Monday, January 31, 2011

No Longer a Mystery: Arthur Homer Mylott 's Birthplace. Alternate title: "Birthing Babies on a Boat"

Right: Arthur Homer Mylot
 with his cousin Effie Van Hoesen
 on the left
 at Doyle City, Waterford. circa 1922
This may be Arthur in the wagon and older brother pulling
Arthur is the smallest kid in the group
The boy in black looks like older brother, Milo.

Arthur Homer Mylott,
daughter with the earmuffs,
and Arthur's mother, Edith Lida Glode.
Around the holidays 1956.

Until the day he died, Arthur Homer Mylott, never knew exactly where he was born.  In the early 1980s he applied for a passport.  When he went to get a birth certificate, he found out he had an interesting challenge.  There was no birth certificate in the village of Waterford, NY.  There was no birth certificate in the town of Waterford.  He was told the State of New York probably had a record of his birth and to write to New York State.  No record was found at the state.  Passport officials stated he could get a letter written by an older sibling stating he was a brother and always had been a brother and born in Waterford.  His brother Milo obliged and a notary signed the document.  He finally got a passport.  But the question always nagged him and he wondered exactly why he had no birth certificate and exactly where he was born.  He was always told he was born on the boat- the Champlain Canal boat his parents worked in summers.  He joked about it,  "I was born on the boat" but he was never certain.  Then while checking for his great grandfather's birth in Québec, I passed right ofter a name that appeared in my search "Joseph Arthur Omer Mylott".  I was looking for "Robert Mylott" and that didn't seem close enough to pursue.  The next day I looked and there was "Joseph Arthur Omer Mylott" again.  This time it caught me off guard and I took a deep breath.  Could it really be my Arthur?
Yes it was.  Joseph Arthur Omer Mylott, son of Benjamin Mylott and Ida Glode, baptized on July 15th, 1918 in St Joseph's Church in Chamby, Québec!

Edith Ida Glode
A strong woman, a survivor.
Giving birth to babies on boats!
A widow and
mother of Milo, Edgar and Arthur
and several children who did not live to adulthood.
Grandmother, Great grandmother too.

St Joseph's, Chambly

The document states Arthur's father, Benjamin Mylott,  is a navigator.  Arthur Mylott was born on the canal boat while in the Chambly Canal!  

Unfortunately, he never was a little too late.

Joseph Arthur Omer Mylott
July 15, 1918 - October 14, 2006
The Best of the Best
 A hero, my "King Arthur"

Poestenskill Creek

Green Island, NY
In Panama Canal Zone 1939

and finally below are images of the canal at Chambly....

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bissonnette Street and Bissonnette Shore Road, Varennes, Québec

Bissonnette Street, Varennes, Québec

La famille Bissonnette est l'une des plus anciennes familles de Varennes. Bissonnette family is one of the oldest families in Varennes. Jacques Bissonnet, l'ancêtre dont le patronyme en terre française s'écrivait Bessonnet, a acquis une terre au cap de Varennes en la censive de René Gaultier de Varennes le 26 juillet 1669. Jacques Bissonnet, the ancestor whose name was written in France was Bessonnette, acquired land at Cap de Varennes according to the census of René Gaultier de Varennes July 26, 1669. Il unit sa destinée à Marie Collet le 19 novembre 1670. He married Mary Collet November 19, 1670. Ils eurent seize enfants dont six sont décédés en bas âge. They had sixteen children, six died in infancy.

Chemin de la Cote Bissonnette/Bissonnette Shore Road 

Pour commémorer toutes les familles Bissonnette établies le long et près de cette artère, première voie de communication reliant Varennes à Verchères. This route is renamed in commemoration of all the Bissonnette families established along and around this artery, the first road linking Varennes Vercheres. Autrefois nommée Côted'en-Bas jusqu'en 1995.  Up until 1995, it was named Côted'en Netherlands.

Clique on the Google location to find Rue Bissonnettte

Jacob Glaude - circa 1845

Jacob Glaude was born in LaPraire, Québec in 1812 and baptized in St. Constant as 
Jacques Poissant dit Glaude. 
Exactly when he moved into northern New York is still unknown but he raised his family in Champlain, NY.

He was a participant in a Plowing Match at a Cattle Show
circa 1845 in Clinton County, NY
featured in The Plattsburgh Republican Newspaper
Jacob was the great great grandfather of Milo, Edgar and Arthur Mylott through their mother, Edith Glode.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rivets: Along L'Assomption River

The region of the world where the Rivets lived and loved, worked and played before they went south! - Click on the link in the previous sentence, hold on and the map will eventually appear.  Then click on the red dots to see the villages and cities along the L'Assomption River.  Although the Rivets started first families in Repentigny, they dispersed into different communities along this river including St Côme, St Alphonse, St. Melanie, Joliette and L'Assomption.

L'Assomption River makes a water cul-de-sac for the village

Roger on the Chambly Canal - a stop to find Fort Ste Therese

When I prepared to visit Fort Ste Therese on the Richelieu, I didn't know where to find it.  So as I went driving through St Jean sur Richelieu, I stopped at the Tourist Center.  I asked the young girl behind the counter how to find it. She insisted there was no Fort called Ft Ste Therese.  I insisted there was a Ft Ste Therese.  I drove north of the city and stopped along a little gatehouse on the Chambly Canal and met "Roger" the canal bridge operator.  He was fantastic and loved to talk about the history of the Chambly Canal and Ft Ste Therese. He had the perfect job because he loved everything about it and where it was located.

Oh!  Of course Roger knew where Ft Ste Therese was located- a easy stroll down the path from his gatehouse on the canal!

Roger, stop and talk to him and he will share his love of the canal and the fort site!

Roger in the doorway of his office in the gatehouse.
By the way, "Roger" in Québec is pronounced like "Raj A"

Roger operates the bridge over the canal.  From a pamphlet, Roger gave me I read it is Bridge #9 built by the Montreal Bridge Works 1887-1888 and is the oldest bridge on the Chambly Canal.  It was first built for another canal, the Lachine Canal, and was moved to the Chambly Canal in 1923.  It is a "Pony Pratt swing truss bridge".  

I didn't see how the bridge operates to allow boats to pass through the canal on their way to Chambly and the St Lawrence.  There was only a few boats earlier that morning.  It looks like the bridge rotates off the canal on an axle.

Roger graciously loaned me his big umbrella and off I went down the path on the side of the canal to the spot where it is believed Fort Ste Therese once protected the valley from the Iroquois.

The canal now separates the land where the fort existed.
Presently, the site is wedged between the river and the canal.

The path to the site of Fort Ste Therese on the Richelieu River

Fort Chambly

If you are in the same boat as I was , you would ask what is Fort Chambly?  Why didn't I ever learn something about Fort Chambly when I was a school kid?  Why didn't I hear something about Fort Chambly when I learned about Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) and Fort Frederic (Crown Point)?   I don't know the answers to these questions but I can now say that the Mylott-Glode-Poissant-Bissonnette-Beauvais families would never have existed in Québec and live in the Richelieu region if it was not for Fort Chambly. Perhaps it was the French-English language divide that never came close enough to pass information along to families south of the border to to learn about it and want to travel to see it.  It is north of the 49th- but not far! So just get your car onto the Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87), head north, pass Saratoga Springs, Glens Falls, keep going pass the exits for the Adirondack High Peaks, pass though Plattsburgh, go across the border. Once you are in Québec stay on Hiway 15 towards Montréal (but don't go there), take route 30 east (l'est) instead and turn onto Boulevard Cousineau and into Chambly.  Head towards the river and you can't miss the Fort.

I visited the fort on a cold and rainy late September day. The sky was gray and the Richelieu River with its rapids at Chambly was swollen and there was no way to stay dry even walking around the stone walls.

The rapids  that prevented offensive maneuvers on the fort

In the distance: the steeple of St Joseph's Chuch in the Village

Many of the forefathers of families noted in this blog came from Old France as soldiers in the Carignan-Salieres regiment in 1665 to defend New France from Iroquois incursions. The original Fort Chambly, east of Montréal, was built by these men and called Fort St Louis.  It probably looked like the image below...

It was eventually burned down by Iroquois and reconstructed in 1702. It served as the base camp for raids into colonial New England and New York and served as a supply location for scouting parties and later relaying to Fort St Frederic and Fort Carillon.

Just like Carillon (Ticonderoga) the fort fell into disrepair after the War of 1812 and the Fenian Raids by Irish sympathizers on English forts in Canada.  Just as Fort Carillon was rescued and restored by the Pell family, Fort Chambly was rescued by private philanthropy in the name of Joseph-Octave Dion.

Abandoned chimmey inside the fort

Here is a list of stories on this blog about the forts in the Champlain-Richelieu Valleys:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Guertin into Yetto? How?

Marie Claire Rivet (1918-2003)  married Walker Yetto (1918-1965).  Their children had beautiful red hair and I guess I thought Uncle Walker was Irish because he had red hair too if I remember correctly. My conclusion may be a stereotype as explained in Irish Red Hair: Fact or Fiction but Ireland and Scotland do have a higher percentage of redheads.

There's three Yetto children in this picture.
Look for the red hair!

Two Yettos in this picture, the older girl protecting her godchild is one.

When I started looking into Uncle Walker's family ancestors, it was pretty clear Uncle Walker was French Canadian - at least on his father's side. Not only was he French Canadian, his surname "Yetto" evolved from Guertin.  The two pronunciations are light years apart so I had to look more deeply into how this could have happened. However, I really did not find much information.  I emailed several researchers on the Quebec Research List-Serv and got some replies including this comment:

"The only thing I can think off that would explain why the name GUERTIN
became YETTO for these branches is that they must have been a heck of a
regional accent when they pronounced their name.
Some French Canadians tend to add letters to words when they pronounce
them. "Tu" becomes "Tsu", for example.  It is possible that GUERTIN was
pronounced as GUYRTAH, factoring in a thick St Hyacinthe accent, which
then could have been transcripted as YERTA or YERTO. Maybe.  If on top
of that they spoke rapidly, then the "r" could have also been lost in
the translation.
But, all and all, this is not one of the most obvious cases of
transliterations of a name"

It seems the best source is on a website Variations on the Guertin Name
There's many variations including...
Gartin found in Vermont
Yettein found in Michigan
Yettaw also found in Michigan
Yetto found only in Troy, NY  .............but the original name for all of them was Guertin.

The ancestor who left Québec for New York was JEAN BAPTISTE GUERTIN, born in St Hyacinthe on 30 December 1828.  Relocated in Troy, NY, he can be found in the 1860 census and seems to have been employed in iron works as a "spikemaker"  In the 1870 census he is employed as a carpenter.  Here is his baptism record at Our Lady of the Rosary in St Hyacinthe:

Baptism of Jean Baptiste Guertin , later Yetto at Our Lady of the Rosary, St Hyacinthe, QC
30 December 1828.

Jean Baptiste Guertin was a direct descendant of Louis Guertin dit La Sabotier aka Louis the clog shoemaker.  And if you are a Yetto, you are too!

 For a long time, shoes were expensive items and people maintained them carefully in order to keep them as long as possible. This was particularly true for the common people. They viewed shoes as items of wealth, occasionally handing them on from one generation to the next, as demonstrated by certain inventories made after death.  In 17th-century New France, French-style leather shoes were the prerogative of the rich bourgeois. The average peasant had to settle for moccasins – borrowed from Native fashion – and clogs. Clogs were very popular because they were waterproof, unlike leather shoes, and because they were inexpensive. They were worn alone or with shoes, to protect them in wet conditions. When worn alone, they were stuffed with straw for additional comfort. In cold weather, they were filled with hot embers for a few minutes, before being worn outside. Clogs were carved from a single piece of wood by clog makers*. Initially, in order to be close to their primary resource, clog makers would set up shop in shacks next to forests. These shacks then transformed into small work sites where clog makers plied their trade. For this reason, clog makers were often associated with logging operations, much like loggers or sawyers.  
The word sabotage in French – which means to do work badly or intentionally destroy material or equipment – comes from the word “sabot” (“clog” in English)? In fact, in the 19th century, in order to protest against their poor working conditions in the factories, French workers used their clogs to block and break the machinery.Then the clog makers left the forest. Some opened workshops in the towns and villages while others became traveling craftsmen. The traveling craftsmen offered their services during their annual visit, in the homes they came across on their way. They brought clogs of various sizes with them, to shoe women, men and children. When they did not have the right size with them, they would take measurements and returned at a later date with clogs made to measure. How did the clog maker make clogs? He would proceed in stages. First, he would use an ax to cut sections of wood in various lengths, one length for each clog size. He would use the trunk of a freshly cut tree, since green wood was easier to work. Then, he would cut the lengths into blocks and each block would be used to make a single clog. The clog maker would carve the clog, which was held in place by a clamp, using a variety of chisels. He would shape the clog, and then hollow it out with an instrument known as a spoon. Occasionally, he would give rein to his imagination and engrave attractive designs on the clog. This was followed by drying. The clog had to be dried in the open air in order to harden the wood and make the clogs durable. The clog maker would stack the clogs so that the air would circulate well among them. The more sap the wood contained, the longer it took to dry. For example, clogs made from alder wood had to be dried for nine months before they could be worn. In addition to alder wood, the clog maker used a variety of other woods such as beech, birch, maple, black poplar, Scotch pine and walnut.  Unlike the wooden shoes or clogs popular in France, Belgium and Holland, the people of Great Britain wore another type of clog that consisted of a leather shoe with a wooden sole made in much the same manner as clogs. In Quebec, this type of footwear became popular after the conquest, although people continued to wear clogs until the 19th century and even later.
In the Lac Mégantic region, clog makers could still be found in the 20th century.   The men who made up the Great Recruit of 1653, included one clog maker, Louis Guertin dit Le Sabotier.  He was  originally from the Anjou region in France. It is not known whether he actually practiced his trade in New France.

LANGLOIS, Michel. Montréal 1653. La Grande Recrue, Québec, Les Éditions du Septentrion, 2003, 268 p. 
 Le Petit Larousse illustré, Paris, Larousse, 2002, 1786 p. POMERLEAU, Jeanne. Métiers ambulants d’autrefois, Montréal, Guérin, 1990, 467p. SEYMOUR, John. Métiers oubliés. Métiers d’autrefois, Paris, France Loisirs, 1985, 187 p.

I know this does not explain how Guertin changed into Yetto. Nonetheless, if you are a Yetto descendant   reading this, I hope you find the information interesting. If you have information about the evolution of the name from Guertin to Yetto, please send that news on to me, FrancoAmerican Gravy.  My father is also a descendant  of Louis Guertin the clog maker through his son Pierre. The Yettos  descended through Louis's son, Paul Guertin.

Cohoes, for sale again

Some interesting items for sale on the internet this past week....hurry to bid but don't bid against me! Only kidding!

and two more of Cohoes