Hilaire Béliveau: Urban Realities – Into the 20th Century

Seventh of a seven-part series describing the real and imagined life of Hilaire Béliveau of Montreal.

1901 begins on a sad note when granddaughter Alice Yvonne Provost (Michel & Ernestine Béliveau) dies in January. She was barely six years old. On a happier note, a new grandaughter, Ida, was born to Edmond Prince and Anna Béliveau. Hilaire and Aglaë were her godparents.

On February 22, 1902, Jeannette Provost was born to Michel Provost and Ernestine Béliveau in Maisonneuve. Both she and cousin Ida would be married to Louis Comeau of St-Ours, Jeannette as his first wife and Ida as his second.

The first census of the century took place on March 31, 1901. The population of Canada has reached over 5.3 million individuals.

In Pointe-aux-Trembles, Hilaire and Aglaë are empty-nesters. He is still a customs officer and earned $1200 in salary the previous year. Hilaire is bilingual, while Aglaë is francophone. Hilaire’s daughters Anna, Ernestine and Corinne are present in the census. The fate of his eldest daughter Célina Eliza (born in 1862) is not known. Anna and her husband Edmond Prince are living in Maisonneuve with their six children. It’s not clear what his occupation is but he earned $1000 in the previous year.

Ernestine and Michel Provost are also in Maisonneuve. Michel is employed and earned $550. Only their daughter Antoinette is living with them and is attending school.

Hilaire’s youngest daughter Corinne is now an Ursuline sister at the Roberval provincial convent which was founded in 1882 by Malvina Gagné (Mère Saint-Raphaël) to provide support to the colonization movement in the Lac St-Jean area. Mère St-Raphaël’s school was the first to provide a domestic science and agricultural program in the country.

The Stratford-area Beliveaus are also present in the 1901 census and are scattered in Village Beaulac, Compton and Winslow. Ephraim is a day worker and earned about $660 the previous year. He’s living in Village Beaulac with his wife and two children. Théodule is still farming in Compton and his brother Jean, sister Artemise and mother Eléonore are living in his household. Two of his brothers are his neighbours—Camille and Louis, also farmers. Camille’s household includes his wife and eight children. Louis is widowed and he has his 8 children living with him. William is in Winslow with his wife and seven children. He is still farming and he is noted as being bilingual.

On April 28, 1901, Hilaire’s mother, Eléonore Bernard, passed away in Stratford, Québec. Hilaire’s brothers Jean and Théodule were present at the burial on April 30, but it’s not known if Hilaire travelled to be with them.

In 1902, Aglaë prepares a will before notary Joseph Marion. In it she asks to be buried with her family (Beaudry) and she stipulates that as soon as possible $50 be set aside for a high mass and other prayers for her soul. She leaves her clothing to her three nieces (daughters of her brother Camille) and all her other property to her brother Camille.

The following year, on December 29, 1903, Hilaire Belliveau passed away.  He was buried on January 4, 1904 in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery (section J3-00142) near his first wife Célina.

Hilaire was survived by his wife Aglaë Beaudry, brothers William, Ephraim, Camille, Théodule, Ulderic, Louis Pierre and Jean; and sister Artemise. He also left behind four daughters and ten grandchildren (according to known records).

Not long after the death of her father, Anna Béliveau gives birth to Arthur Hector Prince on April 30, 1904. About a week later, Anna likely succumbed to complications from the birth and passed away on May 5, 1904. She was also buried in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery, near her parents.

In January 1905, Aglaë sells a lot in Pointe-aux-Trembles to Louis Beaudry for $300. It’s not clear what relation Louis is to her, if at all. Then in December, Aglaë borrows $100 from Achille Dubreuil (cultivateur de Pointe-aux-Trembles) to be repaid on the 26 of May 1906 with 5% interest per annum. Her brother Camille consented to guarantee the loan.

A year later, Aglaë is released from her debt and receives $500 from her brother Camille. There is no sign of Aglaë in the 1911 census. According to the notary documents for her loan transaction, she is living in Montréal and no longer in Pointe-aux-Trembles.

Our story of this family ends with the death of Aglaë on August 15, 1913 in Montréal. She was buried on August 18. Her obituary in Le Devoir was brief.

BÉLIVEAU, Aglaë Beaudry. 71 ans, veuve de Hilaire Béliveau, douanier.
Asile de la Providence.

Asile de la Providence was founded by the order Soeurs de la Providence and it was a refuge for aged and invalided women.

Engraving of Asile de la Providence
Asile de la Providence actuel, 1899 (Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec)

Sources

Hilaire Béliveau: Urban Realities – Next Generation

Sixth of a seven-part series describing the real and imagined life of Hilaire Béliveau of Montreal.

On January 9, 1883, Hilaire’s daughter Anna Béliveau married Edmond Prince in Lorette Manitoba. It’s not clear why the marriage took place so far away from both their homes in Montréal. Lorette was a small community near Taché and the parish had just erected a new church a few years prior. One possible reason for the move is Edouard’s opening of a general store in Lorette in 1884. The store also served as a post office and before long more stores, hotels and restaurants opened in the area which benefitted greatly from the arrival of the railway in 1898.

The next daughter to marry was Célina Eliza. She also married a Prince (Edmond’s brother Joseph Octave) in Lorette, Manitoba on August 21, 1883.

Célina’s sister Marie Adelaide Cadotte (widow of Toussaint Lecuyer) died during the summer of the 1885 smallpox epidemic in Montréal on June 16 at the age of 53. She was buried at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery.

With several of his children married, the grandchildren followed. Hilaire’s first grandchild was born on September 15, 1886 in Taché Manitoba. She was the daughter of Anna Béliveau and Edmond Prince.

A few days later on September 21, his daughter Ernestine marries Michel Hubert Provost in Pointe-aux-Trembles. The register mentions for the first time Hilaire’s new occupation as a customs officer.

On August 10, 1887, daughter Ernestine and her husband Michel Provost welcome their first child, Ernest. Hilaire and Aglaë participate at the baptism the following day as godparents.

Another grandchild, Antoinette Corinne, is born to Michel Provost and Ernestine Béliveau on February 25, 1890. Her godparents are her grandparents Hubert Prevost and Heloise Lapointe.

As a new generation arrives an older one departs. Célina’s father Benjamin passes away on December 16, 1889 in Montréal at the age of 78. He is buried on the 18th in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery.

Then on April 3, 1891, Hilaire’s father, Charles Hilaire dies in Stratford at the age of 83. He was buried in the cemetery of St-Gabriel on April 6. Hilaire fils is not mentioned among the names of those present.  Hilaire’s mother, five brothers and a sister are still living in the Compton area. Brother Ephraim is a day labourer with a wife and three children in Weedon. Brother William is a farmer with his wife and eight children in Winslow. Brother Théodule is a farmer in Compton living with his mother, brother Jean and sister Artemise. Brother Camille is also a farmer in Compton with his wife and five children.

The 1891 census shows Hilaire, Aglaë and his youngest daughter, Corinne are living in Pointe-aux-Trembles. Aglaë’s brother Camille is also in Pointe-aux-Trembles with his wife and four daughters.

Hilaire’s daughter Ernestine is living not too far away in Maisonneuve. Her husband, Michel Provost, is employed as a joiner (probably working with his father Hubert in the construction business) and they have two children in the household.

Daughter Anna and her husband Edmond Prince are still in Manitoba (Provencher). He still runs a general store and they have three children. There are also three others lodging with them, a servant, a Belgian professor of French and a federal employee.

Another granddaughter, Bertha Prince, arrived on September 18, 1891 in Taché Manitoba to parents Edmond Prince and Anna Béliveau. She is followed by Blanche Alice who is born to Michel Provost and Ernestine in Maisonneuve. Sadly, Blanche Alice would die eight months later on July 22, 1882. Then they lose their eldest child, Ernest, on October 3, 1892. He was only five years old.

The next grandchild to be born is Joseph Alcide Prince to Anna and Edmond Prince on March 30, 1893 in Taché Manitoba.

In Maisonneuve, Michel Provost and daughter Ernestine have another daughter, Blanche Antoinette born on August 30, 1893.

Edmond Prince and Anna Béliveau are back in Québec in 1894 for the birth of their daughter Blanche Eva on October 21. Hilaire and Aglaë were her godparents when she was baptised the following day.

Marie Alice Yvonne Provost was born on May 14, 1895 in Maisonneuve to Michel & Ernestine Belliveau. Another grandson, Armand Prince, arrives in Maisonneuve to Edmond Prince and Anna Béliveau on October 31, 1896. His godmother is aunt Ernestine.

Grandson Edouard Joseph Wilfred arrives for Joseph Prince and Anna Béliveau on June 27, 1898 in Maisonneuve. Then Marie Blanche Ida Provost is baptized in Maisonneuve to Michel & Ernestine Béliveau on July 12, 1899. She would die about six months later on December 19, 1900.

As the nineteenth century drew to a close, the residents of Montréal witnessed the introduction of many innovations and improvements to the city:

  • The first telephone conversation in Québec (1877)
  • Electric lighting, expanded rail service and streetcars
    (1892)
  • Motion pictures are shown in Canada for the first time at the Palace Theatre at 972 St. Lawrence, corner Viger by Louis Minier & Louis Pupier using a Cenematographe, invented by the Lumiere brothers of France (1896).
  • The first car seen in Montréal is steam-powered and driven by Ucal-Henri Dandurand, accompanied by Mayor Raymond Préfontaine. They descend steep Côte du Beaver Hall without difficulty and climb back up through the streets in the same fashion (1899).

Sources

Hilaire Béliveau: Urban Realities – Work/Life

Fifth of a seven-part series describing the real and imagined life of Hilaire Béliveau of Montreal.

Hilaire continues to advertise his business – now named Canadian House of Hardware. Not far away is his uncle Louis Joseph’s hardware store at 297-299 rue St-Paul. 

Advertisements for both appear on the same page in the 1868 edition of Lovell’s business directory. Hilare’s business listing also appears in Hutchison’s New Brunswick Directory along with the business of his uncle Louis Joseph. They also appear in McAlpine’s Nova Scotia Directory for 1869 under the headings Hardware & Cutlery and House Furnishings.

In Winslow, Hilaire’s brother William married Edmire Hébert on January 7, 1868 (she is possibly a relation of his first wife, Julie). It was also Edmire’s second marriage. There is no indication in the register of Hilaire being in attendance.

On June 2, 1868 Hilaire and Célina had another daughter, Amanda, join their family. Baptized the following day, her godparents were Célina’s brother Joseph and Elizabeth Lenoir.

1869 was heartbreaking for the Béliveau family. Three of their children died within days of each other. First Amanda on January 6, only six months old. Then Gustave died the following day at 5-1/2 and finally Arthur Ernest on the 10th at 5 years old. All three were buried the same day on January 10, 1869.

There is no record of the cause of their deaths. However the newspapers reported an outbreak of smallpox at that time and the public health authorities in Montréal started a campaign requiring all children to be vaccinated.

This was not the only incidence of smallpox to afflict Montréal. In March 1885 an infected traveler from Chicago arrived by train in Montréal with smallpox – it wasn’t long before the disease spread with a fury. Thousands of Montréalers died that summer, most of them French Canadians who were generally suspicious of the vaccine (amid misinformation that it was a plot by the English to eliminate their children). Protests against mandatory vaccination erupted in September of that year. The military was called out to protect the health authorities and vaccinators – it wasn’t long before Montréal became a pariah among cities – a place to be avoided because of its poor record of containing epidemics.

newspaper clipping
Franco Canadien 26 dec 1868

Checking in on the Beaudry family during the same period, we see that Aglaë Beaudry’s brother Camille married Rose de Lima Brien in Varennes on August 12, 1867. Aglaë is one of several witnesses who signed the register. Next her sister Marie Odile married Thomas Houle in Muskegon Michigan in 1870 just as the lumber industry in the area was peaking. Lumbering in the mid-nineteenth century brought many settlers to Michigan, especially people from Germany, Ireland, and Canada.

In 1871, Camille, a butcher, is the head of the Beaudry family. Living with him and his wife are his widowed mother, his sister Aglaë and brother Zotique. They are still living in Pointe-aux-Trembles.

The 1871 census also reveals that in 1871, Hilaire’s family are now living at 270 LaGauchetière Street, an upscale neighbourhood at the time. His three daughters are attending school. Célina is probably expecting their 8th child (Marie Louise Corinne) who will be born the following year.

Their next-door neighbour is Alexandre Lacoste, a prominent lawyer. In 1882 Lacoste would become appointed by John A. Macdonald to the Legislative Council of Québec. During his career he would be called to the Senate of Canada, appointed Speaker of the Senate, Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Québec and made a Knight Bachelor.

Célina’s parents are living not far away at 62 Bonsecours Street. Living there are her widowed sister, Adelaide, and siblings Pierre (a clerk), Alfred (Placide?) and Napoleon (attending school). There are nine other unrelated people living at the same address, including a John Cadotte, a carpenter 36 years old. Hilaire’s brother Louis Pierre married Sara Marceau on April 13, 1874 in Stratford Centre. The groom is described as a farmer and his father and brother William were witnesses. There is no indication of whether Hilaire was also in attendance.

Another brother, Ephrain, married Celanire Jacques in Stratford on April 5, 1875. He’s described as a mechanic and the widow of Angelique Bourque. There is no indication that any of his relatives were present at the wedding.
On November 18, 1874, Célina’s mother, Adelaide Bedard died in Montréal. She was buried on the 20th in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery (her grave is located at Section J3-00142).

Why was the cemetery so far from the parish church of Notre Dame? In 1853 the City Council of Montréal adopted a by-law prohibiting burials within the limits of the city. In addition, the previous Saint-Antoine Cemetery (near present-day Dorchester Square) had become too small to serve Montréal’s rapidly increasing population. So, in 1854, the Fabrique de la paroisse Notre-Dame de Montréal purchased some land on Mount Royal from Dr. Pierre Beaubien in Côte-des-Neiges and commissioned a design by landscape architect Henri-Maurice Perreault.

Hilaire rents out his storefront on rue St-Paul for a 1-year term starting in May 1876. The rent is $600/annum payable quarterly. At the end of the lease, the renter must remove all furnishings and fixtures. Around this time there are no longer any hardware business listings in Lovell’s.

On April 22, 1879 Célina Cadotte died at the age of 42, leaving her husband Hilaire with four children. She was buried on the 26th at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery also in Section J3-00142.

That same year, Hilaire’s brother, Narcisse Camille, married a cousin, Anna Béliveau in St-Celestin on August 18, 1879. Because they had a blood relationship, their marriage could not take place until a dispensation was obtained from the diocese.

It seems there were more changes for Hilaire and his family. In the 1881 census, they are in Pointe-aux-Trembles. Hilaire is still listed as a merchant, but he is also an enumerator for this census. Coincidentally, he was the enumerator for the household of Hubert Provost (whose son Michel would marry his daughter Ernestine) and the household of Jacques Beaudry (whose daughter Aglaë would become his second wife).

Hilaire’s parents are still in Winslow farming. Their household includes three adult children: Théodule and Jean, both farmers, and daughter Artemise. Of Hilaire’s other siblings: Ephraim is in Winslow with his wife and two children, farming. Louis Pierre is also farming in Winslow next door to his parents. His family includes his wife and three children. William, also a farmer, is with his wife and six children in Winslow.

Aglaë (Adelaide) Beaudry is living with her brother Camille’s family in Pointe-aux-Trembles where Camille worked as a butcher. Her mother is also part of that household. As mentioned previously, Hilaire is the enumerator for this record. Could it be the first time Hilaire and Aglaë met? Whatever the circumstances of their meeting, they would be married the following year.

Célina’s father Benjamin is still a merchant in Montréal’s East Ward and is living with his widowed daughter Adelaide and youngest daughter Emilie.
On September 9, 1882 Hilaire marries Aglaë Beaudry in Pointe-aux-Trembles. Was it a marriage for love or convenience, or both? Aglaë recently lost her father with whom she and her youngest sister were living and Hilaire, recently widowed, still had four children at home. Marriages for these reasons were not uncommon. Both Hilaire and Aglaë signed the register as did witnesses Camille Beaudry (her brother) and Dominique Contant.

Not long after the wedding, in November 1882, Hilaire saw to the settlement of Célina’s estate. Because they drew up a marriage contract that protected her property rights, an inventory of her property was needed before her estate could be distributed to her heirs.

The inventory included some household items:

  • Bedroom furniture ($62)
  • Silverware ($33)
  • Home decor items including an oil painting, vases ($35)
  • Clothing, including a fur coat ($7)
  • She had debts owing of about $219

She had other real property as follows:

  • Sale by Jean Paul Chantrand to Dame Cadote 1878 01 19 (before notary Begnier) part of 3 undivided lots in Pointe-aux-Trembles village.
  • Lot #126 in Point aux Trembles purchased 1885 01 23 (before notary Frechette)
  • Release of mortgage from Marie Anne Archambault (before notary Frechette) dated 1886 03 04

Her funeral service cost $25 and the notary fee for the inventory was $18.

Sources

Hilaire Béliveau: Urban Realities – On to Montréal

Second of a seven-part series describing the real and imagined life of Hilaire Béliveau of Montreal.

In Québec (city), the Cadot family welcomed their third child, Célina on December 27, 1836. Célina would become Hilaire’s first wife in 1859. She was baptised in Notre Dame parish the following day and her godparents were Flavien and Caroline Bedard, her maternal aunt and uncle – both of whom were able to sign the register. Her older sisters were Marie Adelaide (born 1832) and Caroline Eléonore (born 1834).

By 1840, the Cadotte family are in Montréal, living in the western outskirts of Queens Ward. They don’t own their property – it’s leased under feudal tenure (seigneurial system) at 1 sous/arpent. Benjamin is a trader, and there are five people in his household: wife Adelaide Bedard and daughters Caroline, Adelaide and Célina.

Map of Montreal Wards in 1840
Montreal Wards 1840. Monrtreal Archives

Not appearing in this census are a daughter and son who both died young. Marie Rosalie, born in 1840. died just eight months after birth. In 1841 Louis Joseph joins the family but dies at five months old. Célina acquired another brother in 1842 with the birth of Pierre followed by Joseph Benjamin on March 17, 1843 and Francois Xavier Marie Joseph in 1846 who died two years later. Another sister, Marie Emilie, was born on May 2, 1849 in Montréal.

Later that year, Célina’s grandmother Angele Vallerand died at the age of 63, probably in Québec. Then the births of two more boys complete the family: Placide in 1854 and Louis Napoleon in 1858. Célina and her future husband, Hilaire Béliveau, are named godparents for Louis Napoleon.

With the Cadots initially located in Québec, then in Montréal, and the Béliveaus in St-Grégoire, how did Hilaire and Célina meet? As it happens, the parish registers for St-Grégoire contain many Cadots so it’s quite possible the two families were known to each other, despite living miles apart.

The Cadot family’s location in the relatively rural Queen’s Ward district was possibly connected to Benjamin Cadotte’s ties to the tanning industry as a leather trader or dealer. Côte-des-Neiges Road was within the upper limits of the ward and as early as 1737 tanners were attracted to the area because of plentiful running water. The Côte-des-Neiges area was beginning to develop into a village with large, established tanneries as the primary industry by 1860.

Life in mid-19th-century Montréal had its own share of civic disruptions. In 1844 violence erupted during a hotly contested Montréal byelection when reformer Lewis Thomas Drummond defeated brewer William Molson (1343 to 463). One man died and dozens of others were wounded.

In 1847 a typhus and cholera epidemic decimate the Irish refugee population, as well as many Montréalers, killing thousands. The epidemic even claims the life of John Easton Mills, mayor of Montréal, as he tended to the sick in the fever sheds.

On April 25, 1849, English-speaking protestors against the Rebellion losses bill in Canada East (a similar bill was passed for Canada West) quickly became a mob and set fire to the Parliament buildings in Montréal. The bill authorized compensation to people who suffered losses as a result of the Patriote uprisings of 1837-1838.

On July 8, 1852 more than 10,000 people were left homeless when the east side of Montréal went up in flames, destroying 1,100 houses. 20% of the eastern side of the city is devastated. The following year riots kill 40 people sparked by Alessandro Gavazzi’s anticlerical speeches at Montréal’s First Congregational Church (Zion Church).

Building in flames
Engraving by John Henry Walker, 1850–1885.
McCord Museum

Fortunately, it appears that all of these events had little effect on the Cadotte family – other than prompting lively discussion at the dinner table about the news of the day. We lose track of the Cadot family for a while after 1851 as they have not been located in the 1851 census.

THE BEAUDRYS OF POINTE-AUX-TREMBLES

The other family that will develop ties with Hilaire Béliveau is the Beaudrys of Pointe-aux-Trembles. Aglaë Beaudry was born on November 11, 1841 In Pointe-aux-Trembles, and she will become Hilaire’s second wife in 1882. She had two siblings at the time of her birth: Marie Odile (born 1839) and Camille (born in 1838). Aglaë was baptised at St-Enfant-de-Jesus church with Modeste Beaudoin and Monique Regnier as her godparents. Her brother Alfonse Baudry is born on September 20, 1844. Lastly, Zotique joins the Beaudry family on May 25, 1847 in Pointe-aux-Trembles.

The Beaudry family are farmers in Pointe-aux-Trembles, which is still a mostly rural community. The municipality is officially constituted as the parish of L’Enfant-Jésus-de-la-Pointe-aux-Trembles in 1845.

By 1851, Jacques Beaudry is a 33-year-old farmer living with his family in Pointe-aux-Trembles. In their single-story wood home are his wife, Elizabeth Bricault (44); Theophile (21) and Joseph Bricault (20) who are possibly relatives or sons from a previous marriage; their children: Camile (13), Odile (11), Aglaë (9), Alphonse (7) and Zotique (4). Aglaë and Alphonse are the only two attending school.

Sources