The graves of children

Like most genealogists, I love cemeteries. I’ve been to St. Charles Cemetery in Winnipeg several times to photograph gravestones.  Well, to be honest, my husband is the willing photographer.

There are many graves in St. Charles that belong to the McMillan and Hogue families. I’ve written previously about the family of my great-great-grandfather William McMillan and his wife Margaret Dease here. They are buried in this cemetery, as are some of their children, and grandchildren.

It’s always emotional to come upon a child’s grave.   Sadly, there are several in this cemetery and  I decided that the time had come to research exactly where these children belonged in the family tree.

McMillan John James b1890 grave

This grave certainly tugs at the heart strings.  Two cousins dying within two days of each other!  The fathers, John and Patrick were brothers, sons of William, and thus brothers to my great-grandmother Philomene McMillan (Pépère’s mother).

This combined gravestone is for John James McMillan, age 7, son of John McMillan and Virginie Bruce and for Patrick McMillan, age 4, son of Patrick McMillan and Elizabeth Caplette.  The four-year-old is one of those children who was born and died between census years, so without the gravestone we would never even know he existed!

I wondered if there was a rash of deaths in November of 1897 and went looking for newspaper articles.  I found this.

diseases 1897

The Winnipeg Tribune, 31 Dec 1897, Fri, Page 8


Then I found their obituaries and discovered they both died of diphtheria.

John James McMillan obit

The Winnipeg Tribune, 27 Nov 1897, Sat, Page 4

This second one is for Patrick,  whose father was misidentified as Alex.

Patrick McMillan grave

The Winnipeg Tribune, 30 Nov 1897, Tue, Page 4

This wasn’t the first child that Patrick McMillan and Elizabeth Caplette had buried.  Their second-born son, also called Patrick, had died at 11 months in 1881.


I found no obituary for this Patrick.

Patrick and Elizabeth’s son William John, married to Maria Breland, also suffered through the death of two children in the same month, July 1907.


McMillan Laura obit

The Winnipeg Tribune, 27 Jul 1907, Sat, Page 7

Again, the newspaper has misidentified the father.


Joseph McMillan (brother to John and Patrick) and his wife, Pauline Bruce, buried a 22-year-old daughter, Mary Jane, in 1893,  a 14-year- old son, Frederick, in 1898, and a 23-year-old married daughter, Mary Ann Alice, in 1902.

McMillan Mary Jane grave

Frederick 1898

McMillan Mary Ann Alice grave


I’ve found no obituaries for  Violet, Frederick, Mary Jane, or Mary Ann Alice.

Obviously, some of these gravestones are not original.  Presumably family members at some point replaced the original markers.

These graves are a poignant reminder of the hardships our ancestors faced.





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