Written and contributed by Joseph Hamelin
Joseph Hamelin b. 1822 in St. Philippe, d. April 25, 1908 at Rouses Point. Brought to Dudley's Mills, NY, and later to Mooers Forks by his parents, he worked for 25 years at Rouses Point, later farmed at Mooers Forks, and died at Rouses Point (at the home of son Gilbert?). Joseph was a stone mason whose family emigrated into Clinton County in extreme upstate New York around 1834-40. He spoke only French, and may have been illiterate. His children all were educated in Clinton County, NY, schools.
It was a difficult time for French-speaking Canadians, and rebellion was on the horizon. When Joseph was 16, French-Quebec's Papineau rebellion of 1837-39 involved many Hamelins, Roberts and Vachereaus. Joseph's mother was a Robert. Joseph must have known Francois-Xavier, one of 12 rebels hung by the British, a cousin 4-5 years older growing up in the same small town.
When he was 23, on Nov. 4, 1845, Joseph m. Delphine Lemire (1827- 1918) at St. Joseph du Corbeau Church in Coopersville, near Rouses Point in extreme northeastern New York. At the time, it was the only Catholic church between Albany and Montreal.
His companion for 63 years, Delphine was one of 7 daughters of Cuthbert (or Culbert) Lemire (b. Feb. 16, 1785, d. 1868). Born at Maskinonge QC, he was a "voyageur" for the Northwest Company (which later merged with the Hudson's Bay Company) in 1812-13-14, and again in 1820. Working out of Athabasca, Alberta (an outpost 50 miles north of Edmonton), he traveled the Canadian Rockies, trapping and trading for furs with the Indians. He m. Mary Anne Page or Pashe' on Jan. 15, 1815 in Maskinonge. Cuthbert died Oct. 28, 1868 at age 87 and is buried at Mooers Forks, N.Y. Delphine d. Jan. 1, 1918 in Rouses Point NY at age 95.
In 1844, ironically, Joseph found work laying stone at a fort built to secure the border with Canada, and he stayed on the job, living at Plattsburgh, for 25 years. Then he used his savings to buy some farmland at Mooers, possibly from his father-in-law..
An accomplished hand-me-down storyteller often invited to weddings to entertain the guests, he spoke French in the home and mastered little English. He taught his son Gilbert the bricklaying trade, and Gilbert passed it on to son Rodney -- who remembered Joseph as his beloved "Grandpa Hamelin," the warm and caring man who, in his `70s, took in his son's children for seven years when their mother died in `94.
Joseph's children (9 known):
1. Alexandre b. Aug. 22, 1846, bap. at St. Joseph's in Coopersville, d. 1909; a "brickman" in census records who m. Josephine Boire (his parents Joseph and Delphine were witnesses) at St. Edmund's, Ellenburg, N.Y., on Sept. 4, 1870. Settled in Athol, MA, had a large family, and is said to have moved to Chico, CA, when his employer, the Diamond Match Co., moved the whole plant. 3 children known:
1. Delphis Alphonse b. May 16, 1871, bap. at St. Edmund's, Ellenburg, N.Y.
3. Rene (Rodney) b. abt. 1876.
4. Walter b. abt. 1878.
3. Aimee Iva b. July 1, 1888, bap. at St. Anne's, Mooers Forks (godfather "G. Hamelin").
2. Mary Ann b abt. 1849 -- Rodney's beloved godmother; m. Richard Martineau on Aug. 23, 1869 at Mooers Forks. At least 3 children:
3. Clary b. July 9, 1851, bap. at St. Joseph's, Cooperville; presumed to have died in infancy.
4. Laura b. aft. 1852, m. Albert Roode and moved west (is this the "Louise" in census records?).
5. Angeline b. 1854, m. Peter Dupuis. Clinton County, N.Y., records show a "Marcelline" Hamelin marrying Pierre Dupuis at St. Edmund's, Ellenburg, N.Y., Nov. 26, 1873. Witnesses were Joseph Hamelin and Louis Dupuis. Child:
6. Gilbert b. July 22, 1856 at Mooers Forks, NY, , d May 20, 1947 at Plattsburgh. A second or third-generation stone mason who lived to be 90. He was remembered by Rodney as a humorless man who never expressed much emotion. However, he was also a man who knew terrible hardship.
/ In 1893, his infant son Alphonse died.
/ The next year, his 34-year-old wife died on their farm at Mooers, NY, when flu (or, as it was called in those days, the "grip") went into pneumonia.
/ In `99, a fire took his home and everything in it (presumably he had no insurance, as not many people did in those days).
/ And three years or so later, the only child of his second marriage was stillborn.
On June 6, 1881, not quite 25, he married Sophie Lareau (who'd taken the name Ouellette when her widowed mother remarried) at St. Anne's Church in Mooers Forks. No pictures of her have survived. Sophie was born in late 1859 or early `60 (she was 4 months old in the 1860 census) and at her death left Gilbert with children 12 (Lil), 10 (Gert), 6 (Maude) and 4 (Rene, or Rod).
Gilbert's parents took them in and raised them on their farm for more than six years.
Sophie was the daughter of Israel Lareau of Champlain (1836-1862), and Sophia Charron of St. John's. They lived in Mooers Forks. She had an older brother named Joseph. After Israel's death, Sophia Charron remarried the widower Theophile Ouellette (brother of Zeb, the husband of Gilbert's aunt) on Oct. 12, 1863, at Mooers Forks.
After their marriage at St. Anne's Church, Gilbert and Sophie settled in Mooers Forks. In 10 years of marriage she gave him five children, the last of whom died not long before she did.
Gilbert had been building a new house for the family, but after Sophie died (July 17, 1894) he simply abandoned it. There wasn't much work for a stone mason in rural Northern New York, so for the next seven years -- while his parents (and his eldest, Lillian) cared for the children at their Mooers farm -- Gil traveled to jobs across northern New York and into New England.
After a fire destroyed their house in 1899, Gilbert moved the family to Rouses Point, the small town at the extreme north and eastern ends of the state where his father had laid stone at Fort Montgomery for so many years. In 1901, Gilbert remarried -- to Ellen Trepanier, the daughter of Joe Lareau's sister, i.e., Sophie's first cousin). He then built a two-story, four-bedroom brick home on Maple Street that stood for 70 years and more.
In 1925, four years after Rodney, his youngest surviving child, took his family to Utica, Gil moved to Plattsburgh, where he spent his last 22 years. He died in the home of his daughter Lil. At his death, he had eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and six great-great grandchildren.
Gilbert's children (5):
1. Marie Lillie (Lillian) b. Aug. 21, 1882 at Mooers Forks, d 1954. "Aunt Lil," as Rodney's children knew her, was the "mother" to her younger siblings from the time of their mother's death in 1894 (she was not quite 12) until their father remarried in 1901 (when Lil was 18).
Not long after, Lil m. Louis Garrand. She was living in Plattsburgh in `47 -- her father lived with her -- but by the early `50s was living in Indian Orchard, MA, with daughter Hilda. At least 2 children:
2. Lloyd b. Aug. 31, 1911, d. Sept. 27, 1993.
3. Amanda (Maude) b. 1888 at Mooers Forks, d. 1914 at age 26, of consumption.
4. Rene Magloire (1890). Always went by the Anglicized "Rodney" and never used middle name. A prominant building contractor in Utica, NY. Godparents were Marie-Anne Hamelin (his dad's sister) and Peter Dupuis (husband of his Aunt Angeline); 3 children: Pearl, Russell and Joseph.
5. Alphonse b. Sept. 15, 1893 at Mooers Forks, d. April, 1894; bur. April 29 at St. Anne's. Listed in records as "Gilbert" -- but Rodney clearly remembered the name as "Alphonse." Clerk may have inadvertently recorded the father's name instead.
* Gilbert re-m. Ellen Trepanier (Sophie's cousin) in 1900. Ellen d. 1931, buried at Rouses Point NY. Rodney remembered her as a loving person. One child:
6. Unnamed @ 1902, stillborn.
8. Vera (or Vira) b. abt. 1863, m. Henry Henderson (relationship to her niece's husband Richard Henderson uncertain) and settled in Quechee, VT. She is known to have been living in Quechee in 1946.
9. Amos Eusebe 1865-1949, was the last of Joseph's nine children, 19 years younger than Joe's firstborn, Alexandre.
Amos m. Laura LaChance (1869-1945) on July 31, 1889 at St. Anne's, Mooers Forks, and spent most of his life in Upstate NY. He was living in Plattsburgh near Gilbert at the time of Gilbert's death.
His firstborn "Arpha" was one of five Hamelins, according to Rodney, who were born in 1890 in Clinton County, and the five stayed close throughout their lives. Rodney, Jessie Henderson and Victor Dupuis were three of the others. The fifth is as yet unidentified, likely a child of Alexander or his brother Joseph.
Amos and Laura had at least 6 children:
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