The Dease connection, part 2

I’m continuing the story of our Dease ancestors.

In Loyalists and the Fur Trade: the Impact of the American Revolution on Western Canadian History,  Michael Payne says:

“The Dease family probably represents the most distinguished group of Loyalist brothers who served in the fur trade. John Warren, Francis Michael, Peter Warren and Charles Johnson Watt Dease together amassed about 70 years of service with different fur trade companies. All were sons of Dr. John Dease, who in addition to being related to Sir William Johnson acted as his personal physician. Dease was a Loyalist of course, and like most other family retainers he resettled in Upper Canada (initially it seems near Niagara and later Fort Mackinac) after the American Revolution.”

Our direct ancestor is John Warren Dease, Sr., son of Dr. John Dease and Jane French, who was born 9 Jun 1783 in Niagara, New York. He joined the North West Company in 1801 and by 1816 he was in charge of the post at Rainy Lake (near Fort Frances). This was a crucial post that supplied the canoe brigades on their way to Fort William.

Here’s a picture of the plaque where the fort used to be.

Photo courtesy Sharlene Gilbert

Photo courtesy Sharlene Gilbert

When the NWC and Hudson’s Bay Company amalgamated in 1821, John became a Chief Trader at the same time as his brother Peter Warren Dease did. Peter Warren was also an Arctic explorer (see here ).

In 1822 John Warren Dease, Sr. was transferred to the Columbia district and put in charge of Fort Walla Walla in what is now Washington state. In 1825 he was transferred to Spokane House. In 1826 that post was abandoned and Dease was put in charge of the Fort Colvile district, which also included the Flathead and Kootenay posts. He spent most of his time at the Flathead post in Montana.

His second country wife was Genevieve “Jenny” Beignoit. She was born around 1796 in what is now Green Lake, Saskatchewan. John and Genevieve had 5 children, and John provided for Genevieve, their children, his children by another country wife, Mary Cadotte, and Genevieve’s son by a previous union in his will. There was a stipulation however:

“Let it be clearly understood that if the said Jenny Beignoit Mother of my adopted children…marry or cohabit with any man during my lifetime, she then forfeits the provision made for her in the foregoing will” (HBC Archives)

Tragically John became ill in 1829 and died January 11, 1830 at the Dalles, Columbia River. His death left Genevieve with 5 children ages three to 12, the oldest being our direct ancestor Margaret Dease. Genevieve did not marry again and relocated to the Red River Settlement with her children. Looking at the Red River Settlement Censuses for 1831 to 1843, I have a theory that her brother-in-law Francis Dease, who never married, helped her raise the children.

The Red River Settlement Censuses only identify the male head of household by name, and then list the other members by age bracket and marital status, i.e. sons over 16, sons under 16, etc. In the case of Genevieve, although she is the household head, BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN, she is only identified as the “widow Dease”. Grrrr!

Census returns for Red River Settlement and Grantown Digital Image Number: HB13-002681.JPG  Location Code: E.5/5

Census returns for Red River Settlement and Grantown
Digital Image Number: HB13-002681.JPG Location Code: E.5/5

However Francis M. Dease is in the household of the “widow Dease” in 1832.  Genevieve died at St. Boniface, Manitoba on 18 November 1860. Francis died in either 1864 or 1865.

Those of us who trace our ancestors back to the early days of the Red River Settlement (such an interesting time from a historical viewpoint) invariably find that our ancestors have very strong, and sometimes very confusing, interconnecting ties.

Genevieve had previously been the country wife of a Jacques Goulet, who was a voyageur for both NWC and HBC. They had one son, Alexis Goulet. That means Alexis was a half-brother to  Margaret Dease. Genevieve’s grandchildren from this line had many interesting connections.

Roger Goulet was  a member of the Council of Assiniboia. Lionel Dorge in his article The Métis and Canadien Councillors of Assiniboia (The Beaver, Winter 1974) says:

“He was the grandson of a Métisse and a Canadien (whose ancestors had come from Lorraine in 1645) and the son of a hunter and Josephte Severet (daughter of Chief Factor John Siveright of Edinburg). Bishop Provencher, as his godfather, had overseen his education at the Collège de St-Boniface – a training which stood warranty to Goulet’s word and honesty. Finally his service to the public as Surveyor since 1856 and as Collector of Customs since 1861 gave promise of someone in Council whose contacts with the people had been, and were likely to be, frequent and on a familiar basis.”

Elzear Goulet was a member of the court martial which condemned Thomas Scott during the Riel resistance in 1870. Soldiers from the Wolseley regiment, who had been sent to Red River by the Canadian government, recognized him on the street one day and pursued him, until he dove into the Red River to escape. The soldiers threw rocks at him. He was hit and drowned. Just recently the City of Winnipeg has designated a park in his honour.

Source: Heritage Resource Image from City of Winnipeg http://now.winnipeg.ca/images/images

Source: Heritage Resource Image from City of Winnipeg
http://now.winnipeg.ca/images/images

Maxime Goulet was the St. Vital member of the Manitoba Legislature in 1878, and the provincial Minister of Agriculture in 1880. Goulet Street in St. Boniface is named after him. Maxime also took part in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris! He was one of a group of men who portrayed French Canadian settlers “saved” by Buffalo Bill. When he died in 1932, the front page of the Winnipeg Free Press had this headline:

Goulet Maxime obit1932
Guillemine Goulet married Miles McDermot, son of Andrew McDermot, an important name in Manitoba history.

Sara Goulet married Elzear Lagimodiere, a cousin of Louis Riel, and their son William Lagimodiere was a MLA.

Leonide Goulet was a member of the 49th Rangers, the Metis Scouts of the 1873-74 Boundary Commission who helped survey the Canada-U.S. border.

“One of the best known families” indeed!

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