Friday, August 08, 2014

52 Ancestors: #32 Pierre Desgroseilliers, buried and reburied

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small has issued herself and her readers a challenge for 2014. It’s called “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks”, and as Amy explains, the challenge is to “have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor”.

For the 32nd week of this challenge, I chose Pierre Desgroseilliers (1841-1904).

Pierre is my maternal great-great-grandfather and is number 24 in my ancestor list.

He was born on 11 June 1841 in Ste-Martine, Châteauguay County, Quebec. [1] He was the seventh child and third son of François Desgroseilliers by his wife Elisabeth (Isabelle) Lemieux. On 7 November 1865, Pierre married Flavie Lepage in St-Chrysostôme, also in Châteauguay County. [2] The couple had thirteen children – seven sons and six daughters – between 1866 and 1890. The family moved to the relative wilderness area known as Grand Brûlé, now St-Charles, south of present-day Sudbury, Ontario, in the late 1890s.

A little over a year ago, I wrote an article about determining when Pierre died. I wanted to show that he couldn’t have died in 1901 as seen in a local history book that was published in 1945. [3] You can read about it here in Proof Summary: Pierre Desgroseilliers’ Death Date.

That publication might have been wrong about Pierre’s date of death, but it also had interesting details about his life in St-Charles.

For example, Pierre was the “premier villageois” (first villager) in that community, although he wasn’t the first inhabitant in the area. [4] In 1901, Reverend Father Charles Langlois, the curate of nearby Verner, occasionally celebrated Mass at Pierre’s house, located on Lot 12, Concession 1 in Dunnet. [5] A few years later, Pierre was one of three men who chose the site for the new church, after the two earlier chapels were destroyed by fire in 1900 and 1903, respectively. [6]

One particularly interesting item stands out in the text, though.

View of a cemetery

The first Roman Catholic cemetery in St-Charles was located close to the first chapel built in 1900, on a small hillside shaded by tall willow trees. [7]

There was a problem with the land, though: it didn’t drain well. A committee decided to relocate the cemetery on a new plot of land. Accordingly, the coffins from the first cemetery were exhumed and moved to the new location. Pierre Desgroseilliers was among the souls who were relocated. [8]

Unfortunately, this second location proved just as difficult to drain, so much so, that it wasn’t unusual to see coffins floating to the surface. And so, a third location was considered in 1939, but in the end, the parish kept the current cemetery, having levelled it and drained it. [9]

And that’s how my great-great-grandfather Pierre Desgroseilliers was buried and reburied.

Image source: Microsoft Clip Art.


1. Ste-Martine (Ste-Martine, Quebec), parish register, 1841, p. 21 verso, entry no. B.8115, Pierre Desgroseilliers baptism, 12 June 1841; Ste-Martine parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 24 August 2007).

2. St-Chrysostôme (St-Chrysostôme, Quebec), parish register, 1865, p. 27 verso, entry no. M.26, Desgroseilliers – Lepage marriage, 7 November 1865; St-Chrysostôme parish; digital image, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967”, ( : accessed 24 August 2007).

3. Lionel Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles (Saint-Charles, Ont., 1945: 232); digital images, Our Roots ( : accessed 18 June 2013).

4. Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles, 129. The townships of Appleby, of Jennings and of Casimir, known as St-Charles, were established as a municipality in 1908.

5. Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles, 342.

6. Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles, 43-45. The other two men were Reverend Father Charles Langlois and Antoine Chaloux.

7. Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles, 51.

8. Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles, 52. To view Pierre's gravemarker, click on image "desgros2" at St Charles Cemetery (Dunnet Township).

9. Séguin, Historique de la paroisse Saint-Charles, 52.

Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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