From the Archives: Inventory after death of Sophie Arpajou (October 20, 1851)

After reading the inventory of estate performed on October 20, 1851 in St-Hughes, Québec, after the death of Sophie Arpajou, I can’t help imagine what led to it.

Maybe Sophie’s husband, Charles Tourville, who was then living in Chateaugay, New York, called for a family council, wondering what to do with the land that he still owned in St-Hughes. With his two older children of age, Charles Jr and Sophia, both married and living for three years then in Vermont, they were probably not interested to start all over again in Québec or maybe the land was so poor, it was no use even trying to. So on September 25, he went to Ferrisburgh, in Vermont, to get from his son Charles the procuration he needed to sell the land. Two days later he stopped at his daughter’s house in Vergennes, to get the procuration from her as well.

St-Hughes Cemetery

St-Hughes Cemetery

So in the fall of 1851, Charles Tourville made the trip to St-Hughes, maybe for the last time. He probably stayed with his brother-in-law, Joseph Langevin and his wife Madeleine Arpajou, sister of Sophie, in nearby St-Barnabé, where Joseph and Madeleine had a farm.

So what to do? Sell the land? To do that, Charles had to go before a judge and get a tutorship act. He first made a request to the judge on September 25, with the help of notary Timothée Brodeur. So, on October 10, before Circuit Court Judge Jean Casimir Bruneau in Montreal, the elected tutors for the six minor children were Charles Tourville as tutor and Joseph Langevin, maternal uncle to the children as surrogate tutor.

The most precious, valuable information coming from this inventory is the list of the minor children of Charles and Sophie Arpajou and their age as of October 20, 1851. Please note that this list appears in three different documents, all produced in the fall of 1851 and all the information is consistent from one document to another.

  • Étienne (Peter Stephen), age 16 (born in August, 1835, information accurate)
  • Marie-Édesse, age 14 (born in January 1839, would be 12 not 14; due to the reliable information concerning the other children in this inventory, I have concluded that this child is not the “Marie-Édesse” born in 1839 but rather “Dométhilde” born in 1837. She is referred as Edith, Nettie or Adesta in various records in the USA. The real Marie-Édesse was still living in 1840 but she may have died very young. “Dométhilde” birth year according to various US Census is closer to 1837 than 1839. At the time, it was not rare for a child to bear a first name that was used for a previous child who died in infancy.)
  • Philomène, age 10 (baptized in May 1841 in Vermont – information would be accurate)
  • Julie, age 8 (born in October 1843 as of 1900 Census – information would be accurate)
  • Louis, age 6 (born in September 1844, just turned 7, information inaccurate)
  • Joseph, age 5 (born in April 1846, information accurate)

Followed the inventory estate performed by Me Timothée Brodeur and Me Joseph Amiot, public notaries and Jacques Gendron and Lucien Houle as appraisers, both from St-Hughes. The inventory estate can be found here (in French) as well as the transcription here (in French).

Besides the land, Charles’ possessions didn’t amount to much. A mare, a two-handed saw, a board saw and 8 pounds and 12 sols in cash. On one hand, nobody owed him money but on the other hand he owed about 459 pounds to J. A. Arpajou for seignorial arrears and 36 pounds to the notary for the inventory itself. As for the papers of the family, two documents are mentioned: the marriage contract of Charles and Sophie Arpajou that was passed on August 31, 1827 (day of the religious marriage) before Me Charles Bazin, act number 373 as well as the tutorship act dated October 10, 1851.

The land he possessed was on the “fief” Beachemin, north of Yamaska River, in the county of Richelieu, of 2 arpents large by 30 arpents long before the Yamaska River, besides the properties of Bazile Richard on one side and of François Lussier on the other side. It was boarded by the “rang” Barrow at the other far end.

If this inventory doesn’t offer any other information, other documents do. The story does not end here. To be continued 😉

An inventory of estate was usually done after the death of the spouse when there were surviving minor children. It was usually done before the widow/widower remarried to protect the inheritance of the children. Of course, people with no property nor money had no interest of doing so.



The Death of François Tourville: a Timeframe

In 1851, François Tourville was living in St-Jude, Québec, with his wife Louise Corriveau, and their children: Marie, Alexandre, Léonard, Marie-Louise, Luc and Célestin (Louis).

In 1860, his wife Louise was living in Sutton, Worcester County, in Massachusetts. We can assume from the Census that she is a widow. Lucky enough, I found two contracts signed before notary Timothée Brodeur in St-Hughes to give us a hint about when François Tourville died and confirm the fact that Louise Corriveau was indeed a widow when she moved to Massachusetts.

The first one is dated February 14, 1854. The document states that François Hubou dit Tourville and his wife Louise Corriveau, both residents of St-Jude, acknowledge receipt for the fourth payment that was due last January “of this year” for the sale of a land that was made by François to Bazile Richard, on March 30, 1850 before the same notary. The buyer is the owner of the neighbouring land.

Act No. 3004 dated Jan 10, 1854 before notary Timothée Brodeur

Act No. 3004 dated February 14, 1854 before notary Timothée Brodeur.

The second contract was dated January 26, 1855 where Louise Corriveau, widow of the late François Tourville, resident of St-Jude, acknowledges receipt for the last payment regarding the sale of a land made by the late François Tourville, to Bazile Richard.

Act No. 3855 dated January 26, 1855 before notary Timothée Brodeur.

Act No. 3153 dated January 26, 1855 before notary Timothée Brodeur.

I have checked the St-Jude and St-Hughes church records for 1854 and early 1855 and I haven’t find anything. Was François planning to move to Massachusetts and he died on his way to the States or in Massachusetts? When his son Alexandre married in 1856, he states that he is from the United States. Did the family leave right after receiving that last payment? Généalogie Québec has baptisms, marriages and death entries indexed until 1850. When the years 1854-1855 will be indexed, maybe we will find his death record in another parish.

Both documents have been uploaded on the Website on the pages of François Tourville and Louise Corriveau.

At least, we now have a timeframe to continue the search.

Genealogy, my Father and Me

Rene Tourville_nov_1945

René Tourville (1913-1985) – Photo dated November 1945 – From Studio O. Allard Fund, ANQM

If my father was still alive he would turn 100 years old today.

See this picture? Do you know where I found it? Not at home but at the Québec National Archives Center in Montréal.

My father got married when he was over 40. His parents were poor. I only have a few pictures of him, mostly from the fifties. And these pictures are kind of small, not very clear.

A few years back, I was at the Québec National Archives Center in Montréal on Viger Street. I was looking at binders and something caught my eye. The Studio O. Allard Fund.

I know what Studio Allard is. My student card photo was taken by this studio. Intrigued, I decided to look at the microfilms and went directly to the name Tourville. I was so surprised to read the name and address of my father before his marriage!

I went to the counter and asked what was in those files? Negatives they told me. I ordered the file and the clerk opened it before me and said: no negatives but pictures in this one!

I discovered a picture of my father that I have never seen before, that dates back from 1945. He was 32 years old on that photo and I was ecstatic!

We find tons of things on the Internet but nothing compares to a visit to an archives center. My father was no celebrity nor big shot but I did find a portrait of him at the Archives. If I wasn’t into genealogy, I would have never found that picture of him.

The Studio O. Allard contains more than 1 800 000 portraits and shots of Montreal shops ranging from 1930 to 1990.

Wherever you live, a visit to a provincial, state or local Archive Center is worth the trip.