From Québec to New Brunswick trough the U. S. : The long journey of Wilfrid Thétrault and Georgiana Houle (by André Thétrault, Laurence Thétrault and Michel Tétreault)
The son of Israël Thétrault and Julie Langelier, Wilfrid Thétrault, an artisan and stone crusher, is the third child in a family of ten. He is born at Saint-Liboire, Québec on February 22, 1884.
At Saint-Léonard-d'Aston, on July 21, 1903, he marries Georgiana Houle, daughter of Onésime Houle and Marie Lacharité. The latter was born in the same town on January 16, 1884. Out of this union thirteen children are born.
Time in the U.S.
Soon after their wedding, Wilfrid and Georgiana moved to Nashua New Hampshire, to work. Their eldest son, Henri, is baptized there in July of 1905. A month later, at the age of 34 days, he passed away.
Their second child, Anna-Alice is born on October 27, 1906 in Pepperell, Massachusetts. Struck down with meningitis, this little girl died at the age of two.
After the death of Anna-Alice, the couple return to Québec at Saint-Léonard d'Aston. Where another little girl is born on November 19, 1908. She is given the name Yvonne.
After spending a few months in Québec, Wilfrid and Georgiana decide to return to the United States. This time, they settle in Berlin, New Hampshire. No matter where this family goes, bad luck seems to follow them. In fact, at ten months old, Yvonne also dies on October 14, 1909 in Berlin.
Broken hearted, Wilfrid and Georgiana leave Berlin to go to Manchester. It is in that city that another daughter, Ida is born on September 26, 1910. After Ida's birth, the couple return to Québec, either at the end of 1910 or the beginning of 1911. Thank God for the train!
Several children are born in Montréal: Alfred, on November 18, 1911 (husband of Laura Tardif), Wilfrid, Jr. in 1913 (husband of Alice Banville) and Marie-Berthe in 1915 (wife of David StLaurent). The family lives in Montréal from 1911 to 1915.
The Thétraults in New Brunswick
It is in 1914 that we find the first mention of the name Thétrault in the records of Kedgwick, New Brunswick. Wilfrid, now a land owner, gets busy clearing his land and erecting a building. The following year, he returns to Montréal to get his wife and children.
In Kedgwick, six more children are born from Wilfrid and Georgiana: MarieCécile in 1916, Irène-Éva-Rose in 1918, Armand in 1919, Juliette-Marie-Irène in 1920, Juliette in 1921 (wife of Fernand Bergeron) and Paul-Emile in 1922 (husband of Cécile Bergeron).
Only six of Wilfrid and Georgiana's thirteen children survived. Five got married and Armand died at the front during World War II on January 1, 1943, at the age of 23.
Wilfrid and Georgiana had a large house at the "Six Miles" in Kedgwick. During the summer, they rented rooms to lumber jacks. One day, the big house was consumed by fire and was never rebuilt. They purchased another house in the village next to the IGA. This house still stands today. Wilfrid died on January 17,1964 in Campbellton, N.B. at the age of 79. As to his wife Georgiana, she died at Saint-Quentin, N.B. on September 22, 1972, at the age of 88.
Georgiana, a woman with a big heart
As we bring this story to an end, we cannot remain silent concerning the big heart of our dear Georgiana. Her dedication, her goodness, her perseverance, her generosity, her love (and I'm skipping some qualities), made her into an extraordinary and unforgettable woman.
She lost her mother at the age of 14. Being the oldest in the family, it fell on her to care for her brothers and sisters and to maintain the house.
She married Wilfrid in 1903, and from their union, 13 children were born. Several died at an early age, but, as the courageous woman she was, she lovingly took on the role of mother for her other children.
In August, 1946, Alice Banville, the wife of her son Wilfrid, Jr. dies leaving behind 6 children: Noëlla, the twins Armand and Jean-Marie, Lina, and Laurence. The oldest is 6 and the youngest is 7 months. It was quite an ordeal for the father of these children. Georgiana, now 62 years old, took on the raising of her son Wilfrid's children. That's why it is said that she raised 3 families. In 1954, Wilfrid, Jr. marries Germaine Levesque. From this union two more children are born, Édouard and Lise.
Thank you, Georgiana for the wonderful values that you left us. From above, continue to watch over us as you did so well before.
André Thétrault, grandson, Laurence Thétrault, granddaughter and Michel Tétreault, great grandson
Text from the bulletin Les Tétreault disent... Vol 16, no 2 (september 2014)