Sunday, February 9, 2014

Alfred Esdras Blagdon (born 1866) and the Blagdon Family in Quebec and Ontario

Alfred Esdras Blagdon in about 1885-1890.
The Blagdon family of Quebec and Ontario may go back to Dorset, England. It is not clear whether they have a connection to the many Blagdons who settled in Newfoundland. The name is often confused with similar-sounding surnames like Blackton.

The earliest certain ancestor of Alfred Esdras Blagdon, father of Margaret (Blagdon) Hood, is Edmund Blagdon, born about 1785, possibly in Dorset. In 1812, he married Priscille Piuze, who was born on August 30, 1791, daughter of doctor Liveright Piuze and Marie Anne Aubut. (Liveright Piuze is credited as being the first Polish-born settler in Canada, who left considerable records of his eventful life.) Here is her baptismal record:

Their marriage license states that: "Edmund Blagdon, Master of the Schooner Harriet, aged about twenty-six years, and Priscilla Peuze of Quebec spinster, aged about twenty-one years, were joined in marriage by License from His Excellency Sir George Prevost at Quebec this twenty-fourth day of July one thousand eight hundred [...] by Alex Spark miss. witn: Edmund Blagdon, Priscile Piuze, ChP H. Gauvreau, R. Piuze - Presbyterian, Saint Andrew`s Church" (available in the Drouin Collection). The couple had several children, including François Edmond, Émelie, Élisabeth, Marie Flavie and John.

Ship Arrivals at the Port of Quebec for 1827 list a Blagdon as master of the schooner Cornelia, laden with rum and sugar coming from St. John, New Brunswick.

When he was about 50, Edmund made an (unsuccessful) attempt to become lighthouse keeper on Anticosti Island. The original version of his petition is deposited in the Canadian National Archives in Ottawa. It reads: "Québec 10 October 1835: Edmund Blagdon prays the appointment of Keeper of the Light House on the East End of the Island of Anticosti (answered by Litt & Sutter, 21 Oct.). To His Excellency, The Right Honourable Archibald, Earl of Godford, Captain General and Governor in Chief, in aug (?) over the Province of Lower Canada, The Petition of Edmund Blagdon of Québec, Master Mariner – Humbly Shreweth, that for the last Twenty Years, Your Petitioner has sailed, in the capacity of Master of a Vessel, out of the Port of Québec; that from his long experience at sea, Your Petitioner is well acquainted with the nature of the duties of a Light House Keeper; that understanding that no keeper has, as yet been appointed to the Light House on the East End of the Island of Anticosti, Your Petitioner respectfully presents himself as a Candidate for the situation, and in so doing, ventures to solicit the favorable consideration, by Your Excellency, of the testimonial herewith transmitted, and in duty bound, he will ever stay (Québec, 10th Oct 1835) Edmund Blagdon."

Edmund Blagdon's signature on his petition to become a lighthouse keeper shows he was at ease with a pen.
A note in the Colonial Gazette (July 5, 1845) reads: "The case of Thomas White was first gone into, and the ship's articles having been put in, and the contract proved in the ordinary way, Mr. Pelham said he was instructed to resist the demand, on the ground that White was utterly incompetent, as a seaman – remark which would apply equally to the eight other men, and formed the chief ground of defence. Mr. Edmund Blagdon, chief mate of the Erin, said that White told him two days after he came on hoard that he was ill, and could do no work. White was no seaman, and was quite useless. The complainant said lhe hurt his legs by falling over a gun, but at the same time admitted that he had been in the hospital, and could do very little work. Mr. Broderip dismissed the case."

Edmund Blagdon died before 1862; the legend is that this ship's captain drowned in a stream.

Edmond Blagdon (1817-1902)

Edmond Blagdon
Edmund Blagdon's son François Edmond was born on February 25, 1817 in Rivière-Ouelle, Quebec.

On February 13, 1844, he married Marie Obelinne Lemieux at Notre Dame de Quebec in Quebec City.

The 1851 Canada Directory for Rivière Ouelle lists "Edmond Blagdon: general store". The 1852 Census lists him as a merchant living with his wife and their fisrt child, daughter Sara.

The Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Quebec (Volume 1, p. 400-401) contain an anecdote in a statement of Henri Garon, Returning Officer for the County of Kamouraska, February 13, 1868 regarding a violent incident about an election that had been set for August 1868. "I believe that there were more than two thousand persons present at the village of Kamouraska on the day fixed for the election. [...] The group of rioters who attacked my house was large, and contained at least a hundred persons, with a ringleader at their head [...] Up to the time of the commission of the acts of violence detailed in my report, I did not think that the threats of violence of which I have before spoken would be carried out, but after the said acts of violence occurred, and when I heard on my return home from the hustings, that two persons, Louis Desjardins and Edmond Blagdon, supporters of Mr. Chapais, whom I had seen in the course of the day, had been mortally wounded, I became convinced that the information I had received respecting these threats was well-founded. I saw these persons myself on the same day, subsequent to my hearing that they were mortally wounded. Desjardins appeared to me to be in a very precarious position. The priest and the doctor had been sent for to him, and I myself was set to act, in my capacity of notary in the settlement of his family affairs. I have seen him since. He told me that he was pretty well, but that he could not work. He was not prevented from working,but he could not work so well. I have seen Blagdon, the other man that was wounded, since, and he is pretty well.

In fact, Edmond Blagdon did not die until April 29, 1902, at Fort Coulonge, Pontiac, Quebec.

Edmond Blagdon was father to six children:
This 1902 photo from the Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent is captioned "Alexandre Lebel". Does it show a 51-year-old Sara Jane Blagdon?  
  • Rosanna, an invalid who died young, according to Margaret Hood. Perhaps she is the "Rose" Blagdon listed in the 1901 Census of Canada, living in Lévis, Quebec as a "pensionnaire" at the age of 49 in a home with about 30 other "pensionnaires, age 9 to 89. Her birthdate is given in that document as April 26, 1852.

  • This image from 1903 shows Télesphore Blagdon, his wife, her mother, their adopted daughter, Corinne, and the dog, Mignonne. 
  • Louis Télesphore Blagdon, born about 1856, married Isabelle Levesque (born in 1871). The couple adopted a girl named Corinne Florence Claire Blagdon (born in 1906; there seems to be another photo of her in the Musée du Bas-St-Laurent, which has quite a few Blagdon photos. She may have married a Jean-Louis Tarte and lived to be about 95). In 1919, as an employee  of the Clarendon Hotel (which still exists – it is the oldest in Quebec City), Télesphore died in an accident after being caught between the floor and the cage of an elevator at work.
  • Oscar: married Mary Louise O'Leary and had children named Cecilia, Gabrielle, Edmond Oscar Tom, O'Leary, Frederick and Louis.
  • Alfred Esdras (see below)
  • Wilhemina: Margaret Hood remembered her as a "smart cookie" who moved to the New York area to teach French.

Alfred Esdras Blagdon (1866-about 1937)

Alfred Blagdon was born on March 17, 1866 in Lévis, Quebec. 

He traveled to Montana and other parts of the U.S. as a schoolteacher in the late 1880s or early 1990s when a depression caused many Quebeckers to leave their home province. By 1892 he had returned to Toronto to work as a stenographer at the Gendron Manufacturing Company, where he met the Sauriol brothers and their sister Eugenie, whom he married in 1893.

Alfred and Eugenie Blagdon at 430 Summerhill in Toronto with granddaughter Barbara.
After their marriage the Blagdon family moved to Sturgeon Falls. Alfred worked in a shoe store, possibly called Hewittson Shoes for some years. He was always interested in making things. In 1908 and 1909, he tried to patent a design for gas burners. In the 1920s, the Sturgeon Falls area became logged out, the town “went bust”, and virtually everyone was forced to go on relief. The Blagdons returned to Toronto around 1930.

This seems to be a photograph of Alfred Blagdon with one of his grandsons, Alex or Hugh, possibly at Centre Island in Toronto.
In Toronto, Alfred Blagdon evidently took a great deal of pleasure in his grandchildren. He was remembered for his skills as a woodworker; he made intricate treasure boxes for the children, and also painted pictures. He died around 1937 in Toronto. His last words were “How’s little Alex?”, of his grandson.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Léandre Sauriol (ca 1826-1897) and Olympe Bergeron

This tintype (a photographic print on metal) of Léandre Sauriol and Olympe Bergeron was in the possession of Charles Sauriol and became part of the collection he bequeathed to Toronto Archives. It seems, judging from the clothing and their ages, to have been taken in the late 1860s or possibly 1870s, and is heavily retouched. Charles Sauriol thought, after examining the image, that Léandre might have had false teeth.
North Americans with the  family name of Sauriol are descended from Pierre Sorieul, who was born in Rennes, France on April 15, 1675, the son of Guillaume Sorieul (born about 1650) and Nicole Jourdain. He came to New France before 1701 as a soldier of the Compagnies franches de la Marine and was nicknamed "Pierre Sorieul dit Sansoucy" ("carefree"). Pierre Sorieul married Marie-Madeleine Plouf at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Montreal on August 25, 1718, and two years later took up a farm in what is now known as Côte Vertu, a district of Montreal. They had many children, and he died on April 17, 1748.

The image on the left reconstructs the outfit of a soldier of the Compagnies franche de la Marine dressed for winter about the time that Pierre Sorieul came to Canada. The more idealized one on the right dates from 1757.

Quickly tracing the connection to the Hood family, Pierre's son Louis Sauriol (1727-1805) married Marie-Josephte Couvret in 1751, in Saint-Martin, Quebec (now part of Laval), where the family lived for several generations. Their son Louis-Charles Sauriol (1753-1834) married Marie-Clémence Taillefer in 1774; they in turn had a son named Jean-Baptiste Sauriol who married Judith Cédillot Montreuil in 1804.

Incidentally, much of this information was collected by a Quebec priest named Timothée Sauriol in his Notes genéalogiques sur les familles Sauriol et Brien dit Desrochers, which is available on microfilm and in an original copy at the Toronto Reference Library. There are also print directories of vital records for the Saint-Martin area, and with the release of the Drouin Collection of Quebec records through, the original birth, marriage and death records for most of these families are now universally available.

Jean-Baptiste's son Léandre Sauriol (pictured at the top of this post) was born about 1826 in Saint-Martin. He married Olympe Bergeron (born sometime after 1833) there on August 9, 1852. By 1855 the couple had moved to Williamstown, Ontario. They had a big family, and several of their sons became machinists and moved to Toronto, where they found work with the Gendron manufacturing company, which assembled electric railway cars; it also became known for its baby carriages.

The sad story is that the older couple came to Toronto to visit the younger generation in April 1897 and stayed at a rooming house or hotel on Parliament near Dundas. Not being familiar with gas lighting, they "blew out the candle" at bedtime and were both asphyxiated. They're buried at St. Michael's Cemetery at St. Clair and Yonge.

Most of the family members had nicknames, so it's difficult to match official records with verbal recollections, but it seems likely that they had 12 children, who were:

1. Herma, born about 1834, who died around the age of 24.
2. Prime (1855-1940), who married, moved to Toronto and had about six children. He made furniture.
3. Marie-Louise Josephine (1857-1943), known as Josephine, who married James (Jim) Duffy and moved to the US. She also had a large family.
4. Elisabeth (born about 1859), known as Aunt Liz, who married John Charles McKinnon in Pembroke, Ontario. She had about eight children;  however all but one apparently died in a single week during the Spanich Flu epidemic, after which she vowed to wear black for the rest of her life. She was employed at what was then called the Workman's Compensation Board, and also served as the organist at Sacré-Coeur Church for 45 years. Incidentally, her sole remaining son, Charlie, is said to have felt compelled to satisfy his mother's wish to have at least one child enter the priesthood and so dutifully went through ordination.

Here's the formidable Aunt Liz, all in black at a beach outing (perhaps in Toronto?) with Barbara and Hugh Hood, so in the early 1930s when she was in her early 70s.

    Aunt Liz's son Charlie McKinnon
    5. Arthur (born about 1860) may have been the one known as "Uncle Bun". In his 30s, he was a cutter at the Toronto File Company. He died relatively young.

    6. Joseph (born about 1864) left home at 12 and worked as a blacksmith in Cornwall, then as a dredgeman on the Tey Canal at Perth, Ontario. He was also engineer at Gendron from about 1891 to 1924, then worked as a maintenance man at St. Mary's Hospital on Jarvis Street in Toronto, under the Soeurs de la Misericorde. His son Charles said "My father never earned more than $30 a week, and when he died he owned four houses. He owned number 11, number 13 and number 15 Munro, and 388 Leslie Street." His children were Eugene, Marie, Joseph, Marguerite, Harry, Leon and Charles.

    Joseph Sauriol senior at centre with four of his sons. I think they may be (left to right) Leon, Harry, Charles and Eugene. Charles is certainly second from the right, and I believe this may be taken at his  home off Broadview at the edge of the Don Valley. Copy from a photo collection lent to me by Charles Sauriol in the 1980s and now likely with Toronto Archives.

    Marie Sauriol with friends.  Copy from a photo collection lent to me by Charles Sauriol in the 1980s and now likely with Toronto Archives.

    Marie Sauriol dressing up in WWI uniform (possibly her brother's kit?) on Valentine's Day, 1918.  Copy from a photo collection lent to me by Charles Sauriol in the 1980s and now likely with Toronto Archives.
      Harry Sauriol home from WWI at 13 Munro Street in Toronto.  Copy from a photo collection lent to me by Charles Sauriol in the 1980s and now likely with Toronto Archives. Here's his military Attestation, by the way.
    7. Léandre-Henry, who died at the age of three.
    8. David Vital (1867-1930), known as "Uncle Bay”, also worked for the Gendron Co. as a carriage frame builder. In 1901 he started with the Toronto Railway Co., where he was an electrician and carpenter. He lived at 181 Erskine Street in Toronto from 1913 until at least 1924. He also married and had children.
    9. Nedia or Nidina or Nydia (born in 1869), known as Aunt Need, who lived to be about 100. She married Thomas-John Hawkins, had two daughters, and moved to the US.
    10. Eugenie
    11. Jean-Marie (1874-1905), probably the one known as "Dolor". He was a machinist at Gendron from 1899 to 1905, but died of tuberculosis at the age of 31 and is buried close to his parents in Toronto.
    12. James (born in 1877), known as Uncle Jim, worked at Gendron as a machinist until 1914, then began to work for a taxicab company. Among his children, his daughter Albina maintained a long relationship with Margaret Blagdon.
    Sauriol ladies and possibly Eugene Sauriol in Toronto in the 1920s. Second from right may be Aunt Liz. It's interesting to see how the youngest woman (Marie?) is dressed in full 1920s fashion, while the older women are more or less still hanging on to the the sensibilities of the Edwardian era. Copy from a photo collection lent to me by Charles Sauriol in the 1980s and now likely with Toronto Archives.

    Monday, February 3, 2014

    Eugenie (Sauriol) Blagdon (1871-1963)

    Eugenie Sauriol was born in Williamstown, Ontario on December 11, 1871. This picture from the McCord Museum in Montreal is supposed to be of a Eugenie Sauriol. It's supposed to date from 1867, but could it be the same person?

    On February 22, 1892, she married Alfred Esdras Blagdon at Sacre-Coeur Parish in Toronto, whom she had met through her brothers, who were working at the Gendron carriage manufactury. These two pictures were taken at the same studio and in the same outfit. They were quite possibly taken around the time of her engagement and wedding, when she would have been 22. Her only child, Marguerite Cecil Blagdon, was born in 1899.

    She was the seventh child in a big family, with whom she was very close. Her siblings were Prime, Marie-Louise Josephine, Arthur, Elisabeth, Joseph, David Vital, Nydia, Julia, Dolor, Maria and James. In these first two pictures, she's at the Toronto home of Joseph (Joe). On the left are (standing) Aunt Liz (Elisabeth) and (seated) Mrs. Joe Sauriol and Eugenie, to whom she was known as "Aunt Jen".

    The photo on the right shows (left to right) Joe's son Charles Sauriol, a noted Toronto naturalist), Aunt Liz, Eugenie, another Sauriol and (seated) Mrs. and Mr. Joseph Sauriol. This may have been in one of several houses Joseph Sauriol owned on Munroe Street near Queen and Broadview in Toronto. Maybe about 1915-1920?

    This would seem to be her daughter Margaret's graduation in 1917.

    Here's a nice one with daughter Margaret, Aunt Liz and Eugenie. Some of these images may be in Toronto; others may be in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, where she lived for some time with her husband. One gets the idea from these pictures that people in the 1920s spent a good deal of time sitting and standing about in gardens.

     Here's the birth of her first grandchild, Barbara, in 1925.

     And another with Barbara, perhaps in 1926?

    In 1940, she filled out the National Registration, in which she reported that she was widowed and living at 121 Guestville Avenue in Toronto. Among other personal information, she wrote that she could speak both English and French, that she had had both primary and secondary education, and that she had been working as a housekeeper for “Father McCool” for ten months (also that she could “do plain cooking”).

    Here she is in April 1957 at the wedding of her grandson Hugh, next to her granddaughter Barbara.

    She died in Toronto on September 9, 1963, at the age of 91.

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

    Margaret (Blagdon) Hood (1899-1974)

    Welcome to Sarah's Genalogical Photo Digitization Project. I've decided it's about time to start scanning some images and getting them online to document and share them. First, some pictures of Marguerite Cecile Blagdon, born in Sturgeon Falls on January 14, 1896. (She would later change her name to "Margaret Cecil".)

    Here she is as a baby in her mother Eugenie (Sauriol) Blagdon's arms, August 8, 1896:

    Here, perhaps five or six years old, perhaps about 1905, in ringlets and a pretty lace dress with a sash.

    These pictures are labelled 1907, which would make her 11. I don't know who the little boy in the fourth frame is.

    A very pretty shot in full Edwardian fashion, possibly just before the start of WWI.

    She graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. from University College in 1916 and afterwards worked for two years in New York, for the Royal Bank and steno pool of Standard Oil of New Jersey. This shot seems likely to be a graduation picture, which would make her 20.

    This is certainly her official graduation portrait. Very glad to have scanned this one, as it's starting to get sparkly in the way of images that are starting to disappear.

    I can't guess a date for these happy, casual shots, but they looks as though it might belong to the time in her early 20s, before she got married, around 1918 to 1920.

    She married Alexander Bridport Hood on August 23, 1924 in Sturgeon Falls. I believe this portrait was taken around the time of her engagement, so she would be about 26 or 27.

    The couple took up residence in Toronto, but before and after her marriage, she did quite a bit of travelling, to Sturgeon Falls, to visit her husband's family in and around Shelburne, Nova Scotia, and to New York and Montreal, among other places. She lived for a little while on Centre Island in Toronto. I have more images from this period, which I hope to post later.

    Meanwhile, some undated pictures from probably the early 1920s, including one with her mother. Did I mention she seems to have been a bit of a clotheshorse? look at those furs! And the many hats! My mother informs me that Margaret's sister-in-law Augusta always said she was had been envious of Margaret's lovely clothes, informed by her New York experiences, whenever she visited her in the relative backwater of Shelburne, Nova Scotia

    Here she is with her parents (Eugenie and Alfred Blagdon, on the upper steps), her husband and her first child, Barbara, most probably in the summer of 1926 (because Barbara was born in August 1925). The are on the front steps of the family home at 430 Summerhill in Toronto. I like that she looks exactly like one of James Thurber's drawings of women here.

    I believe this is about 1926 as well, a summer trip to the Shelburne area.

    Some stylish shots from the '50s; she liked to wear fine beaded hairnets around this period. She was also never without a pack of Chiclets. |These first twoshow the same dress, but I think on different occasions. The one on the right is her son Hugh's graduation in the mid-'50s, taken at the University of Toronto with University College in the background.

    Cat, book, cigarettes, tea... all's right with the world, apparently.

    A four-generation picture taken around December 1961, at a 90th birthday celebration for Eugenie Blagdon. It shows Eugenie (seated), Margaret (holding baby), her daughter Barbara (right). The baby is Barbara's daughter. The dark-haired woman at left is family friend Jeanie Hersenhoren.

    I believe this is the latest picture I have of her, somewhat overexposed, from a 75th birthday celebration held for her. My mother did her hair for this event. Margaret Blagdon Hood died not long after, on July 1, 1974, in Toronto, at the age of 78.