May 15, 2001


Editor: Jan Dorn

Co-Editor: Jean Guy Lacoursiere

Member of the Month Column: Marlyss Hernandez

Query Reporter: Nickie Cheney

Trivia & Humor: "Chippewa Falls Finest", Dot Giessler

Translators: Alain Gariépy, Jean Guy Lacoursiere & André Dufresne


RV2001 Detroit/Windsor Reunion News

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Cap-de-la-Madeleine Celebration, June 2001

News from the Rivard Association

"Ron (AKA: Riv) Rivard" Voted May's FMOTM

Biography of "Tom Dufour" April's FMOTM

Newington, Kent, England by Sarah Keerie

New Members Join the Rivard Family Forum

Forum News & Topic Highlights

The French Entrepreneurs Part III [Conclusion]

The Rivard Kitchen

A little Bit of Trivia & Humor

Editor's Corner


By Tom Dufour

On July 22, 2001 at 11:00AM, the Rivard Forum & the Rivard Association has a place in Assumption Church, for mass on that Sunday morning. After mass, I will walk with everyone to the river-front just under the Ambassador Bridge to have a picnic and watch the Tall Ships Sail Under the Bridge on their way to Detroit's Hart Plaza. Yes … plan on that day to bring blankets and lawn chairs to sit at the Ambassador Bridge Park, 2 blocks away from the Assumption

Church. If Kentucky Fried Chicken is in order, the KFC is just down Huron Church Rd., 5 minute drive away. There is also a place to park your vehicles as well. Don't forget, the Rivard's had a hand in building the Assumption Church along with all of the Founding Fathers of the Detroit/ Windsor area. If you want to visit the Assumption Church Cemetery it is a block away from the Assumption Church the other way down Huron Church. And, you will be in the same area of the Univ. of Windsor Campus and the Missionary Quarters. This is a beautiful walk with tall trees and many benches to sit and talk or rest. This is a site you will never forget. It is a very peaceful place. For those who are a little more adventurous, there is the Brock Street Gail (Jail) on Sandwich street and the Cemetery at the Jail, with Mackenzie Hall attached to it and all of the Murals on the building of Old Mill Street and Sandwich Street, or the Old Dominion Hotel which is still standing. You are going to love the city of Windsor and Detroit.

I am hoping that the Burton Library will be open by the time everyone is coming. There has been a number of things happening to this wonderful collection, most due to mismanagement of trust fund moneys for the upkeep of the Burton, plus the flooding of the library, and the transformer fire in the library. I do hope the Mayor of Detroit gets his butt in gear and get some

proper people in the Collection to maintain the History of Detroit & Windsor that is stored in the Burton Library. Working on that trip to Mt. Clemens to make it happen for those who want to search the records. I will keep you informed. [Thomas Dufour]

For those who are coming to Windsor/Detroit Rivard Rendez-Vous 2001 if you will go to this site: You will see all of the items that will be on sale. If you want items with the Rivard Rendez-Vous 2001 put on the items there is an order form so you can place your orders. Such items include; Sweat Shirts, T-shirts, Sport Shirts, Mugs & Glasses, Tote Bags & Coolers

Caps & Key Chains, Pen & Pencil sets. There is an order form to fill out on the web.

New Books Available Regarding the 300th Year Anniversary of Detroit.

The Archdiocese of Detroit is selling books through it's bookstore in Detroit in connection with Detroit 300. They are:

1.Make Straight the Path-$25.00-New … "Make Straight the Path" is a beautiful book of the history of the church in the Detroit area. It would make a great gift, especially for older people who remember the "old" parishes. [Per Nina}

2.Seasons of Grace-$19.95

3.Images of America-Archdiocese of Detroit-$18.99

Interested parties can order these books by calling 313-962-4490 and placing a credit card order over the phone or emailing the information to: If sending email please include complete name, address, daytime phone number.and credit card number.

Some of the parishes in the Detroit area are also selling these books.

The book is "Grosse Pointe 1880-1930" by Madeline Socia & Suzy Berschback. It is soft cover book with a lot of pictures covering the period when Grosse Pointe went from a quiet French settlement to land of mansions. Some of the families that appear are: Allard, Beaufait, Alger, Trombley, McMillan, Poupard, Hall, Provencal, Moran, Muir, Campau, Towbridge, Beaupre, & of course the Dodges & Fords.



"The Party in Room 104" - by Peggy Lacoursiere

Trois- Rivieries was enjoyable and one of many happy memories. To zero in on any one particular day/event is impossible. Perhaps I should start at the very beginning by saying the afternoon we arrived.

The fun began immediately from meeting Ron Rivard and his family as we parked our cars (BIKE too) in the parking lot, meeting Ray Beaupre as we were checking in and seeing Jean Guy who was already in the lobby. After we checked in, we went back into the lobby to greet/watch the new arrivals for awhile; then Jacques told me that he was tired from the long drive and he wanted to go back to the room, relax and have a cold beer. Next thing I knew, Jacques invited Ray to come back with us for a cold brew and that was the beginning of the party in Room 104.

I was amazed how everyone knew and came to our door. After a few knocks, Jacques just left the door wide open and the flow continued through our room and out onto the patio as we all meld in the back parking lot. That 's where most of the first encounters took place. A big thrill it was for me to meet again with Henri, Jean-Guy, Larry, Lorraine, Linda and see the new faces, Anna/Bob, Jim L*, Pat, Rober, Tom, Mary Ann, Dave, etc. Some were like I had imagined and others quite different. Another special treat for me were the immediate local cousins who were coming to meet us for the BBQ later on in the day. Some of whom we had met before but others it was going to be for the first time also.

The Buffalo Brothers, I saw them standing at the back of their VAN and I could see that they were sharing that huge Family Chart with those around them. Then the biggest surprise was when one of them was asking, "who is Peggy Lacourciere"? "Oh, here I am". You see, I was a Representative for New York (and a few neighboring States) and had resumed and sent newsletters randomly to tell some Rivards (dits too) about the upcoming happenings in 3Rs. Lo and behold, the Buffalo Brothers were recipients, as was Jim Rivard of N.J. Needless to say, they were happy to learn of the reunion and I was ecstatic that my newsletter was read and that they decided to come. You had to be there to see my smile, it was from ear to ear. That bit of information alone made my trip.

Beholding to the eyes that afternoon was the camaraderie that was shared among us all. Amazing it was as was Jacques cooler full of beer, that never went dry.. From that very start I just knew that the RENDEZVOUS was going to be a HUGE success and it was. I am sure all that were there that afternoon will agree.



By Monique Loranger Tessier

International Association of Rivard Families

350th Anniversary of the Cap-de-la-Madeleine Celebrations
Meeting of the Rivard Families (Dufresne, Loranger, Lacoursière, Lanouette and all other « dit » names) in Cap-de-la-Madeleine.

Saturday, June 30th, 2001

9 :30 AM Official opening ; Registration and coffee for participants

Centre communautaire des Ormeaux

300 Chapleau Street. Cap-de-la-Madeleine

10 AM Conference by Mrs. Louise Lacoursière, writer. Introduced by : Jim Rivard 11 :15 AM : Official Cocktail offered by the City of Cap-de-la-Madeleine. Organizer : Benoit Rivard

Surprise visit

12 Noon : Cold buffet with the participation of François Delagrave, historian and author. Organizers : Michel & Thérèse Rivard 2 PM Bus Tour of the Cap-de-la-Madeleine. Organizers : Réal Dufresne & Michel Rivard

15$CDN per person

Visit of the exhibition « Cap-de-la-Madeleine, a historical city »

4 PM Free tour of the Cap-de-la-Madeleine Sanctuary.

Organizing Committee of the Cap-de-la-Madeleine Celebrations, 30 June 2001:

Mr. Réal Lanouette : email: rivard@iqué

Luc & Denis Rivard: email:

Georges-Henri Rivard: email:

Sunday July 1st, 2001

Meeting in Batiscan in commemoration of Nicolas Rivard, sieur de Lavigne’s 300th death anniversary, (first Captain of the Militia of the Cap-de-la-Madeleine, 1652-1666). He was buried in Batiscan on July 1st, 1701

Organizer : Loraine Rivard: e-mail:


By Jim Rivard

The AIFR has joined the Federation des Familles Souches du Quebec. (FFSQ) We, Real Lanouette and I have attended our first congress ( Saturday, April 5th) with them on the historical Boucherville Island. (Named after Pierre Boucher with whom Nicolas had some dealing in the early development of Cap de la Madeleine ) The Federation regroups 160 associations such as ours. They provide administrative and advisory support. The event took place in the Hotel des Gouverneurs. The reception area was manned by personnel in beautiful costumes and each participant was given a folder complete with the program for the next two days and back-up information. The opening was performed by a representative of the city of Longueuil and an historian who gave an interesting talk on the Islands where we were. Here is a list of the workshops who incidentally were attended 100%!

1) The future of the Associations

2) The families reunions and activities

3) The families bulletins.

4) Recruiting new members

5) The Internet

6) Genealogical dictionaries and other publications

7) Families genealogies and histories

8) Archives and encoding.

Real and I attended each four different sessions and will report to our executive council. We got a lot of information as well from participants who were all eager to share their experience.( At least one Association was founded in 1910 ! ) The Federation dates back to 1984. We had a wonderful time with our new friends who gave us names of Rivard's in their communities. And that's it for the Congress.

But here's is a scoop: We are preparing our Rivardiere, which will have the heroic story of Bishop Francois Xavier Lacoursiere. Don't miss it! … Regards' Jim


By Marlyss Rivard Hernandez

Congratulations, Ron, for winning our election for the month of May. Ron is also known as Riv, (can't imagine where he got that nickname now, can you?) Ron is a motorcycle enthusiast, loves his Ruthie and genealogy. Not necessarily in that order. Ron was the cousin who got the reunion barbeque set up in Trois Rivieres last year. He and his lovely wife rode the motorcycles up there and checked out the various hotels in the area, got the Laviolette to let us use a room for our genealogy books and really got the ball rolling on our reunion last July. For this we thank you, Riv, and we all look forward to reading about you in the June newsletter.



By Marlyss Rivard Hernandez

Tom tells me that he started studying genealogy when he started high school, and then began to pursue it more fully in his late thirties. He started by just gathering "little bits and pieces of my own lineage" and then he learned that a cousin was doing the same thing. This cousin's last name was Tremblay. He was around 45 years old when he really got down to doing some full time research to find out who were his ancestors and why they went to the Detroit/Windsor area. His files have now grown to some 100,000 names in each. Many are of families in the Great Lakes area that are all related through the many marriages. He has a never-ending job in trying to continue where Denissen ended.

How does his family feel about his genealogy hobby? They, both his and his wife's relatives, think that he is the historian of the family names and all the relatives associated with the family names. Many of his wife's family are still living, but most on Tom's side have passed away and his cousins are spread out all over. These cousins do know who is keeping the family names in order. His older relatives remembered only so much, but with a bit of history and brainstorming, they were able to piece together the reasons why the families moved and from where they came. He is very fortunate in having a first cousin who is also a genealogist and has his family traced back to France in the 1300's. Tom and his cousin have been passing information back and forth for a while and are geographically situated in an area where they have access to the Burton Library, Windsor Archives and the Franco Ontarienne d'Histoire et Genealogy in Belle River, Ontario. His wife enjoys having Tom do genealogy because it is relaxing and it keeps him home with her instead of out on the baseball field or in the library, or playing music on weekends as he did in his younger days. Tom has adjusted his life for his best friend, his wife Yvonne, after she had a heart attack.

The most interesting piece of history Tom has found is knowing that his ancestor, Pierre Bonvivant Dufour, is buried at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge. He has recently received some very good documentation from St. Malo, France on the mother of Pierre Bonvivant Dufour, Anna De La Rue, and the birth dates of Pierre's father, Pierre Mathurin Dufour. This new information help extend his tree back four more generations with documents from St. Malo and Isle de Re, France. He also found out that Pierre Bonvivant Dufour was a Marine in the French Army and came to Fort Detroit in 1739 as an officer. Pierre's grandson, Antoine Dufour, was a captain in the War of 1812. "But", says Tom, "the best is yet to come with the Maisonvilles in Windsor with the connection to the Rivards and the finding of the gift of lands to the Maisonvilles by Chief Pontiac". Apparently, Tom has not found any ghosts or pirates in his line as of yet.

Tom has received most of his information from the Societe Ontarienne d'Histoire et Genealogy Library in Belle River. This is the closest thing to the Burton Library that he can get to. The French Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan has also been a good source of information for him. "But the best source is the good old Rivard Forum. Such wonderful information on Antoine Rivard, Louisiana, Joseph Osage Rivard, the many sons of Nicolas and Robert and the livelihood they pursued in their lives in this new country. This family has the makings of a TV series on the 'Trials and Tribulations of the Rivards in the New World'." I could not agree with you more, Tom, as this is so true.

When asked how did Tom find the Rivard Family Forum, he said that he was doing some email reading with Stephanie Luce when the email was forwarded to Mary Ann Mickey, who was his first contact with the forum.

Jean Guy Lacoursiere, André Dufresne, Henri Lanouette and many more lively people on the forum have helped him. Tom thanks all on the forum who make him feel very welcomed. To quote Tom, "There are so many people that have helped me in a very silent way, it is hard to pick out one person who I could say inspired me the most. All on the Forum have a way of inspiration. I would like to thank everyone who voted for me. I am honored to be in the voting with such a distinguished gentleman as Jean-Guy Lacoursiere. My admiration of his knowledge and his help to the Forum is an inspiration to me. "

At the present time there is a big push on to continue the Denissen Books Vol. 1 and II. The French Canadian Heritage Society in Michigan has been busy correcting the mistakes and piecing together more data on the French families there and in Essex County. Tom has been compiling a list of names mainly from the founding fathers to 2000. The living are being kept out of the recorded information, but the relatives that are deceased are being entered in the family trees. Some of these names are as follows: Dufour, Dumouchelle (mother), Guilbeault (wife), Blais (mother-in-law), Gregoire dit Nantais, Langlois, Meloche, Drouillard, Lessard, Paquette, Quellette (grandmother), Lauzon (grandmother of wife), Maisonville (great-grandmother), Descomps dit Labadie, Tremblay, Belland (great grandfather and grandmother), Descoteaux dit Lafebrve, Laforest dit Tineau, Laforest dit Labranche, Reaume, Parent, and many more. Sometimes Tom finds it hard to find a name as he has so many that it may take him days to it.

The last question on the questionnaire is as follows: Are you planning on attending the RV2001 Reunion in Detroit/Windsor next July? I think we all know Tom's answer to that one since he is the one doing so much of the work and planning for our visit to this area in July. Tom says he and his wife hope to see everyone at the Rivard Rendez-vous 2001 on July 20 to the 24 as on the 24th Tom will be leaving with his baseball team, whose name is the Tecumseh Thunder, to go to Greensboro, North Carolina. There is a five day tournament there and two of his players will be on this year's Canadian Youth Team. One is going to be with the Ontario Youth Team and one of the boys is number 8 on the Canadian draft list for Major League Baseball in June. You must be one mighty fine coach to have such talented boys on your team, Tom.

Tom also shared with me a bit of his professional music career. I've seen a great deal of musical talent in the Rivard family and Tom is no exception. He was a professional musician for 28 years, starting when he was only 17 years old. He sang, played the guitar, drums and even a little trumpet. The lead singer was Bobby Jay and the name of the group was "The Nighthawks". This group did many live shows with some acts out of Motown, did backup for radio stations CKLW-Dave Shaffer and WKYZ - Lee Allan, Detroit. They even did one recording. Bet you folks in that area who were listening back then had no idea a cousin was singing on the radio. Tom started doing the genealogy bit after quitting the music business. Tom was a scout for the Altanta Braves for two years. He also enjoys fishing and playing golf. He says if he were to die tomorrow, he would die knowing he has lived a full life. He wouldn't change anything that he has done in his 53 years on this earth. He says, "The Lord put me on this earth to do just that and I did what I was good at, just enough to inspire many young people to go on and do better."

Autobiography of Thomas Dufour:

I was born on Feb 9, 1948. It was 3:45 in the morning, 9 below zero outside and there was 4 ft of snow on the ground. My father had to go outside and crank the old model A Ford and get it warmed up. My mother's wish had come true, for, another child she was carrying before me had died due to premature birth.

I led a normal life, so I call it, being involved with hockey & baseball and my local church, St Vincent de Paul, as one of the many alter boys they had. At that time Masses were in Latin and we had to learn all of our parts of the Mass in Latin. I used to like being asked to do the Solemn Masses, funerals and weddings, especially the weddings, because we got a little cash in our hands from the grooms. This was a time that I felt very close to the Lord. The last Mass that I served was for Mons. Melvin Quenneville, who was my father's cousin. I was 18 yrs old and looked out of place with all of the young alter boys around me. I also helped at the church bingo's serving pop and chips and cleaning up after it was over. But this part was like a routine. My buddy, Jim Gibbs and I , after the Bingo's, used to go behind the old ND Supermarket and catch our local Sgt. Ed Cluff, sleeping in his squad car. A little bang on the door and run in the bushes produced a funny reaction from old Ed. After a while, I think, he just pretended to be sleeping and he would just go through the motions with us kids. All in all, it was good fun.

I was always good at sports. Having very good running speed helped me with the Hockey & Baseball. Baseball became a natural for me. I was able to hit very well and run exceptionally well. I played mostly outfield for anything in the air I would most likely catch. That's the gift of speed. The only regret I had with baseball was I didn't know where or who to see to get me to the next level of baseball, coaching. There just wasn't the coaching available to teach me the skills to go with the natural raw talent. But, I always remembered this for this is what started me in coaching myself. I was determined to coach my boys when they played and give them the skills to go with the talents they had. One boy, Paul, had a scholarship all wrapped up with Madonna Univ. but chose to chase a certain young lady to London, Ontario and forget his education and his baseball. Disappointed, yes. Angry, yes. But, my wife & I talked about it and really there was nothing that could be done. He was going to do what he wanted to do.

At an age of fifteen I cut lawns and did gardening and raised enough money to by my first guitar. I told my mom but not my dad, thought he would kill me, but found out later he was proud of his son. For 28 yrs I played in bands ranging in size from four piece to ten piece horn bands playing a wide range of Blues, R&B, Motown, Jazz, Rock n Roll and Country. We played in such cities as Gary, Indiana; Port Huron, Michigan; Faba Club in Toledo, Ohio; Walled Lake Casino, Michigan and many places in Ontario and just about every bar and nightclub in Windsor. Some of them were well known such as the Metropol Supper Club, Riviera Hotel, Canada House, and too many more to mention. We did a lot of front shows for Dave Shaffer, CKLW Radio at the Riverside Arena where we would open up for such acts as Paul Revere and the Raider, Martha Reeve and the Vandellas, Spider Turner, Four Tops, Temptations. Some of these acts would do a live show with us because we were playing their songs in our nightly song lists. These are memories that I will keep forever. Then, I went on to Country Music and again did a lot of shows with a number of people and did the opening acts for a few stars. My wife still has an autographed picture of Charlie Pride and John Conley. I have a picture album of many of the old acts and it is fun to open it up to see the pictures of the Platters, Clyde McFadder, Frankie Canon and many more. But time goes on and then playing on the weekends became tiresome. It was time to quit after 25 years of playing. I played guitar, drums, and trumpet (very little).

In the middle of playing music, which my wife would come with me and enjoy the evening with family and friends, I was also getting involved with coaching baseball. With playing music and coaching the kids, I look back and ask how did I ever find the time to do this. I don’t know but I did because I loved to do both and it came natural, just the love of music and the game of baseball. By the way, I meet my wife, Yvonne, when I was dating her sister and when she walked in the room that night, Wow! I knew she was the lady for me. Of coarse, I was playing in a band at the time. We are the parents of four children (3 boys and a girl) and grandparents of three grandsons.

But anyway, as time went on I was approached by people to make contact with some past Recording Stars to do a concert of the Oldies Act. I knew some and arranged the concert with a few of the friends. This turned into a huge success and from there we formed a Company, Booking Agency and started booking the Oldies Acts in clubs and concerts. We made a little money at it but you have to love the business to stay in it. You find that the music world is a very dirty business and many crooks out there to prey on young talent. But anyway, I have been with Ford Motor Co. for 28 years 5 months (notice I am counting down). Yes, I will retire in a year and 7 months and I will enjoy my time off to spend with my lovely wife, my children, my Genie, my model shipbuilding and my stamp collecting. The Lord has blessed me with the energy to do many things in this life and I wouldn’t trade a moment of it for anything. I've met so many people I can’t remember all the names but it was fun.

One sad note, we just found out my brother, Robert, has been told he has throat cancer and at the moment they are investigating the extent. Just lost a cousin, Patrick Tremblay, with cancer of the esophagus. They say it goes in three’s and I wonder who will be next. I thank everyone for reading a little of my life’s story. God Bless.


Newington, Kent, England

by Sarah Keerie

Newington is where I grew up for 16 years having moved there with my parents when I was two from Sittingbourne, My parents are still in the same house some 30 years on which is not bad considering I am in now in my fifth.

Newington is located in the county of Kent and is situated in between the main towns of Sittingbourne and Rainham, these being about 3 miles away in each direction. If you were to look at a map of the England, Kent is in the south eastern corner.

Newington itself is a smallish village although has expanded over the years with new housing developments. It has its own train station where you can catch a train into London in around an hour. Newington was once an area with orchards full of cherry trees although most of these have now been turned into wheat fields. You will still find pear and apple orchards and also fields of strawberries. My parents worked on a local farm for many years so I grew up surrounded by fruit which is no doubt why I love it so much although I do miss the old varieties of apples and the cherries – they just don’t taste the same from supermarkets! I had my little protector on the farm as well, the foreman’s little Jack Russell was my guardian and we were often found curled up asleep together.

If you were to visit Newington, it would take you less than 5 minutes to drive through it! The A2 (also known as the "Roman Road" and "Watling Street" and built by the Romans) runs practically through the middle of it, through what is known as the High Street. As you drive through little roads will take you off into the village itself.

There are some lovely buildings in Newington. Driving up Bull Lane into Calloways Lane you will find Newington Manor (renames from Cranbrook Manor). This was built in the 14th century as a Hall House. It has now been turned into a guesthouse. Inside you will find wonderful oak beams and the large inglenook fireplaces and has the typical Tudor style of white painted walls with oak beams. If you stayed there you can get to sleep in a four-poster bed.

Another building is the George Inn which was a 17th century town house. This is situated on the High Street so you would see this as you drove through. Unfortunately, it suffered a devastating fire back in 1998 and has still yet to be renovated.

Finally there is St Mary the Virgin Church located down Church Lane
[photo from].

St Mary’s is perhaps, the oldest building standing in Newington with its Parish Registers commencing in 1558. Its first bells date back to 1622 and I have even rung them!

At the entrance of the church there is the Devil’s Stone. This stone was moved from the corner of Church Lane to the entrance back in 1936. The stone is believed to be a "sarsen", a relic of huge slabs of stone originating from the last Ice Age glaciers at one point there were two of these stones and one was broken up. The one that stands today is said to have the footprint of the devil stamped into it. This is from the legend that he was once so disturbed by the ringing of the bells that one night he went to the belfry and gathered up the bells. When he jumped down from the tower, he tripped and fell over the stone, leaving in it his footprint and spilling the bells out from the sack. The story goes on that the stones ran down the lane towards Halstow and fell into a stream which once flowed as clear as a bell. Alas, this cannot be claimed to be true today since the stream has since dried up. But maybe it is true, since the Devil’s footprint is clearly in the stone!

Also located down Church Lane is the local primary school which is where I started my education back in 1972. Finally, there is a golf course just on the outskirts of Newington; if you fancy a pint (of beer!) you will find a couple of pubs, a general store and of course, the Post Office/newsagents.


New Members Join the Rivard Family Forum

It is that time of the month again to meet some new cousins. Actually, most you've already met, but here are their trees. [Mary Ann Mickey]

LAVIGNE: Joe R. Lavigne, Eric Chevalier & Patricia Foster


RIVARD: Leo & Mary Clor

LORANGER: Chris Morton-Scott

LAGLANDERIE: Mary Ann Defnet


Al Rivard … This family is from New Brunswick and provides an interesting mystery to solve

New Additions Linked to the Rivard Homepage:

Michigan Land Records


"The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname Rivard"

A message was sent to the forum on 5/01/2001 - message #: regarding an article called "The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname Rivard. Those interested in reading this article will be happy to know that a copy has been posted on the Rivard Home Page. Although, this is a very interesting and well written article, NO DOCUMENTATION has been found to date that verifies it's authenticity. If you plan on including it in your individual family history you may also want to include a notation to this effect. The above mentioned article was published in a book call "Histories and Bioliography-Hall of Names. Inc."

"The Deerfield Massacre of February 1704"

One of the topics of interest this month was the Deerfield, MA massacre of February 1704. The Deerfield raiding party included 50 Canadians and 200 Indians -- Abenakis and Caughnawaga Mohawks - led by Major Hertel de Rouville. The attack entered the history books as the Deerfield massacre because of the near completeness of the action. Some 53 settlers were killed and 17 homes burned. Most of the captives were eventually ransomed and returned to New England, but some chose to remain in Canada with the French and the Indians. The French objective of this raid was to obtain the release of the privateer captain Pierre Maisonnat who had been captured by the English in 1702. One of the captives was John Williams. Other families taken captive included; Hoyt, Catlin, French, Kellogg, & Stebbins.

Eight weeks after his capture John Williams arrived in Montreal, where Governor Vaudreuil purchased his release from his two Indian owners and set him up with his own quarters and fed him at his own table. The French governor explained that Williams was now a hostage for the release of the privateer captain Pierre Maisonnat captured by the English in 1702. Williams would be released when the English returned the privateer, or 'pirate' as the New Englanders preferred to think of him. Williams was someone to bargain for, being the minister of the Deerfield congregation. The exchange was made in 1706 and Williams went back to Massachusetts.

"The Badtrans Virus Hits the Forum"

The Badtrans virus was introduced to the forum via Nina Jackman who innocently opened a Yahoo greeting card sent to her by a young relative. Nina's infected messages brought up a topic of discussion that dominated the forum this month. This topic was of opening attachments and how easily you can be infected with a virus. Nina wasn't aware that she had a virus on her computer unit until forum members told her of the messages they were receiving from her with a message that carried with it an attachment. These attachments carried several random files.

When the file was opened the virus was spread. Nina was able to eradicate the problem using two virus programs, McAfee & Symantec. Others infected with this worm were Norm & Sandy. Sandy's message to the forum was, "PLEASE UPDATE YOUR VIRUS PROGRAM FREQUENTLY". With the new viruses coming on a daily basis it is essential that you have the updated removal data patches in your system.

Ellis Island Update

by Myra Vanderpool Gormley

According to officials at Statute of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, access is improving, but currently the best time to access the database is between 1 and 4 a.m. EDT.

During the past weekend had between 17.5 and 18 million successful hits. To handle the load, the original 10 servers and three backups have been joined by 10 additional loaned servers. More memory was added also.

One of the glitches -- the onscreen registration request form problem for international users -- is being worked on and should be fixed soon. Originally it would accept only U.S. ZIP codes.

This Ellis Island database of 22 million individuals contains the names of approximately 12 million immigrants who actually were processed through Ellis Island, the names of about five million who arrived as first- or second-class passengers and went through immigration formalities onboard their ships, plus another five million U.S. citizens returning from abroad and ship crew members. This database covers approximately 71 percent of all passenger arrival records of the U.S. during the 32-year period from 1892 to 1924.

The above article was previously published by Julia M. Case and Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG, Missing Links, Vol. 6, No. 18, 2 May 2001. RootsWeb:

French Entrepreneurship in the Post Colonial Fur-Trade

By B. Pierre Lebeau

[North Central College, Naperville, Illinois]

PART 3 & Conclusion

Pierre Menard (1766-1844) had come from Quebec to the Illinois Country by way of Vincennes on the Wabash where he honed his business skills with Francisco Vigo, one of the more important traders in the Mississippi Valley. He moved to Kaskaskia in 1780 and opened a general store doing business with "markets from the Falls of St. Anthony (Minneapolis-St. Paul) to New Orleans."22 He served in the Randolph County militia with the rank of colonel, was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and was elected representative to the legislature of the Indiana Territory. Menard did not allow his public office functions to interfere with business. In partnership with Manuel Lisa of St. Louis and a fellow Kaskaskian, Menard financed a successful fur trading expedition to the upper Missouri in 1807.23 In 1808 he joined the St. Louis Missouri Fur Company created by the Chouteau family with Manuel Lisa and other St. Louis merchants. A year later he accompanied Manuel Lisa on the first expedition up the Missouri and demonstrated his leadership qualities in handling the difficult task of moving heavy boats upstream and dealing with desertions. The hostility of the Black Feet turned that trip in to a failure, but Menard continued investing in the company until it was dissolved in 1814.24 While he continued his political career in Illinois as member, then Speaker of the Illinois Territory Legislative Council, he devoted a good part of his time looking after the interests of the Native Americans as US commissioner. Open to new ideas, he supported the development of the railroads and served on the board of directors of the Illinois Central Railroad.25Menard was known for his personal integrity and loyalty to friends as well as a rather thick French accent that earned him affectionate teasing from those who knew him. The prestige and respect he enjoyed were demonstrated when the new State of Illinois constitution was amended by reducing the 20-year US citizenship requirement to two years so that Menard could be elected the state's first Lieutenant Governor.26 When he died in 1844, he left a substantive fortune in both financial assets and land.

Joseph Robidoux III (1783[?]-1868) belonged to a French family who, like the Chouteaus, relied essentially on kinship for its business network. The son of Joseph Robidoux II, a wealthy St. Louis merchant and one time partner of Auguste Chouteau, Joseph Robidoux III preferred the adventures of the open West to the civilization of St. Louis. He worked for a while for the American Fur Company owned by Astor. He was so successful that "Astor bought him out and paid him to stay at home in St. Louis for three years."27 He soon returned to the outdoors and set up in the mid-1820s a trading post known as Robidoux Landing at the mouth of Blacksnake Creek on the Missouri River. Within a few years he was able to buy Astor's interests in that area and on this foundation established a real trading empire in partnership with his brothers. In his essay on Joseph Robidoux III, Trish Bransky writes:

His brothers, Louis and Isadore, traded along the Santa Fe Trail; Antoine, who became known as the "Knight of the Colorado Fur Trade", established a base on the Gunnison River and a chain of posts in Utah and New Mexico. Francis manned the Yellowstone area, and Michel established Robidoux Fort in the vicinity of Fort Laramie. In the family's employ were hundreds of trappers and scouts28
In 1836, the Platte Purchase turned the area into government land. As part of the treaty, the Native Americans demanded that Robidoux receive 160 acres. The latter had a townsite laid out which he named St. Joseph. He donated lots for public buildings, churches and a market place and sold most of the rest. By 1846 St. Joseph had surpassed Independence as the starting point of the Oregon Trail. In 1859 the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad came to town and became the first line to cross the Missouri confirming the town's role as one of the major gates to the west.29 Business was going well in St. Joseph and Robidoux was considered "an immensely wealthy property owner."30 The population of the town numbered about 20,000 when he died in 1868.

Julien Dubuque (1762-1810) was not as fortunate as his compatriots. Born and raised in Quebec he came to the Illinois Country by way of Michilimackinac and Prairie du Chien in the early 1780s. He joined his brother, Augustin and his cousin, Jean Baptiste Dubuque, captain of militia at Cahokia, Illinois. He became the trader for a Fox Indian band who lived in northeastern Iowa and southwestern Wisconsin. He established such friendly relations with them that they granted him in 1788 the sole right to work an unusually rich vein of lead near the present site of the city of Dubuque. This huge land session which covered 125,000 acres was confirmed in 1795 by the Spanish governor of Louisiana, Baron Carondelet.31 The lead mines were called the Spanish Mines by Dubuque who worked them with both white and Indian labor.32 He became the "largest lead miner of the British and Spanish period" in the Northwest while continuing to trade in furs.33 If Dubuque had concentrated his efforts in developing efficient methods to mine lead he might have become a wealthy man. Lead was in strong demand between 1804 and 1815 and it was the most important trade commodity after furs in the Chouteau enterprise. Julien Dubuque soon became a lead provider as well as a regular customer of Auguste Chouteau.

However, Dubuque persisted in continuing and even trying to expand his business in the fur trade which he conducted with merchants at Michilimackinac and Montreal. The problem was that the Napoleonic wars limited the market for furs in Europe and profits in this sector had become slim.34 Dubuque became heavily indebted to Chouteau and other merchants in St. Louis. In order to cancel his debts and purchase additional goods and supplies Dubuque sold half of his property to Chouteau for the sum of $10,848.60 in 1804.35 Following the Louisiana Purchase, Dubuque was visited twice in 1805 and 1806 by Lieutenant Zebulon Pike on a US Government mission to explore the Upper Mississippi and, in 1808, he was appointed Indian Agent to the Sauk.36 He resigned this position after a few months because of declining health. He died heavily in debt in 1810. Pierre Chouteau, Jr., drew the inventory of his estate which amounted in terms of personal property to $1677.92, a significant sum for the period, but far from the personal wealth of a Pierre Menard.37 At the time of his death Dubuque was seeking confirmation of the Spanish title to his mines by the US government and until this matter could be cleared the value of his real estate was at best doubtful. Dubuque was buried on a bluff about one mile south of the city of Dubuque. His misfortune in business was compensated by the esteem in which he was held by both whites and Native Americans. In his Pioneer History of Illinois John Reynolds wrote: "It was stated by the Indian traders that the Sauk and Fox Indians made it a duty of religion to visit once a year the grave of Dubuque and perform religious ceremonies over it."38

White settlers started moving in the area following the end of the Black Hawk War in 1832 and established a mining town on the site of Julien Dubuque's land. The city of Dubuque was chartered in 1841, but it would take more than fifty years before the citizens of Dubuque recognized and honored the memory of Iowa's first pioneer with a limestone tower over his grave in 1897.

The Mississippi and Missouri valleys were the frontier during the last years of the 18th century and the first years of the 19th century. The term frontier brings to mind images of hardships and primitive living. While voyageurs, mountain men and other employees of the fur trade usually adopted a lifestyle borrowed in large part from the Native Americans, all the merchants and a number of traders insisted on maintaining a standard of living that reflected both their wealth and culture.

Pierre de Laclède, in early St. Louis, accumulated in his comfortable, but still modest home by eastern standards, a small library exceeding 200 volumes at the time of his death in 1778. His collection included books on law, commerce, finance, bookkeeping as could be expected of a businessman. Guides on gardening, farming, animal husbandry, medicine, architecture met the practical needs of daily living at that time. More interesting was his collection of works on ancient and modern history, the Dictionary of the French Academy, an encyclopedia of arts and sciences, various scientific works including one on electricity, literary and philosophical works by Bacon, Descartes, Locke, Rousseau, etc.39

Laclède obviously exercised a good influence on his stepson, Auguste Chouteau, who left a library of more than 600 volumes when he died in 1829. But Auguste Chouteau was known more for the elegance of his home and the lavishness of his hospitality. His mansion and related buildings for servants, coach house, etc. occupied a city block. The house itself had two stories with walls two and a half feet thick and floors of black walnut polished like mirrors according to John Darby, a St. Louis resident.40 John Francis McDermott describes Chouteau's house in his work, Frenchmen and French Ways in the Mississippi Valley:

Owning seventeen men slaves and fourteen women at the time of his death in 1829, not to mention eleven boys and eight girls, Chouteau had among them house servants not merely to look after the floors but to keep well dusted the many mirrors, large and small, that the French were so fond of, and the sofas and sideboards, the seven armchairs and forty-six 'painted' and common chairs, the ten bedsteads and other furniture that filled the rooms of his house, to polish the forty-two pounds weight of sterling that often was laid out on three dining room tables, to launder the forty tablecloths that figure in the inventory and indicate the extent of entertaining.41
Any visitor of mark in St. Louis was received at the Chouteau mansion, the home of "the First Citizen of Upper Louisiana," as William Henry Harrison called Chouteau in a letter to President Jefferson in 1804.42

The Pierre Menard house built in 1802 in the style of Louisiana plantations, and today a territorial landmark in Illinois, also reflects the taste for comfort and graceful living of its owner. It still displays the original hand-pressed window panes imported from France, quite a luxury at the time, as well as some of the solid mahogany furniture that belonged to the Menard family. A devoted family man, an astute and fair businessman, and a public servant, Pierre Menard enjoyed entertaining American and foreign dignitaries, and his home became known as "The Mount Vernon of the West."

Less affluent than the Laclèdes, Chouteaus and Menards were the Robidoux and Dubuques who lived at some distance from the civilization of St. Louis. Joseph Robidoux III was a family-oriented and practical man who built homes for his seven children, helped finance the business undertakings of his five brothers and liberally gave land for the establishment and growth of the city of St. Joseph, Missouri. He certainly had enough wealth to enjoy many of the fashionable refinements available to the merchants in St.Louis, but he preferred to cling to frontier ways. He and his wife, Angélique, lived in a log house built over a stone basement, quite rudimentary in comparison with the Chouteau mansion, but comfortable. While the door was always open to visitors the usual fare in the kitchen was dog meat.43 His simple tastes contrasted with the prosperous city of St. Joseph that had reached a population of 20,000 when he died in 1868.

Julien Dubuque lived much more isolated than Joseph Robidoux III. Prairie du Chien was the closest white settlement. Located near the mouth of the Wisconsin River it counted thirty-seven houses in 1807 according to John Reynolds.44 A few of the families were well known French traders; the others were probably half-breeds. On his side of the Mississippi Dubuque had built a house that probably resembled Robidoux's house in St. Joseph according to what we know from the inventory of his estate. The list of goods stored in the cellar and in the loft indicate the house was of fairly good size. Besides work clothes Julien Dubuque owned linen shirts, knee breeches, waistcoats, dress shoes, etc. showing he wanted to dress properly as a land owner for his visits to St.Louis. He had little furniture, but it was typical of the middle class at the time: painted wardrobe (or cupboard), walnut table, pedestal table, etc. On the other hand the inventory lists 45 stoneware plates, 18 coffee cups, silver spoons, goblets, flasks, a crystal decanter, etc. This extensive table service, an expensive cooking stove, two mirrors, two pictures, and four pairs of lady's gloves reflect a feminine presence. We assume that he was married at one time because a number of correspondents send their greetings to Madame Dubuque, but it appears he lived alone at the time of his death.

Dubuque had learned to read and write before he left Canada. His written French was more inventive that grammatically correct, but he was obviously intent on bettering himself because he, too, had a small library counting at least 56 books. The works of the French philosopher Montesquieu and eight volumes on various aspects of government, two dictionaries and a five-volume encyclopedia suggest he may have had ambitions beyond trading in lead and furs. This may also explain why he failed in business while acquiring an honorable reputation as "a man of talent and great enterprise."45

This sketch of a half dozen French and French Canadian entrepreneurs is by necessity incomplete. There was quite a number of French merchants whose fortunes placed them between the Chouteaus and a Dubuque. French was the dominant language in Missouri during the territorial period. If St. Louis had lost its distinctive French flavor by the middle of the nineteenth century, it still had a French population strong enough to support at least one newspaper. Most French merchants were concentrated in the St. Louis area. Others made their way to Santa Fé, San Francisco and other points in the west. These people along with the small army of minor French traders and voyageurs played a major role in the American fur trade.

While the fur trade by itself represented only a small part of the American economy, it played an important role in the exploration of the west and determined the paths of migration towards California and Oregon. French mountainmen gave names to the topography of the west. French merchants and fur traders functioned as guides, suppliers, financiers and, in a few cases, founded cities. Even the military who supported this migration often established their forts alongside the trading posts. In short, "the fur trade . . . set the pace for subsequent Euro-American activity in the West."46 Much of this activity was in the hands of French entrepreneurs. The words of Jay Gitlin, of Yale University, provide a fitting conclusion: "The resources, connections, and goals of French merchants were of vital importance in the first period of the economic development of the American Midwest, toughly from 1815 to 1860. . . The traditional narrative history of the American frontier needs revision."47


"Help Needed"

As many of you have probably noticed we have been unable to include any recipes in the last two months for the "Rivard Kitchen". We simply don't have any tried and true Rivard favorites to share. If anyone out there can help us it would be greatly appreciated. Recipes can be sent directly to me at

Thank you


History probably records only one instance in which cavalry won a naval battle. The French army that invaded Holland in the winter of 1794 captured a Dutch fleet when it's mounted soldiers swept across the ice and seized control of the ships, frozen in place just offshore.


An angry wife was complaining about her husband spending so much time at the pub, so one night he took her along.

"What'll ya have?" he asked.

"Oh, I don't know. The same as you, I suppose," she replied.

So the husband ordered a couple of Jack Daniel's and threw his down in one gulp. His wife watched him, then took a sip from her glass and immediately spit it out.

"Yuck, that's nasty poison!" she spluttered. "I don't know how you can drink this stuff!"

"Well, there you go," cried the husband. "And you think I'm out enjoying myself every night!"


Due to the recent virus threat on the forum the newsletter will no longer be posted as a Word.doc via e-mail. It will, however, be posted on the web as a link to the Rivard Homepage. There will be three versions of the newsletter there; Bilingual, English & French. You should be able to print the version of your choice from there.

Until Next Month

Be Kind to One Another & Keep Smiling