Marguerite Brulé; nee Sook of T'Sou-ke

The Sooke Story – The History and The Heartbeat

ISBN 0-9694942-2-X

Limited First Edition

Copyright 1999

Sooke Region Museum
pg 40 - 41
The first Christian missionaries to arrive had been Methodists, but it is the records of the Roman Catholic missions that have assisted in piecing together a part of Sooke's history.
Old ledgers show "This 11 February, 1838, in view of the dispensation of 2 bans of marriage granted by Mr. F. N. Blanchet, Vicar General, and the publication of the third, between, Jean Baptiste Brulé engagé formerly of St. Bathelemi, District of Montreal in Canada, on one part, and Marguerite, Sook, by nation, on the other part, with the permission of James Douglas, Esquire, CTJP, nor any impediment being discovered, we priest undersigned have received their mutual consent of marriage and have given them nuptial benediction in presence of witnesses, before whom the said bride has recognized as her legitimate child (with another husband) Joseph, aged 7 years. The spouses have not known how to sign.... Modeste Demers, priest." at Fort Vancouver. 21
Many years later, in 1977, Sooke's Agnes George, interviewed at 100 years of age, said that while she did not remember meeting Mrs. Brulé, she understood that Mrs. Brulé had "talked the T'Sou-ke language" with Agnes' mother-in-law, Mrs. Mary George.
The reason Marguerite, of "Sook" was at Fort Vancouver in the 1830's is uncertain, but moving from place to place was not at all unusual, and the record shows she had raised a child there.
Ibid pg 42
On August 7, 1848, in the Willamette, the marriage of the son of Marguerite Brulé was recorded in the register of the Mission of St. Paul.. "in view of the publication of 1 ban of marriage and .. dispensation .. between Joseph Brulé, minor son of the late Jacques Iroquois and Marguerite Brulé of this parish on one part and Marie Anne Maranda dit la Frise .. of this parish on the other part... have received their mutual consent to marriage and have given them the nuptial benediction in the presence of the consenting as well as the mother, and of Louis Maranda, dit le Frise, father of the bride, consenting.." registered by A. Langlois, priest. 25
Marie, or Mary Ann as she was generally called was the daughter of a man well known at French Prairie and St. Paul in the Willamette Valley, Louis Maranda (or sometimes known as Louis Marshelle) and nicked named "Frizzee". Because of her marriage to Joseph (Iroquois) Brulé, Mary Ann was to have a significant role to play in the settlement of Sooke.
In August 1848, however, 15 years old and just out of Sister's convent school at St. Paul, in French Prairie, Oregon, she could hardly have imagine what the future held for her.
Ibid. pg 54 - 55 (1850 circa)
..... a number of Hudson's Bay Company éngages from the Willamette were enroute north, looking to reach the Company's posts at Fort Langley or Fort Victoria. Jean Baptiste Brulé, his wife Marguerite, son Joseph, daughter-in-law Mary Ann and their two infant children, were among them. The wagon trains wound their way slowly from Oregon and through Washington to reach the Canadian border. Years later, two of the great granddaughter of Mary Ann - Lily Poirier Cook and Mabel Poirier Cook recounted some of the stories passed down to them "I remember hearing they had to carry the bread starter on their lap to keep it warm so they could make bread on the way" told ninety one year old Lily.
Traveling in concert with the other engagés, the Brulé group arrived on Vancouver Island in time for the birth of another child to young Mary Ann Brulé in March, 1851. The friendship between the Brulés  and Lazzars was evident, as the baby was baptized by Bishop Modeste Demers, with Michael and Therese Lazzar as godparents. As Marguerite Brulé was originally from the T'Sou-ke, it does not seem surprising that the family settled close to the T'Sou-ke village by the river. Marriages of Hudson's Bay men to women in the areas they worked in were typical of the times, so a new community soon developed, spread along the river's east bank.
Inter-related families of First Nations and French Canadian origins who settled alongside the Brulés included the Josephs, Armours, Jolibois and the Poiriers. Lily and Mabel are daughters of Joseph Poirier, Jr. And the recalled "As far back as Daddy could remember, when they were young, they lived at the river and they used to take beef in to Victoria on horseback, to be sold at the butcher shops."
Ibid. pg 59
Ritual was an extremely important factor in the lives of the people, and long-held traditions of spiritual values and worship were cherished. Also cherished, were the social customs and traditional games, like S'La Hal.
In the recollections T'Sou-ke and Pacheedaht people shared during the 20th century, it was Marguerite Brulé who was one of those renowned for her skill at the bone game. An account was given by Queesto, Chief Charlie Jones of the Pacheedaht when he was 108.
"Mrs. Brulé  would come down to the village to visit, with a deerskin rolled up under her arm - she goes house to house - whoever wished to play the game with her. This game is just like shake dice. She used to spread the deerskin on the ground and start playing with it. It's four half round bones that she takes it along and play with the women folk only - it's a women's game. I used to watch her - sometimes she lose, sometimes she win. She was a good player - they betting like a cup or plate before they started you know - someone bet two plates. It's a game with a lot points - used a lot of sticks. Put sticks on her side when she wins - the sticks go to other side when she loses. It was 40 sticks."
In the latter half of the 19th century, three communities comprised the developing Sooke: the T'Sou-ke; the mainly Anglo - predominately Scots - community of immigrants in central Sooke; and the intermarried French Canadian and First Nations families established mostly along the river adjacent to the reserve, and expanding later. 43
The Federal Census of 1881 lists Marguerite (or Margaret) Brulé  as 90 years of age. Along with her family she lies in a special burial site on a knoll overlooking Sooke river. Once there was a split cedar picket fence; today tall and stately red cedars silently surround the graves. 44
44 BAKER, CHRIS - Notes of Juan de Fuca Historial Society - 1969