April 20, 2001




RV2001 Detroit/Windsor Reunion Reminders

Tom Dufour Answers Questions About the Detroit/Windsor RV2001

Yes, this was posted as a tentative agenda for everyone to view and for everyone to get feedback to agree or disagree. The rooms are set but you must call the direct line to the Hotel for registration. The 1-800-number is for international and they do not know of the deal that was negotiated. Contrary to what I saw on the Forum of these same rooms going at the price of $69.00 (Single room and US currency) per night was very false and misleading to the cousins. There are no rooms available at this Hotel only the rooms that are blocked by Rivard Rendez-Vous 2001.

Second, the Forum asked that the first night be a gathering of everyone to meet and mingle with a BBQ, and Anna Highlander was to provide some music (entertainment-karaoke only) The menus that you see is for what people who are going to be there the first night July 20, 2001. This is to take place on a lovely terrace at the Cleary Auditorium that is attached to the Radisson. The convenience is you walk from the Hotel to the Cleary and it takes 5 minutes. The terrace overlooks the Detroit River and you will be 5 stories up from the traffic and the celebrations and carrousels that are also taking place at this time.

The menu that you see is the BBQ menu. If you are going to order the meal it must be in advance and I have to have all the money in by the end of May for at least 40 meals. BBQ will be right on the Terrace. This has been out to the Forum since December and the feedback has been little. If you are going to come and order the meal for the Friday monies should be sent to Andre Dufresne C/O Rivard Rendez-Vous 2001 and your choice of what you want to order. I must have a minimum deposit of $500.00 for the meals and rental, in by the end of May or it is a no deal. Hot dogs can be bought at $2.00 each. but two blocks away down Riverside Drive.

If you are flying into Metro Airport, the Casino buses run constantly but make sure you get on the Windsor Casino Buses. Getting off the bus I will be there to shuttle you to the Hotel which is 5 minutes away. I have signed an agreement to block the 75 rooms and my name is on it. These rooms at the Radisson are five star rooms, double beds, tv, hair dryers, ironing boards and if you ask for the riverfront rooms early you will get them but it is a first come first serve basis and I don't think there are any more roverfront rooms left. You are right downtown Windsor with access to the Windsor/Detroit Tunnel or the Ambassador Bridge which we will be going on to get to Historical Ste Anne Church for the Saturday Mass at 7:00PM. All of the Founding Fathers Families will be represented at this Mass. This is where you will be seeing the Family Banners, Coats of Arms of all of the French Families of the Founding Fathers. Any more details please ask and I will respond. [Tom Dufour]

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Memories of the RV2000 Reunion in Trois Rivieres

Late last month I dropped off a note to Henri le frog and asked him the following question? Would you have time to write a memory from last years reunion in Trois Rivieres for April's newsletter? I knew that he had attended some of the activities that were planned and suggested that sharing his experiences at the Sugar Shack may be of interest to some of our new members. Within the matter of an hour or so I received the following e-mail from him. Henri's response was so genuine and spontaneous that it is definitely worth sharing without changing a word. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. Thank you Henri for sharing.

"O-o-o-o-o-o-w ... that will be a 'toughie'.

For me, everything and everyone I saw was a memorable moment ... which will live with me until I die ... but what was memorable for me, may not be for someone else.

For example, meeting Marie-Claude, for the first time, and being given a gift of a bottle of wine, with her name on the label ... or meeting Rober Rivard (from Hawaii) for the first time, and being given his gift, which was a "coconut" with a face painted on it and also the text "Loranger"; meeting Peg for the SECOND time; meeting Marlyss, Anna, Judy, Lorraine, Alain, André (on, and on, and on) ... AND EVERYONE ELSE ... for the first time.

I could go on and on, about meeting all these "cousins" ... which was a tremendous event, for me ... only saddened by the fact that I only met one Lanouette family, who made my trip to Trois-Rivières also memorable, and one Lanouette individual, who apparently did not want me to meet HIS Lanouette family.

But the above sadness, did not take away from the pleasure of meeting everyone at the BBQ (Friday night), at the Sugar Shack (Saturday night), or at the Sunday afternoon (Champlain) picnic ... all arranged by Ron Rivard and Marie-Claude.

I did not go on any of the "excursions" because I wanted the ability to meet other Lanouette individuals and/or families, who might have shown up at the "La Violette" ... but there were none other. :-(

As far as the photos, go ... all the photos on "e-circle" brings back all the beautiful memories. The photos of (oh, I can't list them all) are all memorable. Even the one of Jacques LaCourcière playing the "spoons" at the Sugar Shack". Each and every one of them is special and brings back a SPECIAL memory.

I said above, that the "story" that you were asking me for would be hard, but I think that I just gave it to you, eh? ;-)

And a final comment ... IF it wasn't for Ron (Rivard) and Marie-Claude's prior arrangements ... I don't think that I wouldn't have had the memories of meeting all of my Rivard cousins. Oh yes, they would have been in Trois-Rivières ... but trying to find them one by one, would have been a 'horrific' task, with some of us in the Comfort Inn, some at the "La Violette", and some camping in the "boonies"! ;-) Henri, le "frog" Lanouette "



By Marlyss Rivard Hernandez

This month's Forum Member of the Month is a man who works quietly in the background helping cousins who may have roots in the Detroit/Windsor area find their connections. As one of his cousins who nominated him said, "He makes no fuss, but works a lot efficiently and very modestly". Tom Dufour is a noteworthy genealogist who loves baseball and has also taken on the monumental task of heading up the Rivard Rendez-vous 2001 events. Let's hope he isn't too bogged down to give us an autobiography for our next newsletter. Congratulations to a very deserving man, Tom.

We had a record number of voters in this month's election. Many thanks to all of you. I hope you all vote again next month.




BY Marlyss Hernandez

Lorraine says that she did not "choose" genealogy as a hobby. She claims it all started with a visit to her aunt and uncle's home many years ago. This aunt was her mother's first cousin and the uncle was her father's brother. While looking through their daughter's baby book, Lorraine was amazed to find all the spaces in the "Family Tree" filled. She knew only her grandparent's names and could go no further. This began the questioning of her grandparents and a journey to the store to buy a "Family Tree" in which she started entering the names and dates that she had.

It was about 1980 when this same uncle had to take radiation treatments for six weeks at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, MN. His daughter lived not too far from Lorraine and they would stay with this daughter for a week and then a week with Lorraine's family while undergoing treatment. It was during these visits that Lorraine really started getting information on her dad's family. This uncle knew the names of all the people in the family and who each married, where her grandparents came from in Quebec, etc. She says, "This was the beginning of not a hobby, but an obsession".

Her husband thinks that she spends "too much time on the computer and on research", so she tries to do it while he is watching sports on TV or bowling. She has researched her husband's line, but he wasn't too interested. They've gone to Belgium twice and have met his cousins that live there.

When asked what was the most interesting piece of documentation or story that she's found, Lorraine's answer was "I have had several experiences where family facts were given me in strange ways. There have been so many, in fact, that I am sure the I was put on the earth to do this research." She is still wondering why the Lord has let her live so long as she is 79 years young. She knows the answer to this when she gets calls from families living in California, Connecticut and Colorado who are researching the same family names that she is and she has the information that they are seeking. And they have information for her also.

She hasn't found any ghosts or pirates in anyone's closet yet, but says she has found a few horse-traders. She finds the French a very generous group of people. Her grandfather was very happy-go-lucky, always laughing. She says that her grandfather could not read nor write and that he was not much of a farmer either, but he was a happy man. Her father, she says, didn't have an enemy in the world.

As far as what sources were most useful to her, Lorraine says that she has done the research that has come easiest for her. When she first started, she was more interested in seeing how far back she could go than in having in her possession data such as birth and death certificates or names and birth dates of all her cousins' grandchildren.

Did someone introduce her to the forum or did she find it by accident? Her reply was all in capitals. "YES, THERE WAS ONE MEMBER OF THE FORUM THAT I OWE A LOT TO: the one who introduced me to the forum…Marlyss. Thank you, Marlyss. I was an only child, I haven't any cousins close by, so all the members of the forum are my family. I feel that I know so many of them well. " Now, I think that the forum is very lucky to have Lorraine as we have all learned much from her about the Osage Nation and many other items that she has shared with us. I was so happy when she told me she was getting a computer, as I just knew she had to become a member of this forum.

Lorraine is planning on attending the Windsor-Detroit Rendez--Vous in July if she is still in good health. She is hoping that her three daughters will again be able to attend with her.


I was an only child. I had a brother who died at birth when I was about 5 years old. My father (a World War I veteran) was a chauffeur for a "rich" lady at that time. He was an auto mechanic by trade. We lived in Marshall, MN, and lived above a creamery there. My dad, a quiet and gentle person, and my mother were very good to me. My dad decided he wanted to have a little restaurant-store, so we moved to Garvin, MN, about 12 miles away. We lived in a house with no running water and no electricity. I started first grade there. This is when I decided that I wanted to be a teacher. The store didn't seem to work out (he ate all the candy). I guess that wasn't the reason we left Garvin. But I know after he had started the store and my mother and I hadn't joined him yet, he told me that I couldn't eat all the little squares of candy that had a ring in each one. When we went there to live, he had a whole bunch of little rings hanging from a nail by the candy case. I couldn't believe it.

We moved to Minneapolis and I continued first and second grades there. We had a car. My dad worked in a battery factory until the onset of the depression. Then, of course, there was no work for anyone, and I mean NONE AT ALL. In the fall of 1930, my Swedish Lutheran mother and I went to live with his French-Canadian Catholic parents on the farm in Marshall. He and his brother "batched it" out at Lake Sarah that whole school year. I don't know where they lived or how they managed. He would hitch a ride to the farm every so often (no car) and bring fish and wild game. This is when I saw my grandmother churning butter, making soap, washing clothes with a wash machine that had a handle to push back and forth, making blood sausage and head cheese.

I was put in 4th grade that year, since it was a country school and there were other kids in the 4th grade, but there was no 3rd grade. That worked out since I had skipped a half -year in Minneapolis, so I should have been in the second half of 3rd grade. The school was not far from the farm. Usually, I walked home from school with the kids that lived farther on. I guess they didn't like me. They would fill their lunch pails with gravel and pour it down my back. When I told my grandma about this, she just stood there and said, "They're Belgian." And that said it all. And what happened? I married a Belgian! (There is a long story about this. Archbishop John Ireland had convinced the French-Canadians in Kankakee County, IL, to come to Ghent, MN, not far from Marshall, to settle. He had already brought Belgians there from Belgium, and he told the French that the Belgians spoke their language and that they had already built a church there. So several French families did move to Ghent in 1883. They found out that every priest that came there was Belgian. If you were not Belgian, you could not be on the school board, the town board, or the church board. If you were not Belgian, you could not be an altar boy. French, Scotch, Irish, German families were in time elbowed out of Ghent. As soon as land was available to purchase, guess who bought it? Even now about 90% of the people in Ghent are still Belgian.)

Anyway, this is when I learned about not eating between meals and certainly not at bedtime. There was always plenty to eat, but I was too young to appreciate it. My grandma was not a happy woman; she was very hard to please. She still had a grown son and daughter at home and a daughter that had just got out of 8th grade. I'm sure she wasn't happy with the situation. My Dad had left the Catholic Church some time before. My grandmother was always very nice to my mother and me. My grandpa was a jolly man, always laughing and enjoying life. He used to play cards with me. He could not read or write. Grandma taught him to write his name, but in later years, he just made an X. There was no running water or electricity at the farm. But Grandma had an Aladdin lamp. Now, not everyone had an Aladdin lamp. I think many of the things she had she bought with her chicken money.

We would go "to town" every Saturday night after everyone had taken a bath in the big zinc tub in the kitchen. Grandma would caution her two daughters against "walking the streets". I knew something terrible would happen to them if they did. That year is when I heard much French talking, names of many relatives that didn't mean much to me at the time.

The summer of 1931, after finishing the 4th grade there, the WWI veterans got their bonus. So we moved to Garvin again (no running water, no electricity), and my dad invested money in raising chickens. We had no car. Garvin had a 4-room schoolhouse, two grades in each room. I went to 5th grade there. Chicken raising didn't turn out to be much of a moneymaker, so during the summer of 1932 we moved to Lake Sarah. There was absolutely no work at all for anyone. I think the farmers made out OK; they had big gardens and their own meat. The small businessmen did not do well. If they sold anything, it was on credit; and then try to get the money when no one had money. My dad built a small house with part of his bonus money (no running water, no electricity), and we lived there one year. We still didn't have a car. I went to 6th grade country school.

There was plenty of fish and wild game. We carried water from our neighbor's pump. We ate a lot of navy beans that winter. My mother and her lady friend would do a bit of wallpapering. Mother developed diabetes, and the county gave us food orders so she could stay on her diet.

The summer of 1933, my dad moved our little house into Garvin. My Swedish grandmother lived there, and he put the house right in their apple orchard. Still no work, no use even looking. We lived there two years, and I went to 7th and 8th grades there. My dad had an old truck at this time. He and my mother used to get up about 4 AM and go out and seine minnows. They would sell them at Valhalla, a fishing resort. That is the only money we had during those two summers. I think they got $1 or $2 per pail.

We moved to Minneapolis in 1935. We lived with my mother's brother and his family for a short time. My dad had got a job at Fort Snelling as a diesel mechanic and things were a little better. We were renting an upstairs apartment, and my mother worked for the landlords for part of the rent. The rent was $30 a month, and she cleaned their lower area and did whatever was needed for $12 a month. So we only had to pay $18 a month. The lady downstairs would take a street car about three times a week, go to several Salvation Army Stores and get back home on one token. She bought clothes that she could repair and wash. She had one room set aside to sell these things. She and her family were trying to make a living, too. I think the Army stores would save her the best stuff when it came in. Anyway, she and her husband went dancing every Saturday night. I would fix her hair every Saturday, and keep a record of what she owed me. Then I could buy whatever I wanted from her store. When I was a senior, I needed a dress to have my picture taken in. She had one in my size, a beautiful floral dress. But all up and down one side of the skirt it looked as though a cat had clawed it. She mended it, but it still showed a great deal. I bought the dress and had my picture taken in it. That was my best dress for a few years. When my dad got paid, he had to pay for the gas he had charged to get to work and for the rent. We had no telephone. We would go to the store and stock up on groceries that we hoped would last until the next payday. On the way home we would stop and get a triple-decker ice cream cone for five cents. Often there would be only about $7.00 left until the next payday. I completed high school in 1939.

In my Civics class in high school, I corrected papers for the teacher for a meager amount. When I decided to go to teacher's college in Winona, MN, he said that he would lend me $5 a month, interest free, to use for spending money. I always knew I would go into teaching. It was almost an obsession with me, even more of an obsession than family research. I was offered a tuition scholarship (about $30 a quarter) and a job working in the library for 25 cents an hour. I was there for two years and received my rural-elementary certificate. I taught in a rural school the first year for $50 a month. The next two years I earned $90 a month. Then I got a third and fourth grade combination for a better salary. I taught mostly fourth grade where we learn all about the French explorers who came to Minnesota. Little did I know then that Jean Nicolet and Louis Joliet were my great uncles by marriage.

My husband-to-be went into the service in June 1941. He transferred to the Air Corps shortly after that. We were engaged in the spring of 1943. Late in September, he called and said he had a 10-day delay enroute before going overseas (he was flight engineer and gunner on a B-24), and should we get married. I went down to Winona on a Saturday. We wanted to get married there. They wouldn't marry us because it wasn't my home county. So we came back to Minneapolis. We were married on Monday evening in a Lutheran Church. My parents were there and their next-door neighbors, who were our witnesses. This was what you call a "hurry-up" marriage. We were very naive, never thinking about the future, what kind of work he would do, how we would manage, etc. We have been married for almost 58 years.

Glen was taken prisoner-of-war in June 20th 1944. His plane was shot down during the 23rd mission. He took his first airplane jump and landed in a potato field. The Germans were hoeing their potatoes. They all had guns. We say his cousins captured him. His mother's people came from Pomerania. He was liberated in May 1945, after having been on a forced march back and forth over the Pomeranian area of Germany for three months. The guards did not want to be captured by the Russians.

I had quit my teaching job the spring of 1945, since I knew he would be coming home. It was possible he would stay in the Air Corps, and I wanted to be with him. He was down to 135 pounds at the time he was liberated. They would not let him come home until the end of June because he was so emaciated. Unbelievably his army pay accumulated while he was a prisoner. He was discharged in September.

We finally found a one-room apartment to live in, no running water, sharing a bathroom with three other couples. Many of you will remember how hard it was to find housing at that time. In October of that year, I was offered a second-grade teaching position (which I was not qualified for. Teachers were hard to get.) Their teacher got married. So I taught four more years before our children were born.

Our first daughter was born in 1951. We moved to Hopkins in 1952. Two more beautiful girls came along. Glen said after each girl was born, "I'm glad it is a girl. I don't want any boys to have to go send off to war."

After our second daughter was born, I started working part-time as a deputy assessor for the city of Hopkins, a position I held for 10 years. This was a great job, since I could set my own hours. The first year I assessed household personal property, then the state removed that tax. After that about the only thing I assessed were the beauty parlors as the men did not want to go in them. However, I "did" the books for those nine years. I worked part-time as a figure clerk for 15 years for the Red Owl Stores, Inc., a local grocery chain. I quit working in 1983. Our oldest girl was a registered nurse by then, our second girl had graduated from college in 1975 with a degree in music therapy, and our third daughter did not want to go beyond high school.

We fared well. Our girls always cleaned their plates. Glen and I still clean our plates. He says he was hungry for so long that he can't waste food. We use up all our leftovers. I have had a good life with no trouble with our girls. We have 5 grandchildren and 2 step-grandchildren, all the light of my life. We have sons-in-law that are good to our girls.

Our second daughter, Sharon, married the nephew of the co-pilot on Glen's plane. The co-pilot was the only one that was killed. The wives and mothers of the crew had kept in contact, comparing notes on which men were captured and when. The co-pilot was from St. Paul. I talked with his mother often, and she never got word that he was captured. Finally she heard that he had been killed. The crew, prior to that, had agreed that if anyone were killed, whoever lived closest would go to their home and talk to their wife or mother. So Glen and I went to see the co-pilot's mother when he came home. Thirty-one years later, to the day the plane went down, June 20th 1944, our daughter married the co-pilot's brother's son. They met at the U of Minn., and we kept asking her if he was related to the people in St. Paul that we knew. She never asked him. He took her to see his grandmother, and the grandmother recognized our name. The next time she went to see the grandmother, the grandmother had a picture of the crew and asked if that one was her father. Yes, it was. I had sent the grandmother Christmas cards over the years with pictures of our girls. She had a picture, and she asked our daughter if that was her when she was 3 years old. Yes, it was. When Sharon called me and told me all this, she was absolutely awe-stricken. They were married on June 20, 1975. When they set the date, they did not know they were going to be married the same date the plane went down. They graduated on a Friday, married on Saturday, left the next morning for Pennsylvania, where he would do his music therapy interning. They still live there.

So here I sit, honored by all of you who voted for me. Thanks. This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. THE END Lorraine Naze

Forum News & Topic Highlights


Reported by Jim Rivard - <jim.rivard@sympatico.ca>

The AIFR has a site!

Real Lanouette newly invited to the Association Executive Council has created an opportunity for us. You will find his site (on which we have a link) on www.iquebec.com/rivards <http://www.iquebec.com/rivards>. When you realize that his historical site has nearly 5000 files and more than 2000 illustrations one also realizes the dedication of Lanouette & Co. By joining him, the AIFR has executed a project which originally was 2 years down the road. Our link initiated in French has been translated in english by our official translator.

The AIFR in Ontario

The Lanouette have a high profile in the AIFR. Real's sister, Gisele Lanouette-Bubbs, is in the process of translating the second part of a lenghty article on Robert. Plus doing the translation for our site! As our delegate for South Western Ontario, she is liaising with the Windsor Tricentennial Org. She has arranged a link on their site for the AIFR and I expect that the same will happen soon with the Forum. In our expansion work, she will be ably supported by Henri-Paul Rivard who will be active in North Eastern part of the Province.

Joining the Federation (FFSQ)

The big news is that we have joined the "Federation des familles-souches quebecoises inc." (Internet address : FFSQ@mediom.qc.ca <mailto:FFSQ@mediom.qc.ca>). This move has given us a permanent address, administrative support and marketing assistance. With the backing of the Federation, we feel confident to canvass our Montreal cousins. We did not have the resource to do this before. We now have a base of 95 members almost all of them outside the Metropolitan area and the U.S. We would like to reach a membership of 200 by the end of the current year. We need many more members to reach out long term goal: a permanent international secretariat equipped with a library! We hope that you share our dreams and that you will continue to help us to fulfill it.

Cap-de-la-Madeleine - 350th anniversary

While Detroit-Windsor are celebrating their 300th anniversary during the current year, the Cap is having its 350th birthday. As you know, Nicolas was recorded there in 1652 as captain of militia when he signed a deed of sales concerning his wife. Robert was there also either in 65 or 66. The Rivard, Loranger, Lacoursiere are quite numerous in that region. Michel Rivard, our delegate in Trois-Rivieres, is working with the Cap organisation so that our family will be part of the activities. The AIFR is backing him on this project. There will be more news about this in the coming La Rivardiere.

The general meeting of July 1st 2001

It is only fitting that we begin that special day by having a high mass in memory of Nicolas who died in Batiscan 300 years ago on that very day. The Mass will be celebrated by Rev. Richard Rivard who is the vicar of the Bishop of Trois-Rivieres. Right after the mass, we will have a picnic at the Vieux-Presbytere, practically on Nicolas homestead, and after that we will hold our first general election under the canopy. Organizing the election is already on our agenda. It will be publicized in the Rivardiere and we will be sending formal notices way ahead of time.

In all friendship … Jim Rivard

New Members Join the Rivard Forum

Here's the latest batch of trees---hot off the press. You'll find them at:

Giasson … Shirley Rivers Robert

Dufresne … Louis-Daniel Dufresne & Pat Labelle

Loranger … Alan & Brenda Loranger

Rivard … Andre Turcotte, Connie DiGiacomo, Richard & Stacey Rivard & Jacqueline Roberts Gray

Welcome to you all! -- Mary Ann

Birthday Wishes were extended this month to:

Raymond Beaupre April 5th

Lawrence C. Loranger April 12th

The Rivard Family Circle adds two brand new wee ones

Constance Morin was born @ noon today April 2, 2001 - Daughter of Brigitte Richard and Michael Morin - Grand-daughter of Denise Rivard and Isidore Morin

Dottie & Hank Giessler became grandparents of a new grandson on 4/4/2001. That makes a grand total of 22 grandchildren for them. Some of you maybe wondering why Dottie has been so quiet of late. She & Hank took three of the 22 on a road trip to Fort Collins, Colorado.

Welcome back to the fold, Mary Ann B.

Mary Ann B. has returned to the forum. Although her "Lavigne" family ties took her in a different direction she has bounced right back to Nicolas Rivard through two brand new ties. -- Nice to have you home Mary Ann!

The Rivard site at Ecircles has been discontinued.

Rivard family members were informed this past month that ecircles would be discontinuing their web site for financial reasons. The site was closed as of April 15th. To my knowledge another site has not been found to display photo Albums, obits, or as a Monday night chat forum. When one has been decided upon members will be notified.

Interesting Articles passed through the forum:

Once again Lorraine Naze has out done herself by passing on some very interesting articles to forum members. If you didn't have the opportunity to save them or print them out, copies of these articles are in the Rivard_Forum Archives at yahoogroups. Below is a list of the articles, the date it was posted and the message#:

Is There True Rivard Nobility - Rivart de la Noue … "Another Mystery??"

I have long suspected that the Rivard family is of Belgian/Flemish/German/Frank origin, but my reasons were very flimsy: French names ending in "ard" and "art" are known to be Frank in origin, the Franks being a german tribe that invaded Gaul in the 5th century. So I decided to see if I could find any Belgian Rivards and tie them with our own Rivards from Perche. So far I have not been able to come up with anything conclusive but I did find an old Rivart family of Belgian nobility. Among the ones that I found so far are one Nicolas Rivart, alderman of the city of Maubeuge in the late 17th century, and one Therese Rivart (his sister?) and Jacques Rivart (his brother?), bourgeois in the same city. But the one I find most fascinating is Francois du Rivart, sieur de la Noue, bourgeois and merchant of the city of Dunkerque (Dunkirk), same period. Sieur de la Noue, how about that Henri? Does it ring a familiar bell? I would very much like to establish a link between this Francois du Rivart, merchant in Dunkirk and Thomas Rivard, merchant in Tourouvre. We know of course that Flemish merchants carried a large trade in linen, which was also Thomas' trade... Nothing conclusive, as I wrote, but food for thought...

Andre Dufresne - dufresne@generation.net - Message posted 3/30/2001

The Josef Rivard & Catherine Osage Saga Continues …

In addition to the above articles, Lorraine, has also sent other interesting articles to the forum this month that are directly connected to the "elusive" Joseph Rivard and Catherine Osage Mystery. J.G. has also sent several interesting URL's as possible leads to this on going saga for those of you who have been following this story with interest.

URL's involving the Osage Mystery include:

Bereniece and Francois Chouteau - Biography - Kansas City Missouri History

U.S.S., crew roster & Photo (no Rivard)

Company 2 San Luis Militia - Antoine Rivera, Baptiste (JB) & Phil - other names include Roy/Roi

St. Louis in Colonial & Revolutionary War Times

The Star-Kansas City in time 1682-1840 - Mentions of Chouteau/Osages

Chouteau gave the name, but Laclede the life, oh well.

Naze dearest, more for the Chouteau saga, by way of Laclede, the real father to many.

Annaho=Osage now. - Annaho nom des Osages

Miscellaneous Rivard Family Finds

Abstracts of Wills Vol I 1665-1707
From The New York Historical Society Collections, this 1892 volume features abstracts of wills on file in the Surrogates Office, City of New York, from 1665 to 1707
Page 130.--LEWIS RIVARD. "In the name of God, Amen, this 31 day of August, 1703. I, Lewis Rivard, of New York, ship carpenter, being sick." I leave all my goods and estate to my wife, Jane Rivard, "except that my dear mother, Mary Rivard, shall take to herself all she brought into the house, viz., her bed and bedstead, 2 pewter dishes, a pair bellows, a pot hook, and her clothes and linnens. And she shall have one third of the price of two boats by me built when sold." Makes his wife, Jane Rivard, executor.
Witnesses, Giles Gaudineau, Daniel Gallard, John Crison, Eliza Chardovagne. Proved, before Lord Cornbury, October 19, 1703. [The following information was found at Genealogy.com by Dee Dorn. Yep … just in case anyone is wondering she belongs to me!]

Ellis Island has established a new web-site … http://www.ellisislandrecords.org/

Prior to the establishment of Ellis Island the Immigration Center was Castle Gardens. Castle Gardens was a fort located at the foot of Manhattan Island, New York and served as an immigration center from 1855 to 1891. Castle Gardens was destroyed by fire along with most of its records. From 1891 to 1954 Ellis Island was used as an Immigration Center in the United States. Emigration centers were set up for several reasons. One of the objectives of an immigration center was to restrain the operation of "immigrant runners"; exploiters who tried to fleece the newcomers. Since the runners were earlier immigrants they could easily gain the confidence of the aliens and in that way trick them out of their money. Some runners even posed as clergy. Immigration Centers were also set up to screen the newcomers for any contagious diseases that could endanger the lives of other Americans.

Emigrants may have been in good health when they left Europe, but that was before they climbed aboard the ship that would take them to what they thought of as "the Promised Land". But the trip for many was long and hard, much harder than they expected and not everyone survived. An excerpt from Richard O'Conner - "The German Americans" - Published in 1968 pretty much describes what a German emigrant's trip may have been like.

"On a fast sailing ship of the Fifties the voyage usually took at least six weeks, often twice as long due to the vagaries of the wind and weather. The food on a Bremen ship was usually edible, but hardly came close to the excellence of the Victoria's cuisine. The dinner served steerage passengers became fairly standardized on German ships and went like this:

Sunday: Salt meat, meal pudding, and prunes

Monday: Salt bacon, pea soup, and potatoes

Tuesday: Salt meat, rice, and prunes

Wednesday: Smoked bacon, sauerkraut, and potatoes

Thursday: Salt meat, potatoes, and bean soup

Friday: Herring, meal, and prunes

Saturday: Salt bacon, pea soup, and potatoes

On this diet all able bodied passengers were expected to work in partial payment of their fares, swabbing down the gangways, helping the cooks in the galley, emptying the chamber pots, washing the bedding etc.... The work details were supervised by the second mate. Life on a German ship was strictly regimented, and for their own sakes the passengers were required to stay on the deck and take exercise except in the coldest and stormiest weather. No one was permitted to loll in his bunk and meditate on the pleasures of a sea voyage; even the sick were hauled top-side."

The rejuvenating of Ellis Island has been going on for several years. You have to take a ferry to get to the Island. On your trip over you'll see the Statue of Liberty and other sights that our ancestors must have viewed. The main hall was finished when we were there. Inside the main building there is also a museum of items that the emigrants brought with them. Computers have been set up in part of the main building. Besides the micro-fiche records that are on the web-site people have added their family stories, stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. Away from the main building are the buildings where the emigrants were lodged in during their confinement on the Island. If you've never been there and have the chance to visit, I strongly urge you to do so. [Jan Dorn]

Additional Helpful URL's Shared - Quelques sites utiles

Click here: Social Security Death Index Interactive Search
The above is the latest update (March 2001).

For those who were interested in the names i posted from the book "Children of the fur Trade--forgotten Metis of the Pacific Northwest" , this site has an index to the biographies contained in the book by Leroy Hafen " the Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West". It also notes if the biographies have been reprinted in other books such as "French Fur Traders and Voyageurs in the American Northwest".

Just enter your last name and find out if you have unclaimed money. I saw a lot of Rivard's in both Canada and USA.

This site has accessible public records for some US States. There are some birth & death records available.

There are now 26 different spreadsheets to download free from this website at http://censustools.com to let you electronically organize your census data from the U.S. federal (1790-1920), Canada (1851-1901), England - (1841-1819), Ireland (1821-1911), Scotland - (1841-1891), Kansas (1865-1925), Massachusetts (1855-1865), New York (1825-1925) and Wisconsin (1836-1905).

French Entrepreneurship in the Post Colonial Fur-Trade

By B. Pierre Lebeau

[North Central College, Naperville, Illinois]


It seems that French officials both in Louisiana and France never fully realized the opportunities offered by the natural resources in the Mississippi Valley. While the colony never made a profit for the French government, private fortunes were made and the economy was healthy enough to stimulate the growth of full-fledged cities with many of the social and cultural benefits of civilization found in the mother country.6 By the mid-eigteenth century New Orleans was compared to a French provincial capital. St. Louis founded later would preserve its dominant French culture well into the nineteenth century.

Indeed, the city known as the gateway to the West was founded by an enterprising Frenchman, Pierre de Laclède Liguest. Born in 1724 in a family in which the men had held public office for generations in southwestern France, Laclède as the younger son could only receive a very small part of the family inheritance and decided to seek better opportunities for wealth in the New World.7 He arrived in New Orleans in 1755 and not much is known of his first years in lower Louisiana. He became an officer in the militia and his name appeared in official documents with the mention of négociant, or wholesale merchant, as a profession.8 His reputation in business must have been notable since he joined a prominent merchant to establish the firm of Maxent, Laclède and Company. Its purpose was to exploit trade with the Indian tribes in the Missouri and upper Mississippi River valleys. While the senior partner, Maxent, would run the commercial aspect of the firm in New Orleans, Laclède was to take command of the business in northern Louisiana.

Laclède reached the Illinois Country in November 1763, the year when the French and Indian War concluded with the Treaty of Paris that turned the east bank of the Mississippi over to the British. It is most doubtful that Laclède knew at that time that France had also ceded the west bank of the great river to the Spanish crown. At any rate he stored the trade goods he had brought up with him at Fort de Chartres upon the invitation of the French Commandant and proceeded upriver with his thirteen-year old clerk, Auguste Chouteau, in search of an appropriate location for his trading post. He selected a site on a bluff below the mouth of the Missouri River. Auguste Chouteau will write later that Laclède declared to the French officers at Fort de Chartres that he "had found a situation where he was going to found a settlement which might become, hereafter, one of the finest cities in America."9 Chouteau supervised the buildings of the first cabins in February 1764. When Laclède came later to inspect the site he "directed that the town be laid out in a gridiron pattern similar to the one in New Orleans. His plan called for three streets paralleling the Mississippi, intersected by shorter cross streets, and for a public plaza along the waterfront."10 Laclède called the future city St. Louis after the patron saint of Louis XV, then king of France. Obviously this city was not the result of an accident, but the plan of a visionary and successful businessman.

Maxent, the senior partner in the firm, decided to dissolve the company in 1765, and Laclède purchased the firm's assets in St. Louis. He dealt directly with the Osage Indians in the vicinity of the settlement, but his greatest profit came from outfitting the traders who traveled to the upper Missouri Valley and the Great Lakes area. The English Captain Harry Gordon, who visited St. Louis in 1766, wrote in his Journal that Mr Le Clef [Laclède] the principal Indian Trader . . . takes so good Measures, that the whole Trade of the Missouri, That of the Mississippi Northwards, and that of the Nations near La Baye, Lake Michigan, and St. Josephs, by the Illinois River, is entirely brought to him."11 Paul Chrisler Phillips confirms in his history of the fur trade that "there were a number of traders at St. Louis and near-by towns. Probably most of these were employed by Laclède, but some of them may have undertaken expeditions on their own account. The operations of Laclède soon brought all the furs of the upper Mississippi and Missouri to St. Louis. The village became the preeminent trading center of the Mississippi Valley, and this trade expanded until the village became a great metropolis of the American fur trade."12 The transition from village to metropolis would be accomplished under the leadership of the Chouteau family.

In the tradition of French Catholic families of that period, the Chouteau family was quite prolific. Only three of its members need be considered at this point. René Auguste Chouteau, who called himself Auguste, was born in 1749 the son of a New Orleans inn keeper originally from France, and Marie Thérèse Bourgeois, born in New Orleans.13 The father returned to France a few years later, leaving both wife and son behind. The small family did not remain long on its own, for Mrs. Chouteau met Pierre Laclède shortly after his arrival in New Orleans. They lived together until Laclède died in 1778. This situation was frowned upon by both civil and religious authorities, but it was tolerated and even accepted in the family's social circle, undoubtedly because of the human and business qualities of both partners. The children of this union took the family name of Chouteau.

Early in his life Auguste displayed self-reliance, determination and firmness of character. He was not flustered when, barely fourteen, he was confronted with some 150 Missouri Indians with families who had come with the intention of settling next to the trading post in 1764. He calmly put the women and children to work on the foundation of the post headquarters after sending for Laclède's assistance.14 Laclède made him a partner when he purchased Maxent's share of the business and Auguste became "principal field agent and trouble shooter."15

Pierre Chouteau, born in New Orleans in 1758, the child of Laclède and Mrs. Chouteau, worked many years for his half brother Auguste. As Auguste became more and more involved in managing the business of Laclède, Pierre replaced him in the field and even lived for a while with the Osage Indians thereby acquiring an intimate knowledge of their culture. Both brothers were fluent in the Osage language. Their relationship with the Indians was based on mutual respect and gave them an immense advantage in building what amounted to a monopoly in the fur trade in that area.

The Chouteau brothers followed the progress of the American Revolution with sympathy and, along with other St. Louis merchants, sold goods to George Rogers Clark whose campaign against Detroit was stranded because of lack of supplies from Virginia.16 Later they would offer the hospitality of their homes to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as well as outfit an important part of their expediton.17 The end of the revolutionary war provided them with the opportunity to expand their business even further. The opening of the roads to Prairie du Chien, Michilimackinac and Montreal gave them access to higher quality English trade merchandise and more efficient business practices than in New Orleans.

Conducting a successful business in that region at that time was extremely difficult. The isolation from the business centers on the east coast, the distances involved in the transportation of the merchandise, the lack of liquid capital requiring extended credit, demanded unusual skills and business sense. The reputation of the merchants based on fair trading practices and quality merchandise was a key ingredient to success. The reputation of the Chouteau family was well established in this regard. They were not exempt from making mistakes, however, as with the founding of the short-lived St. Louis Missouri Fur Company founded in 1809 when Pierre Chouteau, his son Auguste Pierre, Pierre Ménard from Illinois, and other merchants joined forces with Manuel Lisa.

The lack of specie and liquid assets led the Chouteau family to invest its fortune in real estate and to become the largest landowners in upper Louisiana.18 Auguste served as President of the Bank of Missouri, represented other merchants in court and administered their estates. When the Chouteau's Spanish land grants were confirmed by the US government in 1814, Auguste's holdings amounted to 23,500 acres while Pierre's holdings exceeded 22,700 acres.19 Both Auguste and Pierre occupied numerous public office positions at the local, state and federal levels. Both served as chairs of the St. Louis Board of Trustees. Auguste was appointed as Federal Commissioner and negotiated treaties with various Native American tribes. Pierre was US agent for the Osage.

However, the most successful member of the family was probably Pierre Chouteau, Jr. (1789-1865), son of Pierre Chouteau and nephew of Auguste. After training in the business with his father and trying to fly on his own, he joined Bernard Pratte and Company, western agent for the American Fur Company. When John Jacob Astor retired in 1834 his interests in the Missouri area were purchased by Pratte and Chouteau. The new company was reorganized in 1838 as Pierre Chouteau, Jr., and Company. Its business covered an area spreading as far as northern Minnesota, the Rocky Mountains and Texas. After investing in railroads, steel, and mining Pierre, Jr. retired in New York City at the time of the Civil War joining the dominant financiers of the period. With him the Chouteau family reached the height of its power and prestige in the American world of business and finance.

The members of the Chouteau family clearly dominated the trade in the Mississippi and Missouri Valleys. A number of other French traders were part of the Chouteau network through business or marriage; others were bold enough to operate independently. They came from the Quebec area and France. Most resided in Saint Louis where several achieved wealth and prestige and became leading territorial families: for example, the Robidoux, Cerrés, Perraults, Papins, Labbadies, Prattes. Others made their mark if not always their fortune at various places along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers: the Le Sieur brothers who established the first settlement at New Madrid, the port of entry for upper Louisiana; Louis Lorimier who founded Cape Girardeau;20 Pierre Menard who settled in Kaskaskia and became the first Lieutenant Governor of Illinois; Julien Dubuque whose trading post and lead mines exploitation set the emplacement of the city of Dubuque; Joseph Robidoux who founded Saint Joseph on the Missouri River.21


A Little Bit of Trivia & Humor

"Vanilla Pudding"

Excerpted from an article which appeared in the Dublin Times about a bank robbery on March 2, 1999:

Once inside the bank shortly after midnight, their efforts at disabling the internal security system got underway immediately. The robbers, who expected to find one or two large safes filled with cash and valuables, were surprised to see hundreds of smaller safes scattered throughout the bank.

The robbers cracked the first safe's combination, and inside they found only a bowl of vanilla pudding. As recorded on the bank's audio tape system, one robber said, "At least we'll have a bit to eat."

The robbers opened up a second safe, and it also contained nothing but vanilla pudding. The process continued until all the safes were opened. They found not one pound sterling, a diamond, or an ounce of gold. Instead, all the safes contained covered bowls of pudding.

Disappointed, the robbers made a quiet exit, each leaving with nothing more than a queasy, uncomfortably full stomach. The next day the newspaper headline read:


Until Next Month

Be Kind to One Another & Keep Smiling!

Jan, Alain


The Rivard Forum Newsletter Staff