Thursday, February 4, 2016

Goulet Park

Elzéar Goulet Memorial Park
Commemorates Prominent Métis
Monuments and plaques commemorating Elzéar Goulet (1836–1870) were unveiled during the summer of 2008 in the park on Taché Avenue that bears his name. Goulet was part of a prominent Métis family. As a young man, he relocated to Pembina in what is now North Dakota and became an American citizen. There he began to raise a family with his wife, Héléne Jerome. Goulet was appointed in 1861 to replace his brother Roger as the mail carrier between Pembina and the Red River Settlement. Whether by horse in the summer or dog sled in the winter his weekly trips between the two settlements made him well known and respected.

Goulet was a military leader with Louis Riel’s provisional government in 1870. He was involved in the conviction of Thomas Scott who was executed for treason by the provisional government. For his part in the execution, Goulet on 13 September 1870 was chased by an angry mob on the streets of Winnipeg in broad daylight and pelted with rocks from the shore and he drowned as he attempted to swim across the Red River to St. Boniface not far from the memorial site. Investigation of his murder identified the principal perpetrators but charges were never laid for fear that attempted prosecutions would be unenforceable. Goulet was buried in his family plot under a simple tombstone in the St. Boniface Cathedral Cemetery.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Grandfather of Andre Jerome -- Jean-Baptiste Letendre

LETENDRE, dit Batoche, JEAN-BAPTISTE (also known as Okimawaskawikinam), fur trader and farmer; b. 30 Aug. 1762 in Sorel (Que.), son of Jean-Baptiste Letendre (1736–1809) and Marie-Madeleine Cardin, dit Loiseau (1742–1808); m. c. 1785 à la façon du pays Josephte “Crise,” a member of the Cree nation, in the northwest; d. in or after 1827, probably in St Boniface (Man.).
Jean-Baptiste Letendre, dit Batoche, came to the northwest in the 1780s. In 178586 he was employed by the North West Company in the Athabasca department as a “devant” or bowsman. He is listed as an interpreter in the region of Fort des Prairies (Fort-à-la-Corne, Sask.) in 1804. Marie-Anne Gaboury* and Jean-Baptiste Lagimonière*, who spent some time in the area in 1808, are reported to have met the Canadian Batoche and his Cree family. In 1810 Letendre or his son, who was also called Jean-Baptiste, was with the explorer David Thompson*. In his diary Thompson mentions that Letendre and his family arrived from the region near Beaverhill Lake (Alta), bringing a hundred or so beaver pelts. That year Letendre or his son went with Thompson to explore the Athabasca River as far as the Rockies but quit the expedition in January 1811 at the camp on the Canoe River (B.C.), a tributary of the Columbia.
In the 1810s and 1820s it appears that Letendre engaged in the fur trade on his own account as a “freeman,” to use an expression common in the northwest. Alone or with his family he owned a trading post called Batoche at Muskootao Point, west of Fort-à-la-Corne on the north bank of the Saskatchewan. The Letendres also stayed for a time in the Red River colony (Man.) during this period. On 19 June 1816 one of their sons was killed in the engagement at Seven Oaks (Winnipeg), known in historical writings by the Métis and French of the west as La Grenouillère [see Cuthbert Grant*; Robert Semple*]. The NWC agreed to pay Mme Letendre compensation for this unfortunate accident because of the “good character her husband always bore.”
Around 1825 the Letendres came from Rocky Mountain House (Alta), known by francophones as “poste de la montagne de Roches,” to settle at St Boniface. On 6 June of that year Letendre’s sons Jean-Baptiste and Louis (Louison) and his daughters Josephte and Angélique were married in religious ceremonies. In 1827 Letendre, his wife, and eight children were living on lot 906. Two of their sons occupied land near by with their families. Letendre was a well-to-do farmer, but he was keeping a family of 40. He owned seven horses, a herd of cattle, a canoe, and two carts. It is worth noting that he was farming 50 acres at a time when even the Catholic mission only cultivated 25.
No trace of Letendre has been found after 1827. He is not listed as head of a household or owner of a lot in the 1828 census, or in those that followed. His son Jean-Baptiste settled at Pembina (N.Dak.) around 1850. As for Louis, he made regular trips to the Fourche des Gros Ventres (as the South Saskatchewan River was known) and the post called La Montée on the North Saskatchewan. In 1849 he was one of the Métis who protested against the HBC’s fur-trade monopoly, at the time of the Sayer affair [see Pierre-Guillaume Sayer*]. The Letendre family carried on business both on its own account and for the HBC in the area around Fort Canton (Sask.) in the 1850s and 1860s and settled permanently in that region around 1870. In 1872 Jean-Baptiste’s grandson François-Xavier founded the village of Batoche on the South Saskatchewan River. It was Batoche that became the centre of Métis resistance in 1885 and the Métis capital of the northwest.

Diane Paulette Payment, “LETENDRE, Batoche, JEAN-BAPTISTE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 6, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 12, 2014,

"dit" Names, etc.

"dit" Names etc.

Rita Elise Plourde

* There are two reasons why there are so many variant spellings of some names.
* First: most of the citizens of the 1600-1800 were illiterate. Of these, a precious few could sign their names. However, the priests,seminarians,missionaries, monks & nuns were the most educated groups in the citizenry. Only an elite few were educated beyond what we, today, would consider a basic elementary education.
* Consequently, many of the clerics & notories, who under the French system of administration were charged with recording "vital statistics" wrote the names as they knew them to be in France, as a precious few of the immigrants/colonists signed them, or as they heard them (phonetically).
* That is why one sees Garau, Garrault, Gareau,Garo, etc... even amongst the sons of a particualr ancestor. A good example are the descendants of Louis Houde...some of the variant spellings found are: Houd,Houle, Ould,Houde,Hood,etc.
* The second reason for variant spellings is: As the colonists migrated within Nouvelle France/New France & eventually beyond the areas of French-speaking Canada ( ex. to current-day USA, the Caribbean, the West Indies, etc.) recorders of "vital statistics" who were not French speakers, usually spelled names phonetically, or changed them because they didn't have a clue how to write them.
(Ex. Rochefort became Rushfort in the Carolinas, Champagne became Shampang, Thibodeaux became Thibodo, or Tibodo. LeBrun was changed to Brown & Leblanc to White, etc.etc.)
* The "dit" names have an interesting origin. The English translation of "dit" is "said". The Colonists of Nouvelle France added "dit" names as distinguishers. A settler might have wanted to differentiate their family from their siblings by taking a "dit" name that described the locale to which they had relocated ( ex: since the Colonists followed the customs of the French feudal system, land was divided amongst the first born sons [primogeniture] . Soon there was not enough land to divide any further.
* Perhaps an adventurous younger son would decide to establish himself, with or without a family, in another area... say a fertile piece of land near some streams... he might add des ruisseaux (streams/creeks/rivulets) to distinguish himself from his brothers. When he married,or died, his name might be listed as Houde dit DesRuisseaux, or Desruisseau(s).
* The acquiring of a "dit" name might also be the result of a casual adoption, whereby the person wanted to honor the family who had raised them. Another reason was also to distinguish themselves by taking as a "dit" name the town or village in France from which they originated... ex: Huret dit Rochefort.
Rita Elise Plourde (10) is a member of AFGS and contributer of cultural, or historical comments in response to the queries posed by volunteers in the AFGS Volunteers mailing list. She is a bilingually educated ( K thru college) Franco-American anthropologist, who was raised in a multicultural environment. Rita continues to explore, examine &extol the culture of her French/Acadian/Quebecois ancestors & contemporary relatives. Her primary aim as an AFGS member is the sharing of information & research regarding her French/Acadian/Quebecois ancestors, their culture & their legacy.

(Source: American-French Genealogical Society
Surnames French-Canadian : Variants, Dit, Anglicization, etc.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Some examples of dit names used in conjunction with the Jerome surname:

Jerome - Latour
Jérome - Beaume
Jérome - Beaumeleblanc
Jérome - De la Tour
Jérome - Latour
Jérome - Leblanc
Jérome - Longtin
Jérome - Patry
Jérome - Rivière
Jéróme - Hélie
Jérôme - Baumeleblanc
Jérôme - Beaume
Jérôme - Delatour
Jérôme - Lonquetin
Jérôme - Patry
Jérôme - Rivière

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Memorable Manitobans: Martin Jerome (1849-1936)

Click to enlargeFarmer, municipal official, immigration agent, MLA (1888-1892), MLA (1892-1895), MLA (1900-1903).
Born at Pembina, North Dakota on 23 November 1849, one of thirteen children of American parents, he was educated at St. Boniface and, in 1870, he married to Leocadie Carrierre. They settled on a farm in the Parish of St. Pierre, south of Winnipeg. He was the first Reeve of the Rural Municipality of DeSalaberry and was later elected to the Manitoba Legislature for the Carillon constituency, serving until 1903. He assisted in organizing the first Manitoba Liberal Association, along with Daniel McMillan and James Fisher, and he served as a federal immigration agent in France and Belgium for several years, and a homestead and forest inspector. He was a vigorous supporter of separate Catholic schools. He died at St. Boniface, Manitoba on 22 July 1936 and was buried in St. Norbert Cemetery

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Photo: Andrew Jerome and Jim Smith Families (Early 1900)

A kind lady contacted me about a picture she found in a California antique mall.  Fortunately, she found my website about the Jerome Family and offered me the picture at her cost in order to get it back to the family.  The photo is in excellent condition.  What a find.  Judging by the size of my Uncle Julius (boy in the picture), I believe the picture was taken about 1904-5 near Hallock MN.  Annotations on the back of the picture, made by a descendant of Jim Smith and Andre Jerome, are included without any editing.

Elizabeth Smith Burk (mom's sister)
Anna Smith Irwin (Mother) 14 yrs.
Angeline Jerome Pearenteau (mom's aunt)
Marie (Mae) Smith (Panshab, Whiteside ) (Mom's sister)
Roger Jerome (mom's uncle)
James H Smith (mom's father) ((Hiram – Elizabeth Smith) mom's grandparents)
Martin Jerome (mom's uncle)
Andre Jerome (mom's grandfather) ( his bro. Was married to Napoleon Bonaparte's sister)
Julius Jerome (Napoleon's son)
Margaret Goslau Jerome (mom's grandmother) (Her mother McKay, King
Napoleon Jerome (mom's uncle) (his wife was Elizabeth Renville)
Margaret Jerome Smith (Mrs. James Smith) (mom's mother)

Not on here
Margaret Jerome
John Jerome oldest
Julian (died at 6 yrs)
(This last group of names are the children of Napoleon Jerome.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

First Bible in Minnesota

An article appeared in a Winona MN newspaper during the Minnesota Centennial crediting Joseph Renville, my 3d great grandfather, with introducing the first Bible into Minnesota in the early 1820s.  It is said he imported the book from France.  While he could not read the book, he spoke fluent French as well as his native Dakotah language (language of the Sioux).  At the mission he established at Lac Qui Parle, the missionaries would read the book to him in French and he would repeat their words in the Dakotah language.  It was in this way that the Bible was first translated into the language of the Sioux.  The story goes that it took several years to complete the translation of all the books of the Bible.  Additionally, Joseph Renville translated several hymns popular at that time into the language of the Sioux and is credited with writing several hymns himself.  It is unfortunate that an accident at the mission caused a fire which destroyed that first Minnesota Bible.

The mission established by Joseph Renville at his fur trading post can be visited in Lac Qui Parle State Park near Montevideo, Minnesota.  Although the stockade and buildings of the fur trading post are no longer there, an historic marker marks the spot where it was placed next to the lake.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Joe Rolette

Most everyone who has read about Minnesota history has seen a story about how Joe Rolette was responsible for the state capital remaining in St. Paul when Minnesota became a state. Usually, the story tells about this jolly half-breed from Pembina who stole the bill when the territorial legislature passed it and held it hostage until it could no longer be signed to make it law. This simple telling of the story is misleading about the actual facts of that incident in our history, largely because of differing political reasons for telling it in that way.

Lost in the short explanations is the description of the racial demographics of that time and place. Pembina County, represented by Joe Rolette, had a population majority which was made up of people involved in the fur trade. These were mostly Indian or mixed blood French-Indian people, often called Metis. The same was true of much of the Northern part of the territory. A major discussion among politicians of the day involved around questions about who should be allowed to vote, with European settlers doubting that those non-whites were civilized enough to be allowed to participate in elections.

Joe Rolette was a well educated, wealthy, young man who came from Wisconsin to Pembina to open a fur trading post. He was a generous and well-liked person in that community. Although not a Metis himself, his ties to that group were largely derived from his marriage to Angelique Jerome, sister of Andre Jerome, who was of mixed Cree Indian and French ancestry. He championed the cause of these people and represented them well in the territorial legislature. Together they raised eleven children.

A number of legislators preferred the future state of Minnesota should have its northern border much further South than where it ended up and to have its capital near the center of that area in St. Peter. They arranged speculative land purchases there in order to obtain some benefits from the relocation of the state capital. The governor, who wanted to sign the bill, was among those speculators who would benefit. However, the state borders ended up quite differently, but the bill to move the capital was passed. In his role as the legislative committee chairman who was charged with the responsibility to certify the validity of the bill which had to be signed, Joe Rolette legally had the bill in his possession. Some historians believe there were technical problems with the writing of the bill. Others claim that Rolette simply did not believe it wise to move the capital from its St. Paul location. Whatever the reason, he withheld the bill from being presented for signature until past the deadline to make it law.

This action by Rolette made him a hero to the people in St. Paul. A prominant artist of the day painted a portait of Rolette in typical Metis dress which was hung in the State Capital for many years. This portrayal provides some emphasis for the well-circulated but misleading story of this famous incident. Historians have written about how this well-educated, wealthy trader would present himself to the St. Paul society in expensive tailored clothing obtained when he was in St. Paul on business. It should be noted that Joe Rolette was involved with Norman Kittson in establishing the train of Red River carts that provided the transportation of the fur trade products from the Red River Valley of the North to the growing business center at St. Paul. That transportation system ended with the building of the Great Northern Railway.

An interesting fact of North Dakota history is that Joe Rolette was the first person to file a homestead in North Dakota for property at Pembina. He made the first transfer of property by deed in North Dakota to James J. Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railway, for the purpose of building warehouses. He also donated the property on which the Assumption Catholic Church was built in Pembina.

Some of this background is described in an article published by the Minnesota Historical Society in The Power of Whiteness; Bruce M. White.