#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #18 Octave Tourville (1826-1902)

Spending so many years investigating about Mathieu Hubou’s descendents, I certainly came across some people who clearly stand out from the others. Octave Tourville is one of them.

First of all, because his father, Étienne Tourville, was my GGG uncle and that I had lost trace of his family before the Internet era, I was always the most interested in this collateral line. Moreover, Octave Tourville was no laborer, shoemaker, carpenter nor sawyer like his cousins. He was a printer. You know what that means, do you?

Yes, that he could read and write.


Engraving ~ Catalogue illustration of a mechanical printing press ~ John Henry Walker (1831-1899) 1850-1885, 19th century Ink on paper on supporting paper – Wood engraving, 7 x 6.6 cm. Gift of Mr. David Ross ~ McCord M930.50.8.561 © McCord Museum

Octave’s father, Étienne, was a carpenter. He married Sophie Paquet (or Paquette) on September 19, 1825, in Lachenaie, who gave birth to six children.

Baptized Joseph-Octave, our printer (he was the eldest of the family), was born on August 25, 1826, also in Lachenaie. However, following the first three children’s baptisms, the family disappeared from Lachenaie; but thanks to the 1831 Canadian Census for St-Eustache being indexed and put online a few years back, I was finally able to retrace them (as well as the last three children’s baptisms) in St-Eustache Parish.

There were so few Tourvilles’ living in Montreal in those days that I’ve easily determined right from the start that Étienne Tourville died there in 1843 at age 45 even though I could not find any trace of him or his family before the 1831 Census breakthrough. When his father passed away, Octave was only sixteen years old and all his siblings were alive, which is quite unusual for that era.

In June 1844, Sophie Paquette went to the Montreal Circuit Court filing a request so that she be named tutor to her children. Were present, Charles Tourville, cousin, joiner; Michel Tourville, cousin, carpenter; Prospère Tourville, cousin, carpenter; Nicolas Hérié, joiner; Augustin Fortier, printer; Charles Labelle, joiner; Joseph Desrosiers, merchant; all were Sophie Paquette’s relatives, except for the last four who were friends of her underage children. All recommended that Sophie Paquette be named tutor.

Did you happen to notice that there was a printer among them? As Octave was 17 at the time, I wonder if he was an apprentice printer working for Augustin Fortier.

Well, more searches led me to a labor contract to which Octave Tourville is a party, dated April 29, 1854 and passed before François-Joseph Durand, Notary Public. Octave was then 27 and was married since 1850 to Adèle Pépin.

Octave's and Adèle's signature on their marriage record, Notre-Dame, Montréal, February 12, 1850

Octave’s and Adèle’s signatures on their marriage record, Notre-Dame, Montréal, February 12, 1850

In said contract we read that Octave worked for Pierre Gendron from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., six days a week. His weekly wages were 1 pound and 10 shillings. If he had to work overtime, he would be paid 10 deniers per hour.

I have been going sporadically through Montreal notary public online indexes on the BANQ Website. A huge task! Up to now, I haven’t come upon any other contracts involving Octave but I am pretty sure there are others out there.

About 15 years ago, while working on the Tourvilles’ who left for Massachusetts, I was quite surprised to learn that Octave passed away in Haverhill in 1902: I had no clue he was one of them as he and Adèle were listed in the 1901 Canadian Census, living in the same house as their youngest son’s family! Afterwards, I simply thought he went to Haverhill for a printing job. It never crossed my mind that many of his children had settled with him in Haverhill years before. In fact, in 1901, he was probably in Montreal for a printing job or maybe only paying a visit to his son! Joseph-Octave and Adèle are not enumerated in the 1891 Canadian Census and, of course, as the 1890 US Census has not survived, the exact date they all emigrated to Massachusetts is still missing. I owe to Family Search that I have been provided with significant hints that Octave and Adèle went to live in Haverhill.

Adèle gave birth to seven children. Two boys died when still children in Montreal. Daughters Olivine and husband Charles Dubois; Rose Delima and husband Jacob Cérat; as well as Eugénie and husband Edmond Xavier Guyot were all married in Montreal but they settled in Haverhill for the rest of their lives. As for their son François-Xavier, nothing suggests that he ever married and I unfortunately lost his trace after the 1881 Canadian Census. The youngest, Gustave, married Exilda Gougeon in 1894 in Montreal which he probably never left until his death in 1952.

Octave Tourville died from a heart attack at home in Haverhill on July 10, 1902; Adèle passed away more than a decade later, on December 17, 1915. Both are buried in Haverhill; Octave in St. James’ Cemetery, Adele in St. Joseph’s.

Octave Tourville

Haverhill Evening Gazette, Friday, July 11, 1902

Octave Tourville funeral

Haverhill Evening Gazette, Saturday, July 12, 1902

Adele Tourville

Haverhill Evening Gazette, Saturday, December 18, 1915

Adele Tourville funeral

Haverhill Evening Gazette, Monday, December 20, 1915



4 thoughts on “#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #18 Octave Tourville (1826-1902)

  1. Great research here! Glad you were able to utilize newspapers in your research. They add much life to people, even if what you find is a death notice.

    • Thank you Nancy! 🙂 Notarial records are a great source here in Québec. I wish I had more time for this.

  2. Very interesting story Diane. Thank you so very much for having done all that work on our Tourville ancestry. This old man appreciates you more than you know. I am quite sure God will have a special place for you when he calls you home. God Bless You always. I send my very best to your lovely family. Cousin, Bob

    • Thank you cousin Bob. I am always glad to know you enjoy the reading 🙂

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