Pierre Albert Farly and
Marie Celeste Masson
Pierre Albert was born on January 14, 1779 at L'Ile-Dupas. An older brother, also named Pierre Albert, was born in 1776 but only lived one year. It was common practice to name a child the same name as an older sibling who had died.
Pierre Albert married Marie-Celeste Masson (1785-1823) on November 26, 1804, at the Parish of the Visitation, L'Ile-Dupas. Witnesses at the wedding were Albert Farly, father of the groom, Francois Farly, brother of the groom, Jean Francois Mercure Lehame, Michel Macon, brother of the bride, Joseph Prices, uncle. Also attending the wedding were A.N. Farly and I. Mercure. The priest who married them was Father Martes.
Pierre Albert and Marie-Celeste had 12 children. Marie-Celeste died in 1823, and Pierre Albert married Elizabeth Coitou St. Jean the next year. They had a further 6 children. Pierre Albert Jr. was born on November 5, 1824, Leon was born December 5, 1825, Marie Zoe was born February 3, 1827, Dorice Farly was born on February 11, 1828, at L'Ile-Dupas, and Isidore was born in March 1834 .
Eglise Isle du Pas
La Visitation de L'Ile-Dupas
A wooden church was built at the tip of the island in 1704 and replaced a small wooden chapel. The present brick church was completed in 1852. In the early days, the baptismal and marriage records were glued to the walls of the rectory like wallpaper, instead of being filed. Some were impossible to remove. The island was flooded in April 1865 but the church was spared.
Pierre Albert's and Marie-Celeste's children were Genevieve, Albert Oliviere, Francois Xavier, Adelaide, Hyacinthe, Genevieve, Pierre, Joseph, Isidore, Amable, Julie, and Marguerite.
Pierre Albert's and Elizabeth's children were Zoe, Pierre Albert Jr., Leon, Lucie, Olive, Isidore.
Two sons of Pierre Albert and Marie Celeste were important in our story. Francois Xavier and Amable both carried on our family line.
Pierre Albert was a farmer. In the 1700s, wheat farming was mainly subsistence agriculture, but after 1730 a market developed for wheat in the West Indies and by the beginning of the 1800s in southern Europe and Britain. Production fell sharply after 1832 and Lower Canada (Quebec) had to import wheat from Upper Canada (Ontario). Some farmers earned a profit from growing oats, potatoes and raising cows, pigs and chickens, but these were mostly grown for home use. The standard of living enjoyed in the early 1800s declined because of the reductions in agricultural demand and the declining fur trade. Timber production increased but this took place mainly in the areas around Quebec City and the Trois-Rivieres area. Pierre Albert must have found it difficult to feed his family with so many children.
Pierre Albert was 33 when the War of 1812 broke out. At the height of the Napoleanic Wars in Europe, the United States declared war on Great Britain. Canada, Britain's possession in North America, became the main target because of its close proximity to the United States. The Americans resented the fact that the British randomly searched American ships during the Napoleanic blockade, using the war as an excuse.
The war in North America solved nothing - the British and Canadians were outnumbered by the Americans but were better prepared for conflict. The British were allied with the Indians who constantly kept the border between Canada and the U.S. in turmoil.
The British captured Fort Michilimackinac which was then a key U.S. post, thus giving the British control of the Michigan territory and the Upper Mississippi. The Americans continued to lose territory to the British which was ironic because of their attitude that Canada was there's for the taking. The British didn't take an aggressive pose - they decided just to defend their territory and to allow the American invaders to make mistakes. The Americans did make it to York (now Toronto) which was sacked, but neither side totally controlled Lake Ontario throughout the war.
The British managed to drive the Americans back across the border, however, the Americans burned Niagara-on-the-Lake (Newark) on their way out of the country. The British retaliated by attacking Buffalo. The British and Canadian soldiers continued on to Washington DC, where they burned the White House down. This was the most famous fire in Washington. British forces entered the city, then they torched the building, destroying all of the outer walls.
Commodore Perry, a bold American seaman, turned American defeat into victory by becoming the first to capture an entire British fleet. Lake Erie became an American possession and the British retreated. The Americans decided they were going to capture Montreal but the effort was unsuccessful.
A small force of French Canadians drove 4,000 Americans back across the border. The 1813 campaign saw the Americans holding Fort Amherstburg on the Detroit River, and the British holding the forts at Niagara and Michilimackinac. The following year the British ended up holding much of Maine which was returned to the U.S. after the signing of the peace treaty.
In the west, the Canadian voyageurs held territory on the Upper Mississippi and Fort Michilimackinac and captured two warships on Lake Huron. In the east, the British army were freed from the war in Europe due to the defeat of Napolean and with the transfer of troops to North America vastly outnumbered the Americans. However, the British weren't aggressive enough and were forced to lower their demands in the peace negotiations that followed and accept the status quo.
The Americans expected Canadian settlers to flock to the Americans, assuming they were unhappy with the conditions in Canada; however, the Canadians had been lured to Canada by free land and low taxes and just wanted to be left alone. The Americans tried to press their political ideals of democracy and republicanism, but seeds of nationalism had been planted in Canada and the Canadians were not interested in American ideals.
Following the war of 1812, French Canadian (Quebec) nationalism grew. Thus began the political battles between the French Canadians and the English Canadians - a battle that is ongoing today.
Representatives of the French Canadian middle class wanted to take control away from the Catholic church in areas such as education and also from the English merchant class which was expanding its economic base because of the rapid growth of the timber trade. In the 1830s the agricultural industry was in distress, and many French Canadian families were on the verge of starvation. There was significant emigration to Quebec from Britain. These immigrants brought cholera with them, killing thousands of French Canadians. This led to an increased hostility towards English-speaking people living in Quebec. Political turmoil and conflict were rampant; there were boycotts of English goods, and mass protest rallies on the part of the French Patriotes. The British were firm, however, in holding power in Lower Canada, and dispatched troops which led to skirmishes between the two opposing groups. The French Canadians began to practise widespread civil disobedience and British authority began to erode.
In 1837, the Patriote leaders hid from the British in the countryside, and there were battles at St. Denis and St. Charles. The Patriotes were poorly equipped and badly led so they didn't have a chance of success. St-Denis surrendered without a struggle and the British soldiers sacked it, burning down 50 homes. There was widespread looting and burning of French Canadian settlements by the British volunteers throughout Quebec.
With the encouragement of American sympathizers who had organized themselves into Hunters' Lodges, the French Canadian rebels had been preparing for a second rebellion which broke out in early November 1838. The rebels hoped to be able to cut off communications between Montréal and the south shore of the St Lawrence river, and to set off a mass uprising of the habitants. However, again they were poorly organized and supplied, and were defeated. One group of rebels was captured by the Iroquois, who were allied with the British.
The French Canadians did manage to defeat a small British force but then scattered as a larger force approached. Within a week, the second outbreak had been put down almost entirely by the actions of the British volunteers, who crossed the countryside leaving in their wake a trail of devastation. Makeshift prisons were filled with French Canadians, and 108 men were convicted by courts martial. Ninety-nine men were condemned to death, but only 12 went to the gallows. Fifty-eight men were transported from Lower Canada (Quebec) to the Parramatta River area of New South Wales, Australia. They were incarcerated from March 11, 1840 to November 1842, before being released on ticket-of-leave and eventually pardoned to return to Canada. Ninety-two followers of William Lyon Mackenzie, in Upper Canada, were sent to the harsh penal colony in Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania).
Pierre Albert and his family lived through a constant period of conflict and political turmoil. It would be interesting to know how this affected his everyday life - did Pierre Albert ever feel entirely safe? Did any of his family take part in the battles? Fort Michilimackinac had been such an important part of Pierre Albert's life - how did he feel when the British captured the fort from the Americans at the beginning of the war of 1812?