Pépère’s Siblings

I love old pictures, especially pictures of ancestors.  It is always a treat to make contact with a distant family member who can share pictures.  My genealogy “office” has a wall of framed photos that is constantly added to as I find more discoveries.

I decided to see if I had picture of all of Thomas Hogue, Sr. and Philomene McMillan’s children. These are the results.

Marguerite Clara Hogue (1866-1942)

She was the eldest of their children and this is the only pictured I’ve seen in which she is identified.  Obviously taken later in life.

Clara Hogue and Patrice Dumas Photo courtesy of Diane Belisle

Clara Hogue and Patrice Dumas
Photo courtesy of Diane Belisle


Adelaide Hogue (1867-1955)

Such a beautiful picture of Adelaide and her husband!

Adelaide Hogue and Octave Gaudry Photo courtesy of Marie Claire Martin

Adelaide Hogue and Octave Gaudry
Photo courtesy of Marie Claire Martin

Elizabeth Hogue (1870-1952) and Sara Hogue (1873-1960)

A picture of three of the sisters.  It strikes me that life was harder on the women than the men!

Sara, Elizabeth and Adelaide Photo courtesy of Diane Belisle

Sara, Elizabeth and Adelaide
Photo courtesy of Diane Belisle


Marie Hogue (1876-1908)

Marie was married to Joseph Laroque and died at the young age of 32.  I have no pictures of her, only her gravestone.

Grave of Marie Hogue La Salle Cemetery

Grave of Marie Hogue
La Salle Cemetery


Thomas Joseph Hogue, Pépère (1879-1955)

My grandfather, probably taken around the same time as the wedding picture which is featured in my blog banner.

Thomas Joseph Hogue

Thomas Joseph Hogue


Louis Hogue (1881-1960)

Pépère’s only brother. This picture was obviously taken at a celebration of a wedding anniversary. I think I can make out a “50” on top of the cake.  That would make it 1958.

Louis Hogue and Adelina Bourgeois Photo courtesy of Diane Belisle

Louis Hogue and Adelina Bourgeois
Photo courtesy of Diane Belisle


Joseph Jean Baptiste Amable Hogue (1884-1887)

I have no pictures for this child who died at the age of three.

Virginie Hogue (1886-1982)

Virginie was married to Wilfred Napoleon Girardin, one of Mémère’s brothers.

Virginie Hogue Photo courtesy of Diane Belisle

Virginie Hogue
Photo courtesy of Diane Belisle


I do wish I had more pictures of these relatives at younger ages!

Tracing the elusive Elizabeth

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.

1870 Census of Manitoba, Library and Archives Canada http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/1870/jpg/e010985318.jpg

1870 Census of Manitoba, Library and Archives Canada

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.

Metis National Council Historical Online Database http://metisnationdatabase.ualberta.ca/MNC/search.jsp

Metis National Council Historical Online Database

Hogue Elizabeth b1848 scrip1

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.

1880 U.S. Census from Familysearch https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCVW-2XT

1880 U.S. Census from Familysearch

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

Dakota Territory 1885 Census Index from North Dakota State University Archives at http://library.ndsu.edu/db/census/results

Dakota Territory 1885 Census Index from North Dakota State University Archives at http://library.ndsu.edu/db/census/


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.


Capanan in 1885 Dakota Territory Index

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.


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:


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:


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.

Metis beadwork


Hidden away in my Father’s trunk was this beautiful piece of Metis beadwork. I remember seeing it once or twice as a child, but to my regret I have no memory of the story behind it. My one Hogue aunt still living remembers seeing it, but doesn’t remember where it came from. Since it is sewn on men’s gaiters, I suspect that it belonged to Thomas Hogue, Sr. who was supposedly a great horseman.

I have had it appraised by Sherry Farrell Racette, Associate Professor of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba, and it is likely from about 1870. This is based on the design, type of beads, colour, thread, etc. The original beadwork is worked on black velvet, and was obviously sewn on the gaiters at a later date.

So, given the date, who could have been the creator? I have three Metis “grandmothers” who were alive at that time. Was it made by Thomas’s wife, Philomene McMillan, or his mother, Marguerite Taylor, or his Mother-in-law Margaret Dease? We will never know.

There is always the chance that it was bought or traded, and thus made by someone outside the family, but it seems unlikely it would have been kept this long if it had no family connection.

I would love to have it mounted in a proper archival display case someday. For now it sits, wrapped in archival paper, and kept in a dark closet to prevent deterioration.

Beautiful, is it not?

Thomas Hogue, Sr. and Philomene McMillan

Thomas and Philomene

Thomas and Philomene

Thomas Hogue, Sr., sometimes identified as Thomas Hogg, was born in 1840, according to his death certificate. His wife, Philomene McMillan, was born on the 20th of January in 1848. Philomene has a fascinating ancestry that I will be blogging about soon. Thomas and Philomene were married in St. Boniface on the 31st of January in 1865.

After Manitoba became a province in 1870, a census was taken. It shows that Thomas and Philomene were living on  Lot 60 in St. Charles, approximately where Berkley Street is in present day Charleswood, and not far from where I now live!  Thomas’s mother, Marguerite Taylor, was living with them. Philomene’s sister Marguerite is next door with her husband Jean-Baptiste Beauchemin (who served on Louis Riel’s council). Thomas’s brothers Louis, Joseph and Amable all settled on adjacent lots.

This map from the 1874 survey shows the land settled by the Hogues and Beauchemins.

1874 survey image from Photos & Fragments of Charleswood History

1874 survey
image from Photos & Fragments of Charleswood History

This Google map shows the same area today, with Thomas’s land, Lot 60, marked.

Google map

Google map

Shortly after, the federal government introduced “scrip” which was meant to compensate the original Métis settlers for their land. It was in the form of a voucher that could be redeemed for either a land grant or an amount of money. In 1876 Thomas received his Métis scrip entitlement of $160.

Archival Reference: LAC RG 15 v. 1321

Archival Reference: LAC RG 15 v. 1321

I find it interesting that Thomas actually was able to sign his scrip affidavit. When checking the records for his siblings, only his sister Elizabeth was able to sign, all the others simply made their mark on the document.

The Charleswood Historical Society has recently erected new plaques at the site of “The Passage”. The site had been known as “The Passage” because it was shallow and had historically been used by traders and buffalo hunters. Thomas has his name on those plaques!

The Passage plaque erected by Charleswood Historical Society

The Passage
plaque erected by Charleswood Historical Society

history of "The Passage"

history of “The Passage”

Hogues and Beauchemins

Hogues and Beauchemins

In the Hogue family picture, Thomas’s brother Joseph is the elderly gentleman in the centre.  In the Beauchemin picture, Philomene’s sister Marguerite is the woman on the right wearing the plaid shawl.  The man standing in the centre back is Alexander Allard who turns out to be a second cousin of Mémère’s mother Onesime Allard.

In 1882, Thomas was hired by the Assiniboia Council to run the St. Charles Ferry. The ferry had been established in 1870 and ran from Lot 60 across the Assiniboine to where Rouge Road is now. In the Manitoba Free Press of April 19, 1916, an article concerning possible closure of the ferry refers to the site as “Hogue’s landing”. How cool is that!

I’ve been able to discover a few other tidbits about their life.  The June 10, 1880 Manitoba Daily Free Press tells us that Thomas was appointed as one of the pound keepers for Ward 3 of Assiniboia. In 1887 he donated an acre of land for the first school in Charleswood. Civic elections held on December 13, 1887 resulted in Thomas becoming a Councillor in Ward 2 of Assiniboia. Two years later he was nominated as a councillor for Ward 2 in St. Charles, but I have been unable to find out if he won that election.

In the local history book Photos & Fragments of Charleswood History by Len & Verna Van Roon, we find this description:
“There were several families among the Hogues always prominent in deeds requiring daring. Tom Hogue was a famous buffalo runner from the days when Selkirk settlers swept over the plains after the shaggy beasts whose flesh was made into pemmican, the staple food of the early days. He kept many Indian ponies, fleet footed horses whose mate was the wind, and had quite an establishment.”

In 1892 or 93 they moved to La Salle and started farming. In Then to Now: the history of La Salle, Manitoba we find this excerpt:

“Thomas was a great horseman in his day. Neighbors and friends used to tell of his great achievements and of all the tricks he could do on horseback. At full gallop, he would grab the horse’s mane, jump to the ground and up on the horse’s back again. He would throw his hat on the ground, and at full gallop, he would lean over and pick it up again. One day, a neighbour said that he saw him coming home dragging a fox, which he lassoed while riding through the fields.”

Thomas and Philomene had 9 children:
Marguerite Clara Hogue who married Patrick Dumas
Adelaide Hogue who married Octave Gaudry
Elizabeth Hogue who married Modeste Gaudry
Sarah Hogue who married Arthur Girardin
Marie Hogue who married Joseph Larocque
Thomas Hogue (Pépère) who married Emma Girardin (Mémère
Louis Hogue who married Adelina Bourgeois
Joseph Jean Baptiste Amable Hogue who died at age 3
Virginie Hogue who married Napoleon Girardin.
As you can see 3 Hogues married 3 Girardins!

Thomas died May 20, 1924 and Philomene October 4, 1923. They are buried in La Salle.

St. Hyacinthe Roman Catholic Cemetery La Salle, Manitoba

St. Hyacinthe Roman Catholic Cemetery
La Salle, Manitoba

Yes, Philomene is named McMullen, but it really is McMillan, which I will explain when I blog about that line.

Marguerite and Amable

When Margaret Taylor married Amable Hogue she became known by the French name of Marguerite. So what do we know about Marguerite and Amable’s life? After their marriage in 1831,  Amable worked as a mason on the building of Lower Fort Garry (where Governor George Simpson was going to live with his wife). As Christine Welsh noted in her essay Voices of the Grandmothers: Reclaiming a Metis Heritage published in the journal Canadian Literature, Issue #131, Winter 1991:

From her vantage point in the Metis labourers’ camp just outside the walls, Margaret would have been able to watch the Governor and his bride take up residence in their magnificent new home.

What feelings Marguerite had at this turn in her fortunes we will never know, but we do know that she and Amable made a life for themselves in the Red River Colony and raised nine children. In 1835 Amable was given a land grant consisting of Parish Lot 51 of St. James Parish which is basically where Clifton Street in Winnipeg is now. Lots were typically narrow, about 250 yards wide, and extended two miles back, plus another two miles that was called “hay privilege”. The narrow lots gave everyone water access. They later moved to Lot 56 St. James Parish which is around Sprague and Greenwood streets.

Here’s a map showing the relevant streets in today’s Winnipeg.

Google map

Google map

One of their children, in later years, claimed that he grew up on the property that, in 1906, became an amusement park known as Happyland. In fact the Happyland property would have been nearby, but not specifically on the Hogue land.

As a sidenote, you can read about Happyland here and here.

In the 1835 Census of the Red River Settlement (which only names the head of the household), Amable is listed with a wife, 1 daughter and 3 sons. I believe that two of these were Simpson’s sons, George and John. Marguerite and Amable’s children were:

Marie Hogue born January 18, 1831 and married to William Bremner
Amable Hogue born May 6, 1833 and married to Elizabeth Morissette
Joseph Hogue born December 30, 1835 and married to Pelagie Turcotte
Marguerite Hogue born in 1838 and married to Andre Robillard
Thomas Hogue born November 10, 1840 and married to Philomene McMillan
Antoine Hogue born December 24, 1844 and married to Crawford Brown
Louis Hogue born in 1846 and married to Julie Turcotte
Elizabeth Hogue born October 20, 1848 and married to Frank Aymond
Mary Anne Hogue born in 1850 and married to Francois Welsh

In the 1835 Census, Amable and Marguerite had 1 house, 1 stable, 1 mare, 3 oxen, 3 cows, 1 calf, 5 pigs, 1 plough, 1 harrow, 1 cart and cultivated 6 acres. By the 1849 Census, they have 1 house, 3 stables, 1 barn, 1 horse, 2 mares, 3 oxen, 6 cows, 2 calves, 3 pigs, 2 ploughs, 1 harrow, 6 carts, 1 canoe and cultivated 20 acres. The carts would have been the famous Red River carts, the ownership of which suggests that Amable was involved in trade as well as the buffalo hunt.

Amable died on February 26, 1858. Unfortunately, his place of burial is not known.
Marguerite would have several children still at home at this time.  By the time of the 1870 Census of the Red River Settlement, she is living with her son Thomas (my great-grandfather) and his family.

1870 Census of Manitoba Source: Library and Archives Canada

1870 Census of Manitoba
Source: Library and Archives Canada

In the 1881 census, she is with her daughter Mary Ann and son-in-law Francois Welsh.

Newspaper articles that feature some of the children of Amable and Marguerite give us a glimpse into their lives. Joseph Hogue and his wife Pelagie Turcotte were the subject of a Manitoba Free Press article on January 12, 1915 on the occasion of their 56th wedding anniversary. Some quotes:

“In his fancy Joseph drifted back to the winter evenings when, as a boy, he sat before the roaring logs in the old cabin on the farm, part of which is now known as Happyland, and listened to his father tell stories. His father’s name was Aimable (sic) Hogue. He was born in Montreal in 1791. He came west with Governor Simpson about 1824, and for 20 years travelled with that gentleman inspecting trading posts belonging to the Hudson’s Bay company. The travelling was done principally in hand-propelled boats and Aimable (sic) Hogue did the rowing. He was injured in the boat one trip and was then retired on a pension. A grant of 200 acres of land, six chains wide, along the Assiniboine river, and extending for four miles north, was given him.”

On January 11, 1919 their 60th wedding anniversary prompted another long, but not completely accurate, article in the Manitoba Free Press. Some quotes:

“He recalls when his mother, a sturdy Scotswoman (an original Taylor) who used to follow in the wake of her buffalo-hunting spouse Amable, and prepare the flesh of freshly-killed buffalo for pemmican.”
Talking of his father’s farm, he says “We raised barley, oats, potatoes, peas, poultry, sheep, horses and cattle. We had wooden plows and no machinery at all.”
When asked if his father raised horses, he replies “Yes, animals specially adapted for buffalo hunting, swift as the wind, true as steel, real, rollicking animals which had more the nature of their Indian developers than horse nature as we understand it today.”
Talking about himself, Joseph “launched into stories of how he used to ride across the Dakota and Southern Manitoba prairies killing buffalo in competition with the fierce and murderous Sioux Indians who, at that time, hunted merely with bow and arrow.”

In the past, having learned of my Metis heritage, I often wondered where my ancestors stood in relationship to the issues around Louis Riel. It seems we had people on both sides. In this same newspaper article, Joseph indicates his feelings:

“Riel Rebellion days, certainly, the family lived all through it. Mr. Hogue was a member of the government forces which held old Fort Garry against the rebels, and the son of a soldier, he takes pride in having helped put down the malcontents.”

Rather interesting, as by the time Joseph was giving this interview, one of his daughters, Philomene, was married to William Beauchemin, whose father Jean Baptiste Beauchemin was a member of Louis Riel’s provisional government!

Marguerite died on December 16, 1885 and is buried in St. Charles cemetery.

St. Charles Cemetery Winnipeg, Manitoba

St. Charles Cemetery
Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Taylor Family

Now that I’ve introduced Margaret Taylor, I’ll talk about her parents. Her father, George Taylor, was born around 1759 in Berwick-on-Tweed, the most northerly town in England, just south of Scotland. He is one of our few European ancestors who is not from France! He joined the HBC in 1786 and spent his career as a sloopmate and sloopmaster of several of the Company’s vessels. A sloop was a wooden sailing vessel used during the fur trade. The HBC Archives have several of his journals which he kept of his voyages.

Here’s his HBC record.

Sloop Cove, near Churchill, Manitoba, is a National Historic Site. It was a sheltered, safe harbour for Hudson’s Bay Company sloops during the 18th century. Rocks at the cove bear the signatures of HBC men including Samuel Hearne. In 1787 George Taylor carved his name on the rocks.

Here’s a picture of another of George’s descendants at the rock.

Picture posted with the kind permission of Ellen Paul.

Picture posted with the kind permission of Ellen Paul.

At some point George married “in the custom of the country” a woman named Jane. Sadly, we know very little about her. She was probably Cree. In a letter from Chief Factor John Stuart to Governor George Simpson, February 1, 1830, Stuart praised Jane:

“Indeed I think great credit is due to Mrs. Taylor herself for the cleanly habits in which she has reared the whole of her children – it now comes naturally to them and her grandchildren feel the benefit of it…she is the quietest and ? natural creature I ever met”

Together George and Jane had nine children. George appears to have taken a fair degree of responsibility for them when he was here. One son, John, died as a youth. Another son, Robert, is recorded as having “been in England since childhood” and never returned. Presumably he would have been sent to family there, perhaps for an education. Another son George was apparently also sent to Scotland for schooling. All three sons who stayed in Canada joined HBC.

The children are:

1. George, Jr….who joined HBC in 1819. He married Jane Prince and died at Red River in 1844. From the book A Country So Interesting: The Hudson’s Bay Company and Two Centuries of Mapping, 1670-1870 by Richard I. Ruggles,
we learn:

“…he entered the marine service like his father and spent most of his early career as master of sloops or schooners at Severn Fort and between that post and York Factory. In addition to the training he had received in the use of navigational instruments and charts, he had been sent to Scotland by his father for several years of schooling. It would seem that he had received some education there in surveying and drafting.”

HBC Archives has his Plan of Red River Colony Surveyed in 1836, 37 & 38 . It was the basis for the HBC land grants and became the foundation for how the city of Winnipeg was laid out.  This picture of the map is from the website of the St. James Anglican Church

George Taylor's Plan of the Red River Colony

George Taylor’s Plan of the Red River Colony

2. John, who died in 1809

3. Thomas …who joined the HBC in 1815 and became a personal servant to Sir George Simpson from 1822 – 1830. Thomas later became a postmaster and then a “clerk in charge” at various posts. He married Mary Keith and died in 1879 in Pembroke, Ontario. George Simpson kept a “Character Book” in which he notes his assessments of many of the HBC employees. Of Thomas he says:

“Taylor, Thomas a half-breed about 35 years of Age. Was a Labouring apprentice for 7 years was my own body servant for 10 years, and has for the past 3 years been one of the most effective Postmasters in the County. Speaks several of the Native Languages, is a great favorite with Indians is a “Jack of all Trades” and altogether a very useful man in his line.”

4. Mary who was the “country wife” of Chief Factor John Stuart. At one point Stuart took Mary to England, but refused to marry her, and Mary refused to stay with him unless he did so. Stuart did provide for her in his will.

5. Peter …who worked for HBC and died during the Arctic Discovery Expedition of Peter Warren Dease and Thomas Simpson (cousin of the governor). You can read an account of his death in Peter Dease’s journal, From Barrow to Boothia, found on Google books here. (As a side note, Peter Dease is the brother of another director Hogue ancestor!)

6. Nancy who married William Harper, and later John Cox

7. Jane Taylor who married a McDougall

8. Robert Taylor who “has been in England since childhood”.

9. our Margaret who later married Amable Hogue

George Taylor made his last trip as pilot of the “Britannia” on a voyage to York Factory in 1817. According to researcher Maurice Hogue, who worked with Christine Welch on the documentary film Women in the Shadows, the ship never sailed back to England because it was frozen in Hudson Bay and then destroyed by fire. George went back to England in 1818, abandoning Jane and the children.

Jane  died 9 Oct 1844, as noted in Extracts from registers of baptisms, marriages and burials in Rupert’s Land E4/2 in the Manitoba Archives.

Here’s our descent from George and Jane to Pépère:
1-George TAYLOR (1759-?)
+Jane (?-1844)
2-Margaret TAYLOR (1805- 1885)
+Louis Amable HOGUE (1796-1858)
3-Thomas HOGUE (1840-1924)
+Philomene MCMILLAN (1848-1923)
4-Thomas Joseph HOGUE (1879-1955)


Margaret Taylor

So who was Margaret Taylor, and why is her name in so many history books? The answer is that she was the “country wife” of Sir George Simpson, governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. This was the fact I discovered when I found her name in the book in the gift shop. It was common practice for men in the fur trade to take a native or Metis woman as a “country wife” or marry “à la facon du pays” (in the custom of the country). Sometimes these relationships were long-lasting, with provisions made for any children of the union. Sometimes, if a man was transferred to another post, he made provisions to “turn off” his partner, meaning he would arrange a marriage for her to someone else, and perhaps make some financial provisions.Although “love” may or may not have been a consideration, the relationship was often  beneficial to both parties.

As Sylvia Van Kirk says in her book Many Tender Ties:

“The Indian viewed marriage in an integrated social and economic context; a marital alliance created a reciprocal social bond which served to consolidate his economic relationship with a stranger. Thus, through marriage, the trader was drawn into the Indian’s kinship circle. And in return for giving the traders sexual and domestic rights to their women, the Indians expected reciprocal privileges such as free access to the posts and provisions.”

From the point of view of the fur trader, he gained not only companionship and important social ties to trading partners, but a wife who was skilled in the many practical skills necessary to his occupation, such as making snowshoes, moccasins and pemmican.

Margaret  Taylor was born around 1805 at the Polar Sea (York Factory) to George Taylor, an English sloopmaster and Jane, a native woman. Simpson apparently had many liaisons with Metis women, and around 1825 began a relationship with Margaret.   Simpson was known to have acknowledged Margaret’s brother Tom, who was his personal servant, as his “brother-in-law”. One of Margaret’s descendants, Christine Welsh, has a National Film Board movie called “Women in the Shadows” which explores her Metis roots.

Margaret bore Governor Simpson two sons. Their first son, George Stewart Simpson, was born February 11, 1827. (He would join HBC as a 13-year-old apprentice and eventually become a Chief Trader.) In July, 1828 Margaret accompanied Simpson on a canoe trip from York Factory to New Caledonia (what is now British Columbia).   Amable Hogue was part of the crew of this trip. During this voyage, Margaret became pregnant again with Simpson’s child.   James Raffan states in Emperor of the North:

“In fact, she had re-crossed through the April snows of the treacherous Athabasca Pass when well into her second trimester. Ninety miles on foot or on horseback slogging over her beloved governor’s muddy winter road between Fort Assiniboine and the North Saskatchewan likely did nothing to improve her feeling of well-being.”

Simpson left her at Fort Edmonton with instructions to Chief Factor John Rowand to arrange for her to go to Fort Alexander. This was done and Simpson’s second son, John Mckenzie Simpson, was born August 29, 1829. (John stayed in Manitoba.) Chief Factor John Stuart’s letter to Simpson, of February 1, 1830, praised Margaret :

“…it is but common justice to remark that in her comportment she is both decent and modest far beyond anything I could expect or ever witnessed in any of her country women. She appears to be as content as is possible for one of her sex to be in the absence of their lord and natural protector and as a mother she is most kind and attentive to her children whom she keeps very clean.”

There was a great deal of surprise then, when in May of 1830 Sir Simpson returned from a trip to England with a new wife in tow, his cousin Frances! Colleagues were shocked at Simpson’s cruel and dismissive treatment of Margaret. Simpson’s marriage to Frances is considered by historians to be a turning point in the social customs of the fur trade. Whereas native and Metis wives were at one time considered invaluable for their skills and connections, only European women were now  “civilized” enough for the expanding settlement. Years later, one of Margaret and Amable’s sons would refer to his mother as a “sturdy Scotswoman”. The denial of Metis roots had begun.

Governor Simpson belatedly arranged to have Margaret married off to Amable Hogue. They were married March 24, 1831 by Rev. David Jones at the Red River church, witnessed by Pierre Leblanc and William Bruce. Amable worked as a mason on the building of Lower Fort Garry, where Simpson and Frances were going to live…how ironic!