Looking over my research for the children of Amable Hogue and Marguerite Taylor, I realized that I did not have a date of death for their daughter Elizabeth. I had her listed as being born 20 Oct 1848 in St. James, and married to a Frank Aymond, but no other details. That prompted a search to find out more about her, and what an interesting search it turned out to be!
I started with the 1870 Census of Manitoba. This is a very valuable census, as it names every member of a household, not just the head, and gives the name of each person’s father. In 1870 Elizabeth is in the Manitoba census, age 22, identified as Betsy, d/o Amable Hogue, married to John Marcellais age 27, s/o Baptiste Marcellais, and living in St. Boniface.
Hmm, I didn’t remember coming across the name Marcellais before. I checked Metis families: a genealogical compendium by Gail Morin, and Elizabeth is listed there as having married Jean Baptiste Marcellais 5 Mar 1867 in St. Boniface. I next checked The Genealogy of the First Metis Nation compiled by D.N. Sprague and R.P. Frye and found John Marcellais and Elisabeth Hogue listed there. So far, so good, I’m confident this is the right Elisabeth/Elizabeth/Betsy Hogue. John Marcellais is presumably her first husband.
John Marcellais was still alive in 1876 when he received Metis scrip. But…. by 1879 in her scrip affidavit, Elizabeth says she is the wife of Frank Aymond and living in Pembina. Her brothers Antoine and Louis were witnesses.
What happened to John? I have to assume he died, but I’ll have to try and find a record of that.
And who is Frank Aymond? Further research on ancestry and google shows a well-known Francois “Frank” Aymond who is a riverboat captain on the Mississippi. He was born in France, married in St. Louis, Missouri, to Matilda Gamache. He spent time in Missouri and Minnesota, as well as in Red River, employed by Hudson Bay Company. So Elizabeth certainly could have met him. There was quite an age difference. Matilda died 4 Dec 1871 in St. Louis, Missouri.
So, I went looking for records of Elizabeth and Frank in Pembina (in what is now North Dakota). In the 1880 U.S. Census, I found Elisabeth Aymond, age 31, born in Canada, with husband Francois Aymond, age 53, born in France, son Joseph, age 11, born in Canada, daughter Mary, age 8, born in Canada, and Benjamin Aymond, age 2, nephew.
I don’t believe Joseph and Mary are Elizabeth’s children. Joseph must have been born about 1869/70, at which time Elizabeth was married to John Marcellais and living in St. Boniface. Trees on ancestry have their mother listed as a Matilda Gamache. There is a Joseph Nelson Aymond who died in Missouri on 26 Feb 1946 . He lists his parents as Frank Aymond and Matilda Gamache. Confusingly his wife’s name is also recorded as Matilda Gamache. Sigh, even “official” records have mistakes.
As for Mary Aymond, I was able to obtain a scan of her biography and obituary from the Pembina County Pioneer Daughters Collection at the Chester Fritz Library, University of North Dakota. She is identified as the daughter of Frank Aymond and his wife Matilda, and having been born 18 Oct 1871 in St. Boniface. (This would have been shortly before her mother’s death.)
From a link on ancestry, I discovered the Dakota Territory 1885 Census Index
There is Frank Aymond, age 56, born in France, but no Elizabeth. Now he is with another woman, Alice, and besides Joseph and Mary there are two more children Isabella and George. More research via ancestry led me to St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Leroy, North Dakota: baptisms, marriages and burials, 1870-1932 extracted by Gail Morin, and revealed that Isabella and George were the children of Francois Aymond and Anne Huggins.
Continuing the search for Frank/Francois, I found him in the 1900 Census for Pembina, incorrectly indexed as Frank “Amond” age 73, born in France, widowed in the household of his daughter Mary and son-in-law David Thompson. Captain Aymond died 9 Oct 1903 near Neche, North Dakota.
Okay, now what? Trees on ancestry assume Elizabeth has died after Matilda and before Anne/Alice, but have no date of death. BUT ELIZABETH IS NOT DEAD.
How do I know? Because she is listed as Mrs. Frank Campagna, living in Bismarck, North Dakota and surviving her brothers Joseph and Antoine in their obits in 1924 and 1935.
So, back to searching for Elizabeth. In 1910 she is listed as age 54 with husband Frank F. Campagna, age 58, born in Canada, living in Missouri, Burleigh, N.D. with son James F., age 26, and daughter Elizabeth E., age 16, both born in North Dakota.
In the 1920 Census she is in the same place with husband Frank Campagna
But where or where is Elizabeth between the 1880 Census with her supposed husband Frank Aymond, and 1910 when she is with Frank Campagna and has two children? That’s a 30 year gap in records. Son James must have been born around 1884, so she couldn’t have been married to Captain Aymond for very long.
You can’t rely on census records indexes to have names spelled correctly, or for the original documents themselves to be accurate. Depending on who gave the information and who recorded it, you have to always be prepared for conflicting information. So I decided to look at the 1885 Dakota Territory Census Index again, searching for anyone who could be indexed as a name close to Campagna. I found Frank Capanan age 40 born in Canada, May Capanan age 40 born in Canada with son John age 1 born in Dakota. That certainly seems a likely match as they are in the same county as 1910.
Back to the 1900 Census at Familysearch. They must be there somewhere! I started browsing the records page by page and voila! They are identified as Elija Campgora, wife, age 43, born in Canada with Frank Campgora, age 49, born in English Canada, James F. Campgora, son, age 14, born in North Dakota, and Elizabeth Campgora daughter age 5 born in North Dakota.
I don’t know the real story about Elizabeth and Frank Aymond. She certainly claimed to be his wife in her scrip affidavit of 1879, and she is identified in the 1880 census as his wife, but 4 years later she’s with Frank Campagna and birthing her son James, while Frank Aymond is baptizing his daughter Isabella whose mother is Anne Huggins!
Hmmm, looking back at the 1880 Census where we found Frank Aymond and Elizabeth, there is also a servant or farm worker who is listed as Fred Champagne, age 29 born in Canada. Could this be Frank Campagna?
I decided to take advantage of a free trial to Newspapers.com and luckily found obituaries for both Frank Campagna and Elizabeth Campagna.
Here is Frank Campagna’s obituary from the Bismarck Tribune (North Dakota), published Wed. Jan 26, 1921, page 3.
HOLD FUNERAL OF BURLEIGH CO. PIONEER
Service Held at St. Mary’s Church for Frank Campagna
The funeral of Frank Campagna, one of Burleigh county’s best known pioneers, was held this morning at St. Mary’s Catholic church.
Mr. Campagna lived on a farm in Missouri township, ten miles south of Bismarck. He has been sick for several years, but his death was sudden and was due to heart failure. He died at his home.
He was born 76 years ago in Quebec, Canada. Mr. Campagna is survived by his widow and two children. James F. Campagna is connected with the state penitentiary staff and Miss Elizabeth Campagna lives at home.
The pallbearers were: J.D. McDonald, William Breen, Irvin Small, Charles Swanson and August Boyer.
Mr. Campagna has been a member of the A.O.U.W. for eighteen years.
I have Elizabeth’s obit from the Bismarck Tribune 10 February 1940, Page 3:
MRS. E. CAMPAGNA TAKEN BY DEATH
Pioneer Settler Was 87, Had Been in Hospital Three Years; Funeral Monday
Mrs. Elizabeth Campagna, 87, pioneer Burleigh county settler and widow of an operator of a big farm here in the early days, died at 5:20 a.m. Saturday in a local hospital, where she had been a patient more than three years.
Funeral services, a requiem high mass, has been tentatively set for 9 a.m. Monday in St. Mary’s pro-cathedral, with Rev. Robert Feehan in charge. Burial will be beside the body of her husband in St. Mary’s cemetery.
Mrs. Campagna was born Elizabeth Hogue, Oct. 24, 1852 in Winnipeg. She came to the Bismarck area in 1881, and for many years the Campagnas operated a big farm 10 miles south of Bismarck.
Mr. Frank Campagna, her husband, died in 1922.
Mrs. Campagna leaves one daughter, Mrs. Walter Jones, Moffit, and 12 grandchildren. A son, Frank, of Bismarck, died in 1938.
The body is at the Calnan Funeral home.
Further research revealed that Elizabeth’s son, James Ferdinand, married Emma Boucher who was the granddaughter of Elizabeth’s sister Marie Hogue who married William Bremner.
Elizabeth’s daughter, Elizabeth Edith, married Walter Jones.
The final touch? One more delightful, if somewhat inaccurate newspaper article published in the Manitoba Free Press on Thursday, February 10, 1910:
CHILD OF PIONEER RETURNS
Mrs. F. Campagna Was Born on Site of Happyland Fifty Years Ago
A woman born in Winnipeg more than half a century ago and the daughter of one of the original party of six white men who were the first to come west from what was then known as Canada, is now visiting her brothers in this vicinity after an absence of twenty-eight years.
The woman is Mrs. Frank Campagna and she lives at Bismarck, N. D. where her husband is a prosperous farmer.
Her maiden name was Hogque (sic) and her father, the intrepid pioneer, hailed from Quebec. She was born and raised on the site of what is now Happyland, which in the old days was her father’s farm. She says that her father’s descendants now number over one thousand souls.
Mrs. Camapagna is here to pay a visit to her three brothers (Hogque)(sic) one of whom lives at St. Charles village, one on a farm in the municipality and another at Sturgeon Creek.
Oh my! “Original party of six white men”, uh, no, not exactly… this is how family legends start LOL. But the coolest part of this article is knowing that since this visit occurred in 1910 and my Dad was born in 1909, she would have met him, and Mémère, for the first time. Now if only someone had taken a picture.
So is the puzzle solved? Not completely. Elizabeth appears to have shaved a few years off her age somewhere along the way. I still don’t know what happened to John Marcellais or why Elizabeth and Frank Aymond didn’t stay together. The first item is something I should eventually discover, but the second is one I’ll likely never know.