Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Uncle Johnny and his Chihuahua named "Dimples"

Sometime in the 1970s, I had dreams of being a professional photographer.  During that time, I made a small black and white study of Uncle Johnny, a carpenter by trade,  while he was sanding new pine flooring in a building.  His little dog, Dimples, was always there at his side.  She wasn't an easy going pup and she didn't like anyone getting too close to Uncle Johnny.  This little dog and Uncle Johnny lived with us for nine years after his wife's death.  Dimples didn't live more than a month or two after Uncle Johnny's death in 1985.  She wouldn't eat and became depressed. She truly missed him.

Johnny Wills and his Dogs

Uncle Johnny always had animals and at one time during his first marriage owned a farm in Gansevoort, NY where he had a talking parrot.  However, I will always remember Uncle Johnny as a lover and owner of Chihuahua dogs.
"Uncle Johnny"
John Albert Wills
(1910 - 1985)
Dogs Unknown

Earl and Dogs

I do not have many photos of Earl Wills, my Uncle Larry, but this one is a treasure. He is young and he is handsome.  This may have been taken while he was  in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) out west during the Great Depression.
Earl Larry Wills
(1920 -1974)
Dogs Unknown

Dorothy and her Dogs

The Wills love their dogs....if there is any doubt just visit the blog called FiveSibes at Cousin's Blog about her Siberian Huskies.   In the next few posts I am going to try to highlight old photos of the Wills generation who have passed on with their dogs and a few other animals.

Dorothy Mae Wills (1916 -1997) 
Dogs Unknown
Cat Unknown

and a cat...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Marriage of Louis St Hilaire and Eliza Paré on 24 November 1884 in St Patrice de Sherrington, Québec

This is an image of Louis St Hilaire and Eliza Paré with their five children.  The old photograph is from Lea's albums and she wrote below the names of the children: Alfred, Albert, Helen, Arthur, Agnes but it is not certain exactly who is which child.

Below is the church record of the marriage of Louis St Hilaire and Eliza Paré, the grandparents of Arthur Louis St Hilaire (1918-1996) as well as many other grandchildren. According to the 1910 US census, this couple emigrated in 1892, about eight years after this marriage.  One of the stories of Louis St Hilaire and his beloved horse is "embedded" in this post about Cohoes.

TRANSLATION: On November 24 1884, after the publication of one ban of marriage made at the prone of our parochial mass between Louis St-Hilaire residing in this parish, son of age of the late Louis St-Hilaire & Emelie (Nilie) Mongeau of this parish on the one part and Eliza Pare also of this parish minor daughter of the late Zephirin Pare and Mathilde Lessard of this parish of the other part, the dispensation of the other two banns having been granted by the Rev. Mr D.A. Marechal, vicar general, having found no impediment nor opposition to the said marriage and with the consent of the parents of the minor party, we the undersigned pastor of Sherrington received their mutual consent in marriage and gave them the nuptial benediction in the presence Joseph St-Hilaire, brother of the groom, Zephirin Pare brother of the bride, both along with the groom undersigned with me. The bride declared that she was not able to sign. Lecture given.
/s/ Louis St-Hilaire
/s/ Joseph St-Hilaire
/s/ Zephirin  Pare
/s/ Rosalie Lessard
/s/ J. H. Carrieres priest

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day 7: Last Day on the French Canada Tandem Tour!

Day 7 Cowansville to St. Bernard de Lacolle
Rides of 45 or 51 miles

This is an amazing day of riding on mostly flat country roads, returning to St Bernard. Bike through Mystic, to see the imposing twelve sided barn built by the Walbridge family. Enjoy this barn, now a museum and national heritage site.  Ride along Lake Champlain, into the US, with its wonderful lakeside views and restaurants. We pass old stone buildings and wonderful countryside in Vermont and New York. Then we return over the border to Canada and St Bernard.

More roosters! Québec loves roosters! This one protect the garden - 
A scare rooster!

Eight sided barn in Mystic

Another covered bridge over the Brochette River

Brochette River translates to Pike River

At the covered bridge we met and spoke with this young man riding his bike.  He was a farmer who now allows his son to direct the family business. He told us he came to this area of Stanbridge sixty years ago from Belgium.  He was a teenage soldier in WWII and remembered well the Battle of the Bulge.  He farmed the corners near the covered bridge and his wife cultivated a beautiful garden across the way.  Now days he suffers from macular degeneration -  but gets around on his bike.  He pointed out the locations of the sawmill, now gone and an area in the Brochette River where there was a small dam to power the mill.  He told us Charlotte Trottier Desrivières, née Guillimin, the wife of James McGill, founder of McGill University in Montréal, was a native from these parts.   Set back in the woods off the road was a "mansion" (it was- I could see it from the road) that had something to do with Charlotte and McGill....

Searching online I found this site in French from the Notre Dame de Stanbridge site.  The Google translation is..not very good but here it is...

Malmaison in Notre-Dame de Stanbridge



Family Desrivières
In 1801, King George III conceded to Hugh Finlay, 31.000 acres in the western part of the Township of Stanbridge.
Hugh Finlay died the same year and it is James McGill, who became owner of the concession.
James McGill, born in Glasgow, Scotland (1744) had married Marie-Charlotte Guillemin, widow of Joseph Amable Trottier said Desrivières, who had left two son, François and François-Amable Hyppolithe.
James McGill died December 19, 1813 and bequeathed to the "Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning," $ 40,000, and its ownership of Burnside for the construction of a College or University. (McGill University in Montreal was built in 1821).
François-Amable Stanbridge inherits the territory of the death of his adoptive father, his brother Francis Hyppolithe died following a duel in 1799.
In 1830, François-Amable, in turn, dies and bequeaths to his two son François-Henri Guillaume and all his possessions and conceded the territory of Stanbridge formerly Hugh Finlay.
1842-1877: "Malmaison"
Both the son of François-Amable Desrivières then settled around 1841, this territory loyalist with the aim to grow their business, which consists in treating wood, grain, flour, and later in transport their goods by train. (1860)
At the place called "Malmaison" on the river called "Pike River" a village is formed and a community develops. A dam is built across the river to enable a sawmill and a gristmill on both sides of the River. A bridge is needed to enable residents and workers to go to one or the other mills. Desrivières then build a chapel, a station (the Central Vermont Company), a general store, post office, school, and that a community is formed, so that by 1848, the place called "Malmaison" the name of the family residence Desrivières, which now has more than 200 people, is constituted as a municipality is that of Our Lady of the Angels of Stanbridge, as the first mayor with Mr. Henri Desrivières, the the most influential man of the time. The latter was also the prefect of the Corporation of the County of Missisquoi, a position he held in 1856 and 1857.
This town, one of the first to be established in this part of the Province of Lower Canada, which included lots numbers 1 to 146 of the eighth concession of 31,000 acres Sabrevois and the Township of Stanbridge, administer this great country for over forty years until March 21, 1889 while the Government of Quebec  formed from the same area three new municipalities: Stanbridge-Station, St-Ignace de Stanbridge and Notre-Dame de Stanbridge.
Stanbridge St Charles or "couture": 1850 - 1889
A two and a half miles north of Malmaison, there was a craft center known as St Charles Stanbridge which is commonly called "couture", the name of the largest owner of the place.
Joseph Couture, (son of Julien) was an ambitious and enterprising man, who, seeing the prosperity of other villages and towns Stanbridge, decided to establish several companies around the power of water given to him by the Pike River.
Enjoying a water level higher than at Malmaison, the small craft center of "couture" has been growing faster than the first and has been gaining importance in industry, commerce, population and this at the expense of Malmaison.
Thus in 1880, there are between each other: a flour mill, a sawmill, a carding mill and a large plant tissues, all properties of Joseph Couture, and to complete the "picture" a butter factory, a tannery, a blacksmith shop, several general store, a post office, a school and a beautiful new church opened December 25, 1879 at midnight mass.
Proud of a growing population, St Charles de Stanbridge, March 21, 1889 became the Municipality of Notre-Dame de Stanbridge.
On June 27, 1913, a Decree of Council of the Government of Quebec annexed to the Municipality of Notre-Dame de Stanbridge lots numbers 1 to 105 of the Lordship of Sabrevois belonging to the Municipality of Notre-Dame des Anges, which was dissolved the same days.
Notre-Dame de Stanbridge was the first town in several areas: in fact, this is the first municipality was incorporated in the Province of Lower Canada, it is here that the first Catholic church was built in 1843 and is the first village of the township of Stanbridge to have had a predominantly French-speaking population in the nineteenth century, a territory reserved only for English-speaking Loyalists.
By the way of our day or was located Malmaison ie Desrivières in the row, near the covered bridge, it is difficult to imagine that this site was once a hub of activity for the family as significant as Desrivières for the 200 people who lived there and it drew the resources necessary for their well being.
As against the village of Notre-Dame de Stanbridge, some activity still prevails. While progress has eliminated the majority of companies of the nineteenth century. The place will remain peaceful and "pastoral" as the circular tourist. The river, which is for giving so much power hydraulic continues to delight us and make our village a better place to live.
My sources: Album of the centenary of Notre-Dame de Stanbridge
Missisquoi, a Store of Memories, Vol. XII

Then I found, on the same site, photos of the mill, the general store, and the busy community that once thrived near the covered bridge!  Everything the old veteran was talking about to us was about how, at this very corner we were on, there was once a thriving commercial  community. Time passes; it all changes.  The mill, the store, the commerce have all disappeared... but he remembers so well and we, passing by for a brief moment on our tandem, can only gasp for the meaning and the memory.

Good day Québec!
Until the next time.

Day 6: Sightings on the Route to Cowansville

Day 6 Knowlton to Cowansville
Rides of 27 or 30 miles

Two routes travel to Cowansville, a lovely older town. The northern route lets you visit a great winery, Domaine les Brome (285, chemin Brome) for tastings. You continue north to Bromont, to let people spend more time in this nice small town. Ride along quiet, winding river roads and cross another wooden covered bridge.  The southern ride travels down valley roads to Sutton (circa 1802), for a midway stop and restaurants. Ride on to Cowansville, with its 14 bridges including another covered bridge! Follow Cowansville walking (biking) tour and enjoy the opulent Victorian style houses. 

Below: Still trying to figure out the meaning of this frequently sighted road sign...B.D. translates it as "Be careful of our or the children, she might be yours."

Note the Rooster over Garage Door

At Valentin's, the best Poutin in Cowansville!

Day 5: those darn roosters!

 Day 5 Lac Brome, Ducks, Mont Echo, & East 
Rides of 12, 19 and 38 miles
With three loops, you can combine rides for morning and afternoon fun. Leave enough time to join the visit to Canard du Lac Brome, where duck is their specialty. A tour and a cooking demonstration is included.  One ride circles Lac Brome, with it's beautiful eastern shore. Another loop circles Mont Echo, with a chance to visit Forge Art and to ride the quiet but hillier terrain south of Knowlton. A longer loop rides east and north, returning along Lac Brome.  Or take a rest day, walking historic Knowlton. Visit Knowlton's historic museum, which includes a fire tower, 1854 schoolhouse, and a WW1 Fokker aircraft!

While Knowlton is all about ducks, I found myself thinking about roosters again. It all started when I spotted the interesting World War I poster, below,  in the Brome County Historical Society Museum.  It is a recruiting poster in French trying soliciting French Canadians to help France overcome Germany. While I was not surprised to note Germany is represented by an eagle, I thought the representation of France as a rooster a little disingenuous, especially after I wrote about roosters last month.  And the rooster looks pretty small compared to that big eagle!

A WWI war trophy brought back to Canada. 

Meanwhile the famous Brome ducks were all about in Lac Brome, behaving politely in the restaurant where we ate that evening:

Day 4: Chitty Chitty Bike Bike, Cycling , Cows, Covered Bridges, Chocolate

A perfect  day! cycling, fresh air, fresh water and chocolate! By the way, during the week our tandem bike, a semi-recumbent Viewpoint built by Bilenky, was christened by LK with a very appropriate name: Chitty Chitty Bike Bike. By Day #4, there was no changing the name.  So the day moved forward and so too did Chitty Chitty Bike Bike.  
Then came the cow.  This cow didn't know what to make out of Chitty Chitty Bike Bike. Perhaps she thought we were another cow approaching a little too quickly along the bike path for her pace. She eyed us cautiosly.  Assured that the cow was a cow and not a bull (duh), Chitty Chitty Bike Bike wheeled on!

Curious Canadian Cow

Covered Bridge over the Yamaska River....Where Chitty Chitty Bike Bike rested a while

a short rest at a covered bridge
Yamaska River

back on the road

in Farham, a rest spot at the chocolatier

and sightings of Angelica, (Angelica atropurpurea) in the Parsley family along the stream banks on the side of the road...These plants were 5 to 7 feet tall, and the crowns the size of a beach ball! It may be a weed but it was beautiful!