A MOMENT IN A LIFETIME
19 Years On Heron Island

For George and Stella

Foreword

Heron Island's Last Human Birth

The Legend Of The Phantom Ship Of The Baie Des Chaleurs

Some LaPointe Ancestry

The Mercier Connection

Beginning A New Life

The Island

The Children

Some Strange Occurances

The Day To Day Realities

Unforgettable Christmases

The Five Dresses

The Family Grows Larger

More Sons

The LeBlanc Fortune

The Last Son

The War Ends It All

Heron Island Today - a footnote

Last Word - The Legacy

Another Update On The Island and Some Photos

Some LaPointe Ancestry

In the 1780's, what is now known as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Gaspe Peninsula of the Province of Quebec was all called Nova Scotia.
It was, at the time, the fourteenth province of the United States. New Brunswick became a separate entity in 1784.
Cape Breton had been made a province on its own sometime before, but later rejoined Nova Scotia. Battles were fought for the area, but British rule finally prevailed.
L'Abbe Joseph William Bourg was the first Acadian missionary to the Baie des Chaleurs. Apparently no other white man had his knowledge of indian language and customs, and no one that was not native had his rapport with the Micmacs.
He had gained their admiration and their respect. He was a man of the spirit, and this the indians understood very well, since much of their lives revolved around the spirit of their ancestors, and the spirit of nature. He was not a man rooted in earthly things, and this they greatly admired.
Trouble was brewing in the Baie des Chaleurs area, and the government could do nothing about it. There was none amongst them that could effectively communicate with the natives. L'Abbe Bourg stepped in.
He was able to put down a serious uprising without any bloodshed, at a time when elsewhere in Canada and the United States, wars were raging between indian bands and white men, and amongst the various bands themselves.
For this timely mediation, Sir Richard Hughes awarded L'Abbe Bourg the ownership of Heron Island and the land where the town of Charlo now stands. Sir Richard Hughes was the Governor, posted at the Capital in Halifax. The archives at Louisberg record the history of the time. This granting of the island and of the other land to him is recorded there.
L'Abbe Bourg lived at Carleton, and was the parish priest of St. Joseph de Carleton Parish, on the Gaspe Peninsula, just across from Heron Island.
He was the brother of George's great-great grandmother, Victoire Bourg. Her husband was Basile LeBlanc. L'Abbe baptized their daughter, George's great grandmother, Tharzile LeBlanc,(who was born at Carleton on May 11, 1790), at the church St.Joseph de Carleton on May 16, 1790.
L'Abbe Joseph William Bourg was apparently so busy with the spiritual lives of his congregation, that it seems he never paid any attention to the island nor to the land now known as Charlo. He never took residence at either place, and eventually, the granting of the land was apparantly forgotten and the land was granted mainly to American families wishing to homestead on the island and the surrounding area.
George was never aware that Heron Island had once been given to his great-great granduncle. The fact that he ended up as lighthouse keeper there was purely coincidental.
But perhaps the fact that beautiful Heron Island had been originally granted to an ancestor, although none of the family was aware of it, accounts as much for the feelings of belonging to it and of it belonging to the family as the fact that the family occupied a part of it for nineteen years.
At the age of 26, in 1816, Tharzile LeBlanc married Gabriel (Audit dit) LaPointe, at the same St. Joseph de Carleton church. She gave birth to Bernard LaPointe on December 10, 1827. She was 37 years old.
At that time, apparently, the family, then known as Audit, was in the process of changing the family name to LaPointe. There is no explanation as to why the name "LaPointe" was chosen. However, the reason that they were changing the name has been linked to a privateer, one of the breed of pirate who would pillage other ships and even the small communities along the coast of the area then known as Nova Scotia. Apparently disgrace was brought on the Audit family name by one of its members, who was a pirate.
Bernard eventually married Clarisse Dassilva, who was supposedly a Micmac Indian, although the name Dassilva is decidedly Portuguese. There is, of course, the pos- sibility that she was indeed a Micmac indian, but that a male ancestor had been Portuguese. Although not the "accepted thing" in those days, mixed marriages must have happened from time to time.
On March 23, 1854, Clarrise bore Bernard a son. They named him Francois Xavier LaPointe. He was baptised the same day at St. Joseph de Carleton Church.
Francois Xavier married Emma Vohl, who was Jewish, (a good illustration that mixed marriages did indeed occur even back then) and on August 29, 1891, she gave birth to Joseph Georges Lapointe in Montreal. He was baptised at the parish of St. Enfant-Jesus du Coteau St. Louis the next day.
Emma Vohl, living in a remote area with her husband and children, injured one of her toes. Soon it became grossly infected and eventually developed into a gangrous condition. Knowing that there was no way to reach a doctor where they were living and realizing that her very life was in danger, she did what any rational thinking human would do. She sterilized the axe, cut strips from a clean sheet, and got the bottle of iodine out. She walked out into the yard and over to the chopping block, took off her boot, put her foot on the block and lopped off the infected toe.
Not much is known about Emma Vohl, except that she was Jewish. The very idea that she was jewish was never talked about. How she ever met and married into a Catholic family is a story that has never been told. Stella spoke little about it. She only said that Emma came from the "Jewish Homeland", but she had once told me that Emma came from Germany, and with a name like Vohl, I would tend to think that this is correct. George spoke of it not at all. It must have caused quite a commotion in the family when Francois Xavier married her.
She must have died fairly young, since George was raised in the States by relatives.
Stella said that it was rumored that Francois Xavier was so mean that he would lock the cupboard doors when he left the house so that no one could eat until he returned home.
There was also a story about him being so upset about Emma being pregnant that he threatened to kill the infant at birth, forcing Emma to go into the woods and have the baby there on her own. After the birth, he apparantly reconsidered.
There is so much we would like to know about Grandmother Emma, but it seems there is no way to find out more at this stage. She seems to have been a brave woman, and that she lived an extremely hard life with Grandfather Francois Xavier.
George once told Stella that his father had told him never to tell his wife that he loved her, because then she would rule him.
George had brothers, but he never spoke of sisters. Thomas served with him in World War I as did Clem. His brother Arthur lived in Sept Isle and his brother Angus lived in Minnesota.
Tom and George had some sort of falling out and did not communicate for many years. Stella did not speak to Tom either, since she would not go against what George did. No one ever explained what their problem was, but there was a real tension in the air when Tom's name was mentioned, even well after his death.
One morning, they were lying in bed, just at daybreak. George was sleeping soundly beside her but Stella woke with an uneasy feeling. She opened her eyes.
There at the foot of the bed stood Tom. He looked at her, then took his watch out of his pocket by the chain, looked at it, and then proceeded to wind it.
Stella became frightened by his presence. What could he be doing there? They hadn't spoken in years. For him to just walk in like that shocked and surprised her. She quickly ducked under the covers to pretend she was asleep and decide what to do.
When she got up her nerve to look again, he was gone.
She woke George and told him about it. "You were dreaming", he said. "No," she said, "I swear, he was there big as life".
Shortly afterward, someone came to the door and told them that Tom had died that morning.
So George never had the chance to make peace with his brother. They had probably both forgotten what the feud was about but were both too stubborn to be the first to make a move. Or had Tom tried to make that move by showing up at the foot of their bed that morning?

George's ancestry dating back to 11 May, 1790:
Tharzile LeBlanc, born 11 May, 1790 in Carleton, Province of Quebec.
Baptised 16 May, 1790 at St. Joseph de Carleton church.
Presiding priest: Joseph Wm. Bourg.
Godfather: Hippolythe LeBlanc
Godmother: Esther LeBlanc
Father: Basile LeBlanc
Mother: Victoire Bourg
On 26 November, 1816, at St. Joseph de Carleton church, in Carleton, P. Q.,
Tharzile was married to Gabriel Audit dit* LaPointe ,
son of Gabriel LaPointe Sr. and Marie Desroyers.
The witnesses were Gabriel LaPointe Sr. and Alexis Poirier.
The presiding priest was Joseph M. Belanger.
*The family name was previously Audit, and had been changed to LaPointe..
the reason given by George was that there was apparently a pirate in the Audit family,
and this had brought shame and embarassment to the name.
On 10 December,1827, in Carleton, P.Q., Tharzile gave birth to Bernard,
and he was baptised the same day at St. Joseph de Carleton church.
His godfather was Jean Audit dit* LaPointe and
his godmother was Rose Audit.
The presiding priest was Ed. Fauchier.
Bernard married Clarisse Dassilva, and she bore him a son,
Francois Xavier, on 23 March, 1854, at Carleton, P.Q., and
he was baptised the same day at St. Joseph de Carleton church.
The presiding priest was C. J. O Bilourd.
Godfather: Filias Levesque
Godmother: Euphronine Alain.
A copy of the baptism certificate was issued to George on 23 June, 1934,
signed by Father G. C. Plourde.
Francois Xavier married Emma Vohl and
she gave birth to Joseph Georges on 29 August, 1891, in Montreal P.Q.
He was baptised on 30 August, 1891,
at St. Enfant-Jesus du Coteau St. Louis parish in Montreal.
Godfather: Stanislas Paré
Godmother: Delia Desormeau (Paré:)
(Mrs. Paré, the godmother, and Francois Xavier, the father, did not know how to write,
so did not sign the certificate of Baptism.
It was signed by the godfather, Stanislas Paré
and the presiding priest, Father Alphonse Viau,
and noted 'Lecture given.'

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