Ulphie Cossette





The Cossettes of Wild Rice, North Dakota

Ulphie Cossette

Their Roots in Quebec Wild Rice, North Dakota Isidore Cossette The Cossette Settlers Related Links Cossettes in Wild Rice - References

See Ulphie Cossette's Family Tree for links to Ulphie Cossette's children.
The Life of Joseph Julien Wilfred (Ulphie) Cossette
Ulphie was born on April 6, 1841 in Ste. Genevieve de Batiscan, Champlain, Quebec. 
In 1862 he signed a four-year contract in Montreal to work for the Hudson’s Bay Co. as a mid-man on a canoe route along the Mackenzie River (the HBC’s Northern District) at a salary of 22 pounds a year.  He is on record at Fort Simpson, Mackenzie river District (now the North West Territories) from 1862 to 1865 after which he signed on for a further two years.   His younger brother, Narcisse Cossette, also signed up with him in 1862 and spent his term in the Swan River district from 1862 to 1866.  There are no further records for Narcisse so perhaps he did not survive that first term.  1862 Engagement Register
The account book for Fort Simpson in 1868 shows an unpaid balance of 3 pounds, 5 shillings and 9 pence owing at the HBC company store by Ulphie.  His purchases included trousers, silk scarves (worn around the waist by voyageurs), sugar, needles, gunflints, a flannel shirt, a tablespoon, 13 pounds of tobacco, bars of soap, 9 clay pipes, tea etc.
Late in 1868, he left Fort Simpson and walked back along the canoe routes to the HBC District Offices in Winnipeg, Manitoba; a distance of at least 1500 miles of wilderness.  At Winnipeg he received his discharge from the company.  While in Winnipeg he visited with Bishop Tache who hired him to guide a group of his missionaries down the path of the Red River to the new Holy Cross mission in the Dakota Territories which had been founded by Father Genin that year.  While there, Ulphie spotted the rich land along the Wild Rice River where it ran into the Red River near the mission.  He then returned to Quebec and convinced his brothers Pierre and Delphis (Adolph), who was  a widower with a 7 year old son also named Adolph, to join him in settling in the new territory.  The party of four traveled to the Dakota Territory and staked their claim on the yet unsurveyed land along the Wild Rice River, building one log house and thus founding the settlement of Wild Rice, North Dakota about 16 miles south of present day Fargo.  In the spring he returned to Quebec and married Zoe Martel in Champlain, Quebec on April 19, 1869.  The couple then traveled by train to St. Paul, Minnesota where they bought a pair of oxen and a covered wagon and traveled back to the land on the Wild Rice River arriving there by September 1869.  At that time Father Genin wrote to Bishop Tache in Winnipeg that “Cossette has a new wife, she is quite fancy and I doubt she will endure the frontier life”.  While he was away Pierre (Pit) and Delphis had built a second cabin on adjacent land.  On March 21, 1870, Zoe gave birth to a daughter, Marie Flore Cossette, but died herself about a year and a half later in August 1871.  Marie Flore is thought to have been the first white child to be born in what is now Cass County, North Dakota. 
In about 1870, Ulphie’s sister, Emilie, also arrived with her husband Urcisse Morin.  They settled on the land adjacent to Ulphie to the west.
In 1870, Ulphie built the first log church for Father Genin as a mission church for the Indians and for the few French settlers.  This church burned in 1871, so he started to build another in 1872 that was only completed in 1875.
Following, his wife’s death, Ulphie kept Marie Flore with him for 2 years but in November 1873 he finally carried his 4 year old daughter up river to Winnipeg where he left her at the Grey Nuns orphanage.  Marie Flore lived with the Grey nuns until Decembre 8th, 1887 when she took orders with them becoming Sister Martel.  She was a renowned for her voice and was a noted piano teacher and died in December, 1951.
In April 1874, the Joseph Denis family arrived from St. Maurice, Quebec.  In 1875, at age 34, Ulphie married the 18 year old Marie Denis.  Together they had 11 children between 1877 and 1898. 
In the early 1880’s, Ulphie’s half brother, Hyacinthe Cossette arrived with his large family to settle there as well.
Marie died on September 17, 1925 and Ulphie died 7 months later on April 3, 1926.  Both are buried in the St. Benedict’s graveyard at Wild Rice.
Ulphie's children Leah, Helen and Louise at his farm about 1910.
The 4th person is thought to have been a hired hand.
Ulphie Cossette's quarter section Today     
References for Ulphie Cossette

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This site was last updated 04/18/06