A trip to Montréal and Québec (August 1998)

....Searching for Perrizos etc in the Montréal area....
A short account by Gordon Berry
Traveling with Mary Hynes Berry

Mary and I left South Bend Indiana on Saturday morning (9 August 1998) and headed for Montréal in our Toyota Previa Van - .... After a short half-hour on the Indiana Tollway, we turned into Michigan and took the old U.S. 12 road all the way to Detroit, passing through many small towns, but still making very good time, to reach the border and bridge over to Windsor Ontario before noon. We stopped in London Ontario to look around its small but interesting art museum and the town center. We left the main highway (Ontario 401) shortly after to take the QEW towards Hamilton, aiming for the Northern lakeshore of Ontario and a place to stay the night east of Toronto. There were few choices for hotels, and we eventually found a Holiday Inn in Mississauga, just short of the city of Toronto. Amazing as it may seem, 15% of all Canadians live in the Toronto metropolitan area. We saw quite a few of them as we found a place to eat in the area of one of their largest shopping malls. The Italian food was fine, the hotel was fine, and we turned in early for another long day's driving the following day.

Sunday, August 9, 1998

Early Sunday morning found us going along the waterfront into Toronto passing lots of joggers, early sailors, etc and out again to join the big highway 401 at Scarborough and on East through Whitby - our six hour jaunt to Montréal. It took longer because we stopped for lunch in Kingston, and looked around this very picturesque lakeside town. It is at the Eastern end of Lake Ontario, and has an important fort guarding the opening of the St. Lawrence River, and is full of memorials to the loyalists who made sure that the Americans never came across to claim the area. They were just finishing the shooting of a historical movie that was supposed to take place in old New Orleans - apparently, the Kingston waterfront looks to the movie director as if it could be old New Orleans (not new old Orleans!).

We bought some art at a shop full of things that could easily be in our own house! We can strongly recommend this place to any traveler with a few hours to spare - as we had no more hours to spare, the rest of the afternoon was a race at close to 120 kilometers per hour with a few thousand other Canadian drivers (all of whom seem to ignore the police and other emergency vehicles on these roads) to reach Montréal in the early evening.

We arrived at le Manoir Lemoyne in the evening, met Scott Perrizo, Bill Hoffman, and Don Arneson, who were already installed in their quarters a floor above us (the 12th and 14th floors, since the superstitious Canadians do not have a 13th floor). At a Greek dinner down on the Crescent Avenue, we discussed the family history developments so far, which had included Scott's visit to Plattsburgh in New York, just South of the border, and Bill and Don's visit with Jacques Pariseau, the ex-Premier of Québec, who is interested in our investigations of the Pariseau families both north and south of the US/Canadian border.

Monday, August 10, 1998

After a very slow breakfast at the hotel, we drove to the Montréal library and its Genealogical archives to continue checking out its resources: the most relevant finding was in the book of marriages of the Church records of St. Luc in the County of St. Jean - there was the marriage of Perpetua, oldest daughter of Michel and Pelagie (1841). The book included the Parish records of L'Acadie, also in St. Jean: this may be helpful in research on the Cyr and Hebert families who have some records of this Parish in their background, rather than Arcadia, where we thought they might have been from. A short stint on their CD-rom reader of their collection of the Mormon family records indicated a lot of Dalpé and Pariseau families: however, it was time to leave for our afternoon trip south of the river.

Bill had previously put on the Internet some descriptions and analysis of flooding in the Red River Valley; these had become relevant to the Canadian Space Agency which has develope d a system called "Radarsat" which is a combination of radar and satellite technology useful in various "big-brother" schemes of investigating the surface (and its changes) of our planet. This Canadian satellite was launched 3 years ago, and contains a unique radar imaging system which can map out in great detail, almost simultaneously, and repeatedly, any part of the earth's surface. As this is a very expensive project, the Canadian Space Agency sells imaging time on the satellite to private companies; part of this sales development is a CD-rom explaining the system's advantages and uses. This, of course, is where the connection to Bill comes: Radarsat images of the Red River floods of 1997show how effective this radar imaging can be, and the CD includes a whole section of their images plus the important contributions of Bill Hoffman (and others) to the flood analyses. Hence, our appointment at 1:30 p.m. with top managers at the agency - Denis Auger and - xxx Phaneuf (he later explained this name was originally the English "Farnsworth") - who had arranged a special 2 hour visit for the five of us. Ahmed Mahmood gave a slide presentation of their satellite project, and we then toured the facility, which has a direct link to the Houston Space Flight Center, plus other technical and manned-flight preparation facilities. The latter include "Canadarm" a remote controlled 50 foot long "arm" complete with "hand", "elbow" and "shoulder" (which can be attached and detached at either end) for working in space at the future International Space Station (the Canadian contribution to this project); they are also very proud of their 3 Canadian astronauts, some of whom are likely to go on the Shuttle in 1999. We left finally after our much-appreciated VIP tour, each armed with a large radarsat image and a glossy folder including a nice pin and of course a CD rom.

It was getting late and we rushed on to Varennes where Louise, guardian of the records, was patiently waiting for us at the library of the Basilica... We had just an hour to start work on the baptism, marriage and burial records of the Parish of Varennes; we had to be tidied up and gone by a quarter to five in order to fit in with Louise's tight and strict schedule (9-12 and 1-5 each weekday), so that she and her little red car could zoom off home on time. But in that hour, we had some surprises...

We found another little Michel - born in June 1814 of the marriage of Michel Dalpé dit Pariseau and Charlotte LaChambre - and his burial 2 years later in 1816, just two months after his mother died, and one year before Michel married again to our ancestor Pelagie Brien dit Desrochers. It was noted that little Michel's baptismal record showed that his godmother was the then 16 year old Pelagie!

Since Scott was leaving that evening for the big country to the south, we decided to have a celebratory dinner. After a quick tour of the chapels of the Parish, we drove on to Boucherville, about 5 miles up the south bank of the St. Laurence River towards Montréal. Next to the church, on the riverfront, are two restaurants - the second one, called Levandou (after the ship of that name) turns out to be run by a gentle giant from southern France, a chef worthy of the name, and who looked like a caricature from some modern comics. Being the only people in the restaurant (it was early, and also a Monday evening) we had his complete attention, as well as that of his petite waitress (except when she was watching the TV with her brother in the backroom bar). The meal was too good to be described, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us. At the end of it all, we extracted our cars from the quayside (by now hemmed in by the locals having their evening of philosophical discussions, overlooking the riverbank commerce), sent Scott on his way, and returned to our Manoir Lemoyne for our own discussions and accompanying refreshments.

Tuesday, August 11, 1998

Now only 4 of us.. A more rapid breakfast today at a little bistro on de Maisonneuve avenue next to the Guy metro station, found on the previous visit by Scott and Bill. Then back to Louise at Varennes, and a concentrated session of searching the BMD records between 1778 and 1840. We each took a book or index and looked for relevant Dalpé/Pariseau and Brien/Desrochers records. After coming up with more than a hundred, we narrowed them down to about 40 worthy of photocopying, and made the photocopies. This took us to 2:30 p.m. The session was interrupted by Louise's obligatory lunchtime closing (11:45 a.m. till 1:00 p.m). We also took this time for our own lunch and found Mari's place next to the hotel on the main road (#132) as it passes through Varennes - some nicely-cooked pieces of chicken, and the local beer. We also visited and photographed the intersection of Parisot and Brien streets. Perhaps I should mention at this time that Don has been continuing his video recording of the trip at all our important visiting points, while Scott, Bill and Mary have obtained several still photographs. Over lunch we expanded on how these can be integrated into the Perrizo CD Rom as it becomes available in the near future, together perhaps with some genealogical family games and fictional accounts of the exciting lives of our French-Canadian (and other) ancestors. The 2:30 p.m. deadline was necessary in order to get Bill and Don to the Montréal airport bus terminal on Berri Avenue in time to catch their plane home. This we did successfully, dropping them off at 3 p.m. The rest of the afternoon, Gordon spent at the archives looking through the Mormon CD rom family records for all the Dalpé/Pariseau and Desrochers records - briefly they show no new information on the relevant Perrizo families, and nothing more of direct interest was found.

Mary visited the McCord museum, and in the evening us two survivors of the group toured old Montréal in t he rain, had dinner and returned back to the hotel on the underground. As part of our continuing sociological study, we noted that the majority of riders were white, with significant minorities of blacks and Asians. As a summary of today's genealogical findings, we can say that we learned much more about the siblings of Michel II, the children of Michel I and Desanges Gauthier: for example, he had twin brothers Francois and Nicolas, as well as an older brother Jean-Baptiste, at least 2 sisters who married and stayed in Varennes; Michel II and Charlotte LaChambre also had a daughter Sophie in 1815. She was buried in Varennes in 1834, but there is no mention of her father Michel and step-mother Pelagie at her funeral. We discovered Pelagie herself was a twin, born in November 1797: it is quite remarkable that both she and her twin sister Louise grew to adulthood and got married, as also did the twin brothers of Michel II. In those days it was rare even for a single twin to survive infancy, given the rigorous conditions of the times.

Perhaps the most significant finding was that after January 1827, there are no further records of the Michel and Pelagie family at Varennes. From the burial of little daughter Aurelie in January 1827, there is no mention, for example, of the births of the other children Lenore, Bruno, Joseph... Only the burial ofstepdaughter Sophie in 1834. So we presume Michel and Pelagie may have started on their trek south in the spring or summer of 1827. It is possible their leaving was prompted by the land situation in Varennes: Michel's father had died about two years before, and the land might have then gone to the oldest son Jean- Baptiste; we noted that already in various baptismal and marriage records of the family that Michel would often be the only brother not mentioned as being present. So perhaps he and Pelagie were a little (or more) estranged from his siblings, and the death of his father prompted the moving on. An added reason for their departure may have been the death of Jean Baptiste which occurred in 1825 .. Although his mother Desanges was alive when his father died, we did not find her burial date, and she may have died about the time they left (1827), or perhaps went with them.

This leaves us with a gap of nearly15 years until the marriage of eldest daughter Perpetua to Stanislaus Deaudelin in St. Luc on the 19th of November 1841. Many children of the Deaudelin family were baptized in this parish back to at least 1826. The Michel Pelagie family may have farmed in a neighboring community (Boucherville, for example, where they had other relatives), or gone south and settled at St. Luc. St. Luc is directly south about half way to the U.S. border at Rouse point, where we believe that at least Bruno Perrizo (and presumably the whole family, since Bruno was only 12) crossed into the U.S.A. in 1842, as recorded in his naturalization papers.

Wednesday, August 12, 1998

Now only the two of us; after a delayed and lazy start leaving the Manoir Le Moyne, we drove up to the top of the Royal Mountain "mont real" and took pictures of the city and river .. We went for a short walk, and fed lunch to ourselves and the local squirrels and pigeons, together with passing hiking groups of schoolchildren, etc. As a final contribution to the Perrizo genealogical study, we drove south to St. Luc; Their equivalent to the Varennes Louise was a similar efficient middle-aged lady. She was quick to point out that their records are now at the Archives in Montréal and that there is a microfilm of the records at the University of Montréal. We took a copy of the relevant addresses and phone numbers, and drove south another 8 kilometers to the town of St. Jean. It is the county town on the Richelieu River, which was possibly the avenue of transport for the Dalpé/Pariseau family as they came south. It should be straightforward to get the microfilms through interlibrary loan, and we might be fortunate enough to look at the records of all the neighboring Parishes within the St. Jean area.

Here endeth the Dalpé dit Pariseau part of our Canadian trip - except for this little postscript... On our way back from Québec City (on Saturday, August 15), Mary and I stopped at the battlesite of the Coule#233; Grou at the end of Montréal Island, where Jean Delpue was killed by the band of Iroquois Indians in 1690. As mentioned by Scott, there has been some damage to the modern marker of the site, but the inscription can still be read - apparently it was the 25 French soldiers who ambushed an Indian war band, and did not do very well. Mary and Gordon went back behind the present marker to where Gordon thought the old marker used to be. We traced the remains of the old road to the little grocery store (which is now completely gone), and behind to the old pile of stones, and sure enough there are some of the stones remaining, with cement still attached. A snake was lying on one of them in the sun, but slithered away, silent as the old Indians, at our approach. A tree now grows out of the middle of the pile of stones, just 50 feet from the shore of the River of the Prairies as it goes to join the St. Lawrence River, with the towers of the church of Varennes visible above the trees in the background and across the big river. Mary rescued two small stones from the mostly-buried pile for our show-and-tell at the next Perrizo gathering.

Here beginneth the trip to Trois Rivieres in search of Francis Brissette, father of the well-known young girl Lucy, who died so tragically at the age of twenty years and eleven months in the cold November of Winnebago, Minnesota.

We drove north along the banks of the Richelieu River (just like the Red River in Minnesota!) Then joined the main road to Trois Rivieres - halfway to Québec City along the Saint Laurence River. The young man at the information office in the newly revamped downtown recommended one of the bed and breakfast places - we went to one just a few blocks away from the Ursuline Convent, and found a wonderfully restored old home, and had our most pleasant stay of the whole trip, also at a most reasonable price (63 Canadian dollars). We went for a walk along the river front where there was a nice little skateboard park and talked to a few of the skaters; further along they were setting up an old car display; we found a nice outdoor Greek restaurant for dinner and walked back to the "auberge" past the Cultural Center and its celebration of poetry... to complete a pleasant and leisurely day.

Thursday, August 13, 1998

After a beautifully prepared breakfast, we parked near the Cathedral. In the office building adjoining, a somewhat anal and rather possessive (of his books, and any form of knowledge) middle-aged "cur82" could find no trace of any relevant Brissettes living in the neighborhood around 1800. However, he did mention the local archives two blocks away. Here we found a tremendously helpful young man. Within 10 minutes we had found the baptismal record of Francis Brissette - on 16 May 1793 in the Parish of Maskinong82, just a few miles upriver from Trois Rivieres. For those of you who do not remember, Francis was the father of Lucy Brissette, the 14 year old bride of Denis Hynes, who was Francis' hired man in Wausau Wisconsin; although Lucy died just a few years later at the age of twenty, Francis did not die till 1898, reputedly the oldest man in Wisconsin at the time, aged 105. I had never really believed he was that old, but this wonderful discovery verifies at least this part of his story. Of course, the rest of you know that he was also a wonderful storyteller, and how toward the end of his days, he regaled the young men of Wausau with his tales of killing 3 bears in one day etc. etc.. Mary is undoubtedly at least a partial reincarnation of this evidently very friendly fellow - and she will tell his whole story one of these days.

In the good old French tradition, the archives closed for lunch for an hour; so, not ready yet to leave, we spent the time visiting the local history museum, which was worth a visit anyway, and included the old city jail, and local artists' work. In the early afternoon at the archives, we learned enough about Francis' parents (we noted 13 of their children), and grandparents, so that we can trace the families back to the first settlers in the late 1600s. The original Brissette, Jean, came from the little pa rish of St. Laurent de la Salle, near La Rochelle on the South-Western coast of France. We had agreed quit our searching and to continue on at 2:30 p.m. We got a quick sandwich and set off along the River-road towards Québec. We first stopped at the old presbytery of Batiscan. Jean married his first bride, Genevieve Trud, at the first church there; unfortunately she also died there giving birth to Francis' great-grandfather Joseph in 1703. We took a picture of her burial place, and drove on to the next parish, St. Anne de la P82rade, where Jean married Catherine LeSieur in 1705. The church, built about 1860, has high twin towers similar to most churches of that time, but the windows, etc, are painted in an unforgettable, and rather sickly, green. It was time to move on to Québec city - we stopped for a few minutes at a small shop in Grondines, and bought a couple of small wood carved pieces made by the owner - and arrived at the big city about 6 p.m. Actually at the street full of hotels - all those we stopped at were full - so we gave up, crossed to the south bank of the river, and in the little town of St. Nicolas, found a perfectly adequate motel, booked in for two nights, ate some supper, and called it a day.

Friday, August 14, 1998

As we drove in to the old city, past the Plains of Abraham, we noticed a big encampment of tents. So we parked and discovered that these were a band of American and French soldiers, together with their camp followers who were re-enacting the battle of Québec that took place during the revolutionary war. It turned out that about 1500 people were involved in this re-enactment, the other half were the British who were camped out just next to the old citadel of Québec, taking place over the weekend, with marches, assemblies, and battles too. It gave our two-day stay an additional "out-of-this-world" illusion, and fitted perfectly with all the previous few days' ancestor hunting. I think we both really enjoyed walking the old streets of Québec with the other eighteenth-century-dressed men and women (who were also equipped with modern- day cameras). In addition, Québec City has a group of their own quaintly dressed soldiers marching around to the tune of military pipeband, stopping in the squares, and firing off their muskets. After walking around the American and British military camps, we walked around the citadel, past the great Chateau Frontenac, which is actually a hotel built by the Canadian Railways in the late nineteenth century, and took the little funicular down to the old town. The latter is just a tourist trap of li ttle shops - we saw wood-carved objects like the ones at village of Grondines at 5 times the price - we escaped to a 90 minute trip on the river. The "Louis Jolliette" took us upriver to the 2 bridges, and then down river, past the citadel to the Island of Orleans, to see the impressive waterfalls of Montmorency, and then back past the Québec port to old town again. The river boat trip included an almost continuous description in French and English by a young man, naturally also dressed in eighteenth century French settler costume. Walking back through the town to our car park, we found an elegant restaurant, not quite equal to the one in Boucherville, but with excellent mussels for hors d'oeuvre, a singer who was either Indian or from Iraq, and several well-padded British Redcoats and their wives/friends at neighboring tables. Then home to St. Nicolas (just 20 minutes away), which incidentally included a view of the Falls of the Chaudi8Are River as it cascades toward the St. Lawrence.

Saturday, 15 August, 1998

We drove in and parked next to the Québec Art Museum and rushed in to see the special Rodin sculpture exhibit. Unfortunately, tickets were sold out weeks before, and there was no reduced price for the rest of the museum; so, we set off across the plains of Abraham passing the American encampment, in a shower of rain, and aiming for the Arts and Crafts exhibit which was taking place next to the Parliament building. Mostly jewelry and leather stuff, but we bought a few interesting things.

We walked on towards the Cathedral, running into the procession of both the English and the American "armies" who were parading through the streets of Québec, prior to their military engagement which was to take place at 3:30 p.m. The cathedral is quite ordinary and fairly modern (late 19th century), but our visit included a very informative little film about Archbishop Laval, who came from France in 1658 as the First Archbishop of Canada (actually of all North America), and stayed till his death about 60 years later.

We bought food for a picnic lunch, which we ate on the edge of the citadel, watching the various troops walking around preparing for their afternoon - one rather remarkable "Indian" was dressed in almost nothing, with just two pieces of leather covering strategic portions of his front and rear, but with knee-high leggings and moccasins. After watching the American troops line up for battle, we decided to leave, and headed for the car just before the battle took place; one of our informants said that neither side knew which one would win, people who were "killed", got up to fight and be "killed" again, all according to unspecified rules; just a few people knew the outcome, and the battle plans - the goal being to "educate" spectators on how such battles took place. All of it was clearly a very serious game for the actors, who were very proud of their uniforms, of firing their muskets, and of living the life of the soldiers of 200 years ago.

We drove back towards Montréal, stopping again at Grondines, to buy a few more wood-carvings, and headed towards our goal of Muskinong82. There are only a few modern houses in this village which is similar in size to Winnebago. We found only one Brissette grave in the churchyard, but many with the names of the families that Francis Brissette's sisters had married into (one of the husbands was de Billy St. Louis). The church is quite new, but next to it was a nice model of the old church and priest's house(see the picture). We drove on to the next town to find a hotel, which was a "Super-8" in Berthierville. Supper and bed.

Sunday, 16 August, 1998

This was the first of the two long days of driving home: the principal stop was at Montréal to see the place where Jean Dalpé was killed, as described above. The rest of the trip was along the Montréal River; this main road, #401 in Ontario, and #40 in Québec, seems to have lots of traffic on it all the time; and the minimum speed is about 70 mph, with the many cars doing more than 80 mph, even though the speed limit is 100 kph 3D 62.5 mph; we took the local road in the "1000 islands" area, where there are lots of beautiful island houses just off the shoreline looking towards New York. We got through the Toronto weekend coming-home rush hour and landed at London Ontario for the night. Mary did most of the driving, which probably made her so tired at dinner that she broke open a tooth on a black olive pit. Fortunately, the helpful waiter could tell us of an open pharmacy where Mary found some chewing-gum-like substance to seal it off, and reduce the pain (an expensive dinner, probably!).

Monday, 17 August, 1998

Up early, and across the border at Windsor/Detroit before noon; we stopped briefly for lunch near Jonesville on US highway 12, and also visited a couple of antique stores. The only other stop, besides car and human refueling, was a brief visit to Shipshewana in Eastern Indiana - we both found it just a tourist trap with no real antiques (they have auctions in a big barn every Wednesday, but we were there on Monday). We reached South Bend at 4 p.m., now on Central Daylight Time, where Mary set up a dental appointment, and we took off on the last leg to Chicago, arriving there safely, about 2100 miles after we started.

Perrizo Family History Project