Marie-Ange Thériault, R.H.S.J


1948 scan0092a

My memory of Soeur Marie-Ange Thériault here at work in 1948 with the Religeuses Hospitalières de St. Joseph.

I knew very little about ‘Ma Tante’ Marie-Ange in my childhood mostly because beginning in 1943, she devoted her life and work to the health care of the people of northern New Brunswick and northern Maine. At the age of 17, she volunteered to work with her aunt, Soeur Jeanne D’Arc Thériault, who was part of the administration of the Religeuses Hospitalière de St. Joseph (R.H.S.J.) at St. Basile, New Brunswick. I was three years old at that time, and Ma Tante basically lived with the Sisters at the Hotel Dieu hospital in St. Basile. The Sisters at that time were cloistered, so no one saw much of them except for the patients at the hospital. Later, Ma Tante received her calling for a vocation in the service of the sick as a member of the Religeuses Hospitalières.

In 1954, I started my high school with the Oblate Fathers at their Juniorate Seminary in Bucksport, Maine. Being away from my family for the first time, I was delighted to receive a letter from Ma Tante soon after I began my studies. We continued to correspond on a regular basis from then on. Her mission was to cheer me on and encourage me to be a good student. Her letters continued to come as I joined the U.S. Air Force and for some time after that.

Ma Tante Marie-Ange was a selfless and humble person who loved her Jesus and committed her life to serving people around her especially the sick. I will sorely miss her in my life. I regret not being able to attend her funeral Mass. Fortunately, Rosemary and I visited with Ma Tante in Bathurst last Fall along with Tante Jeannine and cousin Nicole. We had a wonderful visit and a delightful lunch with she and her friend Soeur Gilberte McGrath and the other Sisters at the Mother House. Earlier in the Spring, our daughter Nicola and I were also able to visit with her when she was still at St. Basile.

Just a few days ago, I received an e-mail from Soeur Berthile Beaulieu, the Archiviste for the Religeuses Hospitalières de St Joseph. Very thoughtfully and generously, she wanted us to have the biography of Ma Tante which Soeur Berthile wrote recently.

Click on the link below to download and save the document on your system and open it by double clicking on the file on your system.  The biography is first presented in French. The English version follows.

Biography of Soeur Marie-Ange Thériault







Circa 1923. Moulin Joseph Thériault in Baker-Brook, NB where the Theriault family home was also located on the right, beyond the view of the photo. The smoke stack on the mill indicates that the mill is powered by a steam engine drawing its water from a small brook that flowed through the property at that time. Joseph built the mill in 1905-1907 and operated it until he became ill in 1913. Joseph died in 1915. His son, Joachim inherited the mill in 1913 and operated it until 1945. In the years prior to 1945, Thaddée and later Dénis operated the mill before Joachim sold it that year. In this picture around 1923, we see Joachim holding his youngest son, George with his other sons and daughters at the mill, talking with his clients. The house and barns on top of the hill is the Damase Daigle farm. Their other neighbors at the time included Firmin Levesque, Félix Daigle, Oscar Daigle, Vital Marquis, all on the northern side of the road from east to west. Joachim sold the mill to Raoul Couturier in 1945. (Courtesy Saint Coeur de Marie Parish Album ).

The importance of mills and milling to the Theriault family has been well-known in the St-John Valley. As a young boy, I was fortunate to have been able to spend some time in my grandfather Joachim’s mill (N47.302037°  W68.485479°) in Baker Brook, New Brunswick in the years before he sold it in 1945. It is interesting to note that historians and history refers to the Theriault Mill as the Joachim Theriault mill. The fact of the matter is that Joachim inherited his mill from his father, Joseph who built the mill in 1907 to serve the local farmers and families. No doubt it was  Joachim’s work of improving the mill and his role in the community as the miller of Baker Brook and St Hilaire, that the mill carries his name in history.

In my work on my last book “Destination: Madawaska”, I learned that mills and milling were important to my great-grandfather, Joseph as well. All references to the mill refer to the mill as the ‘Joachim Theriault Mill’. In fact, mills and milling in my family lineage started with Joseph. It was he who built the mill. His father, Dolphis was a farmer who owned large grants of farm and time land in St Jacques. His grandfather Charles, the first Acadian settler in present-day St Jacques, was also a farmer and owned a grant of land in the village of present-day St Jacques that included all of the land from the Rivière à la Truite north to the Cemetery going 1.5 miles southwest from the river (170 acres).


In early June 1926, 9 of the 14 eventual children of Joachim and Annie Thériault from Léanne to Georgette. In their front yard in front of the family mill. The flour mill was in the right part of the mill while the saw mill was on the left. Thérèse was born a day or so earlier and was being baptized on this day of the photo session. (Left to right, back row: Annette(8), Léanne(16), Dénis(14), Thaddée(12), Théodule(11). Front: Georgette(1), Rita(5), Félix(7) and George(4). (Rémi and Georgette Cyr Family Album.) CLICK TO ENLARGE PHOTO.

So, it has been my objective for some time to write my great-grandfather Joseph’s story; a story that will shed some light on how he came to be involved in the mill business.

I actually started working the project of researching mills as part of the World Acadian Congress CMA 2014 when I was invited to speak at the Theriault Family Reunion Conference on the migration of the Theriault family to the Madawaska territory from the south in Acadia and from the north in New France (Québec). I was thrilled to hear that the Conference would be held in Baker Brook at the Holy Heart of Mary Church, the church that was built with the lumber that was milled by Joachim Thériault himself. Joachim had milled most of the construction lumber at his mill but the large foundation pieces were milled on site using a transportable mill that later made history in the Valley newspapers.


Grand Isle Historical Society Museum, Grand Isle, Maine. (Courtesy Google photo)

During the CMA activities, I discussed the scope of my book “Moulins du Madawaska” with Jacques Albert, editor of the Société historique du Madawaska. My thinking basically was to document the biography of Joseph Theriault and his son, Joachim, beginning with Joseph’s childhood living in Moulin Morneault with his foster parents, David Rousseau and Caroline Plourde and another foster child, Philias Morneault.  After some discussion, Jacques suggested that we include a survey of the mills of the St John Valley. He noted that while a few individual communities have written about the mills of their specific community, no one has taken the time to research and publish a survey of all of the mills in the Valley and their role in the development of the Valley.

Back in 2013, I spent a week in Grand Isle enjoying the hospitality of Gordon Soucy, Curator of the Grand Isle Historical Society museum looking into the mills on the American side of the St John Valley. He had pulled much of the materials on the mills of the St John Valley from his museum library. I spent the week reviewing the stacks of materials, taking notes and scanning the materials and photos that I thought I might use. I appreciate very much the Historical Society’s generosity and support for this project.

After the CMA2014, I took a break from my work on family history and diverted my attention to local historic preservation work in my home town. My work on Joseph’s biography was put on the ‘back-burner’ for three years until last Fall when I made my plans to spend a week in the St John Valley this spring and pick up where I left off.

After reviewing and organizing the results of my week with the Grand Isle Historical Society, I had about 100 possible mills that needed some investigation. So, my key objective for my week this Spring was to confirm the data that I had on my list of 100 mills. In addition, I also needed to make sure that my list was complete. So, I contacted Lise Pelletier, Director of the University of Maine’s Acadian Archive to let her know of my project. I put a plan together to start with the American side; two days for the Frenchville to St Francis, and the Madawaska to Van Buren stretches and the remaining three days on the Canadian side: St Basile to Grand Falls, St Jacques-Moulin Morneault, and the last day, Saturday, doing Clair to Connors. I also scheduled my visit at the Acadian Archives on our first day since we would be passing through the area.  So, that was my plan.


Our trek to the Back Settlements of Upper Frenchville, Maine. After slogging up the 800′ incline to the crest (white dot) on an old, abandoned, washed out trail, we continued on up the ‘Cote Vitrée/Glass Hill’ to Daigle, or New Canada where our first mill site was located. (Google Photo.) CLICK TO ENLARGE.

In addition, I had asked my daughter, Nicola to join me for the week. I thought this would be a good time for her to see where we lived in Upper Frenchville, possibly climb to the top of the mountain and in general, meet some members of her extended Theriault and Dubé/Trudelle families and some other good people in the Valley.


View of the St John Valley from the top of my father’s mountain in “Sainte Luce”, or Upper Frenchville as they call it today. The rich soil of the valley is evident in this field which has been recently prepared for potato planting. (J.R. Theriault photo.) CLICK TO ENLARGE.

So, the first day, we drove up the mountain with my trusty Toyota truck taking the short cut to the Back Settlements from US 1 just east of the former Eli Morin house going to the ‘Deuxième Rang’ Back Settlement. There we would see some of my father’s land and the top of the mountain where we would see that wonderful view of the St John Valley that I enjoyed while hiking around in my childhood. The road quickly deteriorated to a very narrow trail but we pushed through and emerged on top about 800 feet above the St John River. It was as beautiful remembered it.


DENIS DAIGLE MILL. Cemetery Hill Road, New Canada, ME; 47°11’20.85″N 68°27’46.38″W (Courtesy Penobscot Marine Museum.) CLICK TO ENLARGE.

From there, we continued through the 2nd row of the Back Settlements  towards Daigle, our first mill site. Arriving in the village, we saw an old gent mowing the Cemetery. I stopped  and he turned off his lawn mower. I introduced myself and explained my project. His name was Lincoln Nadeau, a native of Daigle. He knew the Coulombe’s who I knew well. Long story short, he knew exactly where the Denis Daigle Mill was and he added that I should talk to Paul Lozier in Soldier Pond. Lincoln said that there are several other old mill sites in the area and that Paul would know about them.

Heading out to Soldier Pond, we found Paul Lozier at his garage and also was very enthusiastic to talk about the old mills.  He immediately pointed to one mill on Soldier Pond within sight and gave some of the details about the Soldier Pond Mill. He very generously offered to let me photograph an old photograph of the old mill that hangs in his General Store in Soldier Pond, shown on the right.


SOLDIER POND MILL. ca 1900 – late 1950’s. N 47 09.224 W068 34.57. (Courtesy Paul Lozier, Soldier Pond General Store.) CLICK TO ENLARGE.

Before letting us go, he recommended that I talk to Mr. Allen Stadig by the Christmas tree farm not far from his garage in Soldier Pond. He would tell us about other mills. (The name was of high interest to me given my finding of the Stadig shingle mill in Connors.) He also told me about another mill I didn’t have on my list: the LeBoeuf Mill.  Other people to contact included Chad Pelletier (Fort kent Historical Society), Louis Pelletier, Jr. of Allagash, and Carol Pelletier who he said was in charge of the St. Francis Historical Society, and someone who knows alot about mills in the area.

While I was excited about the new information, I realized more and more that my list of mills was growing and that I might have to adjust my plan.

‘Au Reed’ or Stories of Reed Brook


Map showing location of Joachim’s forestland by the Reed Brook. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

At the peak of his mill business, my paternal grandfather, Joachim, acquired some land in the back settlements or, ‘les concessions’, of Baker Brook alongside the Reed Brook. He and his sons cultivated the lumber on the land which he milled into construction lumber and sold to the local farmers and people of the village. Joachim inherited his father’s mill a few years before his father, Joseph died in 1915. Joseph constructed the mill in 1907 to serve the village and the surrounding area.
From the very beginning of its history in the early 1800’s, Baker Brook was known for its mill because the first settlers of the area, the Baker brothers, Nathan and John who came up from Penobscot County in Maine to settle in present-day Baker Brook, built the first mill and settled on the Baker Brook just south of NB Highway 120 (Note: Enter this coordinate 47°18’2.21″N   68°30’42.89″W  in your browser address to see the exact location). Much later, in 1905, Don Fraser came to Baker Brook to build his very large wood lat saw mill near that same location on the Baker Brook.  But the wood lats were exclusively for export and did not service the construction needs of the location population except to create jobs for more than 100 people which was very good.

So, Joachim’s mill was important to the area and supported the local construction needs. His land ‘au Reed’ as they called it was nice to have although much of the lumber he milled was brought in by his customers who had harvested the lumber themselves from their own lands.  We don’t know exactly when he acquired this land but my father, Theodule told me many stories of his time ‘au Reed’ when he was a very young man in the early 1920’s. So, it was a natural ‘hang-out’ for the Theriault boys which they continued to use during their years as young men with their dates and girlfriends. Here are a few photo memories of those days…

AU REED in 1936. (l-r) Yvette Landry Theriault, Theodule Theriault, Elsie Dube with younger brother Felix Theriault inspecting his brother’s automobile. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)


AU REED in 1936. Rear: Adelard Collin, Elsie Dubé Theriault, Theodule Theriault, Wilbrod Michaud, Thaddee Theriault; front: Simone Levesque Theriault, Aline Pelletier, Cecile Collin. [Elsie Dubé Theriault Collection ©Terriot Acadian Family Society-19990018a] (CLICK TO ENLARGE)








1936 au reed

AU REED in 1936. Sitting on the front bumper of Theodule Thériault’s automobile are: Léanne and Martin Marquis married the previous October in 1935. On the right are Dénis and Yvette Landry Thériault married in June 1935. [Yvette Landry Theriault Collection ©Terriot Acadian Family Society-20050036] (CLICK TO ENLARGE)


Au Reed in 1936. Félix Thériault (17) with his brothers au Reed in1934. Théodule’s Ford can be seen on the left. Félix was the fourth son and fifth child in a family of 13. He typically would spend his time with his older brothers, Dénis, Thaddée and Théodule. Although a teenager, in those days, 14 year old males were considered adults and were expected to earn their room and board working for their father. In these years, Joachim was cultivating his land ‘au Reed’. His sons were engaged in the lumber business, bringing the lumber to the mill in Baker Brook for milling. [Elsie Dubé Theriault Collection ©Terriot Acadian Family Society-19990030] (CLICK TO ENLARGE)



















Au Reed in 1936. Thaddée Thériault preparing to surprise Wilbrod Michaud and Adelard Collin. [Elsie Dubé Theriault Collection ©Terriot Acadian Family Society-19990017a] (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

reed 1934 simone elsie

AU REED. ca 1934, Simone Lévesque, Elsie Dubé, both girl friends of Thaddée and Théodule Thériault, respectively. [Elsie Dubé Theriault Collection ©Terriot Acadian Family Society-19990230a] (CLICK TO ENLARGE)





History of our Theriault Family

Histoire de notre famille Theriault.

[Le francais suit.]


Baker Brook, NB. Summer 1926. Nine of the 13 children of Joachim. (L-r) Rear: Annette, Leanne, Denis, Thaddee, Theodule. Front: Georgette, Rita, Felix, George. Not shown in the photo are Therese, who had just been born, and Marie-Ange, Joe and Jeannine who were not born yet. In the background is Joachim’s mill (saw and grist or flour) CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE and download.

Just a short note to let you know of some revisions to OUR HISTORY page. The page begins by telling the story of the first ‘Joseph’ in our lineage, the Joseph (1719-1765) who brought our branch of the family away from Acadia in 1759 to settle in St-Jean-Port-Joli (N47.228433°  W70.213860°) in present-day province of Quebec. In 2010, Bob and Jackie joined me in the commemoration of Joseph by the Association des familles Theriaults in St-Jean-Port-Joli where we dedicated a monument to Joseph’s memory at the very location of his farmstead.

To show you where Joseph is in our lineage, let me give you our grandfather Joachim’s lineage:

Joachim, Joseph II, Dolphis, Charles, Charles, Joseph I

So, Joseph I was Joachim’s  3rd great-grandfather.

Our History page continues by telling the story of present-day MOULIN MORNEAULT and the role that the hamlet played in the lives of Joachim and his father, Joseph, and how the Theriault family came to be connected with the Plourde and Morneault families.

The page wraps up the history by presenting my first draft of Joachim’s story. There will be more to his story once I finish working on my next bilingual book “Mills of Madawaska / Moulins du Madawaska”.

But I want to make sure that you don’t miss the second half of the OUR HISTORY page which presents the favorite songs of the family of Joachim Theriault. I chose five songs from many others that were sung in April 1959 when the children of Joachim came together to honor their sister, Therese. It brings tears to my eyes to hear Oncle Remi’s voice along with Tante Georgette and Soeur Marie Ange’s voices and the others. A treat is to hear my cousin, Theo leading the family in singing ‘ALOUETTE’, that famous French folk song. It’s unfortunate that the recordings are not the best, but I am so grateful for mon Oncle Remi who made the recording.  Turn up the volume when you listen to the songs and follow along with the lyrics which I include on each page of the songs.

Hope you enjoy it. Feel free to download the the history documents which are all  separate so that you can download each. Same thing with the songs; they are all MP3 files. If you have any difficult, let me know, I will be happy to email the files to you.

To open OUR HISTORY page, scroll to the top of the blog and at the top of your window in the navigation bar you will see ‘OUR HISTORY’.  Click on ‘OUR HISTORY’ to open that page. Have fun!


Juste quelques mots pour vous dire de certaines révisions sur la page OUR HISTORY. La page commence en racontant l’histoire du premier «Joseph» dans notre lignée, Joseph (1719 à 1765) qui a apporté notre branche de la famille loin de l’Acadie en 1759 pour se installer à St-Jean-Port-Joli dans l’actuelle province de Québec. En 2010, Bob et Jackie sont joints avec moi pour la commémoration de Joseph par l’Association des familles Thériault de St-Jean-Port-Joli nous avons consacré un monument à la mémoire de Joseph à l’endroit même de sa ferme.

Pour vous montrer où Joseph est dans notre lignée, ceci est la lignee de notre grand-père de Joachim:

Joachim, Joseph II, Dolphis, Charles, Charles, Joseph I

Ainsi, Joseph Ier était le 3ème grand-père de Joachim.

Notre page d’histoire se poursuit en racontant l’histoire de l’actuelle MOULIN Morneault et le rôle que le hameau a joué dans la vie de Joachim et son père, Joseph, et comment la famille Thériault est venu pour être connecté avec les familles Plourde et Morneault.

La page se termine l’histoire en présentant mon premier projet de l’histoire de Joachim. Il y aura plus à son histoire une fois que je finisse de travailler sur mon prochain livre bilingue »Mills de Madawaska / Moulins du Madawaska».

Mais je veux faire sure que vous ne manquez pas la deuxième partie de la page HISTOIRE NOTRE qui présente les chansons préférées de la famille de Joachim Thériault. Je choisis cinq chansons de beaucoup d’autres qui ont été chantées en Avril 1959, lorsque les enfants de Joachim se sont réunis pour honorer leur soeur, Thérèse. Il me met les larmes aux yeux pour entendre la voix de Oncle Remi avec Tante Georgette et les voix de Soeur Marie Ange et les autres. Un plaisir d’entendre mon cousin, Theo conduisant la famille à chanter ALOUETTE‘, la fameuse chanson folklorique française. Il est regrettable que les enregistrements ne sont pas le meilleur, mais je suis tellement reconnaissante pour mon Oncle Remi qui a fait l’enregistrement. Augmentez le volume lorsque vous écoutez les chansons et de suivre avec les paroles que j’inclure sur chaque page des chansons.

Je espère que vous l’apprécierez. Hésitez pas à télécharger les documents d’histoire qui sont tous séparés de sorte que vous pouvez télécharger chaque gratuit. Même chose avec les chansons; ils sont tous les fichiers MP3. Si vous avez des difficultés, faites le moi savoir, je serai heureux d’envoyer les fichiers pour vous.

Pour ouvrir la page OUR HISTORY, faites défiler vers le haut du blog et en haut de votre fenêtre dans la barre de navigation, vous verrez «OUR HISTORY. Cliquez sur “OUR HISTORY» pour ouvrir cette page. Bonne lecture!

Mes regards…

Passing Generations… Passage des generations

On August 16, 2014 in the Holy Heart of Mary Church in Baker Brook, NB., we spoke of two generations of Thériaults who we collectively still faintly remember. I am proud to be one of not many left today who can speak of their distinct memories of Joachim, of his personality and character. For Joachim’s father, Joseph, his aunt, Pélagie and uncle, Adolphe, no one is left who remembers them first-hand. As we noted on that beautiful day in August, they all made a difference in their lives… in some ways that will never be known to the family.


Joachim & Annie Thériault family in 1937 on the front steps of the family mill homestead. Of the family, only two remain with us today, Marie-Ange (Soeur Marie-Ange, RHSJ; front center) and Jeannine, front right.  Here is the family (left-right, rear-front): Denis (oldest son), Joachim, Annie, Léanne (oldest daughter), 3rd row: Félix, Annette, Theodule, Thaddée; 2nd row: Georgette, George, Rita; front: Thérèse, Marie-Ange, Jos Adrien, Jeannine.

This is the cycle of life that occurs in every family at a particular time in that generation when the older generation fades from memory sometimes without so much as a pause to look back and give tribute.

But we will remember Joachim as a generous man of character, a considerate father and brother, and trustworthy friend of many. His mill was not large but he provided the construction lumber and the flour that sheltered and fed the surrounding families. Its lumber may be found in many buildings in the area and at least one church. Joachim is well documented and is well known throughout the St John valley as a good friend to have and respected as a good son, a good husband and father.

Let these be the final words of testimony on his behalf.

Joachim Thériault in 1937, twenty-four years after receiving possession of his father, Joseph's mill in Baker Brook, NB.

Joachim Thériault at age 37 in 1923, ten years after receiving possession of his father, Joseph’s mill in Baker Brook, NB.

Le 16 Août 2014, en l’église de Saint-Cœur de Marie à Baker Brook, NB., nous avons parlé de deux générations de Thériault de qui nous se souvenons encore, mais bien faiblement. Je suis fier d’être un qui est encore ici aujourd’hui qui peut parler de leurs souvenirs distincts de Joachim, de sa personnalité et son caractère. Pour son père, Joseph et sa tante, Pélagie et son oncle, Adolphe, personne n’est laissé qui se souvient de première main. Comme nous l’avons noté sur cette belle journée en Août, ils ont fait une différence durant leur vies en des manières qui ne seront jamais connus

C’est le cycle de la vie qui se produit dans toutes les familles à un moment donné dans cette génération quand l’ancienne génération s’efface de la mémoire, parfois sans même s’arrêter pour regarder en arrière et pour payer le tribut.

Mais nous se souviendrons de Joachim comme un homme généreux de caractère; un père et  frère attentionnéet ami digne de confiance d’un grand nombreSon moulin n’était pas grand mais il a fourni le bois de construction et la farine que à hébergé et nourri les familles environnantes. Son bois se trouve dans bien des bâtisses et au moins d’une église. Joachim était bien connu dans la vallée Saint Jean comme un bon ami pour avoir et un respecté comme un bon fils, un bon mari et père.

Que ce soient les derniers mots de témoignage en sa faveur.


Just a short note to talk about the upcoming Theriault Reunion activities.

We just finished a brochure that we will pass out to all who join us in Baker Brook and Fort Kent for the conference. (I thought you might appreciate downloading a copy here.) As a reminder, the Baker Brook Conference will be in French and Fort Kent will be in English. Please note the slight changes in the schedule of activities.

I am especially looking forward to the Baker Brook Conference on the morning of Saturday, 16 August at 10am (Atlantic Time). When you think about it, we will be sitting in the church of Saint Coeur de Marie which was built from the very wood that our grandfather, Joachim fabricated with his mill in 1925. And of course, that was his church… this is where he, Grandmère and their children would go on Sunday mornings for Holy Mass. For many years, he was a member of the Choir and of course they sang in Latin!  Now remember that this was a man, who could neither read nor write. He was a phenomenal man… when you consider that building and operating mills requires the expertise of a physicist and certainly someone who understands geometry and the physics of pulleys, wheels, the horsepower of water wheels, turbines and all of that. For sure Joachim and his father, Joseph were special men.

So, this is a great honor for us to spend time together to talk about Joachim and his father Joseph, about those wonderful Religieuses Hospitalières de St Joseph who were responsible for bringing health care to Madawaska and to talk about some of the other Theriault’s who made things happen.

In addition to the Conference, there are also the Tours of our heritage villages:  St Basile, St Jacques, Baker Brook and Ste Luce.  Of course, the Tour of St Jacques will focus on our branch with Charles, Dolphis, Joseph and Joachim.  We’ll first gather in St Jacque to talk about Charles’ arrival there in 1823 and about the 170 acres he was granted (almost all of present-day St Jacques). Then, we’ll go to Moulin Morneault and talk about how the Theriault’s and the Morneault’s came to develop the milling industry and the lumber mills of the area. We’ll see where Grandpère Joseph and his bride, Théogenie raised their family.

I need your help to pass the word around… let’s get all those youngsters who may not have heard much about our family.  To make sure that a place will be reserved for you, please make sure that you register. It’s quick and it’s easy.





Let me know if you have any problems or questions.  I appreciate your help.


I was pleasantly surprised two nights ago, to hear from our cousin, Jacques Martin, son of ‘mon oncle’ Gérard and ‘ma tante’ Thérèse Thériault Martin.  We spent the better part of an hour on the phone catching up on each other’s lives. Jacques lives in the state of Washington with his lovely wife, Kim. They have two children, a daughter, Michelle Nicole, who is married and a college graduate; and a son, André Jacques, who is in his last year of college studies. Jacques is a Navy man through and through. After serving in the Navy for a number of years, he went back to work for the Navy as a civil servant. Today, he enjoys a pretty lofty position with the local Navy command. Both he and Kim are in good health and enjoying life in the northwest.

Jacques is the third child and third son of ‘mon oncle’ Gérard Martin and ‘ma tante’ Thérèse.  ‘Mon oncle’ and ‘ma tante’ married on 28 May 1946 in Edmundston and had five children, Roger (1948), Guy (1949), Jacques (1950), Diane (1957) and Jean (1959).  We lost ‘ma tante’ Thérèse in 1979 and most recently, ‘mon oncle’ passed away in Madawaska, Maine. A burial service is planned for May 28th in Fort Fairfield, Maine. Our cousin, Gilmay Theriault Michaud has the details.

I met Jacques and Kim in California while Rosemary and I were on assignment on the Air Force Space Shuttle Program at Vandenberg AFB in 1978. We had taken a weekend to visit with Oneil and his family in Orange County when Jacques dropped in for a brief visit. They lived not too far away in Santee in the suburbs of San Diego. I recognized him immediately because of his very strong Theriault features and good looks. 🙂  We hit it off very well and for the 10 years that we were in California, we visited each other quite frequently but after we moved back to New England… well, it was a little tough contacting Jacques. He was a very busy man.

Anyway, talking to Jacques, I remembered that I had planned to publish a recording that ‘mon oncle’ Remi and ‘tante’ Georgette made available to me a couple of years ago. So, I thought I would write up a short article to tell you about the recording and also to make the recording available to you. Hope you enjoy it.

(Note:  I divided the recording into sixteen (16) files which I am making available in this posting. You may download each file and save all files onto a CD if you wish, or simply keep it on a hard drive on your computer.  Scroll to the very end of this posting for the 16 links that will allow you to download each file.)


It was spring of 1959 and ‘ma tante’ Thérèse gave birth to her last child, a boy who they baptized ‘Joseph Jean Martin’. He was named ‘Jean’ after his godfather. The family later called him ‘Johnny’. He was born at the Hotel-Dieu hospital in Edmundston, New Brunswick on 3 April and was baptized Sunday, 5 April. According to Sister Marie Ange Thériault, Doctor Sormany attended to ‘ma tante’ Thérèse and delivered  infant Jean.  (At that time, the Religieuses Hospitalières de St Joseph still owned the two hospitals in the area, the one in St. Basile of course and the new one in Edmundston that was built by Soeur Morneault, daughter of Charles Morneault and our grand-aunt Pélagie Thériault.)

Later in the week (probably Sunday evening, 12th April), the Joachim Thériault family organized a ‘soirée’ in one of the halls in the Sanitorium for Thérèse, celebrating her new baby boy. The Sisters of St Joseph had accepted Thérèse into their hospital in Edmundston. After Jean was born, the Sisters kept the baby at the hospital for 10 days and brought Thérèse to a room in the Sanitorium where she stayed during that time. Afterward, she went to live with Georgette and Rémi to recuperate.

The whole family came and gathered at the Sanitorium in St. Basile where Sister Marie-Ange Thériault worked as a nurse in the Tuberculosis wing of the hospital.  There they had a hall large enough to accommodate the family and a good piano. Mémére Theriault was not feeling well at that time. I believe that she was actually in the hospital there at the Hotel Dieu at the time of this soirée because she died three months later on 9 July 1959.

20000004aThe members of the family who were present included: Leanne and Martin Marquis, Denie and Yvette Theriault, Theo and Anne ‘Mimi’ Theriault who were still newly-wed the year before. I think that Simone Theriault was there although she lost ‘mon oncle’ Thaddée earlier in January. Irma was there to represent ‘ma tante’ Annette’s family. Félix ‘Fattie’ and Gabbie Theriault were there along with Rita Theriault Bonsant. ‘Mon oncle’ Fred had died just a few months before in September 1958. George and Yvette Theriault were there along with Georgette and Rémi Cyr, Sister Marie-Ange Theriault, Joe and Thérèse Theriault and Jeannine and Bea Levesque. (Note: Please let me know if I missed anyone. I have conflicting notes that Grace might also have been there playing piano. This was four years before she and John Cole married.)

The entire program was recorded by ‘mon oncle’ Remi Cyr who kept the recording safe over the many years since then. It was our cousin Nelson Theriault who made me aware of the recording and well, long story short, ‘mon oncle’ and ‘ma tante’ let me borrow the tape so that I could digitize it and share it with the family. And so, here we are 54 years later!

First, the Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the program was ‘mon oncle’ Remi and the pianist was Cecile Thériault, of the Theriault’s of St. Basile… distant relatives of our Theriault family which originated in St- Jacques in 1821.

A brief note:  if you know the name of a song in the program that I did not identify, please let me know in a comment below. Or, if you have any knowledge of some of the events in this program, please let me know. I would be delighted to add those details to our notes here for everyone to enjoy.


(Click on the track links to start the audio. A new window will open with the audio player. You may minimize that window and continue reading here.)

Track 1:  Introduction and Opening Piece.  ‘Mon Oncle’ Remi opens the program and introduces Cecile Thériault of St. Basile who plays the first piece of piano music:

“Bonsoir, tout le monde. Je commence par un fait qui est assez bonne de nous donnez l’occasion  de nous réunir pour pouvoir fête Thérèse, madame Gérard Martin qui a eu le bonheur de donner naissance a un gros garçon, le 3 de avril passe.  Ce petit bonhomme a été baptisé dimanche passe sur le nom de joseph jean et ont le donne ce nom en honneur de son parrain. Donc, ont a assez parlez et maintenant, tous le monde s’arrive. Toute la famille Theriault est ici. Ils sont assez nombreux pour emplir le rouleau. Le temps est ici. Cécile va jouer.”

“Good evening, everyone. I start with an event that is good enough to give us the opportunity to come together in order to feast Therese, Mrs. Gerard Martin who had the honor of giving birth to a big boy, on 3 April. This little guy was baptized last  Sunday with the name of ‘Joseph Jean’. His name is in honor of his godfather.  So, we have talked enough. Everyone is coming. The entire Theriault family is here. They are enough to fill the entire attendance list. So, the time is here. Cecile will play.”

Track 2:  Ave Maria. Soeur Marie Ange Thériault.   Remi:

“Maintenant Soeur Thériault va nous chanter quelque chose. Je penses que c’est ‘Ave Maria’.

“And now, Sister Thériault will sing a song. I think it is ‘Ave Maria’.

Track 3:  Georgette Thériault Cyr and Cécile Thériault at the piano.  (Does anyone recognize the song?) Remi:

“Madame Cyr et Mademoiselle Thériault vont nous jouer quelque chose.”

“Mrs Cyr and Miss Thériault will play something for us.”

Track 4:  Remi Cyr and Cécile Thériault at the piano “Sur La Route de Berthier”.

“La c’est mon tour pour chanter la. Je va faire ma part.”

“Now, it’s my turn to sing. I will do my part.”

Track 5:  Thériault Family and Cécile Thériault at the piano “Le Vieux Sapin”.

Track 6:  Thériault Family and Cécile Thériault at the piano lead by Theo Thériault “Alouette”.

Track 7:  Rémi Cyr singing “Le Cordonnier”.

Remi says “Durant que c’est chaud la, on va chanter du Cordonnier.”

“While everyone is warmed up, we will sing ‘Le Cordonnier (The Shoemaker)’

Track 8:  Georgette Thériault Cyr, Sister Marie-Ange Thériault and Cécile Thériault at the piano, “Partons, La Mer est Belle!”

Track 9: Rémi Cyr singing “Souvenir d’un Viellard /Memories of an Elder”

Track 10:  Cécile Thériault on the piano. Song is unknown.

Track 11:  Thérèse Thériault Martin addresses her family.

“Je profit de l’occasion pour remercier spécialement la Sœur Supérieure et Sœur Thériault qui ont été si bonne pour moi et toute ma famille. Quesqu’ils ont faite pour moi. Je suis très heureuse.  Je va me bien souvenir pour longtemps. Merci.  Et je va dire un mot spécialement à Bea. Il a venue me chercher dans le fond à Kilburn. Jeannine voulait s’en allez et elle a vu que Bea avait defoncer le plancher avec sa chaise berceuse!”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank especially the Mother Superior and Sister Thériault who has been so good to me and my family. What they have done for me. I am very happy and I will remember well for a long time. Thank you. And I will say a special word to Bee. He came to pick me up down in Kilburn. Jeannine started leaving and saw that Bea had fallen through the floor in his rocking chair! ” (Kilburn, NB is across the river from Presque Isle.)

As shown by her laughs, ‘ma tante’ Thérèse had alot of fun with that…which demonstrates a little of that sadistic Theriault sense of humor. 🙂

Track 12:  Sister Marie-Ange Thériault and Cécile Thériault at the piano “Le Vieux Sapin”

Track 13:  Duet Sister Marie-Ange Thériault and Georgette Thériault Cyr singing “L’Hirondelle” accompanied by Cécile Thériault on the piano.

Track 14:  Cécile Thériault with an (unknown) piano piece.

Track 15:  Final comments by individual members of the family.

Tell us in a comment below who you think each speaker is. Number each and the name of the speaker.

Track 16:  Entire Thériault Family joins in singing “Ave Marie Stella”.

SOME THOUGHTS…   Listening to these voices of these loving uncles and aunts in the process of caring and expressing their love for their sister, Thérèse, reminds me of how fortunate I am to be part of this family and to have had the benefit of being on the receiving end of the huge generosity of our big family. The memory of every single one of these uncles and aunts will live on forever in my heart.


DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY.  To download your copy of each track, move your cursor on the track and then right click and select ‘Save Link As’. A window will open that will allow you to choose where you want to save your file. Repeat for each track.

Track 1:  Introduction and Opening Piece.

Track 2:  Ave Maria. Soeur Marie Ange Thériault.

Track 3:  Georgette Thériault Cyr and Cécile Thériault at the piano.

Track 4:  Remi Cyr and Cécile Thériault at the piano “Sur La Route de Berthier”.

Track 5:  Thériault Family and Cécile Thériault at the piano “Le Vieux Sapin”.

Track 6:  Thériault Family and Cécile Thériault at the piano lead by Theo Thériault “Alouette”.

Track 7:  Rémi Cyr singing “Le Cordonnier”.

Track 8:  Georgette Thériault Cyr, Sister Marie-Ange Thériault and Cécile Thériault at the piano, “Partons, La Mer est Belle!”

Track 9: Rémi Cyr singing “Souvenir d’un Viellard /Memories of an Elder”

Track 10:  Cécile Thériault on the piano. Song is unknown.

Track 11:  Thérèse Thériault Martin addresses her family.

Track 12:  Sister Marie-Ange Thériault and Cécile Thériault at the piano “Le Vieux Sapin”

Track 13:  Duet Sister Marie-Ange Thériault and Georgette Thériault Cyr singing “L’Hirondelle” accompanied by Cécile Thériault on the piano.

Track 14:  Cécile Thériault with an (unknown) piano piece.

Track 15:  Final comments by individual members of the family.

Track 16:  Entire Thériault Family joins in singing “Ave Marie Stella”.