January 6, 2021

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The final days of her pregnancy took place as the vibrant red of the maples formed a backdrop for the yellow leaves of the birch trees and the oranges of the oaks. She died as the leaves turned brown and fell.

Three of her children died before her.

How does a family cope with so much mourning?

Louise Thérèse Lareau and her husband lost their son, baby Joseph died only a few weeks after he was born. 

They also lost their eldest child, a daughter named Marie-Reine, a week after celebrating her eighth birthday in February, 1784. The month before, Louise Thérèse and her husband Joseph celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary. They had had four children then, Marie-Reine, Josephe-Angelique, Marie-Thérèse and the baby, Marie-Anne. The eldest, Marie-Reine, took care of the baby, who celebrated her first Christmas just two months earlier.

By the end of February, the baby died too. I’m not sure why, but a small pox epidemic occurred that year.

The family of six became a family of four: Louise Thérèse and her husband Joseph with their two daughters Josephe-Angelique and Marie-Thérèse.

The family somehow survived the rest of the winter. Spring arrived, and by the following autumn, Louise Thérèse was pregnant again. The birth of her second son, also named Joseph, cheered the family up in time for St. Patrick’s Day, 1785.

The couple had three more daughters and another son after that. All four children were born as the trees around them began displaying fall colours. Marie-Catherine was born on November 22, 1786; Charlotte came on October 4, 1788; Guillaume was born on September 22, 1792 and Marie-Victoire arrived on October 19, 1794.

Marie-Victoire’s birth was too much for Louise Thérèse. She died two weeks after the little girl was born in the fall of her 38th year.

Sources:

http://www.ancestry.ca/genealogy/records/louise-therese-lareau_5693009, accessed October 20, 2012

Archives de la paroisse de Notre-Dame-de-Québec, CM1/F1, 3, vol. 2, p. 57. Visite du Fauxbourg Saint-Jean commencée le 24 octobre 1795, http://www.banq.qc.ca/archives/genealogie_histoire_familiale/ressources/bd/instr_recensement/recensement/, accessed October 20, 2012.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Sainte-Foy, accessed October 20, 2012

Trudel, Jean “Joseph Legare et la bataille de Sainte-Foy,” pp141-176, The Journal of Canadian Art History, VOLUME VIII/2, Concordia University, Universite Concordia, Montreal, 1985.

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/french-furniture/, accessed February 5, 2017.

Notes from the author:

The church did a census the following year, in 1795. It showed the rest of the family living on St. Georges Street in Faubourg St. Jean, the lower town of Quebec City. Joseph worked as a carpenter. His shop probably formed part of the family home because the building on Georges Street in Quebec City had no number.

The census shows that three of the children–Josephe-Angelique, Marie-Therese and Joseph–received communion with their father.

Louise Thérèse’s second son Joseph was four Josephs prior to my grandfather, also officially named Joseph, though commonly called Joe or Gabe. My grandfather worked on the Avro Arrow.

The Battle of St. Foy occurred on April 28, 1760. Louise Thérèse was four and living in St. Foy with her parents when it occurred.

Marie-Catherine was born on November 22, 1786; Charlotte came on October 4, 1788; Guillaume was born on September 22, 1792 and Marie-Victoire arrived on October 19, 1794.

About the author 

Tracey Arial

Tracey Arial helps Canadians grow with notable nonfiction and urban agriculture.

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