My 2018 French ChallengeAZ in 100 Words: M for Military

If you are looking for a French Canadian ancestor in Vermont, there is one website not to be overlooked especially if he lived during the Civil War era. Tom Ledoux’s Vermont in the Civil War is a real gem. You must check if your ancestor’s name is listed in this database—even if you are convinced it is useless. If you do find him, besides information on his age, military service and pension, you will learn if his name is associated with various Vermont towns (birth, enlistment, death, or burial). Additional information might include a gravestone picture. Definitely a must!

To Learn More About my Vermont Project, click here.

From the Archives: Joseph T. Tourville (1833-1908)

For those who read the newspaper article earlier this week about Grandpa Tourville, I thought you might appreciate to see this picture of Joseph T. Tourville, a Civil War Private, in Company A, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Missouri.


Used with permission of the Missouri History Museum, St. Louis (item P0249-0954).

For details about this photo, click here:

And take the time to visit the Website of Missouri History Museum. There are real treasures hidden there!


#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #20 Adolphus Tourville (1836-1877)

You may remember having read on this blog a few months ago about Adelia Tourville Pelky Ouimette claiming a pension for her late husband, Adolphus Tourville, who was a soldier in the New York 96th Infantry Regiment, Company F.

I considered very interesting the fact that the witness in the following testimony is Prisk Pelky, brother of Adelia’s second husband, Andrew. Here how it goes : Continue reading

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #11 Adelia Tourville Pelky Ouimette (née St-Aubin) (~1841-1929)

Ludlow, Hampden County, Massachusetts, November 18, 1895. We are in the office of P. R. Hilliard, Special Examiner of the Pension Office. Listen to Adelia and hear her story:

“My age is 57 last month; occupation dressmaker; residence and P.O. address, Ludlow, Mass.

I claim pension as the widow of Adolphus Tourville, who served during the late war as private in Company F 96th NY Volunteers. He enlisted November 4, 1861 and was discharged March 18, 1863. This was his only service. He never served in the U.S. military or naval service prior to November 4, 1861 or subsequent to March 18, 1863.

I was married to Adolphus Tourville August 10 when I was 15 years of age [1858]. I have not my marriage certificate, it was burned.

I was not married prior to my marriage to Mr. Tourville. He was not married prior to our marriage to each other. Knew him six months before our marriage. I had a letter from his father and the priest of his parish setting forth that he was a single man before our marriage. I have not these letters now. I never knew or heard that he was married before our marriage to each other. I remarried Andrew Pelky September 22, 1878. Andrew Pelky died July 4, 1895.

I was married to my first husband by Father Sassville at Coopersville, NY. I was married to Andrew Pelky by Father Shyo the present priest at Champlain, NY.

Five children were born for Mr. Tourville. There were seven children in all born as a result of my marriage to Adolphus Tourville:

The oldest was born dead.
Joseph Napoleon, born September 3, 1861
Francis or Frank, born July 31, 1864
The next was born dead.
Telesphore, born August 8, 1868
John Henry, born May 21, 1871 [s/b May 3, 1871]
Bertie, born November 4, 1875 [s/b 1873], died May 4, 1876

The youngest child, Bertie, died in May and my husband died the following January. My husband died January 4 [no record found]. I can’t tell the year. I think it is 19 years ago next January.

There were four children living at the time of my husband’s death, i.e. Joseph Napoleon, Frank, Telephose and John Henry and these four are still living.

I was not divorced from my first husband, I lived continuously with him from our marriage up to his death except while he was in the army. I was his widow from the time of my husband’s death until I remarried Andrew Pelky. I was remarried September 22, 1878 and if the record says that I was remarried on September 23, 1878, it is a mistake. I always called my second boy Frank. He was baptized under the name of Francis. The record of all my children’s birth and baptism is in St. Mary’s Church at Champlain, Clinton Co. NY.

My oldest son is commonly called Adolphus but his right name is Joseph Napoleon. My youngest son’s full name is John Henry but we commonly call him Henry. Telesphore we usually call Tallas.

I always considered September 3 my oldest son’s birthday. He is 34 years old last September.

My husband died of lung disease which he contracted in the army. He had no lung disease to my knowledge before he enlisted. I never knew him to be sick at all before he enlisted. He had no cough nor any indications of lung disease before he enlisted. He was sound and healthy before he enlisted. My husband was born in Canada. He was 17 years of age when he came to the U.S. He was a carriage and house painter by trade. He said he worked in Massachusetts and New Hampshire before our marriage.

We lived in Champlain, Beekmantown and West Chazy from the time of our marriage up to his enlistment. When my husband returned from the army, we were living in Champlain where we lived until 1866. We then moved to Napierville, Canada, about 18 miles from Champlain. We remained there 2 years. We returned to Champlain and remained there till June ’71. Then we moved to Isle of Mott, VT and remained there 2 years. Then back to Champlain for three years and then we moved to Keeseville, Clinton Co. NY where my husband died. My husband always followed painting.

When he returned from the army he was sickly and for over a year he wasn’t able to do any work. He was confined to his bed most of the time. Every winter he was sick and unable to work.

I do not know why my husband didn’t apply for a pension before his death. He did apply about a year before he died but he never heard anything from it. Mr. Bordmont of Keeseville was his attorney.

He had a cough from his return from the army until he died. He raised phlegm all the time. The doctor told me that he died of the same disease that he had in the army, Dr. Toby of Keeseville, NY. The first doctor that treated my husband after his discharge was Dr. Daggett of Champlain, NY now dead. He was next treated by Dr. Churchhill of Champlain, NY. also dead.

Then he was treated by Dr. Toby of Keeseville, NY. Dr. Toby attended my husband in his last illness. He resides now in Keeseville, NY. These three doctors are all that my husband ever had. I never knew my husband to be sick or have any medical treatment before he enlisted.

My husband drank before and after his army service. He drank to excess some before he enlisted but not so much after his return.

Q: By whom can you prove that your husband was a sound man and free from lung disease before he enlisted in the army?

A: Ransom Graves, Champlain, Clinton County, NY
Wm Gettys, Champlain, Clinton County, NY
Gilbert Roberts, Champlain, Clinton County, NY

I don’t know who examined my husband at the time of his enlistment.

My husband took cold and had the lung fever while at Plattsburgh, NY before going South. I went to see him there and found him in hospital. I don’t know who treated him in hospital. It was in the winter time that I saw him at Plattsburgh and the following March he went South. He was sick and in hospital all winter at Plattsburgh. He was home 3 weeks recruiting up before going South. He wasn’t well but he gained enough to go with his Regiment. The doctors in the hospital told me what to do for him. I put poultices on his side and gave him the medicine which the doctors in the hospital ordered for him.

Q: By whom can you prove that your husband contracted his fatal disability in the U.S. service?

A: Nathaniel H. Gale, Central City, Nebraska
James Armstrong, Glover, Orleans Co., VT
Andrew P. Blackman, 194 University Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota
William J. M. Blackman, 20 Summer St., Nashua, NH

I think these four were well acquainted with my husband in service and would know of how he contracted his lung disease. He told me he contracted it by standing on picket while at Plattsburgh, NY.

Q: By whom can you prove that your husband suffered from his lung disease from his discharge until his death?

A: Ransom Graves, Champlain, NY
Wm Gettys, Champlain, NY
Gilbert Roberts, Champlain, NY

Drs. Toby and Farlay of Keeseville, NY, were in partnership and both attended my husband, principally Dr. Toby.

Of my declaration for pension, filed February 7, 1890 says that I was then 56 years old it is a mistake, I was 57 years of age last October.

I was married under the name of Adelia Centerber.

I do not wish to the present or be represented by an attorney during any further examination of my claim.

Since my husband’s death I have resided in Champlain up to last August when I moved here.

I have heard you read the foregoing: I have understood your questions and my answers are correctly recorded herein.”


Wasn’t I lucky to find such a testimony years ago?

Story to be continued in an upcoming post on Adolphus Tourville.

Source: Pension file claim filed by Adelia Pelky on February 7, 1890, Application No. 414408, National Archives, Washington, DC.



52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #13: Louis Tourville (1844-1912)

Charles Tourville and Sophie Arpajou had eight children who made it to adulthood, four sons and four daughters. Let’s continue with one of their sons, Louis Tourville, a Civil War veteran.

Louis was born on September 30, 1844 and baptized 6 days later, on October 6, in St-Hughes, Québec. His father Charles was absent at the baptismal ceremony which led me to believe that he was perhaps working in Addison County while Sophia was waiting for Louis’ birth at their house in St-Hughes.

As I explained in previous posts, it seems that around 1850 Charles, then a widower, went on to live with his sister Catherine, brother-in-law and nephews in Chateaugay, NY to get some help from Catherine to raise the younger children. By the end of 1851 or beginning of 1852, we can assume that both the families of Louis’ siblings, Charles Jr and Sophia, moved to Chateaugay after living a few years in Addison County, VT. His brother Joseph and sister Julia seemed to have spent all their lives in Clinton or Franklin Counties after their mother’s death. A decade later, around 1862-63, two other siblings, Peter Stephen and Philomena, also moved from Vergennes, VT to Franklin County, NY with their spouse and children. Nettie will be the only one who will stay permanently in Vermont with her family.

What about Louis? In 1860, he was living in Vergennes within the household of a lawyer. According to the census, at age 15, he attended school during the year which is a little bit surprising to me. Was he working there as a servant as well? Because another boy in the same household was a servant and had also attended school that same year at age 17. Maybe there are some research to do about that lawyer, George W. Grandey. We know for sure that Louis was educated because he knew how to sign his name.

One year later, on September 6, 1861, Louis enrolled in the Civil War. He was mustered in on September 20, fighting with Company F, in the 2nd Regiment of Vermont. Some hints about his appearance: he was 5′ 6″, had black hair and dark eyes. You can read the organization and service of Louis regiment here.

Some important dates concerning Louis’ Civil War Service:

  • He survived the Battle of Gettysburg, PA, which occured July 2-4, 1863.
  • He was mustered out on December, 20,1863 but re-enlisted the following day at Brandy Station, VA.
  • He was wounded from a musket gun shot in the right thigh at the battle of the Wilderness, VA, on May 5, 1864, which lasted 3 days. The ball entered on the inside about 6 or 7 inches above the knee joint and exited nearly opposite its entry. He was admitted at Campbell General Hospital, in Washington, D.C. on May 11, 1864.
  • On May 16, 1864, Louis was furloughed. He returned to duty on August 1, 1864.
  • He was struck in the left thigh by a piece of an exploded shell at the Third Battle of Winchester, VA, on September 19, 1864.
  • He was hospitalized in Montpelier, VT General Hospital and during the following months he is listed as present at the Fort Wood Station, on Bedloe’s Island, in the New York Harbor. By November 1864, he was back with his regiment.
  • He was promoted Corporal on January 1, 1865.
  • He was mustered out with the rest of the regiment on July 15, 1865, in Washington, D.C. although some papers in his Pension file also mentioned July 20 as his discharge date.
Louis' Hospital Card in Washington, DC

Louis’ Hospital Card in Washington, DC

Shortly after his service, on September 20, 1865, Louis married Matilda LaQuire (or Lequin in Québec) in Ferrisburgh, Vermont, before a Methodist minister. Matilda was no stranger to Louis as she was the cousin of Joseph St-Germain, his brother-in-law. The couple quickly moved to Chateaugay, NY as Matilda gave birth there to daughter Mary Jane on December 6, 1865 and baptized on January 1, 1866 at the local St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

You people out there did notice the dates and did the math. I suppose that Louis did her a favor. I have no proof that he was back in Vermont nine months or even seven months before the birth of Mary Jane. I also noticed that Mary Jane stated her birth year as 1866. She was probably told that she was born in 1866. You can change a birth date but not the timeline of the Civil War.

At the end of the summer of 1868, the couple welcomed another daughter, Lizzie. A few months later, the family moved to Grand Haven, MI. On August 19, 1869, Lizzie died at age 1, from teething. On December 23, 1869, a third daughter was born, Clarissa.

I know from various Grantor/Grantee Indexes that a land was purchased from Louis in 1866, 1868 as well as in 1872 in Chateaugay, NY but I haven’t seen the documents. Only very recently have I found the birth of another child, George, who was born on March 17, 1872 in Ferrisburgh, VT. He was baptized 4 days later at the Charlotte Catholic Church. I think there is a possibility that his brother Peter Stephen was living on the land as it was sold to Peter by Louis in 1884. The family probably returned to Grand Haven shortly after George’s birth.

I tried everything to find Louis and Matilda in the 1870 US Census in Michigan without any luck. Same thing for Louis sister’s Philomena and her husband Dwight Daniels who also lived in Grand Haven at the same time.They were left out.

According to the 1880 US Census, Louis was living in Grand Haven, working in a livery stable, with his wife Matilda and their two daughters, Mary and Clarissa. So his son George either died in Vermont or in Michigan. On January 1, 1883, Louis’ name appeared in the 1883 Michigan Civil War Pension Roll as a resident of Grand Haven. Also the Grand Haven G.A.R. Post #75 1883 List states that he was a sailor. His daughter Mary Jane was married in 1883 to Marinus Kamhout and his daughter Clarissa was married in 1886 to Edward Palmer, both in Grand Haven. Clarissa’s father-in-law, Philander Palmer, a physician, was also a Civil War Veteran and was a member of G.A.R. Post #75 with Louis.

Clarissa is high on my “Missing People” list. Edward Palmer married his second wife in 1892 but I have no idea what happened to Clarissa. In fact, Clarissa’s marriage is the last trace I found of Matilda as well as she was the witness for the bride.

By 1886, Louis moved to Minneapolis, MN. He occupied all kind of jobs there: hackman, laborer, hostler, groom, teamster. For a time, he was working at E.C. Butts & Sons. E.C. Butts was a native a Vermont and had also a business in Grand Haven. I often wondered if Louis left Grand Haven because his wife died. Or had he left with her and she died in Minneapolis? Or has he simply left his family? A questionnaire sent to the veterans in 1898 concerning the family members of the veterans only states: “Wife dead”  written by Louis’ hand. No mention of his daughters.

By 1896 Louis was back in Grand Haven as he was working as a porter at an hotel there. In 1907, he declared that he then lived in Chateaugay, NY. His name is not in the 1905 NY State Census so we can assume he came back to Chateaugay around 1907. We found him there in 1910, living with his nephew Albert.

In order to receive his pension, Louis had to go through a biannual medical exam from what I gathered.The first one was in Malone, NY in 1867. The doctor declared him one half incapacitated and the disability was permanent. Louis complained of rheumatic pains in the leg which became aggravated after much fatigue. The next exams were in Grand Haven, MI, in both 1873 and 1875. In 1877, the exam was made in Grand Rapids, MI. The later exams were in Minneapolis in 1890, 1891 and 1892. His pension was first at the monthly rate of $4, then went down to $2. He did challenge the amount but he had to wait until 1907 to get a monthly rate of $12 due to his age (over 62). His medical reports also showed his weight gain. From 145 lbs at age 29 to 165 lbs at age 45.

Louis died on March 27, 1912 in Chateaugay. At the time, he was living with his nephew Albert Tourville. He was buried in St. Patrick’s Catholic Cemetery, in Chateaugay, NY. All these long trips accross the country and he died where he grew up as child.


Louis Tourville Obituary - March 29, 1912 - Chateaugay Record and Franklin Democrat

Louis Tourville Obituary – March 29, 1912 – Chateaugay Record and Franklin Democrat

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.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #6 Nelson Lacount (1814-1883)

Nelson LaCount is the son of Antoine LaCount and Catherine Tourville. He was married to Geneviève Brouillard. They lived in Chateaugay, Franklin County, NY. They are both buried in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Chateaugay.

This couple are the ancestors of Clay LaCount. I owe to this gentlemen the discovery of where some Tourvilles people settled in the United States.

Clay has this picture and he is not sure if this couple is Nelson and Geneviève. According to family lore the medal that Nelson is wearing would be the one of his son who fought in the Civil War.

Even if the photo is not very good, would anyone be able to identify what was that medal for?

unknown couple

Would this couple be Nelson LaCount and Geneviève Brouillard?


Any idea what this medial represents?

52 Ancestors: #4 Frank Troville & Frank Tourville

Two young men. One from New York, the other from Kentucky. Their names were almost the same as Frank Troville was also known as Frank or Francis Tourville. Both born in 1844, both enlisted in the Civil War in a Cavalry Regiment, both died in 1864 in the same state. In Andersonville, Georgia.

Frank Troville was born in 1844 in Vermont. His parents, Narcisse Tourville and Celina Durand (or Francis Troville and Adelina Durand in the United States) were married in Quebec in 1838 but soon left for South Hero, Vermont with Francis’ parents. They later relocated in Plattsburgh, in Upstate New York around 1853.

On February 10, 1864, at age 19, Frank Troville enlisted in the Civil War in Beekmantown for three years. Little he knew that less than eight months later he would be dead. Mustered in on March 4, 1864 in the New York 16th Cavalry Regiment, Company L and made prisoner of war on June 24, 1864 near Centreville, Virginia, his family was informed only three months later, on September 19, that he was taken prisoner. He died of scorbutus on October 24, 1864 at Andersonville Hospital. He was admitted there on October 18.

The details about the life of his “twin”, Frank Tourville, from Illinois, are not so clear. He was born abt 1844 in Alabama as well as his mother (according to the Illinois 1860 Census). However, his mother is said to be born in Kentucky in later censuses. I always thought that Frank was the son of Peter Tourville and Nancy Irwin. The Civil War pension application made by his mother reveals an important detail: she was his foster mother. The pension application was rejected on that ground. So maybe he was born in Alabama after all but we will probably never know who his biological parents were. According to his obituary, Peter and Nancy were married in February 1839. It was a second marriage for Peter. His wife Marie Aspace gave birth to a girl in 1838 in Florissant, Missouri, so we can assume that his first wife died between that birth and his second marriage. In the 1860 Census, Francis (or Frank) is living alone with his adopted parents in Jersey County, in Illinois. Peter has moved from Missouri to Illinois around 1849. Both died there in the 1890’s.

Frank Tourville enlisted in the Civil War on December 14, 1862 in Lebanon, Kentucky, his place of residence at that time. Mustered in on April 16, 1863 in the Kentucky 11th Cavalry Regiment, Company E, he was declared absent without leave from April 18, 1863 until his return on May 1st, 1863. He went missing at the battle of French Broad, in East Tennesse, on January 28,1864. He was declared as having died in Andersonville during the month of March 1864.

By being prisoner at Andersonville, our young men did not have much chance to survive. The numbers talk: Of the 45,000 Union Army soldiers held prisoner at the camp during a period of 14 months starting February 1864, 12,913 have died.

andersonvilleTo find more information about Andersonville:

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.