Sunday, May 16, 2010

Leslie Willard Fish

LESLIE WILLARD FISH was born on May 15th, 1890 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. His parents were George Franklin Fish and Rilda Warren, both of Cape Wolfe, PEI. As a young man, Leslie worked on farms. He met and married his wife, Ruth Frances Elliott Harris, in Littleton, New Hampshire. They were married on 20 Sep 1916. He had come to the United States in 1909 to find better work. He worked on Highland Croft Farm, a home and pond in Littleton. He was also the Superintendent on the Lewis Dairy Farm for a time. He later leased a poultry farm in Bristol, Rhode Island. His daughter Wilma remembers that he always found work during the Depression, even if he had to leave town to find it. He and Ruth had six children, and you can trace the Fish family's moves by the birthplaces of their children (Hermon Willard b. 1918 Littleton, NH; Harris Eldon b. 1925; Leslie Willard b. 1927 [died as an infant]; Wilma Gertrude b. 1927 [all born Norwood, NH]; George Franklin b. 1931 Assonet, MA; and Warren Emerson b. 1935 Bristol, RI). He often told his wife that he "would have had a dozen children." "He never thought there were too many," Wilma said.

In June 1917, Leslie filled out his WWI draft card. At the time, he was working as a farmer for William Brown Dickson in Littleton, New Hampshire. He was tall, with medium build, blue eyes and red hair.

At the time he filled out his WWII draft card, Leslie was working at the Frank M. Hill Machine Company at 52 School Street in Walpole (click on street view to see the building where he probably worked. The company looks to have manufactured power paper cutters.)

Leslie passed away on July 3, 1958 in South Walpole, Massachusetts.

What memories do you have of Leslie? Please add them in the comments!

UPDATE: According to the 1910 Census, when Leslie arrived in the US, he lived with his uncle Elijah William Warren and Elijah's family in Newton, Massachusetts. Leslie's employment was listed as being the same as Elijah's: both were "linemen" working for the New England Telephone Company. Also living at the home were Leslie's grandparents, John Warren and Mary Jane Rix Warren. Grandpa John died shortly after, in September 1910. Here's a copy of the census form (click to see in larger format--Leslie and the Warrens are halfway down the page):

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ruth Frances Elliott Harris Fish

Ruth Frances Elliott Harris, probably taken at the time of her engagement to Leslie Fish

Ruth and Leslie Fish, later in life (middle and right)

RUTH FRANCES ELLIOTT HARRIS was born on 9 March 1898 in *Littleton, a small town located in the White Mountains on the Vermont border, in Grafton County, New Hampshire. She was the daughter of Wilma Gertrude Harris and Rennie Charles Elliott, although Mr. Elliott was not really part of her life. It is uncertain if he ever married Wilma.** Ruth's mother died of cancer when Ruth was only eight years old. Since Ruth's father did not live with her when her mother died, the girl was taken in and adopted on 23 Feb 1906 by her maternal grandfather, Milo Hobart Harris of Concord, Vermont, who was known in town to be very stern.

Ruth's daughter, Wilma Fish Britton said that often, "Mr. Elliott" would open a door for Ruth in town, and she would return home to tell her grandfather. He would tell her "never to mention that name in [his] presence," so we are all left to wonder what exactly Mr. Elliott did to garnish that disdain from Mr. Harris. It is speculated that perhaps he fathered Ruth, only to leave Wilma soon after. He had children with other women in town, and Ruth was aware of this.

Ruth met her husband, Leslie, in Littleton; he had come there from Prince Edward Island. They married on the 20th of September, 1916, in Lancaster, Coos County, New Hampshire. They had five sons and one daughter. Ruth's daughter, Wilma, also remembers that she was a good seamstress, a good mother, and was always willing to entertain friends, old and new. As a young girl, she read every book in the Littleton library that they allowed her to check out. During the Depression, she didn't attend church because she thought she didn't have the proper clothes to wear.

Littleton Public Library, as it looks today.

Lauren, Ruth's granddaughter, remembers that Ruth was extremely intelligent and people always said that none her children were quite as smart as she was. She read everything she could get her hands on and she was also very musical. She got along very well with her son-in-law, Richard Britton, who also possessed these talents. Ruth became very heavy later in life, and wasn't able to get out much, but Lauren remembers being very excited to go visit her grandmother. Like her daughter, Wilma, Ruth also loved to clean. She lived in a large victorian house in South Walpole that was very difficult to keep clean and warm in winter. She also enjoyed gardening. Ruth called Lauren "Laurie."

Ruth passed away on the 28th of February, 1967 in Foxboro, Norfolk, Massachussetts.

* For a map of Littleton as it looked around 1883, click here.

** I do have a wedding date listed as 24 March 1897, but noted that Wilma and Mr. Elliott were divorced. Ruth was born the following March. See future post for documentation of the marriage.

Sadie Stella Vasseur

On August 13, 1929, Sadie and her husband Clayton Britton drove across the border from New Brunswick into Maine. On the entry card she filled out at the border, she listed her full name as Marie Sadie Stella Britton:

She was 26 years old, 5'5", with brown hair and blue eyes, residing on Spring Street in Mansfield, Massachusetts.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Baptismal Certificate and Funeral Card for Kate Mallen Vasseur

More photos of John Vasseur

John and Kate on the left. I don't know when this was taken or who the other people are:

The card from John's funeral mass:

John's obituary:

The "Maple Leaf Orchestra." William Vasseur is in the back, second from left, with the violin. John is seated in the front, on the right, with the flute:

Monday, April 26, 2010

Laurent Le Vasseur

Laurent Levasseur is the ancestor of the largest number of Levasseurs in North America. Many still believe that he was the son of Jean Levasseur and Marguerite Richard. This has been proven incorrect. Father Archange Godbout made the correction in January 1946, in "Mémoires de la Société Généalogique Candienne-Française." Herewith is a translation of the text.

"According to Tanguay (Dictionary. 1, page 391), Laurent Levasseur was the son of Jean and Marguerite Richard, who were both from Bois-Guillaume near Rouen. We have two errors here. In Laurent marriage certificate (30 April 1670) it is written "son of the late Jean and Marguerite _ _ _ _ (the space is left blank), of Bois-Guillaume. Furthermore this couple was from Paris. In the parish register of Bois-Guillaume, we find that in 1639 Jean Levasseur was the spouse of Marguerite Maheu. Thay are most likely the parents of Laurent.

Alfred Levasseur, well-known genealogist from Québec went to Bois-Guillaume for further research. He found many baptism and marriage records of the children of Jean Levavasseur and Marguerite Maheu. He also found the grandparents of Laurent, Thomas Levavasseur and Germain Legris.

Many of you will wonder where the name LEVAVASSEUR comes from. It is simply the original name of the family in Bois-Guillaume. Laurent himself used the name in some documents, but he changed it soon after his arrival in Canada. However, we can't find Laurent's baptismal certificate. According to the Québec Census of 1666, he was born in 1647. The parish records of Boise-Guillaume are missing for the years 1646-1648.

When did Laurent arrive in Canada? According to the research and deductions of Alfred Levasseur, he arrived on September 22, 1663, on either, "le Jardin de Hollande" or the "L'Aigle d'Or." On his arrival in Canada he was immediately employed by Guillemette Hébert, the widow of Guillaume Couillard and daughter of Louis Hébert, the first Canadian colonist. He worked for Guillemette Hébert until September 1669 after being her service for two periods of three years.

Laurent did not waste any time after he left his job. On the 22nd of September 1669 he rented a parcel of land from Henri Bréeau de Pominville in Lauzon. Today it is a part of Saint-David-de-l'Auberivière. Two months later, on November 19, in the presence of R. Becquet, Notary, he signed a marriage contract with Marie Marchand, daughter of Louis Marchand and Françoise Morineau. This family had just arrived in Canada in the summer of 1669. The marriage was celebrated five months later, on the 30th of April 1670 in the church of Notre-Dame de Québec.

During his lifetime, Laurent owned many properties on the coast of Lauzon, one of which was passed down the generations until 1925. During the celebration of the tricentenary of Québec city in 1908, the family of Joseph Levasseur received a medal of honor for still living on the ancestral land.


John Vasseur and Catherine Mallen

James and Severine Vasseur had three children, Mathilde, John and William. William never married, and is buried beside his parents in the Assumption Church cemetery in Grand Falls.
Mathilde married a gentleman by the name of Joseph Crozier, and had at least two children (according to my records).

John "Jack" Napoloeon Vasseur was born on September 3, 1877 in Grand Falls, Victoria, Canada. He was a carpenter by profession and a musician by hobby. In his diary, he apparently talks about his own shop and tools, and also working for the town of Grand Falls. He built houses and buildings, worked on the bridge and at the church, and built furniture, some of which his descendants still have. He writes in his diary about having formed an orchestra.

The Vasseur brothers ran a dance hall in Grand Falls.

Here are two photos of John:

John was married to Catherine "Kate" Mallen. Kate was born on August 31, 1883 in Van Buren, Maine, to Lawrence Mallen and Marie Roberge. We don't know much about Lawrence and Marie, except that Lawrence was of Irish descent. We have limited information about their parents, Kate's grandparents.

Kate was well loved by everyone, and referred to her husband as "my John." Kate was pregnant 14 times. Her oldest child was Sadie Stella Vasseur (1902-1987), my great grandmother. In her old age, Kate liked to braid rugs and was cared for by family until she moved to a nursing home in St. Basile, New Brunswick.

Catherine "Kate" Mallen

John Vasseur's children, at a family reunion around 1980. Isn't that Sadie on the left?

I found most of this information here and the photos here. Both sites are great resources.