November 11, 2013

Honoring All Who Served

We have quite a few relatives who served in various wars.  Because of the service of my ggg grandfather, Michel Bourque/Burke who fought under Jonathan Eddy to retake Fort Cumberland, I am a Daughter of the American Revolution.

My father-in-law, Philip/Fillipo Consentino served in the Navy in WWI.  Imagine being on those ships in the early 1900s!

My husband Anthony A. Consentino followed in his father's footsteps and also served in the Navy as the Korean Conflict was winding down.  A musician, he played in the Navy Band in Washington, D.C., Kodiak, Alaska, New York attaining rank of Musician First Class, Solo Clarinetist, Lead Alto Saxophone, Director of the Dance Band.  He holds a Bachelor degree in Music Education from Lowell State College which is today University of Massachuetts, a Master of Music from Boston University and is a graduate of the Navy School of Music.

I have many cousins who served in various branches of the military during WWII.  They were all older than me but I remember well seeing them in their uniforms.  Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force.  My brother-in-law served in the Air Force and made a career of it.

Today, I would like to share with you my father's service as well as my research on his service so I could document as much as possible the role he played in World War I.

My father served proudly in World War I. He was a Wagoner in the 26th Yankee Division - 102nd Supply Company.

On April 13, 2002 I went to Hartford, Connecticut with our daughter Sarah who was attending a workshop. While she went to the workshop, I went to the Hartford Public Library. I found an old book entitled: "Service Records Connecticut Men and Women in the Armed Forces of the United States during World War 1917 - 1920" published by the Office of the Adjutant General, State Armory, Hartford, Connecticut. What a find!

This book contains the names of all who served in the military from the various Connecticut cities and towns. In the Hartford portion on page 1204, my father is listed as follows:

"WHITE, GEORGE C. 66,586, White - Hartford, Conn. - Enlisted NG Hartford, Conn, June 7, 1917. Br (born) New Bedford, Mass, 21 yrs. Sup Co 1 Inf CNG (Sup Co 102nd) to disch (discharge). Wag (wagoner) June 8, 1917. AEF (American Expeditionary Forces) Nov 13, 1917 to Apr 7, 1919. Hon disch (Honorable discharge) Apr 29, 1919." (My father had changed his LeBlanc name to White until he asked my mother to marry him.)

The 26th Yankee Division returned from France in April 1919 and was demobilized in May 1919 at Camp Devens, Massachusetts. Thanks to the Zazzle Company I have a photo of the demobilization.

The 26th INFANTRY DIVISION -- The YANKEE Division in WWI and WWII. Formed by the assimilation of dozens of militia units from throughout New England, the 26th was first assembled as the 26th Infantry Division in August 1917 and was thus called the Yankee Division. The heroic 26th achieved fame at Belleau, St. Miihiel, Verdun and the Marne.

During WWI Wagoners were like truck drivers. The name Wagoner is a hold over from the old horse days. Wagoners drove trucks that supplied the battery with ammunition, powder and other supplies that the battery needed.

World War I Draftees were registered on 5 June 1917, on 5 Jun 1918 and on 12 September 1918. This draft included males 21 to 30 who were not already serving in the military, regardless of their declared nationality. Men older than 30 and younger than 21 sometimes registered for the draft, but their registration was not required. 

On my father's tombstone at Veterans' Lot at Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Lawrence, Massachusetts we read the following:

George C. LeBlanc - Massachusetts - Wagoner 102 INF 26 DIVISION - World War I - September 30, 1896 - September 6, 1956. Though the tombstone says "Massachusetts" he was living in Hartford when he enlisted and was living there when discharged.
Thanks to my mother, today I am proud to have my father's Victory Medal with four clasps. The clasps represent the Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne and Defensive Sector offensives.

I was able to find an image of the WWI Victory Medal online and post here so you can see what it looked like. This one has only two claps versus the four my father's medal has.

My father never talked about his experiences in the war and it seems like none of the servicemen from that era did. It was indeed one of the worse wars but then, all wars are the worse.

As I child I remember playing with his helmet he had kept. I've often wondered whatever became of that. Of course, I am also very fortunate to have my father's World War I enlistment and discharge papers. These papers tell their own story as to my father's service. I never realized just how fortunate I was to have these papers until I wrote to the Military asking for a new copies since these are beginning to fade. The response was that my father's military records had burned in a fire some years ago when many military records were also destroyed. What a loss!  Recently there has been news that the records are being reconstructed.  That would be great.

To all of our Veterans, whatever war they fought in or whether they served during peace time, we are forever grateful. They have been and are our watchful Warriors who fight for the freedoms we continue to enjoy. It is just sad that all peoples around the world do not treasure freedom as we do - it is so precious!

If you know or meet a Vet, thank him or her for their service.

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

February 27, 2013

Four LeBlanc Brothers - Do You Descend From Any of Them?

Some time ago a long lost cousin who found me through my Family Tree Maker site sent me the above photo hoping that I could identify the four people in it.

Actually, they are four LeBlanc brothers.  I think the fellow to the far right is my uncle Albert LeBlanc but I cannot be positive. 

There were five brothers living when this photo was taken.  Two had died in the early 1900s and one is missing from this photo.  

The five living brothers were Joseph Edmond born 1888, Frederick (Fred) born 1889, Albert born 1891, my father George born 1896 and Henri born 1901.

George is my father but of course, I did not know him when he was this young and I didn't know any of my LeBlanc uncles (most unfortunately!).  

If anyone can identify this photo please let me know. It will mean we are related.

These four LeBlanc brothers were the children of my grandparents Damien S. LeBlanc and OdilleDoiron.

If you descend from this family, we are closely related and I would love to hear from you. The family name was changed to White.

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
July 2011 - Present

January 20, 2013

As told by George Gale ~ Published in 1923

Jacques Cartier, a famous sea captain of St. Malo, France, the discoverer of Canada, sailed up the majestic St. Lawrence in 1535, and wintered his fleet of three small sailing vessels, the "Grande Hermine", the "Petite Hermine" and the "Emerillon" at the mouth of the stream still known as the Lairet - named after a pioneer settler of Charlesbourg - which flows into the St. Charles river, now within the limits of the city. It was Jacques Cartier who named a bay on the north shoreof the gulf, which he entered on the feast of St. Laurent, August 10, "Baye Saint Laurent", translated St Lawrence. It was not until 1608 that Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec and built his "Abitation" or fort in the Lower Town, directly below Dufferin Terrace. The Recollet monks, the first French missionaries in Canda, arrived in 1615. It ws on the 20th July, 1629, that the Kirkes captured Quebec from the French in the name of King Charles I of England, who held it until the 13th July 1632, when it was restored to the Crown of France, who remained in possession of the colony until 1759, when it again fell into the hands of the British following Wolfe's siege of Quebec and the battle of the Plains of Abrahan on the 13th September of the last mentioned year. In all, France ruled the country for over one hundred and fifty years, while the flag of Engand has waved over the lofty Cape Diamond continuously for one hundred and sixty-four years [as of 1920s].

The following is a list of the historic tables in Quebec in the 1920s together with the inscriptions and where located according to George Gale:

1613: In the playground of the Quebec Seminary: "Here stood the house of Guillaume Couillard, employé of the Company of the Hundred Associates, who arrived in Quebec in 1613 and who died on the 4th of March, 1663."

1615: On the face of building at corner of Sous-le-Fort and Little Champlain streets (foot of Breakneck Steps): - "The approximate site of the first chapel erected in Quebec by Champlain in 1615. It was destroyed by fire during the occupation of Quebec by the Kirkes from 1629 to 1632."

1620: Beside the Upper-Lower Town elevator office on the Terrace - "Here stood the Fort and Chateau St. Louis. The Fort was erected in the year 1620; within its walls the founder of Quebec died on December 25th, 1635. The Chateau was the residence of Governors of Canada. Begun by the Chevalier de Montmagny, reconstructed by Count de Frontenac, enlarged by Sir James Craig. This building was destroyed by fire on the 23rd of January, 1834".

1633: Outside of the gate leading to the Bishop's Palace at the top of Mountain Hill - "Here was erected, in 1633, the Church of Notre-Dame de Recouvrance under the direction and in fulfillment of a vow of Samuel de Champlain, first Governor of New France. Restored and enlarged in 1634. It was destroyed by fire on the 14th of June, 1640".

1635: On the front southeast corner of the City Hall - "On this site stood the Jesuits' College, founded in 1635. Destroyed by fire in 1640, rebuilt in 1647, considerably enlarged in 1725. It was occupied partly by British troops and public officers, from 1759 to 1776 as a barrack from 1776 to 1871, and finally demolished in 1877. The church attached to it, which extended towards Ste. Anne street, was erected in 1666 and demolished in 1807."

1639: On face of Blanchard's Hotel, opposite the front of the Notre-Dame des Victoires Church, Lower Town - "On this site stood in 1639 a house belonging to Noel Juchereau des Chatelets, which was the first residence of the Venerable Mother Marie de l'Incarnation and of the Ursuline Nuns in Quebec".

1640: At the corner of Garden and Anne streets, northwest corner of the English Cathedral grounds - "On this ground stood the trading house of the Company of the Hundred Associates. It served as a parish church after the burning down of Notre-Dame de Recouvrance on the 14th of June, 1640, and also served as a place of residence for the Jesuit Fathers from 1640 to 1657".

1644: Beside the Ursuline Chapel on Parlor street - "On this site stood the house of Madame de la Peltrie. It was built in 1644 and within it r esided for two years (1659-1661) Monseigneur de Laval, first Bishop of quebec. It was replaced by the present day-school of the Ursulines in 1836".

1650: On the northeast corner of the Court House, Place d'Armes - "This ground, which formerly extended to the east, and was occupied by the Seneschal's Court about the year 1650, became in 1681 the property of the Recollets, who erected on it a church and monastery which were destroyed by fire in 1796. The old Court House built at the beginning of the 19th century was also destroyed by fire in 1873, the present edifice taking the place shortly afterwards. The adjoining Anglican cathedral occupies part of the grounds once held by the Recollets".

1668: On the face of the Boswell Brewery Office at the foot of Plaace Hill, (Nicholas street) - "On this site the Intendant Talon erected a brewery in 1668 which was converted into a Palace for the intendants by M. de Meulles, in 1686. This building was destroyed by fire in 1713, reconstructed by M. Bégon; it was again damaged by fire in 1728, restored by M. Dupuys in 1729; it was finally destroyed during the siege of Quebec in 1775".

1686: On the hillside of the Chinic Hardware Co.'s building at the foot of Mountain Hill, (corner of St. Peter street) - "Here stood in 1681 the dwelling house of Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye, one of the most prominent merchants of quebec in the seventeenth century, the ancestor of the de Gaspé family".

1687: Half way down Mountain Hill (opposite Chabot's bookbindery) - "Within this enclosure was located the first graveyard of quebec, where interments were made from the early days of the Colony up to 1687".

1688: On Notre-Dame des Victoires Church, Lower Town - "This church, erected in 1688, under the name of L'Enfant Jésus, on the site of the old "King's Store", took the name of "Notre-Dame de la Victoire" in 1690, and of "Notre-Dame des Victoires" in 1711. The square in front of the church was used as the market place of Quebec during the French Regime and around it stood the residences of the principal merchants of that time. In the centre of the square in 1686, the Intendant Champigny erected a bronze bust of Louis XIV".

1690: On the fence of the garden at the upper end of Mont-Carmel street (up Haldimand street and to right on Mont-Carmel street) -"On this height, called Mont-Carmel, there stood in 1690 a stone windmill whereon was mounted a battery of three guns, and which served for a redoubt during the siege of Quebec by Phipps. It was called "Le Cavalier du Moulin'".

1691: On the wall of the Cartridge Factory, half way down Palace hill - "Here stood Palace, or St. Nicholas Gate, built in 1691, restroed successively in 1720 and 1790; it was rebuilt from 1823 to 1832, and finally demolished in 1874".

1692: Corner of St. Peter and Mountain Hill on the McCall & Shehyn Building, (northwest corner) - "On this site stood the convent of the Nuns of the Congregation, established by Sister Bourgeoys in 1692, and occupied by the said religious community up to 1842, when it removed to St. Roch".

1746: On the Marine Department Building, Champalin street - "In 1746, Louis SV, King of France, took possession of this area of ground in order to establish a new shipyard for the building of his vessels. Here stood the first custom House erected by the British Government in Quebec after the cession".

1758: Located on the Ramparts, between St. Flavien and Hamel streets, (previous residence of Sir Lomer Gouin, Premier of Quebec Province) - "On this site stood the house where Montcalm resided during the years of 1758 and 1759".

1775: On the Molson's Bank Building, Lower Town (St. James street, between St. Peter and Sault-au-Matelot streets - "Here stood her old and new defenders uniting, guarding, saving Canada, defeating Arnold at the Sault-au-Matelot barricade on the last day of 1775; Guy Carleton commanding at Quebec".

1775: tablet on the cliff above Champlain street, near Allan-Rae Steamship Company's Wharf - "Here stood the Undaunted Fifty safeguarding Canada, defeating Montgomery at the Pré-de-Ville barricade on the last day of 1775; Guy Carleton commanding at Quebec".

1776: On the Citadel Hill, not far from St. Louis street (right hand side going up) - "In this place was buried, on the 4th of January, 1776, along with his two aides-de-camp, McPherson and Cheeseman, and certain of his soldiers, Richard Montgomery, the American General who was killed during the attack on QAuebec on the 31st of December 1775. In 1818 his remains were exhumed and removed to the precincts of St. Paul's Church, New York".

1784: By the baggage office of the Chateau Frontenac, (St. Louis street) - "Here stood the Chateau Haldimand or Vieux Chateau, occupying part of the outworks of the Fort St. Louis. Begun in 1784, completed in 1787. this edifice was displaced by the erection of the pressent Chateaeu Frontenac in 1892".

1791: On the front of the "Kent House" at the corner of St. Louis and Haldimand streets - "This bilding was the residence of the Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria, during his stay in Quebec, from 1791 to 1794".

1797: On the new portion of the City Post Office, Mountain Hill (Table removed during construction of Post Office) - "Prescott Gate built in 1797; rebuilt 1815; torn down, 1871-1872".

1806: On the dwelling No. 22, Ferland Street - "Here was established in 1806, "Le Canadien", the first French newspaper published in Quebec".

1806: Corner of St. Flavien and Couillard streets, (no. 14 St. Flavien) - "In this house Francois-Xavier Garneau, the historian of Canada, lived for several years and here he died on the 3rd February 1866".

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Lucie's Legacy
Acadian Ancestral Home/Quebec
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

January 18, 2013

The Voyageurs - Fur Traders of Canada

Red River Expedition at Kakabeka Falls, Ontario
by Frances Anne Hopkins (1838-1919)
Hopkins Collection - National Archives of Canada C-002771

The first Europeans to cross the continent of North America came from East to West. They were the fur trade explorers of the North West and Hudson's Bay trading companies.

Traveling in birch bark canoes, they explored west from Hudson's Bay or Lachine, Quebec. 

Following the inland river and lake systems, and led by MacKenzie, Fraser and Thompson, they built trading posts, explored the waterways and created the first maps of those regions. These were the Voyageurs!

Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC)incorporated in England in 1670 hoping to find the northwest passage to the Pacific. Its object was also to occupy the lands surrounding Hudson’s Bay and carry on commerce and trade in those lands. The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) became the most powerful company in Canada, contributing significantly to the political and economic structure of the nation. During the first two hundred years of its existence the HBC engaged primarily in the fur trade industry by setting up fur trading outposts on all of the major waterways in the country in order to trade with the Native populations and gaining a monopoly in the industry after 1821. In 1870 the HBC sold its lands that consisted of all of Western Canada to the Government of Canada.

The Voyageurs typically spoke French, and were French Canadian from Quebec, or Métis. They were often employees of French, French-Canadian, or later British trading operations who traveled by canoe deep into uncharted North America to trade fur with the Native American peoples. The voyageurs typically interacted with the native peoples more closely than the settlers who were to follow in their footsteps. Many served as interpreters and guides for the French or the English.

During the struggle for supremacy in the fur trade in the late 18th century, the upstart North West Company challenged the more-established Hudson's Bay Company by employing a network of Voyageurs. Unlike the Hudson's Bay traders, who traditionally stayed inside coastal posts and required Natives to come to them, the Voyageurs roamed along the river valleys as far as present-day Oregon, doing business directly with the Natives. The success of the Voyageurs prompted a change in strategy by the Hudson's Bay Company, which began sending out its own expeditions into the continental interior.

In 1779, several of these operators formed the North West Company (NWC). The NWC was led by several businessmen, including Simon McTavish. By 1787, McTavish
controlled eleven of the company’s twenty shares. Among the other shareholders were Alexander Mackenzie, Simon Fraser, and Peter Pond, all fur traders and three of Canada’s best-known explorers.  The NWC became known for its bold and aggressive approach to business.

The company had twenty-three partners, but more than 2000 guides, interpreters, and voyageurs. McTavish and other Scots shareholders married French Canadian women and French Canadians played key roles in the company.

By July of 1821 a merger was forced upon the Northwest Company which resulted in their 97 posts and forts being amalgamated into the HBC system at the end of the great company. George Simpson became the new head of the HBC and their new head quarters was located in Lachine Quebec.

Shooting the Rapids
by Frances Anne Hopkins, artist, 1879

The canoe above was often referred to as a Montreal canoe or "canot du Maitre" and was most commonly used in the fur trade by voyageurs of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the late 1700s, at the peak of their use, they were built to carry as much as four tons of cargo, crew and provisions, and measured nearly 2m (6 feet) at their widest point.

Under normal conditions, a loaded canoe such as this was paddled by eight to twelve voyageurs. Over each of the many portages between Montreal and Lake Superior, only half of the crew was required to carry the emptied, inverted canoe, as the others began the arduous task of packing over its contents. Due to its large size, the range of the Montreal canoe was generally limited to the larger waterways and portages connecting the St. Lawrence valley, the Upper Great Lakes and the Mississippi. Large bark canoes were not an invention of the fur trade. The source of these particular great canoes was squarely rooted in the Algonquin tradition of bark canoe building. They were, in essence, an expanded or modified version supplied to meet the needs of these long-haul travelers. Accounts of large canoes appear in early European observations, but the awkwardness of these vessels on the smaller portages and canoe routes likely limited their traditional use.

The canoes themselves were built by Native men and women, as well as Metis and French builders. As such, the Montreal canoe came to bear, in many subtle ways, the influences of the people and cultures that produced them. Today, this great canoe has become an icon for that formative period in early Canadian history: the fur-trade era.

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino

History of Lawrence, MA - Immigrant Communities

Ste-Anne Parish Church, Lawrence, Massachusetts

Ste-Anne Church was located at the corner of Haverhill and Franklin Streets - the chapel was on Haverhill Street. This  is where my family as well as all French-Canadian immigrants  worshiped when they migrated to Lawrence from Quebec.   The church on the right of the street is where the parish began.  It was soon too small to accommodate the growing French-Canadian population.

Once the larger church was built under the leadership of  Father Forestier s.m.,  who was pastor at the time, the original parish church became a chapel for daily mass on the lower level and the upper lever was converted into a parish hall with stage and all where the parish school would hold its plays, graduations and all its events.

In yet later years, as the parish population began to purchase homes in the suburbs, the number of parishioners began to dwindle and Ste Anne Chapel was dismantled and became a second "hall" where parish meetings as well as other activities were conducted.   Eventually and many years later, the Marist Fathers who had ministered since the early 1900's no longer  had enough priests to continue on.  Ste Anne Parish would come to and end as would eventually Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Theresa and more recently Sacred Heart.  The Augustian Fathers took over ministry at St. Theresa's merging it with St. Augustine's of Lawrence renaming it Our Lady of Good Counsel.   Most recently, Diocesan priest have assumed its ministry.

Anyhow, that big beautiful church that was Ste Anne still stands empty today.  The Archdiocese in recent years finally removed all of the beautiful stained glass windows parishioners had sacrificed to obtain for their beautiful house of worship and those a now in storage.  There was a magnificent weather vane on top of the church and family oral history is that my grandfather and his brother climbed to the very top of that huge building to install it.  I have not been able to verify whether or not this is true.

Ever since I can remember, Lawrence was known as the  "Immigrant City."  Starting with the Irish in the 1840's, it has been home to numerous different immigrant communities, mostly arriving  during the great European immigration to America that ended in the 1920's. Since early 1970s, Lawrence has become home to a sizable Hispanic population, reaching over 68% of the population of Lawrence by 2006.

Immigrant communities, 1845–1920

Lawrence became home to large groups of immigrants from Europe, beginning with the Irish in 1845, Germans after the social upheaval in Germany in 1848, and French Canadians seeking to escape hard northern farm life from the 1850s onward. A second wave began arriving after 1900, as part of the great mass of Italian and Eastern European immigrants, including Jews from Russia, Poland, Lithuania and neighboring regions. Immigration to the United States was severely curtailed in the 1920's with the Immigration Act of 1924, when foreign born immigration to Lawrence virtually ceased for over 40 years. In 1890, the foreign-born population of 28,577 was comprised as follows, with the significant remainder of the population being children of foreign born residents: 7,058 Irish; 6,999 French Canadians; 5,131 English; 2,465 German; 1,683 English Canadian. In 1920, towards the end of the first wave of immigration, most ethnic groups had numerous social clubs in the city. The Portuguese had 2; the English had 2; the Jews had 3; the Armenians, 5; the Lebanese and Syrians, 6; the Irish, 8; the Polish, 9; the French Canadians and Belgian-French, 14; the Lithuanians, 18; the Italians, 32; and the Germans, 47.  However, the center of social life, even more than clubs or fraternal organizations, was churches. Lawrence is dotted with churches, many now closed, torn down or converted into other uses. These churches signify, more than any other artifacts, the immigrant communities that once lived within walking distance of each church.

The French Canadians

French Canadians were the second major immigrant group to settle in Lawrence. In 1872, they erected their first church, St. Anne’s, at the corner of Haverhill and Franklin Streets. Within decades, St. Anne’s established a “missionary church”, Sacred Heart on South Broadway, to serve the burgeoning Québécois community in South Lawrence. Later it would also establish the "missionary" parishes in Methuen: Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Theresa's (Notre-Dame du Mont Carmel et St-Thérèse). The French-Canadians arrived from various farming areas of Quebec where farms had grown arrid for lack of knowledge that crops needed to be rotated after a time. Others who integrated themselves into these French-Canadian communities were actually Acadians who had left the Canadian Maritimes of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia also in search of work.

The Irish

Irish immigrants arrived in Lawrence at its birth, which nearly coincided with the Great Potato Famine of 1842, the event that drove great numbers of Irish out of Ireland. The Great Stone Dam, constructed in from 1845–1848 to power the nascent textile mills, was largely built by Irish laborers. The first Irish immigrants settled in the area south of the Merrimack River near the intersection of Kingston Street and South Broadway. Their shantytown settlement put them close to the dam being constructed, but away from the Essex Corporation row houses built north of the river to attract New England farm girls as mill workers. The religious needs of the Irish were initially met by the Immaculate Conception church, originally erected near the corner of Chestnut and White Street in 1846, the first Roman Catholic church in Lawrence. By 1847, observers counted over ninety shanties in the Irish shantytown. In 1869, the Irish were able to collect sufficient funds form their own church, St. Patrick’s, on South Broadway.

The Germans
The first sizable German community arrived following the revolutions of 1848. However, a larger German community was formed after 1871, when industrial workers from Saxony were displaced by economic competition from new industrial areas like the Ruhr. The German community was characterized by numerous school clubs, shooting clubs, national and regional clubs, as well as men’s choirs and mutual aid societies, many of which were clustered around the Turn Verein, a major social club on Park Street.

The Italians

Some Italian immigrants celebrated Mass in the basement chapel of the largely Irish St. Laurence O’Toole Church, at the intersection of East Haverhill Street and Newbury Street, until they had collected sufficient funds to erect the Holy Rosary Church in 1909 nearby at the intersection of Union Street and Essex Street. Immigrants from Lentini (a city in the Sicilian province of Syracuse) and from the Sicilian province of Catania maintained a particular devotion to three Catholic martyrs, Saint Alfio, Saint Filadelfo and Saint Cirino, and in 1923 began celebrating a procession on their feast day.  Although most of the participants live in neighboring towns, the Feast of Three Saints festival continues in Lawrence today.  My husband's Consentino family came from Mistretta, Italy.  They lived next door to St. Lawrence O'Toole Church but eventually became parishioners of Holy Rosary since it was the Italian ethnic parish of the neighborhood just a few blocks away from where they lived.  This parish was ministered to by the Augustinian Fathers but Diocesan priest have taken the helm and the parish was merged and renamed Corpus Christi Parish.

The Lebanese

Lawrence residents frequently referred to their Arabic-speaking Middle Eastern community as "Syrian". In fact, most so-called Syrians in Lawrence were from present-day Lebanon, and were largely Maronite Christian. Lebanese immigrants organized St. Anthony’s Maronite Church in 1903 .  Pictured here is  St. George’s Orthodox Church, the oldest Greek Orthodox-rite Church in the United States.



The Jews

Jewish merchants became increasingly numerous in Lawrence and specialized in dry goods and retail shops. The fanciest men's clothing store in Lawrence, Kap's, established in 1902 and closed in the early 1990s, was founded by Elias Kapelson, born in Lithuania. Jacob Sandler and two brothers also immigrated from Lithuania in approximately 1900 and established Sandlers Department Store, which continued in business until 1978. In the 1880s, the first Jewish arrivals established a community around Common, Valley, Concord and Lowell Streets. In the 1920s, the Jews of Lawrence began congregating further up Tower Hill, where they erected two synagogues on Lowell Street above Milton Street, as well as a Jewish Community Center on nearby Haverhill Street. All three institutions had closed their doors by 1990 as the remaining elderly members of the community died out or moved away.

The Polish

The Polish community of Lawrence was estimated to be only 600–800 persons in 1900. However by 1905, the community had expanded sufficiently to fund the construction of the Holy Trinity Church at the corner of Avon and Trinity Streets.  Their numbers grew to 2,100 Poles in 1910. Like many of their immigrant brethren from other nations, most of the Poles were employed in woolen and worsted goods manufacturing.

 The English

A sizable English community, comprised mainly of unskilled laborers that arrived after 1880, sought work in the textile mills where they were given choice jobs by the Yankee overseers on account of their shared linguistic heritage and close cultural links.

Yankee farmers

Not all immigrants to Lawrence were foreign-born or their children. Yankee farmers, unable to compete against the cheaper farmlands of the Midwest that had been linked to the East coast by rail, settled in corners of Lawrence. Congregationalists were the first Protestant denomination to begin worship in South Lawrence, with the erection in 1852 of the first South Congregational Church on South Broadway, near the corner of Andover  Street.

First Settlers
Of  course, the very first settlers were the English who pioneered our villages back in the 1600's and early 1700's.  In 1776 the American Revolution ensued - the rest is history!

Sources:  Personal notes and experiences and Wikipedia. I have been unable to find photos of all the churches but I am still searching.  We knew where all of these communities were when I was growing up and there were postcards of all the churches and my sister took many photos as well.

Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino


January 17, 2013

A Golden Anniversary - Mémère and Pépère's 50 Year Celebration

Back row: Armand Levesque, Raymond Levesque,
Jeanne Soucy Levesque, Lucien Delcour,
my brother Albert LeBlanc, Mathilda Doyon Levesque,
Alphee Levesque, Albert Levesque,
Gloria Levesque, my sister Claudia LeBlanc,
my father George LeBlanc,

Front row: Me, my mother Rosanna Levesque LeBlanc,
Claudia Levesque Delcour, my cousins Gilbert/ Dolores Levesque,
Mémère Arthémise Dumais Levesque - on her lap Ronald Levesque, Pépère Étienne Levesque, Emile Levesque,
Malvina Gallant Levesque, Patricia VanCoillie - absent: Gerard Levesque and Gabrielle Rousselle Levesque

The above is a family photo taken when we celebrated my grandparent's Golden Wedding Anniversary. Fifty years of marriage is certainly an occasion to celebrate and celebrate we did. My grandparents, Étienne Lévesque and Arthémise Dumais were married 15 October 1895 at Ste Anne Church, Lawrence, Massachusetts.

They were the parents of nine children. Three died shortly after birth and one died in child birth at the age of 22. Her name was Alexina. I've always like that name.

All of their living children married. Their son Emile and his wife Malvina five sons and two daughters for a total of eight. One son and one daughter died sometime after birth. Albert and Viola had one daughter; Alphee and Mathilda had one son and two daughters; Claudia and Lucien had no children; my parents Rosanna and George had three sons and three daughters. Two sons and one daughter died at young ages. Two great grandchildren are in the photo - they were grandchildren of my uncle Emile and his wife Malvina.

Beatrice, Arthémise, Étienne and Philibert 
leaving Ste-Anne Church after renewal of marriage vows

The anniversary celebration for our grandparents began with the renewal of their marriage vows at Ste Anne's where they had married fifty years earlier. The same "witnesses" participated - my grandmother's sister Beatrice and her husband Philibert. From the church we went to a hall where a gala celebration took place. It was a wonderful time.

This year my husband Tony and I will celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary. Our youngest daughter Sarah will be 4 years in May. Our oldest daughter Rebecca will be married 13 years at the end of September. I believe there are three things to live by in a marriage:

1. Never go to bed angry with one another (even if that seems impossible!)
2. Keep your love for one another alive
3. Never let anyone come between you and your spouse (especially your own parents)

If you are having an anniversary this day, this week, this month or this year, CELEBRATE! An anniversary is the time to celebrate all you have lived as a couple committed to one another.



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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
2011 - Present

Four LeBlanc Brothers - Who Were They?

Some time ago a long lost cousin who found me through my Family Tree Maker site sent me the above photo hoping that I could identify the four people in it.

Actually, they are four LeBlanc brothers.  I think the fellow to the far right is my uncle Albert LeBlanc but I cannot be positive. 

There were five brothers living when this photo was taken.  Two had died in the early 1900s and one is missing from this photo.  

The five living brothers were Joseph Edmond born 1888, Frederick (Fred) born 1889, Albert born 1891, my father George born 1896 and Henri born 1901.

George is my father but of course, I did not know him when he was this young and I didn't know any of my LeBlanc uncles (most unfortunately!).  

If anyone can identify this photo please let me know. It will mean we are related.

These four LeBlanc brothers were the children of my grandparents Damien S. LeBlanc and OdilleDoiron.

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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
July 2011 - Present

January 16, 2013

Telephone Trivia

The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.

The first telephone "book" was published by the New Haven District Telephone Company, in Connecticut, in 1878.  It was one page long and contained fifty names - and because, in those days, the operator would connect callers, it was a telephone directory that didn't actually list any telephone numbers.

It is estimated the 85% of Americans now own a cell phone.

Before push-button telephones, people used dial telephones.  Before dial telephones were invented, operators connected every call.

January 14, 2013

As time goes by..

Mémère Lévesque
Dear Cousins,

Time flies and that old song keeps running through my mind "As time goes by.." and it certainly does.

The other day I was thinking about how I first became interested in  history and in particular, family history - our family's history.

One day when I was in sixth grade (I won't say how long ago that was... ha!) our teacher gave us an assignment that remained with me to this very day.  She said "I want you to write an essay on your family.  Go talk to your grandparents and asked them about your family, where they were from and so on."

Right after school I dutifully went to visit my Mémère Lévesque (née Dumais).  She was the only grandmother I could interview as my father's parents passed away when he was young so I never knew them.

Anyhow while talking with Mémère she told me that there was someone in the family who had married an "Indian Princess" - well that was of great interest to a wide eyed eleven year old.  She gave me little tidbits here and there just enough to make me curious - a curiosity that would keep me collecting little pieces of information here and there over the years until as a young adult I realized that though I thought I had gathered enough information, I began to realize that there were gaps that needed to be filled.  Mémère had not given me the information I really needed such as the names of her parents of and of Pépère's parents and all the pertinent information that goes with it all.  At that point, I did not even know that her parents and my grandfather's parents had lived in Lawrence and were the ones who had brought them all there.  I never knew my great grandparents so after a while, I was all the more intrigued.

For many years I had collected information but that information was entirely for my mother's side of the family.  My mother's family was French-Canadian and my grandparents had come to Massachusetts as teenagers.  Of course, as time passed and I found all of the family genealogy I realized that, as I had heard, everyone was related in one way or another.

But what of my father's family?  I recalled only one conversation with my father in which he told me the names of his parents and how young he was when they died.  My grandmother died at age 42.  After searching for many years, I recently found a death record or my grandfather I believe who was 67 and had died just a few years after his wife.  This was a second marriage for my grandfather and he was older.  Between the two marriages seventeen children were born.  It would be several years after my father passed away when I decided I needed to know more about his family.

I joined the American-Canadian Genealogical Society of Manchester, New Hampshire and my quest began.  After three trips to the society I had pretty much lost hope of finding anything there on my grandparents.  That day as I decided to call it a day I glanced over to one side of the library where odds and ends used to be placed on shelves.  I strolled over there and looking through these papers and things saw a thin booklet with the title "New Bedford Births".  Well when my grandparents migrated from New Brunswick, they went to New Bedford, Massachusetts.  My father George and three of his siblings were born in New Bedford.  I looked at that booklet for a few moments and thought "I'm foolish to think it could be this easy!"  In spite of myself, I opened this typewritten booklet and there was an index in the back.  I looked at the index and among the surnames were *many* entries for the LeBlanc surname and no given names were included in this index.

I picked a page number and could not believe my eyes when I saw my father's name, George Charles LeBlanc and especially the names of his parents, Damien S. LeBlanc and Odille Doiron, whom I'd never known.  I must tell you a few tears were shed from shear joy and awe.

Now I had the names of my grandparents.  I began to look for their marriage and did find both marriages for my grandfather first in the Blue Drouin as it is referred to.  However, my grandfather's parents were not mentioned in either marriage record that I then found in the New Brunswick microfilmed records.  Drat!

From census records that I could now access I searched for my grandfather's birth record based on the age given in the census.  Well it was not meant to be that easy.  There were two (!) Damien LeBlanc born in the same year.

I decided to write to Stephen White at the Centre d'études acadienne, Université de Moncton, Moncton, New Brunswick.  I sent him all of the information I had found regarding the children from each marriage, etc. People at the society told me he was so busy that I'd never hear from him.  I was so happy when only two weeks later I received a response from him.  He was able to tell me where my grandfather was born and who his parents were but he had not found the baptismal record.

Having scoured the microfilmed records as I had, when I read his letter I knew immediately where to find his baptismal record and I was finally on my way to getting to know my Acadian roots.

From that point on I was able to find my LeBlanc line and my grandmother's Doiron line and I've been at it ever since!  Our research is never done.

At one point I had so much data that I thought it was a shame it could not be shared to help others.  With the encouragement of our daughter Rebecca who was in college at the time, I decided to give it a try.  That was 13 years ago and with time I have been able to share much information though my website, the Acadian Ancestral Home web site as well as through my two blogs Acadian & French-Canadian Ancestral Home blog and Lucie's Legacy blog.

Now let me say that I never found an "Indian Princess" on my mother's side of the family.  First of all, there is no such thing as an Indian "Princess" (and just about all Acadian and French-Canadian families have told their children there was one in their family); secondly none of the records to date have pointed to a Native woman in our Lévesque, Dumais or collaterate lineages.

On the other hand, I did find one on my father's Acadian side of the family.  Marie Christine Aubois who married Jean Roy dit Laliberté in 1686.

So there is a moral to my story:  to anyone and to all have are still hoping to find that or those elusive ancestors, don't stop digging.  Sometimes they turn up when you least expect them to as they did for me that Wednesday afternoon in Manchester, New Hampshire!


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Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino