Narcisse Boisvert 1813-1891

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Narcisse Joseph Boisvert was born on March 23, 1813,   in Ste-Croix-de-Lothbinière, Quebec. He was the son of Louis Diuedonné Boisvert from Ste-Croix-de-Lothbinere. and Rose Morin from St. Pierre Du Sud, Quebec.

Around the world

Narcisse was born during the War of 1812, (1812-1814). Napoleon Bonaparte was the ruler of France during Naricisse’s childhood. In 1814, George Stephenson builds first practical steam locomotive.  In 1826, when Narcisse was 13, Joseph-Nicéphore Niepce takes the world’s first photograph. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was born in 1835.

Claude Monet was born in 1840, Narcisse would have been  27. Charles Dickens published “A Christmas Carol” in 1843. Florence Nightengale pioneers modern nursing in the Crimea in 1854. Charles Darwin pens his famous book “On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection.”

In 1861, Abraham Lincoln becomes president of the United States and the outbreak of the Civil War began with the Battle at Bull Run. Narcisse would have been 48 years old. Alfred Nobel invents dynamite in 1866.

In 1871, journalist H. Stanley finds explorer David Livingston in Africa. Jules Verne writes “Around the world in 80 days” in 1872. Alexander Gramm Bell invents telephone in 1876. Followed a year later with the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison.

Narcisse Joseph married Marguerite Ouellet, daughter of Pierre Ouellet & Elisabeth Groleau June 20, 1843. Marguerite died in Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame), Quebec, on 25 Feb 1876; she was 51. Born on 3 Aug 1824 in Ste Croix, Lotbiniere, Quebec.

Local Influences

Narcissé Boisvert was 11 when his father Dieudonné died in 1824. His mother, Rose, had four children under 11 year of age to care for at that time.

For a couple years Marie Rose and children were assisted by either family or paid help to work the farm. In 1827, two and a half years after the death of Louis Dieudonné, 37-year-old widow Marie Rose Morin married a young man named Pierre Roberge. His family lived just across the river in Cap Santé.

One could assume that the marriage between Pierre and Marie Rose was based on mutual infatuation. While plausable, the marriage also could be viewed as union of convenience. The twenty-five year old marries the 37 year old widow with 4 young children, in return he acquires much desired riverfront property.

In 1831, unlike his three younger siblings, Narcisse (18) was no longer living with his mother and step father. Based on the Quebec census of 1831, it is clear that Narcisse was not a land owner. That would leave him the option to work as a day laborer. It is possible that he was living with either one of his   uncles (Joseph and Antoine).

When Narcisse was 24, Lower and Upper Canada were rocked by tremendous social and political upheavals. Known as “The Rebellions,” these upheavals were more profoundly felt in Lower Canada (Quebec), where the Patriotes polictical party composed in large part of French Canadians, found themselves increasingly opposed to the conservative English Canadian and British leadership of the province.

The insurrection of 1837-1838 was a demand for democracy, self-government, liberalism, nationalism and anticolonial ideology for Lower Canada (Quebec).  Some aspired to the ideals of the American Revolution.  The Patriotes (Parti Canadien) as they were called wanted to maintain the historic seigniorial System which was abolished 1854 and return to their agricultural roots and stem the flow of British capitalism.

In March 1837, the British Majority rejected all the major demands of the Patriotes. The Patriotes began to boycott British goods and began organizing rallies. Preparations began for armed insurrection. On November 16, 1837, the government attempted to arrest the leaders of the Parti patriote. The leaders fled to the countryside and the rebellion began.

By late 1837, a number of factors pushed Lower Canada into armed insurrection:

• The international economic downturn of the 1830s.
• Crop failures in parts of Lower Canada in 1837, which left many farmers near starvation.
• An increase in immigration from the British Isles.
• An outbreak of cholera, brought by immigrants.

Most of the fighting took place in three main battles: the Battle of St-Denis (which was won by the rebels), the Battle of St-Charles and the Battle of St-Eustache (both won by British forces). Because the government had anticipated the insurrection and had moved troops into the province, the rebellion was quickly crushed. All three battles were on the outer parishes of Montreal, roughly 120 miles away from our ancestor.

By the end of 1838, the Roman Catholic clergys opposition to any violence combined with the vigorous response of the British forces, largely eliminated the militan nationalism in Lower Canada.


The early 1840’s was a pivotal time for our ancestors. As mentioned earlier, Narcisse’s mother Marie Rose left the region with her 2nd husband Pierre Roberge.

Narcisses oldest Uncle, Joseph died in January 1842 at the age of  59. Three of the four living children of Louis Diuedonne got married within an eleven month period.

Marie Louise Boisvert (19 years old) on Sept 12, 1842
Narcisse Joseph (30 years old) on June 20, 1843
Olive Boisvert (25 years old) on August 1, 1843

After his marriage to Marguerite Ouellet in 1843, they stayed in Lotbinière. Their first two children – Philomene and Vitaline – were born in the church of St-Louis-de-Lotbinère. By May of 1847, Narcisse moved to Deschaillons, Quebec which is 12 miles down river from Lotbinière. It was here that their third child Joseph Eugene Boisvert was born.

The reason for the move might have been the line of 40 sailing ships stretched for three kilometers down river from Grosse Island on the St. Lawrence River with 90,000 passengers; mainly Irish.  Many died from typhus and dysentery.

Over 5,000 people would die in the summer of 1847 at this quarantine station, including six doctors tending the dying.  The deadly fever, however, would be carried on into Quebec, Montreal, Kingston and Toronto, where another 17,000 would die; mostly Irish immigrants.  The total of all emigrants who died was 17,477; about 19% of all emigrants.  The total number of deaths on ships was 5,293, and 3,452 at quarantine stations.  Infants under one year of age are not counted.  The average age was 24.4 years.  Many deaths are attributed to overcrowded ships, poor hygienic conditions, and lack of food on board.

Deschaillons, Quebec

Deschaillons is located immediately north of Parisville and northeast of Saint-Pierre-les-Becquets in Bécancour. The municipality Deschaillons-sur-Saint-Laurent is bounded on the north by the St. Lawrence River.

In 1674, Deschaillons is granted to Pierre Saint-Ours (1640-1724), Knight of St. Louis, a captain in the regiment of Carignan-Salt. The place was formerly known as the Cap Tree, because of bushy headland and presence of oak trees along the Little Oak River.

While living in the Deschaillons seigneury, Narcisses financial position is reveiled in the 1851 Agricultural Census. Here is what is listed:

Occupied Land : 80 Acres
Farmed: 29 Arpens
Gardens & Orchards: 71
Wheat: 6 Arpens, 40 Bushels
Barley: 0 Arpens, 0 Bushels
Rye: 0 Arpens, 0 Bushels
Peas: 0 Arpens, 0 Bushels
Oats: 5 Arpens, 80 Bushels
Buckwheat: 1/2 Arpens, 2 Bushels
Potatoes: 1 Apren, 50 Bushels
Turnips: : 0 Arpens, 0 Bushels
Hay: 800 Boots
Flax or Hemp: 1.8 lbs
Tobacco: 0 Bushels
Wool: 50lbs
Maple Sugar: 0 lbs
Cider: 0 gallons
Cloth: 0 yards
Canvas: 20 yards
Flannel: 10 yards
Diary Cows: 1
Heifers: 0
Sheep: 3
Pigs: 0
Butter: 100 lbs
Cheese Lbs: 0
Beef barrels: 0
Lard: 4 lbs
Amount of fish prepared: 0

Narcisse owned a small to moderate amount of land, most he left unfurrowed. Most likely because his main source of labor (his children) were still quite young. He planted large quantities of two grains and a small amount of a third. He stayed away from pigs and cattle but had sheep to provide wool for clothing. He also had 1 dairy cow (no doubt beloved) for butter and lard.  The hay was grown for his animals.

This is a typical sub-sistence farm that raises a range of crops and animals needed by the family to feed and clothe themselves during the year. Plant-ing decisions are made principally with an eye toward what the family will need during the coming year, and secondarily toward market prices.

Late 1851, Narcisse and Marguerite had moved again, this time the Arthabaska, Quebec, which is 45 miles south of Deschaillons. This area is called the Eastern Townships.

By the 1820s, there was not enough seigneurial land left to settle French Canada’s rapidly growing population. Younger sons and daughters began leaving Quebec by the tens of thousands, mainly for the factory towns of New England. Political and religious leaders grew alarmed. Many of them thought it was a national tragedy that, while their younger generation was leaving, large parts of Quebec, including the Eastern Townships, remained unoccupied. They formed colonization societies to assist settlers and to pressure the government.

A new law passed by the Legislative Assembly in 1850 allowed the creation of Roman Catholic parishes in the Townships. These parishes would have the right to tax Catholic property and build Catholic schools. This, combined with the new economic opportunities in the region, attracted thousands of French Canadians.

The first arrivals to the Eastrn Townships found it difficult – they were strangers in a part of Quebec where the language was overwhelmingly English. English was also the language of business and opportunity. In time, however, more French Canadians arrived, enough to build churches and schools.

The new law passed in 1850, coincides with Narcisse and Marguerites migration south.

Victoriaville, Arthabaska

Naricisse and Marguerite stayed in the Victoriaville area for roughly 5 years, from 1851-1856. During that time four more children were born. Marguerite (1851), Josesph Pierre (1852), Francois (1854) and Marie-anne (1856).

Victroiaville is a town of Arthabaska county, Quebec, situated on the Nicolet river and on the Canadian National Railway, 32 miles north-east of Richmond and 108 miles east of Montreal. The settlement was known as Demersville, after Modeste Demers, until 1861, when it took its present name, in honour of Queen Victoria.

The area of Arthabaska, also know as des Bois-Francs, (The Hardwoods) developed slowly because of lack of communication and transporation. It took until 1844 for a road to be built linking the District of Arthabaska to parishes along the river, passing by St. Norbert and Princeville (Stanfold). Unfortunately, the soil conditions made roads impassable for much of the year. Similarly, the exorbitant costs of stagecoach and restrictions on the volume of goods greatly limited regional economic growth.

This road was still favored by new settlers, so much so that in 1851, there is the canonical erection of the parish of Saint-Christophe d’Arthabaska, which then had 895 inhabitants in 165 families.

It was the arrival of the train in 1854, that kickstarted the development of the region. The Grand Trunk Railway built a railway between Richmond and Charny, uniting the Eastern Townships in Quebec City and Montreal and opening the way to the states of New England.

The Eastern Townships

The Eastern Townships were first settled by American pioneers after the American Revolution. Called United Empire Loyalists, they still supported the British government and moved from the New England area to land in British possession. The United Empire Loyalists were few in number, but a large number of Americans did arrive at the end of the 1790s. This group of Americans were not Loyalists, just immigrants seeking good cheap land and opportunity.

The Americans were followed by an influx of British and Scottish immigrants. So the Eastern Townships with its rolling topography and the patchwork of mountains, hills, plateaus, valleys, lakes, rivers was a predominantly English settlement until the mid 1800’s

The final phase of settlement in the Eastern Townships was that of the French Canadians during the 1850’s, which is sometimes referred to as the “French Invasion”. Due to over-crowded seigniorial lands in the rest of Quebec, many French Canadians migrated south to the northern Eastern Townships of Drummond, Arthabaska, and Megantic first as summer farm labourers and later as colonists. The French chose these specific areas of the region because the American and British settlers had already taken most of the uplands, and also because the heavy clay soils of the valleys were similar to those they were accustomed to in the St. Lawrence lowlands. Once settled in the townships, the French would colonize the land, work as labourers, or purchase a farm from an English family that was moving out of the region.

The settlement of the French in the Eastern Townships was made possible by the establishment of the Association des Townships, by Father Bernard O’Reilley in 1848. This was designed to alleviate the overcrowded seigniories by providing new land, to prevent the French immigration into the United States, and to ensure the survival and preservation of French culture.

The influence of both the Catholic Church and the Association helped raise the population of French Canadians in the Eastern Townships to a majority by 1860, due to high levels of immigration as well as the high natural increase rate of the French.

The reason French settlement in the region did not occur earlier is that until 1849, the Catholic Church, which was central to seigniorial life, was not allowed to purchase any land, or establish any parishes in the area due to English Protestant laws and control.

The arrival of the railway in 1853 also encouraged French Canadians to migrate to the Eastern Townships because the entire area became suddenly more accessible. The lure of factory work also brought many French Canadians into the area, as they were more than willing to work as unskilled labourers at low wages, which differentiated them from the English. The French Canadian outlook on life during this time was centered around the Catholic Church, which formed their disposition, ambition, and views on education. Whereas the English saw education as a tool for economic success, the French believed that hard work was just as successful, which is why so many English left the area and so many French stayed, making them the cultural majority in the Eastern Townships.

While much of Quebec and the Canadian economy was depressed at this time, the Eastern Townships flourished. The rapidly growing French population in Quebec, had ran out of land around the St. Lawrence river valley and were looking to expand. Narcisse Boisvert was one of many who packed up his family and moved to open land.

Danville, Quebec

Around 1856, there was another move, this time to Richmond County, which is about 30 miles south of Arthabaska. They had settled in Richmond County, near the town of Danville. Ste-Bibianne de Richmond, was their church.

It was here that four more children were born. Marie-Elisabeth (1858), Alexandre (1860), Rose de Lima (1862) and Narcisse (1864).

In 1866, Ste. Anne was built in Danville, Narcisse and family switched churches.

In the early years of the church, Narcisse and son Francois Xavier donated their time to the church. They are listed as witnesses in many burials, starting in 1867.

Danville and the surrounding areas were rural and farming was the major source of income and sustance. But other industries grew. One of the first was the Potash trade. As the settlers cleared their land for farming, they had the opportunity to make money by selling potash made through the burning of stumps and roots. It was carefully collected and stored in barrels, which would be hauled to market.

From 1860 to the early 1900s, the St. Francis Valley was the main centre in Canada for the production of slate. At that time, there were no less than ten slate quarries in the area around Richmond, Melbourne, Kingsey, and Danville. Entire villages grew up around the quarries which provided a living to hundreds of workers for the most part from Great Britain.

1861 Canada Census

Narcisse, Marguerite and family are shown living
District 1, in the village of Danville, Richmond County.

Narcise Boisvert Laborer 48
Margrt Bosivert Wife 37
Eugene Boisvert Laborer 13
Joseph Boisvert Laborer 8
H Boisvert 6
Margret Boisvert 10
Anna Boisvert 4
Alex Boisvert 1
E. Ouellet House Maid 29

1871 Canadian Census

Narcisse, Marguerite and family are shown living
District 138, Richmond, Sub district of Danville.

Narcise Boisvert Laborer 58
Margurit Bosivert Wife 37
Joseph Boisvert Laborer 18
Francis Boisvert Laborer 16
Alexis Boisvert 10
Delima Boisvert 8

In 1876, at the age of 51, Marguerite die in Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame), Quebec, on the 25th of February. It is unclear why she died and was buried in Montreal when  she and Narcisse were consistenly located in the Arthabaska Regions, hundreds of miles away. It is known that her son Francois-Xavier was living in Montreal at that time and was soon to be married. It is possible she died while visiting.

By the census of 1891, Narcisse and Marguerites children had split off in different directions. Seven were deceased. Joseph Eugene Ludger was married living in New Hampshire. Marguerite was married living in Danville, Quebec. Joseph Pierre was twice married, in Lewiston, Maine. Rose-de-Lima was in married in Richmond, Quebec. Narcisse was now living with his daughter Marguerite and her family.

Census of 1891

Charles Leclair 44
Margarette Leclair 40
Delina Leclair 19
Lucian Leclair 17
Adalore Leclair 15
Arthur Leclair 13
Alfonse Leclair 6
Philip Leclair 3
Narsanse Boisvert 80

The Burial of Narcisse Boisvert

Records of Narcisse’s death have yet to be unearthed. The 1891 Canadian Census is his last documented mention Narcisse. He is said to be 80, (really age is 78).  Narcisse would have died bewteen 1891- 1911. His resting place is also unknown.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″ css=”.vc_custom_1547863694458{background-color: #efefef !important;}”][vc_gallery interval=”3″ images=”3288,3289,3290,3291,3292,3293″][vc_column_text]

The Children of Narcísse and Marguerite

Philomène Boisvert

Born on 22 Jun 1844 in Quebec, Quebec, Canada. Philomene died in Lotbiniere, Quebec, Canada, in Feb 1846; she was 1.

Marie Vitaline Boisvert

Marie Vitaline died in Lotbiniere, Quebec, Canada, on
22 Oct 1846; she was 1. Born on 20 Oct 1845 in Lotbiniere, Quebec, Canada.

Joseph Eugene Ludger Boisvert

Born on 31 May 1847 in Deschaillons, Quebec, Canada. Joseph Eugene Ludger died in New York, United States, on 21 Sep 1921; he was 74.

On 23 Jun 1868 when Joseph Eugene Ludger was 21, he married Delima Cliche, in St Hyacinthe Cathedrale, Quebec, Canada. Delima died on 2 Feb 1910; she was 61. Born in 1849 in Quebec, Quebec, Canada.

Marguerite Boisvert

Born on 18 Apr 1851 in Arthabaska, Quebec, Canada. Marguerite died in Franklin, New Hampshire, on 25 Jan 1907; she was 55.

On 10 Jan 1870 when Marguerite was 18, she married Charles Petit Leclerc, in Danville, Quebec, Canada. Born on 16 Sep 1847 in Quebec, Quebec, Canada.

Joseph Pierre Boisvert 
(Our direct ancestor) 

Joseph Pierre was born on 10 Jul 1852 in Danville, Quebec, Canada. Died in Bowdoin, Androscoggin, Maine, USA, on 27 Jul 1912; he was 60.

On 21 Jul 1873 when Joseph Pierre was 21, he first married Hermine Emilie Marcotte, daughter of Pierre Marcotte & Marie Louise Pothier, in Lewiston, Androscoggin, Maine, USA. Born on 21 Sep 1851 in St-Felix-de-Kinsey, Drummond, Quebec. Hermine Emilie died in Danville (Ste-Anne), Richmond, Quebec, on 8 Apr 1876; she was 24.

On 11 Nov 1890 when Joseph Pierre was 38, he second married Delphine M Lemieux, daughter of Claude Lemieux & Marie Morency, in Saint Pierre et Saint Paul in Lewiston, Maine, USA. Born in 1861 in Canada French.

Francois-Xavier Boisvert

Born on 26 May 1854 in Arthabaska, Quebec, Canada. Francois Xavier died in Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame), Quebec, on 4 Sep 1889; he was 35.

On 5 Aug 1876 when Francois Xavier was 22, he married Marie Celanie Daoust in Montreal (St-Jacques) (Montreal (St-Jacques, Cathedrale de Montreal), Quebec. Born on 24 Mar 1854 in Lachine, Quebec, Canada.

Marie-Anna Boisvert

Marie Anna died in Ste-Bibianne de Richmond, Quebec, Canada, in 1863; she was 4. Born on 15 Jul 1858 in Ste-Bibianne de Richmond, Quebec, Canada.

Marie-Élisabeth Boisvert

Born on 15 Jul 1858 in Richmond, Quebec, Canada. Marie Elizabeth died in Richmond, Quebec, Canada, on 15 Aug 1860; she was 2.

Alexandre Boisvert

Born on 14 Oct 1860 in Richmond, Quebec, Canada. Alexandre died in Lewiston, Androscoggin, Maine, United States, on 2 Feb 1881; he was 20.

Rose-de-Lima Boisvert

Born on 3 Jul 1862 in Richmond, Quebec, Canada. Rose de Lima died in Nicolet (Cathedrale St-Jean-Baptiste), Quebec, in 1915; she was 52. Rose de Lima first married Leon Bedard. Born abt 1853 in Quebec.

Narcisse Boisvert

Narcisse  Boisvert. Narcisse died in Richmond, Quebec, Canada, on 9 Jun 1864; he was <1. Born on 3 Jun 1864 in Richmond, Quebec, Canada.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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