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 Endured the Expulsion

As of this date in my research, I have identified twenty seven individuals  - ancestors -  of the Rivet family who endured the expulsion.  The first individual identified in the list, Prudent Robichaud was elderly at the time and did not survive the ordeal. 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. The University of Moncton's website on the history of Acadia, offers 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. "

Therefore, 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.  

The twenty seven individuals were:
Prudent Robichaud   c1669 - c1756
Prudent Robichaud, son, abt 1696-
Dominique Robichaud   1723 - 1791
Anne Robichaud   1730 - 1813
Marie Josephe Melancon    1713 - 1793
Marie Josèphe Lord     1718 - 1787
Louis Lord    1722 - 1781
Marie Leblanc   1706 - 1781
Joseph Leblanc   1741 - 1812
Francois Leblanc    1712 - 1790
Francois Leblanc     1688 - 1761
Pierre "Laguerre" Lanoue    1738 - 1820
Jean Baptiste Landry 1716 - 1770
Jean Baptiste Jeanson/Janson/Johnson    1715 - 1785
Marguerite Forest-Troye    1725 - 1795
Louis Fontaine 1707-1787
Luce-Josephe Fontaine    1734 - 1791
Pierre Dupuis    1714 - 1790
Marie Madeleine Dugas    1732 - 1790
Isabelle Dugas    1721 - 1807
Claude Dugas    1710 - 1792
Marie Marguerite Daigle    1724 - 1826
Germain Bourgeois    1749 - 1820
Claude Bourgeois    1695 - 1760
Anastasie Bourgeois    1730 - 1793
Marguerite Boudrot    1698 - 1767
Pierre Amirault    1722 - 1796

With the exception of the individuals on The Pembroke, the Acadian ancestors of the Rivets  were transported to the Connecticut and Massachusetts colonies.  Some had children born in Connecticut and Massachusetts.  They gradually made their way to Québec and settled in communities there. 

Here's the line up of stories about the Acadians in our families on this blog