52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #8 Philomena Tourville (1841-?)

Charles Tourville and Sophie Arpajou had eight children who made it to adulthood, four sons and four daughters. Let’s start with one of their daughters, Philomena Tourville, born in Vermont in 1841.

For a long time I thought that Philomena was in fact Domethilde Tourville who was born in 1837 to Charles Tourville and Sophie Arpajou. In so many instances have the parents changed the name of a child from the one chosen at the baptism. It is only last year that I indeed find a baptism for a Philomena Corver, born to Charles Corver (for Courville) (sic) and Sophia Harparper in St. Mary’s Church, Burlington, VT, on May 16, 1841. Then, and only then, did I realize that Philomena was NOT Domethilde (I will talk about her in another post, let’s not spoil the surprise). 😉

The first time I saw the name of Philomena, it was in the St. Patrick’s Church records, from Chateaugay, NY. It was for the baptism of Maria Clara Bauchemin, with the sponsors being Joseph Tourville (perhaps her brother or nephew) and Maria Gillier (her niece).

Bauchemin Maria Clara 9 Apr 1865 29 Mar 1865 Edward & Philomena Tourville Joseph Tourville & Maria Gillier

I endlessly looked for clues for the whereabouts of Edward Bauchemin and Philomena Tourville and could not find anything. And of course, I had the confirmation that Philomena was a child of Charles and Sophie from the inventory after death taken in October of 1851. What puzzled me for a long time is that she was not mentioned in the 1850 US Census. It was only when I found her baptism last year that I realized that the Meranda Tourville living with Charles Tourville Jr was in fact Philomena.

On the other hand, many years ago, I read on a Genealogy Forum that a Mr. Daniels was desesperately looking to find the ancestry of his GGmother called Mary Tourville married to Dwight Daniels. He knew that Mary could not speak English, that Dwight was born in Vergennes, Vermont, that their first-born William was from Vermont but that they later moved to Westville, NY where John was born. He also mentioned that the family moved to Grand Haven, MI where Dwight was working for the railroad company.

When I read this, I was convinced that this “Mary” was “Marie-Édesse” or “Edith” in the 1850 Census. It all made sense since she was the only girl for whom I did not find a clue after the 1850 US Census. I wrote to Mr. Daniels and told him there were too many coincidences. The Tourvilles’ lived in Vergennes and then moved to Chateaugay, NY, close to Westville. One of the son, Louis, moved to Grand Haven, MI in 1869 almost at the same time that Dwight Daniels and Mary Tourville moved to Grand Haven. He was not convinced but wrote to me that this was the best lead he had so far. Unfortunately, Mr. Daniels died a few years afterwards long before I found out more about that couple.

Here is the 1880 US Census for the family of Mary and Dwight Daniels:

1880 matilda

 When did I figure out that Dwight and Mary were the same as Edward and Philomena? The light struck me when I realized that Clarissa Daniels was born in 1865 in Michigan and Clara Beauchemin, in 1865 in New York. What if that Clarissa was born in NY? That Dwight could be Edward? I had the proof when the baptismal repertoire for Vergennes was published recently. William Daniels, born on April 14, 1859 born to Dwight Daniels (no mother mentioned) is in the Vital Records for the town of Vergennes. Guillaume (William in French) Beauchemin was baptized May 8, 1859, born to Edouard Beauchemin and Mary Courville. He was born April 14, 1859…

Family Search also helped me: I found a marriage record for Edwin Daniels (born in 1870). His parents are listed as Dwight Daniels and Mary P. Tourville.

There is still a mystery as to what happened to Philomena. Daniels family lore mentioned that she would have died around 1875 in Grand Haven, MI. We know for a fact that Dwight Daniels married three times. First time to Philomena (marriage still not found to this date), second time to his first cousin, Mary Barton (marriage still not found to this date). She died in 1895 in Vergennes, from consumption, death certificate indicating that she was 36 years old. His third wife was Mary’s sister, Martha Barton. I haven’t find her death yet but she was still living in 1940, with her only daughter and son-in-law, near Albany, NY. Dwight Daniels died in 1914 in Vergennes.

Now back to Philomena. Maybe she hasn’t died in 1875. Because in the 1880 US Census, the wife was 40 years old (Mary Barton was only 21 years old in 1880). The fact that Mary was said to be born in Canada (we know she only spoke French). Unfortunately I have never found the death date of Philomena. We know for sure she died before 1895.

The question is: when did Dwight Daniels come back to Vergennes? In his obituary he is said that have lived in Vergennes all his life except a few years in Chicago.

What about the children? So many mysteries.

  1. William, born in 1859, in Vermont came back to New York State, he lived in Salamanca. He was married to Anna McCann (date unknown). He is sometimes mentioned as being born either in Vermont or Michigan. He died in 1914.
  2. John, born abt 1863, in NY, is “missing” since the 1880 US Census.
  3. Clarissa, born in 1865, in NY, was a nurse at Asbury Hospital for many years. Where? Was she married? No clue. According to family lore, shed died about 1932. I may have found her living in Duluth, Minnesota in the 1885 State Census.
  4. Benjamin, born in 1867 in MI, left the family very young after the death of his mother as he didn’t get along with his father who was mean to the children. Made his life in Minnesota and died there in 1935.
  5. Edwin Dwight, born in 1870, married twice (1891 and 1904). He supposedly died in Chicago around 1944. I have never found him in any censuses after 1880 but I did find him in Directories in Detroit (1891 to 1894) and Chicago (1897). I did find an article on him in 1892. He was arrested with his brother-in-law for arson.
  6. Alfred, born in 1878 (to the first wife, or second wife?), died supposedly from a bonfire around 1881.

Philomena is the only child from Charles and Sophie from whom I haven’t find a death date (except for children who died in infancy). I will not give up!

52 Ancestors / 52 Weeks is an idea proposed by Amy Johnson Crow. Link on the image for more details about it.

52 Ancestors / 52 Weeks is an idea proposed by Amy Johnson Crow. Link on the image for more details about it.