Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thinking of Ancestors on All Hallowed Eve

Below: Kinner or Wood Creek Cemetery, along Route 4 between Fort Anne and Whitehall, NY

Kinner or Wood Creek

Below: North Granville, NY

An interesting monument

John & Addie Mylott
North Granville NY

Below: East Pownal Cemetery, Vermont

John Wills and Annie Reed

Pownal, Vermont

Below: in St. Joseph's, Waterford, NY....

Visiting the Relatives in Greenwich, NY circa 1934

The Wills Family of Cohoes, NY would visit their papa's sister's family in Greenwich, NY
Papa was John Albert Wills Sr and his sister was "Liz" who married Patrick White (born in Vermont) and who had a beautiful home in Greenwich, NY.  I believe the home no longer exists and was on the bend next to the river on the eastern side of town.  In some pictures the railroad bridge that still exists is in the background.
Liz Wills and Patrick White had several children who were born in Pownal, Vermont.  They named one daughter Elestra, after her great grandmother back in St Uny Lelant in Cornwall.  Elestra seemed to prefer to be called Leslie.  She married Louis Donahue, a butcher, and lived in Easton where Louis grew up.  There was  a son named Gorman and another daughter Annie. There may have been more children. Sometime in 1959, my mother took me to Greenwich to visit Annie who married James Floyd Ahern.  They had a liquor store in a building that is now a laundromat on the north side of the main street in Greenwich.
When the Wills family visited, they probably stayed for a few days and seemed to enjoy the opportunity to take lots of pictures, especially of daughters Elizabeth, Dorothy and Etta with spinning wheels and watering cans in the garden.

The home of the Mr. & Mrs. Patrick White, Greenwich, NY in 1934

John Albert Berryman Wills and his sister,
  "Liz" Wills who married Patrick White

Left to Right Back Row:
Elizabeth Wills White (sister of John Albert Berryman Wills), "grandma"? ,
Elizabeth Bissonnette Wills,  Patrick White, Lewis Donahue, Bob.
Left to Right Front Row:
 Elizabeth Wills, Billy Donahue, Lesile White Donahue, Muriel Etta Wills

Dorothy Mae Wills, Etta Wills, Elizabeth Wills
with Billy and Phil.

Elizabeth Wills and Dorthy Mae Wills behind her

Annie White and Elizabeth Wills

Gorman White

Gorman White and Unidentified Child

Etta Wills

Dorothy Mae Wills and her brother
 John Wills in the background

Elestra "Leslie"  White

"Leslie" or Elestra White Donahue with her husband
 Lewis Donahue and son Billy.

Annie White

Annie White and Unidentified Child

Annie White

Dorothy Mae Wills

Lou - Bob - Uncle Pat

Aunt Liz's Home

Billy -Beth_Phil
Beth is Elizabeth Wills,
daughter of
 John Wills & Libby Bissonnette

Phil, Annie White Ahern, Billy

Phil and Billy

Billy, Uncle Pat, Phil

Elizabeth and Etta Wills

Annie White Ahern

Is this across the river from the present day site where the White home once stood?

Is this the same railroad bridge that is in the background of the photo of Etta Wills with the watering can?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lea: French Talk in Cohoes

Lea, still speaking French in Cohoes....

Although I usually do not write about the living, I want to make a small exception to tell you, dear cousins, about Lea who is truly a special lady.  Lea's maiden name was St. Hilaire and she grew up in "The Orchard", an area of Cohoes west of the the falls where her grandfather bought a large tract of land and farmed. Her father was Alfred St. Hilaire and her mother was Rosalie Chouiniere.  Her grandfather was Louis St Hilaire, born in 1858 in Napierville, Québec (Just a little north of the US-Canada border) and her grandmother was Elisa Paré; they were married in Napierville and emigrated to Cohoes in the 19th century.  Louis St. Hilaire's father was Jean Louis St. Hilaire (also called Thomas) and his mother was Émélie Mongeau.

When I was a young girl, I probably met Lea several times because she often visited her cousin and his wife, Arthur St. Hilaire and his wife Muriel Etta Wills who were my uncle and aunt.  Of course I didn't remember her, I was young and unimpressed by tradition at that time!  Luckily, in the past year I  was advised by another cousin to "go see Lea" and that is exactly what I did!  What a wonderful time I spent with "Lea of the Orchard".

Lea grew up speaking French and English; most of her schooling was in French. She always spoke in French with her grandparents. She still loves to speak the French she remembers which now is mostly songs and prayers she learned as a child.  I have visited Lea in recent months, her health is not the best.  She has many stories about growing up French Canadian in Cohoes.  In the coming months, I hope to share some audio clips of Lea telling some of her stories.  Lea is one of the last of a rare kind...a true FrancoAmerican and one of the kindest and most gentle ladies of her era. 

The streets of Cohoes once rang out with French in the same way that today Spanish is heard in large and small cities in New York. Children were taught French in school but were also taught school in French!  Church services and social gatherings were conducted in French.  Sometime soon after World War II, that all changed and today there is no longer any French to be heard in Cohoes.  The French schools are long gone; the French Catholic churches have closed.

By the early 1990s, the Albany Times Union story lamented the sad decline of French and Franco traditions in the story below...
click on the image to enlarge and read with more ease

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Acadians in the Rivet Family who lived, died and were born during the "Grand Derangement"

There isn't an exact number of Acadian people who were expelled by the British and the New England regiments between 1755 and 1764.  Estimates range from 7,000 to 10,000 people.

I have tried to compile a list of those ancestors of the "Rivet Family of Cohoes" who endured the Grand Deportation of Acadians from present day Nova Scotia.  With the exception of those Rivet ancestors who were on board the ship named The Pembroke, all these Rivet ancestors were exiled to New England - Connecticut and Massachusetts.  The story of the Acadians and their dispersal across areas of the Atlantic is briefly told here.

One of the souls who did not survive the ordeal was the elderly Prudent Robichaud who was put upon The Pembroke. Interestingly and sadly, Prudent Robichaud may have died despondent and dispirited.  He was a key community leader who spoke both French and English and found a role keeping peace between the English rule and the French agricultural community.  A now broken link from the University of Moncton Acadian History site offered a brief biography of this man....

Prudent Robichaud (c. 1669-c. 1756)
"Prudent Robichaud, probably born in Port-Royal, was chosen in 1710 as the spokesman for the community, which was then under British rule. After 1720, he was an Acadian delegate who negotiated with the British administration. During that time, he was also one of the main suppliers for the British garrison of Port-Royal (then called Annapolis Royal), providing wood and food to the troops. In 1727, he was appointed justice of the peace for Annapolis Royal by British Lieutenant Governor Lawrence Armstrong and in 1733, Lawrence called upon him to collect the moneys that were to be paid to the British Crown. For over thirty years Robichaud worked with the British administration, but that would not save him from the Deportation. Despite his advanced age, he was embarked on the Pembroke with many other Acadians in 1755. "

Prudent Robichaud was on board the same ship with the ancestors of Arthur Mylott, the Guilbault Family, as noted in an earlier entry on this blog.  The history of The Pembroke on Acadian Ancestral Home states Prudent probably died in the summer of 1756 along the St. John's River in present day New Brunswick, Canada.  

These ancestors endured the deportation and were exiled:

  • Joseph Amireault 1689-1774 and Marguerite Lord 1698-1788 to Connecticut Colony.
  • Pierre Amireault 1722-1796 and Anne Robichaud 1739-1813 to Connecticut Colony.
  • Charles Belliveau, 1697-1758, widower, navigator. Escaped on The Pembroke, died of smallpox in Quebec.
  • Charles Belliveau 1731-1796 and Osithe Dugas 1734-1820 exiled to Massachusetts.
  • Claude Bourgeois 1695-1760 and Marie LeBlanc 1706-1781 exiled to Massachusetts.
  • Germain Bourgeois 1749-1820, child of Claude and Marie LeBlanc listed above, exiled to Massachusetts.
  • Marie Madeleine Bourgeois 1704-1770, widow of Pierre Robichaud exiled to Massachusetts.
  • Claude Dugas 1710-1792 and Marie Josephe Melancon 1713-1793 exiled to Massachusetts.
  • Pierre Dupuis 1714-1790 and Anastasie Bourgeois 1730-1793 exiled to Massachusetts.
  • Louis Fontaine 1707-1787 and Marie Madeleine Roy 1701-1758 exiled to Connecticut.
  • Jean Baptiste Jeanson 1715-1785 and Marie Josephte/Marie Jeanne Lord 1718-1796 exiled to Connecticut.
  • Jean Baptiste Landry 1716-1770 and Marie Marguerite Daigle 1724-1799 exiled to Massachusetts.
  • Pierre Lanoue 1738-1820, widower of Anne Belliveau, exiled to Connecticut.
  • Pierre Lanoue 1738-1820 and Marie Josephe Dugas 1721-1807 exiled to Connecticut.
  • Francois LeBlanc 1712-1790 and Marguerite Boudrot 1698- after 1767 exiled to Massachusetts.
  • Francois LeBlanc 1712-1790 and Isabelle Dugas 1721-1807 exiled to Massachusetts.
  • Joseph LeBlanc 1741-1812 and Marie Madeleine Dugas 1732-1790 exiled to Massachusetts.
  • Louis Lord 1722-1781 and Luce Josephe Fontaine 1734-1805 exiled to Connecticut.
  • Madeleine Melanson the widow of Charles Belliveau, born about 1677, escaped on The Pembroke.
  • Charles Melanson 1675-1757 widower of Anne Bourg, died in Quebec.
  • Charles Melanson (~1701- ?) may have died before, during or in exile in Connecticut with his spouse Anne Granger (1705- after 1763) She was exiled to Connecticut.
  • Amable Melanson 1744-1826 exiled to Connecticut.
  • Prudent Robichaud born 1669, widower of Henrietta Pettipas, escaped on The Pembroke, died along the St John’s River near present day Fredericton, New Brunswick. 
  • Prudent Robichaud, widower of Marie Francoise Bourgeois. Disposition Unknown.
  • Dominque Robichaud 1723-1791 and Marguerite Forest-Troye 1725-1795 exiled to Connecticut.
  • Marie Madeleine Bourgeois 1704-1770, widow of Pierre Robichaud exiled to Massachusetts.

These ancestors were born in exile:
  • Jean Amireault 1756-1845 born in Connecticut, married to...
  • Marie Anne Dupuis 1762-1833 born in Massachusetts.
  • Marguerite Jeanson 1760-1817 born in Connecticut.
  • Marguerite Lanoue 1771-1826 born in Connecticut.
  • John Baptiste Lord dit Talaron 1761-1817 born in Connecticut, married to...
  • Luce Robichaud 1764-1847 born in Connecticut.
  • Ludivine Elizabeth Belliveau 1757-1844 born in Massachsetts.

Below is a recap of the stories written about Acadians in this blog so far.  This list includes some early posts that may not have been well researched but I am reviewing them for accuracy and hope they will "make the cut"!