Turcotte Family Celebration

Courageous Sailors...

Shipwrecks and Their Tragic Impact ...

Write the story of a family brings to life the history of the nation form and local color. In our case, has found the time and people who for a dozen generations have lived through such beautiful stories as if they were written all the books in our libraries could not contain them. But, fortunately, and you know me well.

As I write this, my mind thinks the journey of Ernest and Joseph Turcotte to Abitibi, I can see the famous great-aunt Marie Anne Turcotte its walls painted barn wonderful, great and appreciated by the entire population of St. Family: I remember the games of young children of yesteryear, with their sled dog ... If I stayed in one of these stories, I would choose some shipwrecks told by our ancestor Louis Philippe Turcotte.

Before leaving about our ancestor, place ourselves in the context of these unfortunate accidents. On the north side of the Island of Orleans, formerly each parish had its little port. The inhabitants of St. Peter and the Holy Family used to moor their boats to Quebec. As they had only small boats, people waiting for the tide to move up or down river. Sometimes the inhabitants of the island leaving a port to dock in a better life. We have here two extracts from the Quebec Gazette dated from 1792 and 1838, mentioning the circumstances of these accidents.

Monday, 21 this month, about half past twelve, a heavily loaded boat, part of this city for the Island of Orleans, could not hold out against the agitation of the waves that threatened to overwhelm. Having attempted to land at Point Levi, took a massive amount of water it thoroughly cala a short distance from shore, vis-à-vis the place called "hut fathers. Twelve people were on board, ten have died. Only two were saved by the prompt assistance that they have led some residents of Pointe-Levy.

Those who drowned were: Mr. Henderson, pastor of Quebec, Mr. Morin, St-Jean, Louis Fortier, Joseph Poulin, Pierre Turcotte, Josephte Lachance, Marie Lapointe and Isabelle Poirier.

La Gazette de Québec, May 24, 1792.

On November 4, 1838, a boat of the Holy Family arrived in Quebec with a heavy load of food, driven by a strong wind from north-east. Made vis-à-vis the market St-Paul, a terrible gust of wind made her fall over. No one could rescue the passengers in time: again, it was dark it was around 6 o'clock in the evening. An apprentice pilot just managed to escape through a mast of the boat.

The drowned body, eleven in number, were immediately found in the ebbing tide. Here are their names: Pierre Marquis, Joseph Turcotte, Jean-Baptiste Leblond. They were all in the parish of Sainte-Famille.

La Gazette de Québec, 1838.

The St Lawrence recognized as one of the richest rivers for navigation, called the profits of big boats venturing there, wise drivers. These people had the task of guiding the boat through the maze of reefs and sandbanks.

The small village of St-Jean, on the south side of the Island of Orleans was home to these brave pilots.

Louis-Philippe Turcotte tells us the fate of a few:

The wrecks that we have told are nothing compared to the terrible catastrophe of the schooner St. Lawrence, which was lost completely in September 1839, engulfing it with twenty-one pilots and apprentices, including eighteen belonged to the parish of St John. The schooner went down in the bottom of the river to reach out to the ships of Europe. She was seen for the last time vingt-third of September by another pilot schooner cast anchor near it. The next day, the two schooners each took their direction. A violent storm arose almost immediately after they were separated, and nothing more was heard of the St Lawrence. Assume that the schooner was very old, was opened by the violence of this terrible hurricane, and it was completely engulfed in the waves.

The Islanders were in the greatest anxiety when they saw that the St-Laurent became overdue. They waited for weeks, months, no news spread about the fate of hapless drivers. Horrible accident, causing a general mourning in the parish of St John.

Who could paint the consternation and discouragement of unhappy widows, many orphans, parents, in general, these victims? Who could imagine the deep pain of losing a mother to both a so tragically his three son, finding herself a widow at the same time deprived of a beloved husband and a beloved son?

It long retained the hope of seeing such unfortunates. Perhaps, they thought, they were thrown on some distant shore, perhaps they will return in a year or two, but vain hope! The parents were not even the consolation of knowing that someone had ever been found or received Christian burial. For, no bodies, no effects, no debris of the vessel was never found.

The tears of the widows and orphans are not yet dried. All still deplore the misfortune which has deprived them of what they held most dear on earth, and left in poverty and lack of necessaries of life. "I still cry every day the loss of my eldest son, also recently told a septuagenarian mother, long after the accident, when I saw someone coming from afar, he always seemed to happen. I could never believe he had died a painful way. "

Drawing of the Saint-Laurent boat

Commission on Historical Monuments of the Province of Quebec, Roy, P. G., L'Ile d'Orleans, p. 413.

When was almost certain loss of the schooner, they made that fact known through newspapers of the time. The name and description of survivors were given in full. Call was made on behalf of humanity to the people surrounding the Gulf to inform parents the news they could have this unfortunate accident, and take the necessary steps in a similar misfortune. We read with interest the following article Canadiens published on this occasion:

"Sinking of the schooner" La St-Laurent "no. 28, with 13 drivers on board, 6 apprentices and 2 crew,

On Behalf of Humanity!

For the inhabitants of the coast from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and Gulf.

"As it appears beyond doubt that the terrible and deadly hurricane that devastated parts of the lower St. Lawrence River, from 26 to 27 September last, have swamped or thrown on the coast several vessels and particularly the schooner La St-Laurent , no. 28, carrying drivers to meet the ships coming from Europe and that this unfortunate accident plunge a dozen widows in mourning and grief, many orphans in the lack of necessaries of life and their education, many relatives and friends in the deepest perplexity about the fate of these unfortunates, and finally all those who have had the advantage of enjoying their company in the regrets deserved better.

"The whole parish of St John, or rather the whole Island of Orleans and the surrounding area affected the most cruel anxiety after an absence of over two months and feared never to see those who were united by their the bonds of friendship more intimate turn with confidence and on behalf of humanity to charitable and benevolent people of the coast down the river, so that in the assumption that some of this debris unfortunate schooner, or even some of the victims abandoned to the waves coming to land on the coast before winter or next spring, all those who might be aware, and in particular MM. missionaries and those who receive newspapers voulussent well send information over the rough with all possible diligence: sending their dispatches or the Trinity House of Quebec, or any person recommended to the city, or to relatives and friends on places, or finally the priest of the place. What if, however, any of the victims could be sufficiently recognized by the reports given below, the parties wish that those who have found their fissent give Christian burial, instead the nearest: they fissent prepare a report in form and signed by the Catholic missionary, who had buried, or which by law, and finally the whole was sent to those listed above. All costs and expenses are fair and reasonable repaid with gratitude as quickly as possible, to all persons interested will reach the desired information.

"Alerts. - The schooner was on the foremast and the coast no. 28, and rear St. Lawrence: mainsail having been pierced by the fire, he finds himself in a room down about 8 inches square.

"People on board. - Additionally:

"John B. Turcotte, age 22, size large, brown complexion, medal around his neck. "

Two other accidents deplorable came dismay the Islanders in recent years. The first came July 21, 1859. It was a boat from St-François, commissioned by J. B. Lemelin, who rose to Quebec with a load of food. Made vis-à-vis L'Ange-Gardien, a strong gust of wind capsized. Eighteen people there were on board, nine were unfortunately engulfed in the waves. Here are the names of these unfortunate Charles Guerard, farmer, and Celina Marie Deblois Dompierre, St-François, Jean-Baptiste Martineau, farmer, Josephte Letourneau, Jean Labranche widow and her two daughters, Marie Labranche and Delvis Labranche, the Ste-Famille, and Mrs. Jean Asselin, with a young child, Quebec.

On November 18, 1861, a boat of the Holy Family, having on board seventeen people of this parish, arrived at Quebec at the beginning of the night when, unfortunately, the steam came McKenzie hit the side and cut almost in half. Eleven of the passengers managed to jump into the steam, others do not had the time and were engulfed in the waves. Here are the names of victims six in number: Benjamin Turcotte, Pierre Giguere, Xavier Letourneau and her brother Louis Letourneau, Joseph Asselin, farmers, and Flavien Drouin, blacksmith, all of the Holy Family. Only two or three bodies of these unfortunates have been found. This parish was greatly distressed that year, more than thirty people, including counting embedded above, died. All the inhabitants were in mourning, there was not a family that had to deplore the loss of a close parents.59.