#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #29 Charles Tourville (1828-1907) and #30 Joseph Gier (Giguère) (1826-1892)

About six years ago, I drove just south of the border to pay a visit to the Franklin County Courthouse in Malone, New York, hoping to find out if Charles Tourville Sr. (father of our Charles featured here and married to Sophie Arpajou) once owned a land in Chateaugay. Unfortunately, my search in the Grantee Index (e.g. Buyer Index) was fruitless. Continue reading

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: #11 William Thomas (1819-1901)

William Thomas was born on December 27, 1819, in St-Benoît, Deux-Montagnes County, in Québec. His parents were Walter Thomas, of Wales, Great-Britain, and Marguerite Paradis, a French-Canadian. They were married in the Anglican Church, in Lachine, Québec, on October 26, 1818. A Walter Thomas emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1818. It might be him.

William Thomas was the first born. I found eight siblings so far. All were baptized in the Catholic Church, except one for which I do not have a birth date.The family mainly lived in St-Benoît, Ste-Scholastique, Rigaud and St-André d’Argenteuil, in Québec. William’s parents, Walter and Marguerite, later moved to Franklin County, NY. They appear in the 1840 US Census for Westville and the 1850 US Census for Constable. Walter died between 1875 and 1880 and Marguerite, between 1870 and 1875. Both were living in Westville at the time.

Before 1842, William Thomas married Ann (Todd?), probably in Canada. It looks like they moved to Franklin County, NY in the early 1850’s. The 1900 US Census indicates 1851 as the year of arrival for William although one child was supposedly born in Canada in 1852.

William and Ann are listed in the 1860 US Census in Constable, NY. The first child to be born in NY state was born in 1853.

William and Ann had at least ten children:

  • Walter, born about 1842, Canada
  • Elizabeth, born about 1845, Canada
  • Margaret, born about 1848, Canada
  • Clarissa, born about 1850, Canada
  • Mary A, born about 1850, Canada
  • George, born February 1852, Canada
  • John, born July 25, 1853, NY
  • Rebecca, born about 1856, NY
  • Adelia, born October 1860, NY
  • William, born July 1863, NY

I have been told that Ann’s surname was Todd but I haven’t found any proof yet. I will have to make further research on her. Peter Thomas, William’s brother, did marry a Christiana Todd, in 1861. She might be Ann’s younger sister. Her parents were Thomas Todd and her mother was called Anna.

Ann was born abt 1822 in Canada. She died on November 1, 1864 in Westville, NY at age 42. She was buried in the local Briggs Street Cemetery. William’s remains would later be buried in the same plot.

In early 1865, William Thomas married Julia Tourville. A post have been published for her, you can read it here.

They had seven children, only six were found:

Since his arrival, William Thomas was farming in Franklin County. More research will have to be done in Franklin County on land records for William Thomas. Another area of research includes the naturalization records as the 1900 US Census indicates that William was naturalized.

I haven’t found any obituaries for William Thomas. He died on July 15, 1901, at age 81 and was buried in Briggs Street Cemetery, in Westville, with his first wife Ann.

And last, here is a picture of Julia and William, his second wife. Would this be a picture at the time of their wedding? She was 22 and quite pretty, he was 45.

Julia Tourville and William Thomas (1865?)

Julia Tourville and William Thomas (1865?)



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 #10: Julia Thomas Davenport (née Tourville) (1843-1915)

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 daughters, Julia Tourville, born in Vermont in October 1843.

I do not have an exact birth date for Julia. The 1900 US Census indicates that she was born in October 1843 which makes sense as a document dated October 20, 1851 gives her age as 8, so she would be born in early October 1843. The other censuses confirm that information as well, except for the 1850 and 1860 Census.

In 1860, Julia was 17 years and was working as a servant in a hotel in Chateaugay, NY. She probably married William Thomas, a widower who lost his first wife Ann on November 1, 1864, in early 1865 as she gave birth to their first son on December 24, 1865. It is the only child for William and Julia for whom I found a Catholic baptism. According to the 1900 US Census, Julia had seven children, six of them still living in 1900. Probably one died in infancy as I only found six children for William and Julia. They lived all their lives in Franklin County, New York.

According to the censuses, William and Julia lived in Constable, NY, after moving from Fort Covington, at least until 1880. In 1900, they were living in Brandon, NY, more precisely in Skerry, on a farm. William Thomas died on July 15, 1901 and was buried in Briggs Street Cemetery, in Westville, with his first wife Ann.

I looked for years to find Julia after William’s death and a relative of the Thomas family had found some newspaper articles solving the mystery.

On November 7, 1906, The Malone Farmer had this interesting local news about Julia:

“Mrs. Julia Thomas is repairing her house. J. H. Davenport is doing the work.”

They probably got along fine because the next newspaper article published on December 19, 1906 made the following announcement:

“The many friends of Gail (sic) Davenport and Mrs. Julia Thomas were surprised to learn of their marriage last Thursday. Mrs. Thomas was an old resident of Brandon and was loved and respected by all. Mr. Davenport has made his home here for several years and was kind and charitable. The happy couple will reside at the home of the bride. Many friends wish them much joy in their new relation.”

On August 19, 1908, The Malone Farmer, reported that Julia was quite ill. Fortunately, some ten day later, she was doing much better. Is it because of her health problem that the couple decided at the end of that year to sell the farm or “William Thomas Place” as the newspaper called it, to Henry Larock of Vermont? It seems that they decide to live in Joel’s house in Skerry as in January 1910, they moved from there to their farm in Dickinson where they received visitors like their grandchildren in 1913.

They apparently later moved to Brushton as Joel’s son, John Davenport, from New Hamspshire, visited the couple in 1914.

Julia died on February 7, 1915 in Brushton and was buried in local Sunnyside Cemetery, on Gale Road. I have found this last article on her in The Malone Farmer:

“The many friends of Mrs. Joel Davenport were shocked to hear of her sudden death which occurred at her home in Brushton Sunday evening Feb. 7th. Mrs. Davenport suffered a very severe attack of pneumonia several months ago, and since which time she has suffered with a weakness of the heart which was the direct cause of her death after an illness of less than one hour at the age of 73 years. Mrs. Davenport’s first husband was William Thomas. They with their family moved to this place from Fort Covington about thirty years ago, where they lived until his death fourteen years ago. Eight years ago she married Joel Davenport who survives her, together with six children. Mrs. Bert Eseltine, of Dickinson, Mrs. Joseph French, Mrs. Albert Eseltine, William and Grant Thomas of this place and Mrs. Joseph Cling of Deferiet, N.Y., Mrs. Chas. McElwain and George Thomas also of this town are step children. The funeral was held from the Christian church at Brushton Tuesday afternoon, Rev. Shaw officiating. Interment at Brushton. To the aged husband and family a large circle of friends extend their sympathy in the loss of a faithful and loving wife and mother.”

With these articles, I have lots of work to do! First of all, William Thomas had a farm, maybe more than one, so I should check the land record index of Franklin County, either in Malone, NY or on my next trip to Salt Lake City. It’s lucky for me they lived all their lives in Franklin County. Second, I would like to find the obituaries of her children, I might find out more details.

And last, here is a picture of Julia and William, her first husband. Would this be a picture at the time of their wedding? She was 22 and quite pretty, he was 45.

Julia Tourville and William Thomas (1865?)

Julia Tourville and William Thomas (1865?)

Her second husband, Joel H. Davenport, died in 1920 in Massachusetts, while visiting his niece. I haven’t found his burial place yet.

You might be interested in Julia Tourville’s first husband, William Thomas, as well. He was also featured in a post here.


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.

Genealogy Leg Work: A Glimpse from the Past

If you have been doing genealogy for just a couple of years and you are frustrated because you can’t find anything online from the comfort of your home, have you ever thought of all the leg work that was done by our fellow amateur genealogists in the late ’60’s?

While I was in Salt Lake City this past November, I came across an article in the Manasota Genealogical Society, Inc. Newsletter of March 1980 which I found fascinating to read.

This article, Searching for my Canadian Roots, is from Clarence W. Tourville and his wife Grayce. It relates their four trips to Canada to retrace his great grandfather Charles Tourville, married to Julia Leclair. When I think of all the work and travelling he did with the little (and misleading) information he had, I can only admire the guy!

Manasota Genelogical Society, Inc. Newsletter, March 1980, vol. 2, no. 3

Manasota Genelogical Society, Inc. Newsletter, March 1980, vol. 2, no. 3

For those who wouldn’t know, Peter Tourville, mentioned in the article, was the brother of his great-grandfather. Roy Tourville was Raymond Tourville, of Syracuse, NY, who was born in Chicago, IL and was the son of Fred Tourville and grandson of Louis Tourville, married to Susan Belec and uncle of Alphonse Tourville who settled in Nebraska.

The article can be found here.