The Girardins of La Salle

Napoleon Girardin and Onesime Allard

Napoleon Girardin and Onesime Allard

In a previous post here, I mentioned the untimely death of Mémère’s mother, Onesime Allard, in 1896. Mémère’s father, Napoleon Girardin, was left with 10 children, the youngest, Caroline, only 2 years old, and the oldest, Emma (Mémère), a month shy of her 18th birthday. Onesime was buried at Bruxelles, but at some point the body was interred in another cemetery where other Allards were buried. I suspect that may have been St. Francois Xavier.

Napoleon was offered a position at the St. Hyacinthe seminary college farm in La Salle, and moved the family there. In the book Hugging the Meridian: Macdonald: A Manitoba Municipal History 1881-1981 by Betty Dyck, Emma was interviewed and recalled:

“We came by horse and wagon. Mr. Joseph Cormier made us a bed for the night on straw. The next day he took us to the college farm. When I married Thomas Hogue I moved to La Salle town April 16, 1907 to where the house is now on the Main Street.”

In the 1901 Census for La Salle (Macdonald, Selkirk, Manitoba; Page: 9) the Girardins are family #76 and the Hogues are family #77. It’s easy to understand how three Girardins married three Hogues!

1901 Census of Canada

1901 Census of Canada

Obviously Emma had a great deal of responsibility for her siblings. However, other descendants of Napoleon and Onesime have related to me that some of the siblings were sent to either an orphanage or convent or boarding school. This may have been an institution run by the Grey Nuns in St. Boniface, in the building which is now the St. Boniface Museum (see here). Or it may have been St. Joseph’s Academy run by Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (see here).  I have not yet been able to track down any records to document this.

So who were Mémère’s siblings?  I’ll begin a series of posts to share what I have learned.

The first was Arthur, born August 2, 1880 in Winnipeg almost as soon as Napoleon and Onesime arrived. Arthur was almost 16 when his mother died. He married Sarah Hogue (daughter of Thomas and Philomene) in 1901. Arthur worked as a foreman for the Canadian Pacific Railway. They had a family of six. Here’s a picture of them later in life.

Arthur Girardin and Sarah Hogue

Arthur Girardin and Sarah Hogue

Arthur died December 14, 1955 and Sarah on February 23, 1960. They are buried in the La Salle Cemetery. As you can see from the gravestone, two of their children died young.

2009 07 10_1055

Winnipeg Free Press Friday December 16, 1955 p. 15

Winnipeg Free Press Friday December 16, 1955 p. 15

Winnipeg Free Press February 25, 1960

Winnipeg Free Press February 25, 1960

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting two of Arthur and Sarah’s granddaughters, who have generously shared information and photos with me.

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