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

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

Norbert Hilaire Béliveau (Hilaire) was born on June 6, 1834 in St-Grégoire (Nicolet), Québec, to Charles Hilaire Béliveau and Eléonore Bernard. Hilaire was not their first child, but the first to survive infancy. In 1832 a sister, Marguerite Odile, died a scant three days after her birth. Hilaire’s godparents were his grandmother, Marguerite Bourq, and Antoine Desrosiers. At the time of Hilaire’s birth, his father was a farmer in St-Grégoire – a village that counted a sizable population of Acadian refugee descendants.

These Acadian refugees (most were from Beaubassin) found their way to the Bécancour region from about 1758. They founded the village of Ste-Marguerite, later known as St-Grégoire. Hilaire’s great-grandfather David Béliveau arrived after 1766 with his parents by way of exile in Boston – which makes Hilaire the third generation of his line to live in the area.

RURAL BEGINNINGS

In this rural setting, the Béliveau family grew and farmed land that was probably part of the Linctot seigneurie. In 1836 a brother, Joseph William, was born and two years later a sister, Anna. In January 1840, a baby brother arrives – Antoine Ephrain. He will live to be 81. Another brother, Narcisse Camille, arrives very quickly after Antoine in September 1840.

Hilaire’s grandfather, David Béliveau, died in St-Grégoire on October 20, 1842. He was 68 years old and lived and farmed his entire life in the Nicolet area. Another brother to Hilaire is born, Théodule, in December 1843. In October 1845, Joseph Uldéric joins the Béliveau family in St-Grégoire and is baptised the following day sous condition which means it was likely he was baptized by the midwife or other authorized person before the ceremony could be performed by a priest. This is sometimes the case if the newborn had a difficult birth or seems to be at risk of not surviving before a proper baptism can be done. He is followed by Louis Pierre who is born on September 1, 1847, then Jean Baptiste on September 29, 1850. Artemise is the youngest and was born around 1851.

FORMAL EDUCATION TAKES ROOT

Hilaire and Célina Cadotte (his future wife) are the first generation in their families to have been educated, both their parents were illiterate. It’s possible that Hilaire attended the Nicolet Seminary at some point (founded in 1803), a top-tier institution. That Hilaire received an education is in itself remarkable and seems to have bucked the prevailing view of farmers – especially in Nicolet – of paying taxes to fund public education.

La Guerre des Éteignoirs was a movement that took hold in 1836 to protest the closure of over 1600 schools in Lower Canada. From 1836 to 1841, organized schooling was practically nonexistent. The only schools to remain open were subsidized by Fabriques (parish building committees). The government wanted to restructure the public school network and fund it with taxes. As a result, many parents took their children out of school in protest and refused to pay the taxes or elect school boards.

In 1850 tensions rose when a new school tax law is imposed on taxpayers regardless of whether they have children attending school. Fanning the flames of discontent are politicians and leaders of the Éteignoirs who try to link the issue to the plight of Irish refugees escaping the famine. The tactic hits home in Nicolet where a large contingent of Irish refugees settled.

In 1851, as the embers and hostilities of the Éteignoirs movement die down, we find Hilaire and four of his brothers are attending school. They didn’t have far to go – their neighbour in St-Grégoire, Joseph Paré, had a schoolhouse on his property, so it’s likely that’s where they went. By 1857 a boys’ school and a girls’ school were established in St-Grégoire.

Returning to 1836, the Éteignoirs movement wasn’t the only cause of public discontent. The Patriote rebellion found supporters in the Nicolet area with assemblies and confrontations taking place between Patriote sympathizers and loyalists. Two local men were arrested in connection with the Patriote movement but were later released. To restore calm in the region, the government sent officials to Nicolet where they also took oaths of allegiance to the Queen from over 800 Nicolétaines.

Le Populaire 1838-02-14

Sources

Le Lieutenant Comeau

par Jacques A. Comeau

[English version follows]

Lors d’une fouille dans les archives un nom me saute aux yeux: Lieutenant Comeau du régiment de la Sarre, à Québec en 1751. Ce régiment était stationné à Québec durant la guerre de Sept Ans jusqu’à la défaite de 1759. Un officier de France avec notre patronyme, peut-il y avoir des liens familiaux? Continue reading “Le Lieutenant Comeau”