Véronique Tourville Roland (née Caillou) (~1812-1841)

When I look at the public member trees on Ancestry with regard to Véronique Caillou, I note that details about her come in various ways:

  • Most of the trees give no parents for her with an approximate birth year of 1813,
  • Others show her with François Thomas Caillou and Marie-Eugénie Harpin, as parents, with a birthdate of June 3, 1813,
  • And, finally, some with no parents with a birthdate of June 3, 1813.

I think these members might have been misled. Continue reading

Newspaper Nuggets: “Took Wrong Trunk” featuring Joseph T. Tourville

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sunday, September 1, 1901, page 6




Well, He Opened the Trunk With an Ax, Found It Full of Lingerie and Answered an “Ad.”

It started when Grandpa Tourville decided last Wednesday to leave the home of his son, C. B. Tourville of 4719 Greer avenue, and go downtown to board. Continue reading

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #9 Oneida Tourville (née Alexander) (~1866-?)

Well, I am not done yet with the St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat. Oneida Alexander is another one who escaped the radar of the census for the period between 1880 and 1900.

Oneida married Peter D. Tourville in St. Louis, Missouri, on May 18, 1881. We know for sure they had one child, Lillie M. Tourville, as the latter weds Julius B. Seitz in Belleville, St. Clair County, Illinois, on March 19, 1903, and that is quite all I have learned about her. As a French-Canadian, I tend to forget that divorce was allowed in those years in the United States, so I had assumed she died before 1891 as Peter D. Tourville was remarried to Lockie Wadkins (date and place unknown) and that they had a child in July 1891.

This is where the St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat fills in the blanks. To say the least, this marriage gives the feeling of a tumultuous one. On May 3, 1886, Peter Tourville is arrested for beating his wife as indicated in the following article:

1886 05 04 p10 peter touville arested

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, May 4, 1886, p. 10

Shortly thereafter, in August 1886, Oneida files for divorce. Please note that the couple was married in 1881 not 1871.

1886 st louis daily globe-democrat 7 aug 1886 p6 oneida tourville divorce

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, August 7, 1886, p. 6

It seems that the two lovebirds were back together after all because it is reported that in March 1887 the police came to their house and recovered goods previously stolen by Peter Tourville who was then arrested.

1887 03 12 p8 theft

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, March 12, 1887, p. 8

Then, the following month, Peter Tourville pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year in prison and sent to the Chester Penitentiary in Illinois.

1887 04 01 p11 Peter Tourville guilty

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, April 1, 1887, p. 11


1887 04 02 p15 prison tourville

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, April 2, 1887, p. 15

A month later, in May 1887, Oneida filed for divorce probably for good this time as I was able to trace a marriage between Oneida Alexander and Thomas Henry Smith, in East St. Louis, Illinois, on October 25, 1888.

1887 05 05 p9 belleville oneidy tourville

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, May 5, 1887, p. 9

I also discovered her parents’ names: A. Enoch Alexander and Nancy Moor which led me to the date and place of their marriage: July 14, 1859, in Franklin County, Missouri. Here is a snapshot of the family in the 1870 US Census for Central, Franklin, Missouri:

1870 US Census for Central Township, Franklin County, MO

1870 US Census for Central Township, Franklin County, MO

1880 US Census, St. Louis City, MO

1880 US Census, St. Louis City, MO

So it is credible to think she was born around 1866, meaning that in 1880, when she was in East St. Louis, Missouri working as a servant, she would have been only 14 and not 16 as declared. Unfortunately, I haven’t discovered anything more about her family. One can assume this is where she met Peter D. Tourville because they were married in St. Louis, Missouri the next year.

Oneida was nowhere to be found in the 1900 US Census under the name Smith but while searching, I remembered a newspaper article noticed years ago referring to a woman named Zelda Tourville also named Smith and I had no clue at all about who she was. Is this Zelda Tourville the first-born of Peter D. Tourville and Oneida Alexander? Again, when first reading the article I thought her former husband Peter Tourville was dead but it doesn’t say so. It is unclear if Peter is the father of all of Oneida’s children. Furthermore, we know that Lillie M. who is named Tourville also disappeared after her own marriage. Moreover, it looks that Julius Seitz married another woman before 1920. Death or divorce? So here are the two articles:

zelda part Izelda part II

St. Louis Republic, March 16, 1897, p. 6

St. Louis Republic, March 16, 1897, p. 6

St. Louis Republic, April 3, 1897, p. 6

St. Louis Republic, April 3, 1897, p. 6

I did some additional digging and found in the St. Louis Obituary Index an entry for Zelda Smith also known as Lillie Mae O’Brien for 1943. The death certificate online confirms that Lillie Mae O’Brien was born February 22, 1882 and was the daughter of Peter Tourville and Oneida Alexander, married to Thomas O’Brien. Furthermore, the informant was Mrs. Onedia McNulty. I found her in the 1920, 1930 and 1940 US Census in St. Louis, she was born in 1895.  At one point, she is living with her nephew Francis Smith, born around 1914. So can we assume that the three children mentioned in the article are Lillie Mae (or Zelda), an unknown male child and Onedia Smith, later married to William McNulty. In 1910, Onedia Smith was an inmate at the St. Louis Industrial School, a penitentiary for juvenile delinquents.

Unfortunately, no clue though as what to happened to Oneida Alexander Tourville Smith! Any ideas? Any help will be appreciated




52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #7 Susan Tourville (née Stout) (1837-1915) or “Love Thy Neighbour”

The theme of Love proposed by Amy Johnson Crow on St. Valentine’s week made me think of two little articles I read in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat while in Salt Lake City last November.

It concerned Susan Stout, the wife of Joseph T. Tourville, who had a little argument with her neighbour in front of her house in March 1883 in St. Louis, Missouri.

As you know, I am a French-Canadian and I learned two new expressions: “the father of a butin” — no meaning found but I can guess! —and “Steal a march on the enemy”. You never stop learning with genealogy!

Here, enjoy. But the story doesn’t tell if they spoke to each other after that! 😉

St. Louis Global-Democrat, March 20, 1883, page xx

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, March 20, 1883, page 12

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, March 21, 1883

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, March 21, 1883, p. 5


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #5 Charles B. Tourville (1857-1910)

Aren’t people who were born, got married or died between 1880 and 1900 the most difficult to search? You’re going to tell me that it depends on where they lived (some States are more secretive than others) or whether other sources are available. Exactly!

Take for instance Charles B. Tourville, born on May 20, 1857 in St. Louis, Missouri to Joseph Toussaint Tourville and Susan Stout. That date came from the Pension Application of his father, a Civil War veteran. For the rest, I had to rely on the 1860, 1870, 1900 and 1910 US Census. What have I learned from those census?

In 1860, the family lived in St. Louis, Missouri. By 1870, they had moved to Canton, Fulton County, Illinois. Although Charles’ parents and youngest siblings are back in St. Louis by 1880, he’s nowhere to be found. The next hint I got was from the 1900 US Census. Charles is living in St. Louis and he is married to Katherine. Looking more closely at the household I noticed that the wife never had any children, the couple had been married for four years, a daughter of Charles is living with them, Lorena, born in September 1885. And finally, the 1910 US Census tells us that the couple is living alone, with new details: it was a second marriage for him and a first for Katherine.

I quickly discovered a marriage license dated September 17, 1896 for Charles Tourville and Katherine F. Motzer on Ancestry in the “Missouri Marriage Records” database. I found no other marriages for Charles.

During my stay in Salt Lake City last November, while I was browsing through newspaper indexes, some interesting clues came up :

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, October 19, 1881, p. 11

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, October 19, 1881, p. 11

Meyer Amelia st louis daily globe-democrat 6 feb 1882

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, February 6, 1882, page 5

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, February 7, 1882

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, February 7, 1882, page 10

See how newspapers filled that 1880-1900 gap? Not only did I have Amelia’s maiden name but also her age and the cause of death. With that information in hand, I have found the marriage record while in Salt Lake City. Later on, I noted that Charles was indexed as Toneville. No wonder there was no trace of him in the database before. The only detail that puzzled me is since Amelia died long before 1885, she couldn’t possibly be the mother of Lorena. She also died only four months after her marriage.

That St. Louis newspaper really has all the answers: well, well, well… take a look at that, under the Licenses to marry Section in 1883:

st louis globe democrat february 1, 1883

St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, February 1, 1883, p. 12

A quick look at Amelia Meyer and Eugenia Meyer in the 1880 US census for St. Louis and it appears like Charles married his sister-in-law Eugenia after his wife’s death.

My next step was the Missouri Death index. I quickly noted the death information for Amelia, on February 4, 1882, Eugenia, on July 30, 1895, and Charles, on October 3, 1910.

From the same database, I found some children named Tourville who died in St. Louis, so I tried to find out if they could be children of Charles and Eugenia. As a matter of fact, they were. With the help of the Missouri Birth Index and the St. Louis Directory as well as the name of the parents, I could identify the following children:

  1. Robert S. born November 3, 1883, died at age 15 on July 13, 1899. He was badly injured at the Fourth of July celebration and died a week later from tetanus.
  2. Lorena E. born September 27, 1885, died in 1964 in California. She was married about 1907 to Robert Gilreath. She was living in Los Angeles in 1910. She is not mentioned in her father’s obituary. Was she estranged from him?
  3. Freda C. born November 8, 1887, died on November 20, 1889.
  4. Susan (birth name Pearl H.), born July 13, 1892, died on May 17, 1894.
  5. Esther born April 15, 1895, died June 22, 1895.

So between 1889 and 1899, Charles lost four children and his second wife Eugenia. Esther died one month before her mother. That must have been a very difficult time for the family.

As you can see, I now know a lot on Charles B. Tourville even if most of the events happened between the years 1880-1900. Wasn’t I lucky he lived in St. Louis! If not, I might have never known about his other marriages and his children.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 4, 1910, page 11

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 4, 1910, page 11







St. Louis Cholera Epidemic in 1832

EarlyUSFrenchCatholicChurchRecordsDrouinCollecti_49997929 page 1

St. Louis Catholic Church Records for October 1832

The St. Louis Church Burial Records for October 22, 1832 indicate that both Toussaint Tourville Sr and Toussaint Tourville Jr were buried on that date.

I was always intringued by this entry and often wondered what happened to them. A few people asked me if I knew the cause of death and I didn’t. Of course, a quick look at the history of St. Louis might have helped me find out.

Not so long ago I found a document on the Missouri Digital Heritage Website pertaining to a land dispute between Sylvina Tourville and her husband William Petersen as the plaintiffs and Catherine Seig as the defendant.

The testimony of Charles Tourville, father of Sylvina, and son of Toussaint Tourville Sr has finally shed some light on this mystery. During his testimony, Charles mentioned that his father died during the first year of the cholera.

In fact, the cholera epidemic in North America started in Quebec City during the month of June 1832. It spreads to St. Louis via the Great Lakes. According to the Missouri Intelligencer in October and November, 1832, the cholera raged in the city during those particular months.

For more information on the cholera epidemics in St. Louis :