For all the Mothers and Grandmothers

It’s Mother’s Day.  Time to honour all the Mothers and Grandmothers who came before me. How I wish I had pictures of ALL my female ancestors! Here are the ones I do have. Strong women, every one!

Louise Girardin nee Bernardin 1824-1912

Louise Bernardin Girardin 1824-1912

Louise, my great-great grandmother, died at the age of 87, having outlived two husbands, born 10 children, and emigrated four times, from Quebec to Massachusetts to Manitoba, back to Massachusetts, then finally back to Manitoba.

Onesime Girardin nee Allard 1852-1896

Onesime Allard Girardin 1852-1896

Louise’s daughter-in-law, my great grandmother Onesime, emigrated twice, first from Quebec to Massachusetts,  where she married (and buried her first three daughters), and then  to Manitoba. She died at the age of 44, pregnant with her 14th child.

Girardin Emma b1878

Emma Girardin Hogue 1878-1979

Onesime’s daughter Emma, my grandmother (Mémère) died at the age of 101, having raised her siblings after her Mother’s early death, born 8 children, and outlived her husband and all her siblings.  She had emigrated from Massachusetts to Manitoba as a child.

Margaret McMillan nee Dease 1818-1905

Margaret Dease McMillan 1818-1905

Margaret, my great-great grandmother, one of my Metis ancestors, died at age 87 having born 9 children and outlived her husband. She lived most of her life in the Red River Settlement.

Philomene Hogue nee McMillan 1848-1923

Philomene McMillan Hogue 1848-1923

Margaret’s daughter Philomene, my great grandmother, died at 75, just months before her husband.  She had 9 children.

Marie Anne Vaillancourt nee Girard 1881-1975

Marie Anne Girard Vaillancourt 1881-1975

Marie Anne is my maternal grandmother who died at the age of 94, having born 9 children and outlived her husband by 40 years.  She moved from Quebec to Alberta, back to Quebec, then back to Saskatchewan, and eventually Manitoba. (As an aside, this is the ONLY picture I have in which she’s smiling!)

Madeleine Hogue nee Vaillancourt 1916-2006

Madeleine Vaillancourt Hogue 1916-2006

And here’s my Mother, Madeleine, who died at the age of 90, having outlived Dad by 24 years, and born 5 children.  She was born in Quebec and moved to Saskatchewan as a child, and then to Manitoba. Still “talk” to her everyday.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

More obituaries

Did I mention how much I enjoy finding newspaper articles and old obituaries?  I recently subscribed to, which includes, among other publications, The Winnipeg Tribune.  Turns out that some obits I couldn’t find in The Winnipeg Free Press, are in the Trib!

I have found four more obituaries for Philomene’s siblings.

For Marguerite, who married Baptiste Beauchemin, this obituary was published in The Winnipeg Tribune, Tuesday, December 14, 1926, on the front page:

Marguerite McMillan obituary

Marguerite McMillan obituary

For Philomene’s sister Marie Anne who married Salomon Carriere, this obituary was published in The Winnipeg Tribune on June 16, 1922, page 6:

Obituary of Mary Ann McMillan

Obituary of Mary Ann McMillan

For Philomene’s sister Virginie, who married Daniel Carriere, this obituary was published in The Winnipeg Tribune September 5, 1993, page 13:

Obituary of Virginie McMillan

Obituary of Virginie McMillan

For Philomene’s sister Elizabeth, who married Pierre Bruce, this obituary was published in The Winnipeg Tribune, Wednesday, May 18, 1938, page 6

Elizabeth McMillan obituary

Elizabeth McMillan obituary

Sadly, still no obituaries for Philomene, or her sister Sara.

The McMillan/Dease Family

Today I’m going to write about the children of our Hogue ancestors, William McMillan and Margaret Dease. They had nine children who survived to adulthood.  Gaps in the birth order would suggest there were other infants born who did not survive. I’ve already written about Philomene McMillan, who married Thomas Hogue, Sr. here.

Thomas and Philomene

Thomas and Philomene

When examining the families of these siblings, we see, once again,  how interconnected the people of the Red River Settlement were.

Philomene’s sister, Marguerite McMillan (1840 – 1926) was born in St. Boniface. She married Baptiste Beauchemin and they lived next door to Philomene and Thomas on the banks of the Assiniboine River in St. Charles. Baptiste Beauchemin was a member of Louis Riel’s Provisional Government.

A very interesting article appeared in The Winnipeg Tribune, April 10, 1946, when Marguerite and Baptiste’s son William died.

The Winnipeg Tribune, April 10, 1946

The Winnipeg Tribune, April 10, 1946

Wow!  Actually saw the shooting of Thomas Scott, a pivotal event in Manitoba history.

Marie Anne McMillan(1842-1922) married Salomon Carriere. They eventually settled in St. Laurent, Manitoba.

Joseph McMillan (1849-1923) married Pauline Bruce. I love finding obituaries!  Even though they often contain slightly inaccurate information, they do give us a glimpse into the lives and times of our relatives. I was able to find an obituary for Joseph. (Philomene died the day before her brother, but I’ve never found an obiturary for her.)

St. James Resident Who Died Yesterday Was Prominent in Assiniboia
Western Canada lost another pioneer farmer in the death of Joseph McMillan, a native of St. Boniface, who died yesterday morning at his residence, 241 Maddock street, St. James, at the age of 73 years. Born in the Cathedral city, Dec. 4, 1849, Mr. McMillan crossed the river 60 years ago, and settled in St. James on what is now known as the Strathmillan estate, where he farmed for a number of years and had lived ever since.
After several years of active life in the municipality of Assiniboia, where he was elected to the council the first year of its existence and later presided over its deliberations as reeve, Mr. McMillan retired from the public life of the district in 1912.
Mrs. McMillan pre-deceased him, having died in September, 1922. He leaves two sons and four daughters, being W.F. McMillan of Poplar Point; J.E. McMillan, 240 Maddock street; Mrs. L.T. Hogue, Murray Park; Mrs. D. Lagasee, of St. Adolphe; Mrs. Charles Sayer, of Delmas, Sask., and Miss Catherine McMillan, at home.
In addition to being a pioneer of the west, Mr. McMillan had the further distinction of being the son of a native of western Canada, his father having been born in Edmonton, of Scottish descent. In the early days of his settling in St. James he taught school at Sturgeon Creek.
Up to Thursday afternoon, this pioneer was talking to his sons of the olden days, with their buffalo hunts and other exciting adventures, though he had been bedridden for the past eight months following a paralytic stroke.
The funeral will be held Monday, at 9:30 a.m., from the family residence, interment taking place at St. Charles cemetery.

Buffalo hunts!  Those certainly would qualify as “exciting adventures”!

Virginie McMillan (1851-1933) married Daniel Carriere, a cousin of Salomon’s. (Both Daniel and Salomon were also cousins of Damase Carriere who was involved with the Riel Rebellion of 1885, and died at Batoche, Saskatchewan.) Virginie and Daniel lived in St. Eustache, Manitoba.

Sarah McMillan, (1852-1943), was married three times. She married Joseph Turcotte, was widowed, married Pierre Jobin, was widowed, and then married Antoine Vandal. Sarah is buried in St. Jean Baptiste, Manitoba. (Pierre Jobin’s brother Ambroise died in 1885 from wounds suffered at the Battle of Batoche.)

Patrice “Patrick” McMillan, (1854-1929) married Elizabeth “Betsy” Caplette. I also found an obituary for him.

Manitoba Free Press, Winnipeg, Friday, December 13, 1929
Patrick McMillan Succumbs at St. Giles, Man., Aged 74 Years
Patrick McMillan, aged 74 years, and pioneer resident of Winnipeg, died Tuesday at his home at St. Giles, Man. He was born in St. Boniface, and resided on Davidson street, St. James until a few months ago, when he moved to St. Giles. In addition to his widow, Mr. McMillan is survived by two sons, W.J. of St. Charles, and Peter, of St. James; also three daughters, Mrs. N. Lane, of Deerhorn, Man.; Mrs. H. Breland of St. Francis, Man., and Mrs. A. Turcotte, of Charleswood, Man.
Funeral service for Mr. McMillan will be held this morning at 10 o’clock at St. Charles church, and burial will be made in St. Charles cemetery. The Clark-Leatherdale funeral home is in charge of arrangements.

John McMillan (1858-1908) married Virginie Bruce, sister to Pauline. John also has an obituary.

John McMillan, of St. Charles, died at the family residence on Monday night, after a protracted illness. He was born at St. Boniface in 1860, removing to St. Charles when a young lad. He was a son of the late Joseph McMillan, [this is an error and should read William]an official in the service of the Hudson’s Bay company, who lived to be over 100 years old, his death taking place five years ago. John McMillan was well known, and highly respected by all with whom he came in contact, and was always ready to take an active interest in matters of general benefit to the community where he lived. He leaves a widow and five children: Alan, Josephine and Virginia, at home; Mrs. Alexander Smith, of St. James, and Mrs. Lacceet, of St. Vital. He was a keen sportsmen, having formed one of a party of five, consisting of A. Smith, H. Roberts, W. Pruden, G. Kerr, and the deceased, who went on an annual hunting expedition together for the last thirteen years. The funeral will take place this morning at 8:30 from the family residence to St. Charles cemetery, where interment will take place.

St. Charles Cemetery Winnipeg, Manitoba

St. Charles Cemetery
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Elizabeth McMillan (1859-1938) married Pierre Bruce, brother of Pauline and Virginie.  They lived in St. Laurent, Manitoba.  I’ve found an obituary for Pierre.

Pierre Bruce, Aged 78 Years, and Pierre Lavelle, Aged 70 Called By Death

St. Laurent, Man., April 18.—Pierre Bruce, aged 78 years, died yesterday morning at the family ranch at Harperville, after a protracted illness. He was a native of St. Norbert, and resided in the neighborhood of Winnipeg for the first fifty years of his life. Mr. Bruce was an artist with the violin, and only a few years ago gave a demonstration of his skill, playing reels and jigs at the then “Pantages theatre.”
He is survived by his widow, two daughters and four sons.
The funeral will be held at St. Laurent on Tuesday.

All three Bruce in laws were nieces/nephews of John Bruce, who was President of the Métis National Council in 1869.

The family name “McMillan” was sometimes spelt “McMullen”. In 1878, Joseph McMillan must have petitioned HBC for acknowledgment of the correct spelling. In the HBC Archives, MG8 B53, we find this letter:

“Fort Garry 24th Dec 1878
I hereby certify an examination of old Hudson’s Bay Company record, that the family name of McMillan (say Father of William McMillan and Grandfather of Joseph McMillan) is spelt McMillan not McMullan.
J.H. McTavish
Chief Factor H.B.C.”

The Dease connection, part 1

Back from vacation and ready to continue the story of Philomene McMillan’s ancestors. Philomene is Pépère’s mother. Previously, I wrote about Christopher Johnson and Ann Warren here. Their daughter, our direct ancestor Anne Johnson, was married to Richard Dease.

I haven’t discovered much about Richard Dease. One assumes that the Dease family was also landed gentry, since Richard married into the well-connected Johnson family. I do know that Richard had a brother who was a doctor, Dr. Francis Dease. According to The Report and Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin for the years 1880, 1881 and 1882:

“…Richard Dease’s brother, Francis Dease, an eminent physician, engaged in the employ of Catharine II, of Russia, and dying unmarried, about 1739, left his fortune to his brother Richard, whose match with Miss Johnson he had been instrumental in forming. But through the dishonesty of an agent in St. Petersburg, Richard Dease never received one penny of the large estate devised him by his brother.”

I’m not certain that the above information is completely accurate, since I’ve found other sources that say Dr. Francis Dease died in Russia in 1741. One source is a 1997 book called ‘By the Banks of the Neva’: Chapters from the Lives and Careers of the British in Eighteenth-Century Russia by Anthony Glenn Cross found on Google Books:

“Of the two Irish doctors Francis Dease was with the army during the Russo-Turkish war from 1738 until his death in 1741.”

Another source is the book Ireland and Medicine in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, which has a chapter entitled Medicine, Religion and Social Mobility in Eighteenth-and Early Nineteenth-Century Ireland, by Laurence Brockliss , in which he notes:

“Francis Dease from county Westmeath, who graduated at Reims in 1735, joined the Russian military after studying philosophy at Leuven and medicine at Leiden, only to die six years later at the young age of 32.”

Anne and Richard had at least two sons, both of whom became doctors like their uncle. The youngest son was Dr. William Dease, a noted Irish physician who was one of the founders of the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. The Dictionary of Ulster Biography notes that:

William Dease was one of the leading surgeons in Dublin (and therefore Ireland) in the last two decades of the eighteenth century, whose principal contribution to Irish medicine was probably the establishment of the profession of surgery as an independent entity, properly regulated by a professional body, and to reform and improve medical education in Ireland.”

William’s death by suicide, was the subject of controversy. He may have killed himself because he blamed himself for a patient’s death, or because he was warned that he was about to be arrested for being a member of The Society of United Irishmen. This was an organization working for Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform. You can read about it here.

You can also see a statue of William here .

As interesting a person as William is, he is not our direct ancestor. That would be his brother, Dr. John Dease, born in County Cavan, Ireland around 1744. The Warren, Johnson, and Dease families appear to have had very strong family ties, evidenced by the fact that, just as Peter Warren had taken William Johnson “under his wing” and brought him to New York to manage his affairs, so Sir William Johnson brought Dr. John Dease to New York in 1771 to serve as his personal physician. Upon Sir William’s death in 1774, he received some money and land.

By 1775 Dr. John Dease became Deputy Agent of Indian Affairs for the Cataraqui District. In the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, it says:

“Late in the summer of 1783 Dease accompanied Joseph Brant [Thayendanegea] and other Six Nations deputies when they left for Detroit to talk about unity with the western Indians, Creeks, and Cherokees. In September Dease made his first trip to Michilimackinac, bearing the official word of the cessation of hostilities between the British and the Americans. Following his return to Niagara he was involved in sensitive conferences with the Six Nations, whose lands had in effect been turned over to the Americans by the British in the Treaty of Paris (1783). Meanwhile, beyond the upper Great Lakes, intertribal Indian wars were seriously disrupting the western fur trade.”

In 1786 Dr. John Dease was appointed the deputy agent at Michilimackinac to try and settle the troubles. Unfortunately, Dease encountered problems with the merchants and the commandant at the fort, and by October of 1789 found himself recalled back to Montreal.

On a vacation a few years ago I was able to visit the fort on Mackinac Island.

Fort Mackinac

Dr. Dease married Jane French, a Caughnawaga Mohawk and they had 8 children. Dr. Dease died in 1801 and Jane in 1802.
I’ll continue the story in my next post.

The Warren connection

I’m going to go back in time now, and show the fascinating ancestors of Pépère’s mother, Philomene McMillan. In many ways, her ancestry has some of the most interesting stories.

Occasionally the genealogy gods smile down on a researcher,  and that was certainly the case when I started investigating Philomene’s roots. It turns out that her maternal great-great-great grandmother was a woman named Ann Warren. Ann never left Ireland, and I never would have discovered more about her, except for the fact that her brother was Vice Admiral Sir Peter Warren.

Admiral Sir Peter Warren, painted c. 1748-1752, by Thomas Hudson. National Maritime Museum, London, England, from Wikimedia Commons

Admiral Sir Peter Warren, painted c. 1748-1752, by Thomas Hudson. National Maritime Museum, London, England, from Wikimedia Commons

Sir Peter’s life has been well documented and researched; thus I was able to follow that line far, far back in time. It will take several more blog posts to share all the fascinating stories I’ve found.

Sir Peter and Anne were born in Ireland the son and daughter of Michael Warren of Warrenstown, Co. Meath, and Lady Catherine Aylmer. The Aylmer and Warren families were old Anglo-Irish families with important military and political connections. Peter joined the navy in 1716 under the guidance of his uncle Admiral Matthew Aylmer (1st Lord Aylmer, Baron of Balrath, Co. Meath.)

Sir Peter’s naval career sent him to North America and the West Indies. At this time it was common practice for captured ships to be considered a “prize” and the value of the ship and its cargo was distributed amongst those who seized it. Such “prize money” added to Sir Peter’s wealth, and he invested in land, money lending and stocks. In 1731 he married Susannah DeLancey, daughter of a wealthy and influential New York family whose brother James was Chief Justice and Lieutenant Governor of New York.

From 1744 to 1748, England and France were fighting what is known as King George’s War for supremacy on the eastern coast of North America. In 1745 the British, with a fighting force made up of New England soldiers, and a British naval fleet under the command of Sir Peter successfully captured the French fort of Louisbourg on Île Royale, now Cape Breton Island. (If you are interested, you can watch the NFB film Louisbourg under siege online.)

For his efforts at Louisbourg, Peter was made an Admiral. He also served as a British Member of Parliament. He built a mansion on an estate of 300 acres in what is now Greenwich Village, which you can read about here.  His philanthropy included the support of churches and hospitals. He died suddenly in Dublin in 1752. He is buried in Ireland, and his widow commissioned a monument that is in Westminster Abbey.

Here’s the descent from Ann Warren to Pépère:

1-Anne WARREN (-)
+Christopher JOHNSON (-)
2-Ann JOHNSON (-)
+Richard DEASE (-)
3-Dr. John DEASE (1745-1801)
+Jane FRENCH (ca 1754-1802)
4-John Warren DEASE Sr. (1783- 1830)
+Genevieve BEIGNET (1796-1860)
5-Margaret DEASE (1818-1905)
+William MCMILLAN (1806-1903)
6-Philomene MCMILLAN (1848- 1923)
+Thomas HOGUE (1840-20 May 1924)
7-Thomas Joseph HOGUE (1879- 1955)

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?