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 – Upward Mobility

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

The 1851 census is the first census where we see the Béliveau family enumerated. Hilaire père is a farmer and his family live in a single-story wood house.in St-Grégoire. With him in the household are his wife Eléonore Bernard, their children: Hilaire fils (18), William (16), Anna (14), Ephraim (12), Camil (10), Théodule (8), Ulduric (6), Louis (4), Jean (2), Artemise (a newborn). Sadly, Hilaire’s little sister Anna died in October of 1852. Her cause of death is unknown. She was 14 years old.

Living nearby is Hilaire’s mother Marguerite Bourque with the oldest son, Eusebe, a farmer and widower with two children and a servant. They also live in a single-story wood house.

In 1854, Hilaire’s uncle, Louis Joseph, owned a hardware store on rue St-Paul in Montréal. It’s likely that Hilaire decided to join his uncle’s business and by 1861 it appears he then set up his own hardware store in Montréal.

On September 13, 1859 Hilaire and Célina Cadotte sign a marriage contract stipulating their separate property rights . The contract established her irrevocable right to manage and administrate her assets and debts; if she survives her husband, the estate will pay her a pension for the rest of her life. To guarantee his financial obligations, Hilaire takes out a mortgage on his assets. Present at the signing of the contract were: Hilaire’s uncle Louis Joseph; Célina’s parents; and Charles L’Ecuyer, friend. The document was executed at the residence of Célina’s parents at 4 rue St-Denis at 8:30 p.m.

The wedding took place in the bride’s parish of Notre Dame in Montréal the day after the contract was signed. Hilaire’s father and brother Louis Pierre were named as witnesses. Both the bride and groom were able to sign the register.

At some point before the wedding, Hilaire’s parents and siblings had moved further east to Winslow Québec. With no known ties to the area, what could have been the impetus for that move?

The Béliveau family’s move may be been prompted by the end of the seigneural land distribution system in 1854. As a tenant farmer, Hilaire père was looking for his own land to farm. Crown lands were available in some of the new Québec townships being established (a.k.a. Eastern Townships) and he likely applied for one of these as did his son William. Hilaire and William were granted letters patent on September 28, 1863. The land he acquired was 180 acres, William acquired 90 acres.

In the same area are some Prince family land holdings. The Prince and Béliveau families will form several alliances through marriage in the coming years.

Hilaire’s brother William was the next to tie the knot. He married Julie Hebert, a native of Stratford Québec, on August 10, 1860. The wedding was witnessed by his father, the bride’s father, Antoine Beauvais and Antoine Doucette, among several others in attendance. It’s not known whether Hilaire travelled to Stratford for the wedding. Julie’s parents were Michel Hebert (a farmer) and Elize Prince. William was a farmer like his father and, unlike some of his other siblings, was not able to sign his name.

Back in Montréal, Hilaire and Célina welcomed their first child, Hilaire Gustave, on June 19, 1860 and the next day he was baptized in Notre Dame parish. His godparents were Hilaire’s uncle Louis Joseph Béliveau and Vitalline Larue.

The following year, as the spring snows melted, disaster struck the city. The great inundation, as it was called, flooded about 25% of Montréal’s downtown—including the area on rue St-Paul where Hilaire’s hardware store stood. It was caused by an ice jam that blocked the flow of the St-Lawrence. The water rose so fast (24 feet above normal levels) that many residents were caught unawares, and businesses had to close until the waters subsided.

Engraving Montreal floods
Montréal flood, wood engraving, 1850-1885. John Henry Walker / McCord Museum. Montréal Gazette.
https://Montréalgazette.com/sponsored/mtl-375th/from-the-archives-if-theres-a-flood-it-must-be-spring-in-Montréal

On May 1, Hilaire’s young family move into a three-story brick dwelling in the St-Louis suburbs (adjoining Champ de Mars). Hilaire signs a five-year lease on the home for a rent of 11 pounds 5 shillings payable quarterly. The residence is at 63 Champ de Mars, close to a francophone bourgeois district that formed near Place Viger. It was described in the 1861 census as a 2-storey, 2-family residence of wood construction. There are five other people living in the house – all between the ages of 17 and 21. Their relationship to the young family is not known, but they might have been lodgers or employees of Hilaire’s hardware business.

Engraving of moving day in Montreal
Moving Day in Montréal, as depicted by Henri Julien, 1876.
« Une scène de déménagement, à Montréal, le 1er mai », frontpage of ”L’Opinion publique”, Montréal, vol. VII, no 20, jeudi 18 mai 1876, p. 1. http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/illustrations/htm

Hilaire’s hardware business appears to be well-established. He has taken over his uncle Louis Joseph’s storefront at 105 rue St-Paul in Montréal and begins to appear in city and business directories.

Present day image of 105 rue St-Paul
105 rue St-Paul in 2018.
https://goo.gl/maps/o3qgkj3TLyKbQL2E7

His uncle has opened a hardware store down the road at 153-155 rue St-Paul and lived at Cornwall Terrace on St-Denis Street – between LaGauchetière and Dorchester.

In 1861, Hilaire’s parents and siblings are in Compton, living in a log house. Hilaire’s brothers William and Joseph, also farmers, have established their own households and are also living in log houses.

Artemise, the youngest, is attending school. The Compton school system has 21 schools and according to Journal de l’instruction publique the students are doing well and the school’s finances are in good shape.

What about our other two families in 1861? In Montréal, Célina’s family are living in a 2-story, 2-family home. Two of her younger siblings are attending school. The Beaudry family in Pointe-aux-Trembles are living in a single-story single-family wooden house. Aglaë, Hilaire’s future second wife, is not shown as attending school.

Sources