Juliette and Agathe were my maternal grandmother and great-aunt, respectively. Their parents Joseph and Olivine (Hotte) Beauvais married in August 1897 in Hartwell (now Chénéville), Papineau County, Quebec.
Juliette, born on 30 June 1901 in Chénéville, was the third child and eldest daughter. Agathe, who was born on 3 March 1918 in nearby Montpellier, was the thirteenth child and second youngest daughter. They had twelve brothers and two sisters. Twenty-three years separated the oldest child Ovide from the youngest, fraternal twins Jean-Marie and Jean-Paul.
The Beauvais children were raised mostly in Montpellier, a village in the Laurentian Hills in Papineau County, in southwestern Quebec. Their father Joseph was a farmer and woodcutter. About 1922, the family moved to the quaintly named village of Moonbeam, in northern Ontario. Four years later, mother Olivine died in June 1926 of ‘cardiac asthenia’ (Da Costa’s syndrome).
A few months before her mother’s death, Juliette married Eugène Desgroseilliers on 18 August 1925 in Moonbeam. They were blessed with nine children: Noël (who died at birth), Mariette, Madeleine, Simone, Marianne (who died young), Jacqueline (my Mom), Gaston (he died when he was six years old), Normande, and Jeanne d’arc. After living in northern Ontario and northwestern Quebec for a few years, Eugène and Juliette settled in Blue Water, near Sarnia, Ontario in 1942.
Juliette (left) and Agathe (right) pose on a staircase in the above photo. The handwriting on the back of the picture says “à Hearst vers 1930” [in Hearst about 1930]. I doubt that the year is correct, because Agathe would have been only 12 years old. If the location is correct, though, the photo dates more likely to the mid-1930s, because Juliette, her husband and their children lived in Hearst, west of Moonbeam, until about 1936, when they moved to Rouyn, Quebec.
On 25 March 1940, Agathe married Lucien Larouche in Val d’Or, Abitibi District, Quebec. Their marriage registration gives their occupation as bonne (maid) for Agathe and mineur (miner) for Lucien. The couple had eight children: Renée, Gaston, Blandine, Gérard, Laurier, a son (who died soon after birth), Elisabeth, and Christian.
In 1948, Juliette became ill. She had advanced cancer of the pancreas. Within a few months of the diagnosis, she died in hospital in Sarnia on 14 August 1948, four days before her 23rd wedding anniversary.
Agathe survived her sister by eight years. She died suddenly from a blood clot after giving birth to a son on 30 December 1956. My Mom and Dad were visiting her sister Madeleine in Kirkland Lake at the time. Mom recalls that she was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom at Aunt Madeleine’s house when Dad woke her to break the news. Mom cried because Agathe, her godmother, was her favorite aunt.
Copyright © 2016, Yvonne Demoskoff.