

POP: 24,343,181 -Prime Minister: Pierre Trudeau (Liberal)

In the News: All-time high prime interest rate of 22.75% and Rene Levesque’s Parti-Quebecois was re-elected after the failed Referendum.

Favourite song: The Pointer Sisters’ “Slow Hand”.

Travels included Barbados and weekends of golf in Magog (Eastern Townships).

My fourth attempt of moving out of my father’s house finally succeeded. As an adult of 24 years, my legal secretarial training in Ottawa landed me a job in NDG (west end of Montreal) near my new apartment. However, my interest in investments prompted me to take the Canadian Securities Course where I met a boy and, by the end of the year, I was engaged to be married.

1986

POP: 25,309,331 – Prime Minister: Brian Mulroney (Conservative)

In the News: The Canadian dollar hit an all-time low of USD70.2 and Jean Drapeau (responsible for the Metro, Expo 67 and Place des Arts) resigned as Mayor of Montreal.

Favourite song: Chris deBurgh’s “Lady in Red”.

Travels included Vancouver (British Columbia) and weekends in Magog (Eastern Townships).

My husband, our one-year daughter and I moved back to Quebec from Morrisburg (Ontario), where we operated a ten unit motel for a year until we quickly realized we were losing money. Real estate prices had increased so much in the one year since we left Dorval that we had to buy in a suburb further west of Montreal (Ile Perrot). Moving “home” was no longer an option once married and 29 years old!

Mother and daughter – 1986

1991

POP: 27,296,859 – Prime Minister: Brian Mulroney (Conservative)

In the News: The GST tax came into effect and Canadian forces participated in the Persian Gulf War.

Favourite song: Cher’s “It’s in his kiss”.

Travels included Vancouver and Victoria (British Columbia).

Now divorced and living with my six-year daughter in Magog (Eastern Townships) after closing our used bookstore since we were losing money…again. True to my flip-flop nature, I enrolled to study business at Bishop’s University as a 34-year old mature student. My daughter and I attended our respective schools and enjoyed a less expensive country life filled with seasonal sports and blessed with a group of supportive friends.

1996

POP: 28,846,761 – Prime Minister: Jean Chretien (Liberal)

In the News: Mr. Dressup’s last children’s show. Lucien Bouchard replaced Jacques Parizeau after the second lost Quebec referendum. Severe flooding of the Saguenay River (east of Montreal).

Favourite song: Sarah McLachlan’s “I will remember you”.

Travels included Glacier Park (Montana), San Francisco and Carmel (California), Los Cabos (Mexico) as well as cottage time at the lake.

My father died (1995). After five years of study, I graduated from university at 39 years old. My daughter and I moved back to Montreal (Quebec) to start my new career but mostly to crowd into an apartment with my boyfriend of three years and his two teenage children. We married two years later.

Cottage time at the lake as a family – 1996

2001

POP: 30,007,094 – Prime Minister: Jean Chretien (Liberal)

In the News: 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US and Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s space walk.

Favourite song: Westlife’s “Uptown Girl”.

Travels included Porto (Portugal) and an Alaskan cruise as well as cottage time at the lake.

My business degree enabled me to work full time while juggling my busy new family life but we still found time to travel. The events of 9/11 shook up the world, affecting the travel industry especially, so my husband took the early retirement package “offered” by Air Canada. So at the age of 44, I found myself with my new husband retired, my daughter finishing high school and a roomier apartment as the other two children were away at school in the United States.

2006

POP: 31,612,897-Prime Minister: Stephen Harper (Conservative)

In the News: Dawson College shooting, the fatal collapse of a Laval overpass (a suburb north of Montreal), the Québécois ethnic group officially recognized as a nation within Canada.

Favourite song: John Mayer’s “Waiting on the world to change”.

Travels included Lisbon (Portugal) and a Hawaiian cruise as well as cottage time at the lake.

The only one left in our “nest” was my daughter who attended McGill locally. We continued to enjoy travelling (on Air Canada passes) while I was still working at age 49 and my husband enjoyed his early retirement.

One of several cruises enjoyed with my husband

2011

POP: 33,476,688-Prime Minister: Stephen Harper (Conservative)

In the News: Extreme weather conditions with a winter storm in the Maritimes, a cold snap in Quebec, the Richelieu River overflowing its banks and Wild Fires in the West.

Favourite song: Adele’s “Someone like you”.

Travels included a Hawaiian cruise, England to meet our second grandchild, Halifax (Nova Scotia), Los Angeles (California) and Seattle (Washington) as well as cottage time at the lake.

My husband and I are very comfortable in our new house (2007) that we bought after all the children left home! The unfinished basement made a fabulous art studio that I enjoyed now that I was semi-retired. As a 54- year old grandmother of two, I had the time, love and energy to share with them…but sadly they lived in England.

Cottage time at the lake with the grandkids – 2012

2016

POP: 35,151,728 – Prime Minister: Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

In the News: Final concert of Canadian band Tragically Hip, Wild Fires evacuate Fort McMurray (Alberta).

Favourite song: Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph”.

Travels included a Carribean cruise, a visit with the grandkids in England, a trip down my husband’s memory lane in Winnipeg (Manitoba) and cottage time at the lake.

My daughter married and lives only ten minutes away. Fully retired from office life at the age of 59, I enjoyed an active membership in two art associations. And, as one of nine writers in my genealogy group, my monthly creative writings were due regularly. I volunteered any spare time with the “stitch and bitch” group at my church.

Trip to England to visit the grandkids and the Disraeli House – 2016

2021

POP: 38,246,108 – Prime Minister: Justin Trudeau (Liberal)

In the News: Covid, Vaccinations, Closed Canada-US border and Canadian Indian residential schools gravesites.

Favourite song: All the Golden Oldies!

Travels were restricted to cottage time at the lake… which helped keep me sane.

The strange year flew by with very little in the way of normalcy. We kept safe in our house, wore masks in public, washed our hands frequently, only shopped when necessary and maintained our distance from others. At 64 years, staying fit and healthy had never been more important. The deck at the back of our house provided numerous opportunities for outdoor entertaining of family, friends and neighbours between May and September.

I wonder what my life will look like for the 2026 Census?

Perhaps someday my “great-greats” will find this story helpful and some of their research on my life will already be done!

One of my sculptures

The Great Fire of 1852

The Great Fire of 1852 in Montreal

The strongest portion of this dossier resides with John Lovell (Lovell Directory) on pages 8 and 9 – At a point in time when readers at Genealogy Ensemble realize that their ancestor or ancestors in 1852 had lost their home or homes as per a listing of streets of Montreal in which streets practically all houses were destroyed on July 15th 1852 – See pages 4 and 5 for the streets most affected by this major fire.

Very few books still in print are available in 2020 about this event. On the other hand, Érudit, McCord Museum, BAnQ Numérique, BAnQ Patrimoine, BAnQ Advitam, BAnQ Documents, Collections Canada have books relating to the Great Fire.

BAnQ Patrimoine and BAnQ Documents are two new (fairly new) online dossiers introduced by Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec without fanfare (hype) in which one will find online and in-house digitized dossiers (documents) which address historical events.

Click here to access  Great Fire of 1852 in Montreal

Contents:     The Great Fire of 1852 in Montreal

Introduction

Pages   4 -10    Authors

Pages 10-11   Repositories

Pages 11 -15  History

Margaret votes

Nicholson Clipping of the 1912 visit to Montreal of militant British suffragette, Barbara Wiley. At least one Montreal society lady, a Mrs. Weller, wife of an electricity magnate, openly admired the suffragettes. She visited them in London and soon after invited Miss Wiley to speak at her Westmount home. where she got many of her friends to subscribe to Votes for Women, Mrs. Pankhurst’s militant -minded magazine. Most upper crust women who admired Pankhurst kept it under wraps. Mrs. Pankhurst was simply despised by many people, especially men.

Suffragist: A person who advocates for votes for women.

Suffragette: Someone who advocates militant methods to win the vote for women.

If you come from Protestant Canadians, especially Presbyterians or Methodists, it is likely you have a female ancestor or two from 100 years ago who believed that women should have the vote.

It’s safe to say, however, that none of these ancestors ever marched in a suffrage parade, as did some American women. They likely didn’t throw hatchets at store windows, either, as did some British suffragettes. Nor did they ransack golf courses or go on hunger strikes in jail like the most militant suffragettes in England.

The Canadian Woman Suffrage Movement was much more tame (dull and boring) than in the UK or even in the US. In 1913, in Canada, the movement was controlled by a group of elite matrons, most with wealthy husbands, who were highly invested in the status quo. They did not want working class women or even ‘excitable’ young women of their own class to enlist in their suffrage associations. Most of them weren’t ‘equal rights’ suffragists.

Some of these ladies wanted the vote solely to cleanse society of its undesirable elements – to impose their values on others. Some wanted to clean up or “purify” what they saw as a corrupt City Hall, that allowed prostitution (the social evil) and alcohol consumption to flourish. Others wanted the vote to improve the lives of children of all classes because they believed men only cared about money. These were maternal suffragists and probably in the majority.

Page from minute book of Montreal Suffrage Association at BANQ.. Hmm. Someone has crossed out a line claiming the association is non-militant. Ha ha. They also want to subscribe to Pankhurst’s Votes for Women magazine.

The Montreal Suffrage Association was launched in March 1913 at the height of the Canadian movement. The MSA was led by Miss Carrie Derick, McGill Botany Professor and the former President of the Montreal Local Council of Women. Two other McGill profs were on the Board of the MSA, they were male, of course, along with two church ministers (one of whom was a real Pankhurst hater) and socialite and philanthropist Julia Parker Drummond.

At their inaugural meeting, the MSA promised to conduct a ‘ sweet and reasonable education of the people.”

My husband’s great grandmother, Margaret Nicholson of Richmond, Quebec and her three daughters, Edith, Marion and Flora, were not invited to join the MSA, even if the girls lived and worked in Montreal. Even though they attended suffrage evenings sponsored by the MSA.

Still, they were avid supporters of woman suffrage. They left behind (for my own education) many newspaper clippings like the one at top covering all aspects of the topic.

I also have a 1908 letter from Margaret to her husband, Norman, recounting a huge argument she had about the vote with an anti-suffrage preacher relative. ‘I told him we don’t live in St Paul’s time and I don’t milk cows out in the field. ” St Paul was often invoked to prove women’s place is in the home.

Edith writes this in a 1913 letter from Montreal. “We are going to hear Mrs. Snowden (moderate suffragist from England) speak at St James Methodist Church, but she is not militant and for this I am very sad.”

So, she was all for the militant suffragettes, who were at their naughtiest and noisiest in 1913, employing incendiary and sensational tactics “deeds not words” to get their point across and making all the North American news feeds.

Canadian women finally won the vote, in May 1, 1918. A select few, those women with men active at the war front, had been allowed to vote in the infamous – and very undemocratic – conscription election of 1917.

Margaret Nicholson did not have a close relative in the war. She voted for the first time in December, 1921.

I have that letter too. Here is what she wrote:

December 7, 1921, Richmond, Quebec.

Mr. Fraser and I went down to vote at around 11:30. I did not want anyone calling of me and asking to drive me to the poll. I wanted to go independently. Mr. Duboyce called at about 3:30 and asked me if I had voted. I said, “ Do you suppose I would wait until this late hour to vote?” He was going to take me down in the car. He then came up and asked if my neighbour, I mean Ethel, would go to vote. Well, she would not. Later, I was invited over to Ethel’s. She said Tobin did not need her vote, but if she was going to vote, she would vote for him. Mrs. Farquarson did vote, but seemed ashamed. I have not seen her since. Mrs. Montgomery came last night, but too late to vote.

Of, I am so delighted with this country!

It did not feel degrading in any way.

Margaret Nicholson and her daughters, circa 1910 in their fancy white dresses.
Margaret’s 1921 letter to her husband. “How I love this country..”

If you would like to read more on the weird Montreal Suffrage Movement in 1913, you can find Furies Cross the Mersey on Amazon.ca.

I mix the story of the Nicholsons with the story of Carrie Derick and the Kenney sisters, Sarah and Caroline, who moved from England to Montreal and tried to start a militant movement. They were the sisters of Annie Kenney, Mrs. Pankhurst’s famous first lieutenant. I believe I was the first person to figure this out..thanks to Google News Archives.

If you want to read more about the Canadian suffragists and their involvement in the Conscription election, read my Service and DIsservice, also on Amazon.ca KINDLE.

Pierre Gadois the First Farmer

There is always a lot of talk in this province about who is a “real” Quebecer. Our current Premier Francois Legault, wants to limit services in English to “Historical Anglos”. While I can certainly claim this right, having been born and raised in Quebec, as were my parents, I also have “Pure Laine” ancestry. I descend from Pierre Gadois, the first person to be granted land on the Island of Montreal.

St Martin Church in d’Ige, France

L’eglise Saint-Martin d’Igé in Orme, Basse-Normandie, in north west France has a plaque with the names of men who left for Canada and the saying, “Je me Souviens” (I remember). I don’t know when the plaque was installed in this ancient church but Pierre Gadois arrived in Nouvelle France (Canada) about 1636. He left in one of the earliest waves of immigrants from L’Igé. Nicolas Godé, his sister Francoise’s husband also has his name on the plaque. That family arrived in Ville Marie (Montreal) six years later.

Pierre, his wife Louise and two children sailed to New France as part of a settlement initiative by Robert Giffard de Moncel, the first Seigneur of the French Colony. They first settled near Quebec City on the Beauport Seigneury where Pierre farmed. Another child, Francois was born during this time and baptized in 1636. Pierre decided to move to the safety of Montreal after several Indian attacks. It was recorded that Hurons entered his house a number of times, beat him and robbed him of food.

While he arrived in Montreal after the founding ceremony in 1642, he was still a very early settler. In 1648 Paul de Chomedy de Maisonneuve the governor of the colony, awarded him the first land grant. Why was he given 40 arpents of land? Had he proven himself a good farmer? The answer was probably yes. The colony needed food to survive and as the majority of inhabitants were soldiers farmers would be important citizens. Pierre Gadois was well thought of as he was also elected the fourth warden of Notre Dame Church.

According to notarial records, Pierre farmed his land and later added to his acreage. It was François Dollier de Casson, the author of the Histoire du Montréal 1640- 1672 who referred to him as “Le Première Habitant” or first farmer of Ville Marie.

He built a small wooden house of 390 pi² (French square feet slightly larger than English ones) on some of his land. An out building of almost the same size was also erected. This land is now in what is called “Old Montreal” bordering on de La Commune on the south, rue St Pierre on the east and possibly McGill Street on the west.

Montreal was not safe from Indian attacks even with its protective palisades. Pierre continued to defend his land and his family. Even when he was well into his sixties, he fought bravely defending Charles Le Moyne and other colonists who had been attacked by the Iroquois.

I descend from Pierre’s daughter Roberte Gadois and her husband Louis Prud’homme. Roberte became the owner of a number of pieces of property, after her father’s death. The family continued farming as their profession continued to be recorded as production-aliment or food producers.

Montreal kept growing. When François Dollier de Casson laid out the first streets for Montreal, one, Rue Sainte-Pierre was named in memory of Pierre Gadois. A small monument in Place d’Youville, placed there in 1992 during Montreal’s 350thanniversary also honour’s The First Farmer.

Pierre Gadois Stone in Place d’Youville, Montreal

Notes:

Pierre Gadois (Gadoys) Born 1594 & died Oct 20, 1667 in Montreal age 73.Married Louise Mauger in 1627.She was born in 1598 and she died 18 March 1690 in Montreal at age 92!

Their Children:

Roberte Gadois was born Sept 15, 1628 in France & died Sept 14, 1716, Montreal, the day before her 88th birthday.

Pierre born Nov 17, 1631 died May 18 1714

Eitenne ?

Ernest?

Francois born Dec 2, 1636 No further information.

Jeanne born Jun 26,1638 died June 26, 1638

Joseph born Sept 28 1639 died Oct 1639

Jean-Baptiste born March 2, 1641 died April 15, 1728

Pierre’s father was Francois Jean Gadois and his mother Barnabe Gadois

He was the brother of Francois, Francoise and half brother of Valentine Gadois.

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

Adhemar – Fiche Biographique Centre of Canadian Architecture

https://www.remparts.info/adhemar_php/bio.php?I_NUMERO=GAD0001 accessed Jan 02, 2020.

Jean-Jacques Lefebvre, “GADOYS, PIERRE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed September 3, 2020,

http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/gadoys_pierre_1E.html

http://www.perche-quebec.com/files/perche/individus/gadois.htm

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Gadois-12

http://www.perche-quebec.com/files/perche/individus/emigrants-en.htm#12 plaque in d’Igé

http://www.perche-quebec.com/files/perche/lieux/ige.htm#1

Here you can read the story about his wife Louise Mauger. https://genealogyensemble.com/2019/09/11/la-fermiere-louise-mauger/

Marin Boucher another Percheron immigrant’s story. https://genealogyensemble.com/2020/09/09/marin-boucher-pioneer-of-new-france/

Beatrice Bruneau Quiet Perseverance

IMG_0047
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.

IMG_0048
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

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.

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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.”

A Montreal Stockbroker…and much more

Montreal, Quebec, was booming early in the 20th century just before World War I (1914-1919).

During this time, immigration surged setting new records and the population of Montreal grew to half a million people. Skilled workers from England found employment in the city’s factories and European immigrants, especially Jews fleeing persecution, made up the biggest group. Local people were also migrating from rural areas attracted by the city’s remarkable economic growth and the available opportunities.

Montreal offered all these people hope of a better life.

Canada’s first stock exchange, The Montreal Stock Exchange founded in 1832, grew to prestigious levels during this time of great expansion. In 1910, the total number of trades was more than double that of The Toronto Stock Exchange. This growth led to the merger of several small companies creating larger corporations which in turn traded their shares1 on the Exchange.

Montreal_Stock_Exchange_1903
The Montreal Stock Exchange 1903

My great grandfather, Robert Lindsay (1855-1931), was a stockbroker during this exciting and prosperous period of Montreal history. Robert was the son of the successful banker, Robert A. Lindsay (Bank of Montreal), as well as the nephew of the prominent politician, William Burns Lindsay. Wisely, he left banking and politics to his elders and forged his own career in finance.

Robert Lindsay
Robert Lindsay – Montreal Stock Broker 1881

Robert was born in Montreal in 1855, the oldest of four children, three boys plus a girl who died in infancy. His mother, Henrietta Dyde, passed away in 1864, ten weeks after her baby daughter died. Robert was only nine years old at the time. His father remarried two years later and he and his new wife, Charlotte Anne Vennor, had six more children.

Mary Heloise Bagg, one of the daughters of Stanley Clark Bagg and Catherine Mitcheson, became his bride in 1881. The Baggs, a prominent Montreal family with real estate interests, welcomed their first stockbroker into the family.

Robert and Mary Heloise Wedding day
Mr and Mrs Robert Lindsay -1881

Early in 1914, at the age of 59, Robert retired from his long and successful career as a stockbroker. That same summer, during one of his periodic trips to England, he arrived just days before the outbreak of WW1. His son, Stanley (1889-1963), had enlisted as a lieutenant2 with the Royal Highlanders of Canada so Robert decided to take up residence with the rest of his family.

He joined forces with Canadian philanthropist Lady Drummond and Lady Perley as founders of the first of The King George and Queen Mary Maple Leaf Clubs3. Several sizeable London homes were donated and refurbished to provide for the welfare of Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) soldiers on leave from the front. The safe well organized environment provided lodgings, meals, recreational activities, up-to-date military information and even savings accounts for the soldiers thus preventing drinking, idleness and any opportunity to pursue “morally questionable activities”. London became their “home away from home” where they could recover from trench life, boost their morale and heal physically and mentally before returning to the front.

Three years later, in 1917, Robert’s ill health led to his withdrawal as the Treasurer-Secretary and his return home to Montreal. “The committee and workers of “The Maple Leaf Clubs” greatly regretted his departure… As a souvenir of his services, they presented him with a massive silver cigar box…”4

Robert’s son became “Captain” Stanley Lindsay and survived the Second Battle of Ypres (and the first German gas attack). Eventually he recovered his health and also returned home to Montreal in 1919.

Stanley Bagg Lindsay
Captain Stanley Lindsay 13th Battalion Royal Highlanders of Canada

Once home again, Robert and his wife committed their lives to helping others. He was a member of the Anglican Church, a life governor on the board of three main hospitals as well as the Church Home (for the elderly) and a member of The Mount Royal Club.

One such commitment catered to his great interest in art. Robert had been active in the Art Association of Montreal (now the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) since his retirement from the financial world. He was honorary president at the time of his death and had previously held executive positions for many years.

His obituary remembered him as “a kindly man of retiring nature… a supporter of many charity campaigns, and who preferred to remain anonymous in all his undertakings”5.

Edited by author 2020-07-13

1“Shares are units of ownership interest in a corporation or financial asset that provide equal distribution in any profits, if any are declared, in the form of a dividend”. Www.Investopedia.com as seen 2020-07-13

2Stanley B. Lindsay worked his way up to Captain with the 13th Battalion of the Royal Highlanders of Canada

4Maple Leaf Clubs Lose Treasurer, Mr. Robt Lindsay Back From England After Four Years’ Absence – Friend of Soldiers – Newspaper article -August 7, 1917.

5Robert Lindsay is claimed by death in his 77th year, Newspaper Obituary, June 5, 1931.

The Decaries and the Prud’hommes

I have driven along Cote St Antoine thousands of times, through Westmount and NDG, without realizing my ancestors in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries also used the same route.

When researching one’s ancestors it is nice to find out where they lived, which city, town or area. In my case, the Decaries and the Prud’hommes can be located by the streets that bear their names. They farmed land in what is now the Notre Dames de Grace (NDG) section of Montreal. The Decaries have a boulevard and an expressway named after them. Prudhomme Ave is only four blocks long just west of Decarie and the street jigs and jags.

Jean Decarie dit Le Houx and Louis Prud’homme, two of my seven times great grandfathers, were some of the early settlers in Nouvelle France. They first obtained land in Ville-Marie as their names are on plots of a 1663 map.

Jean Decarie arrived from France before 1650. He was a stone mason and started quarries. He married Michelle Artus in 1654, after meeting her in Quebec City while there buying supplies. She had just arrived from France. By 1729 they are said to have had 82 descendants.

Louis Prud’homme was a brewer and a captain in the Montreal militia. He was another early inhabitant of Montreal as he married Roberte Gadois there in 1650. He was elected as one of the first wardens by the Sulpicians for the parish of Notre Dame.

The Decaries and Prud’hommes were two of 13 families granted land by the Sulpicians along Cote Saint-Antoine. Jean Decarie bought the first strip of land, concession 615 in 1675. These early roads allowed settlers to move away from the original walled city. The land grants were from the St Pierre River north to the mountain. The men began working the land while still living in Ville-Marie. They all had trades which allowed them to survive while they cleared the land, built houses and began farming. They were neighbours, friends and many intermarriages made them families.

For a time, the area was known as the “Haute Folie,” as those who lived there were fools to have left the safety of the walled city but these families continued to live in the same area for more than two centuries.

The land was on the south side on Mount Royal’s western summit (Westmount Mountain). It was good land for farming with many streams and wonderful views down to the St Lawrence River. They built their houses close to the roads and out of the wind,  not for the views.

The Decaries and the Prud’hommes became successful farmers whose land was passed from father to son and sometimes even to a daughter. In the 1731 survey, their farms were well developed and affluent with a house, barn and stable on all their properties. The Decaries were known for their melons. Musk or Mush melons, also known as Montreal melons, thrived in the perfect conditions of the area. There were also orchards covering much of the properties. Apple trees were common but also cherry, peach, plum and other tender fruit trees survived in the microclimate of the south facing ravines.

Intermarriages continued. My two-time great grandmother Sophie Marie Prud’homme (1812-1892) who married Barnabé Bruneau was the daughter of Jeramie Prud’homme (1766-1846) and Marie Louise Decarie (1769 -1855)

As the city grew, many of the farms were sub-divided and single family homes were built. Not all the owners were happy to sell their land. Although the Prud’hommes had earlier sold land to the church to build Église de Notre Dame de Toutes Grâces. Leon Prud’homme tried to fight expropriation of some of his lands by the Atlantic Railway. It was said to be “the most beautiful orchards in the country,” but the rail line was built. The first Decarie house was sold and demolished in 1912 by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company to build a roundhouse.

After more than 200 years the farms were gone.

My great uncle, Sydney Bruneau, used to walk with his children around eastern NDG and tell them that they were walking on their ancestors land, and they were!

 

For a story about Sophie Marie Prud’homme and her husband Barnabe Bruneau https://wordpress.com/post/genealogyensemble.com/1040

 

References:

The Settlement and Rural Domestic Architecture of Cote Saint-Antoine, 1675-1874. Masters thesis by Janet S. MacKinnon 2004. Faculty of Urban Planning, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/80345357.pdf/

https://www.nosorigines.qc.ca/genealogie.aspx?lng=fr accessed Nov 9 2018.

Dictionary of Canadian Biography accessed Nov 9, 2018. http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/prud_homme_louis_1E.html

La Patrie, 6 October 1888, page 6.

Notes:

The 13 original settlers were Jean Decarie, Louis Prudhomme, Marin Hurtubise, Jean Leduc, Rene Bouchard dit Lavallee, Joseph Chevaudier dit Lepine, Jean Cousineau, Honore Dasny, Jean Deroches, Simon Guillory, Louis Langevin dit Lacroix, Pierre Verrier dit LaSolaye and Antoine Boudria.

Two Decarie houses remain today, one at 39 Cote St Antoine and the other the “Pink” house at 5138 Cote Sainte-Antoine. The Prud’homme’s house at 967 Girouard near Rue St Jacques is also still standing. It was the first farm along Upper Lachine Road. The other house we can see today is the Hurtubise house at 563 Cote St Antoine. Marie Hurtubise married Paul Decarie in 1686.

Another Prud’homme house stood until around 1900 though then it was known as the Saint-Germain house, originally ceded to Francois Prud’homme in 1708. In 1892 the property was subdivided into 68 lots on each side of Lansdowne Ave above Cote Saint-Antoine. There was another Decarie property that stood until 1912. It was on the property first purchased by Jean Decarie dit Lehoux in 1675 but likely built by his grandson Joseph.

My grandfather, William H Sutherland was looking for a solid stone house before he bought 28 Arlington Avenue in 1922. According to his daughter, “his first choice at that time was a detached stone house on Cote St. Antoine Road but it wasn’t available; it has since become a historical monument.” Was that the Hurtubise house?

I wondered what Janet MacKinnon was doing now after this very detailed thesis and found she had unfortunately died Feb 4, 2011, in Montreal, at 54 years of age. Thank you Janet for your informative thesis.